What is live chat support?
Live chat is a communication channel for customers to receive immediate assistance from a business. It facilitates real-time 1:1 interactions between customers and human agents from a company to resolve customer issues.
Businesses often embed live chat support on their website, making it easier for website visitors and customers to discover more about the brand, ask questions, and receive responses from support agents while browsing through web pages.
Besides websites, a live chat solution offers integration with channels such as phone and SMS text (e.g., iOS or Android), CRMs, and email. Integration with social media platforms, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, is also common.
Around 73% of customers find live chat the most satisfactory form of communication with a company.
Benefits of live chat software in customer service
Customers no longer wish to be kept waiting on the phone, writing long emails, or continually switching channels to connect with a support agent. They want to be able to talk to agents and get their issues resolved immediately — an option that live chat is perfectly suited for.
By offering instant support, you can improve your customer experience. And there are several other benefits of providing live chat support to your customers, too.
Personalized customer support experience
Unlike a chatbot, live chat connects customers to real agents, who can empathize with their problems and even go a great distance to provide exceptional customer support. In fact, 86% of consumers prefer to interact with a human agent rather than chatbots.
This level of personalized support also helps build customer loyalty.
Learn more: How Does AI Affect the Customer Experience?
Improve conversion rates
Live chat saves customers from the hassle of sending detailed emails to businesses enquiring about their products, services, and prices — and from waiting in long phone queues to speak to an agent. Through live chat, agents can instantly resolve customer queries and help them make purchase decisions, improving conversion rates by up to 3.84%. Customers who use live chat also spend up to 60% more per purchase than those who don’t.
Boost agent productivity and workflows
Often live chat agents find it difficult to juggle between phone calls and emails because they can only focus on one customer at a time, resulting in increased query handling and response times.
Live chat can help you reduce average handling time (AHT) and average response time (ART) and improve agent productivity by equipping them to handle multiple queries simultaneously while offering instant solutions and a personalized experience.
Increase customer engagement
As AHT and ART decrease, customer engagement increases as agents interact with multiple customers simultaneously using live chat. And when a live chat option is available, customers start interacting more (about 69% of shoppers in the U.S. demand live chat features).
Enhance your product
Not only does live chat collect data about your customers and website visitors, it also collects customer feedback that can help you improve your customer experience and make informed decisions to improve your product.
Getting started with live chat support
Before you consider adding a live chat widget to offer support to customers, ask yourself the following:
Do I really need live chat support?
While live chat support does help improve customer experience, it doesn’t mean that every business needs live chat. For example, maybe your contact center is more efficient in handling phone inquiries than your email or social media platforms, and your customers prefer phone calls over other service channels. In this scenario, live chat support is not a necessity.
You can’t implement live chat across all platforms, so you must use it strategically. Decide whether live chat would be more useful to your customers on your website or app. Or consider whether live chat is a service you might want to offer exclusively to your premium customers.
Is live chat integration compatible with your website’s current user interface (UI)?
If live chat is incompatible with your website’s or application’s UI, it could end up hampering your customer experience. But by making slight changes to your design or layout to accommodate a live chat window, and adding brand colors to your live chat interface, you can ensure that customers’ user experience isn’t compromised.
Learn more: Must-have features for free live chat software
Are your agents trained to use live chat support?
Just as agents who handle emails and calls need regular training, live chat tools also need trained agents with the right skills to be efficient at their job and provide personalized experiences. Training and coaching your agents to learn this skill set will help them stay on top of customer queries and help improve your customer experience at scale.
How can a live chat solution improve your customer service?
Here are some best practices to follow to make live chat your primary communication channel and improve your customer service:
1. Use canned responses
Canned responses are predefined responses to routine customer questions such as “How will your product help me?” or “How do I make a payment?”
You can simply document your responses to common questions and FAQs, save these templates as canned responses, and let your chat agents use them whenever they get that related question. Agents can even modify these responses before sending them across to the customer.
When customers seek resolutions to common problems via live chat, agents can send these pre-formulated replies and cut down on the average handling time and provide faster resolutions.
2. Store and share customer chat history
72% of customers expect agents to know about their contact details, product information, and service history as soon as they engage — without being asked.
Customers don’t like repeating themselves, and asking them to relay their problem again and again results in a poor customer experience. With good live chat software, you are able to store customer data and chat transcript history, which can be used to share with your agents for full context and seamless query resolution.
3. Be concise and relevant
Live chat agents can provide customers with concise and relevant information in simple language when they reach out. By knowing your product inside out, your agents will be able to cut through the noise and determine what information will be relevant to the customer.
If a query needs a longer explanation, your agents would not only be able to share a knowledge base article but accompany it with a short description; thereby, reducing overall time spent in handling customer queries and allowing them to engage with more customers.
4. Ensure customer satisfaction
Live chat helps you be more proactive in addressing your customer’s issues. Throughout interactions, you can instantly gauge whether the solution you offered was what the customer was looking for. If you think they are not satisfied with your response or the solution offered, live chat functionality — skill-based routing and automation, customized workflows, and real-time insights —aids in understanding how you can further assist them. Issues that require assistance outside of the agent’s scope or knowledge can then be routed to the appropriate support teams, thus ensuring the customer leaves the conversation satisfied.
5. Collect agent feedback
Once a customer confirms that they are satisfied with the provided solution, thank them for their time and request their feedback with questions like, ‘Would you recommend us to others?’ or ‘How would you rate this chat?’
Because agents play a pivotal role in improving customer service using live chat, managers and supervisors can analyze chat transcripts from previous sessions for feedback and performance to help agents handle queries more effectively.
6. Prevent agent burnout
Live chat allows agents to juggle between multiple conversations, but handling more than two to three chats simultaneously can be challenging, resulting in frequent agent burnout and which can also in turn lead to dissatisfied customers. By setting reasonable expectations for your agents, you can ensure that they don’t get overwhelmed.
7. Analyze agent productivity
Evaluate the performance of your agents regularly by analyzing customer feedback, agent skill sets, and queries handled. Doing so helps you determine which agent is best suited to handle a particular query so that you can route that query accordingly and help customers get the best solution in the shortest time possible. And, regular performance analysis will help you identify agents that may need to go through additional support training.
8. Provide regular training to agents
Provide agents with easy-to-navigate training resources and job aids to improve their performance. When onboarding a new agent, you can assign them a mentor who can help them get familiarized with the process, and train and coach them to handle customer queries effectively via live chat. Regular training helps ensure that agents are equipped to handle and address issues effectively, creating a better customer service experience overall.
9. Use conversational AI
Chatbots, or conversational AI, use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to simulate human-like conversations with customers. By integrating conversational AI into your live chat conversations, you can help provide customers with self-service options and automate the collection of agent feedback and submission of support tickets. This way, you can reduce your average first response time, and thereby provide relevant solutions to customers within seconds.
Level up your customer service using Sprinklr Live Chat software
Brands receive thousands of support messages every day. Providing a quick resolution to those inquiries becomes challenging for support agents, especially when customers expect brands to address their requests immediately.
Being the world’s only unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, Sprinklr helps you:
Customize chat for a seamless, consistent brand experience everywhere
Integrate Live Chat seamlessly into any website or mobile app — customize the interface, language, logo, chat position, and fonts to fit your brand.
Proactively identify what customers need (and get them to the right agent)
Know when to reach out to customers and understand key metrics, like time spent on a page, page URL, scroll depth, cart content, and agent availability — then use skill-based routing and AI-powered prioritization to assign the right agent to the right customer automatically.
Increase response rates with personalized, interactive chats
Target chats to specific customer segments or page URLs and use customized chat templates to reply quickly, capture CSAT feedback, and securely request personal information.
Empower agents, save time, and boost productivity
Enhance customer support with video calling, co-browsing, screen share, Smart Responses, and Live Chat macros to drive faster resolutions, free agents from repetitive work, and make customers happier.
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