The contemporary, average customer, says a recent survey, exhibits what it calls ‘cross-channel behaviour’. Simply put, today’s consumer does not favour any single channel for receiving support over others, but instead picks his or her preferred channel at any given point based purely on convenience. In fact, 64% of consumers surveyed claim they have used three or more channels when contacting a company for support.
So what does this mean for your business? Well, the new multi-device, always-connected customer is likely to reach out to your business via different channels and, irrespective of the channel he or she has opted for, expects an effective, efficient resolution.
And, as we all know, the quality of customer support provided is crucial to a customer’s decision to continue to do business with an organisation. Delivering fast, painless and reliable service at every touch point is critical to sales and marketing personnel tasked with increasing conversions, growing revenue and maximising customer lifetime value.
But while consumers may prefer the human touch when it comes to complex support transactions, study after study has shown that they increasingly seek the ease and convenience of digital and social media channels to tackle their basic support needs. Incidentally, the reward for companies who excel at digital customer care is considerable: it can increase customer satisfaction by up to 33% and generate savings of 25 to 30% by reducing call-centre volume.
Which digital touch point should you prioritise?
Out of all the digital customer support channels available – e-mail, social and chat – live chat is by far the fastest, simplest and least obtrusive digital support channel. So it comes as no surprise that live chat sees the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, at 73%, compared with 61% for e-mail and 44% for phone.
Customers prefer live chat for many of the same reasons we all enjoy digital chats in our personal lives – it’s quick and it’s convenient. Customers are able to carry on checking e-mails, browsing or even working while maintaining a conversation. It’s customer service that fits into their lifestyle. In fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
And it’s not only customers who feel the benefits of live chat; businesses are realising that adding live chat functionality to their websites can:
Live chat software can scale up employee efficiency – by allowing customer support representatives to juggle multiple chats simultaneously – and can scale down overall contact centre costs by reducing average interaction costs.
Customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break a sale. This helps eliminate bounces away from retail websites and ensure that full shopping carts make it through check out.
By analysing what questions, concerns or issues readily come up for your customers, your team can construct pre-written responses to frequently asked questions and direct customers to pages on the website that contain the requested information. This saves time for your customer support team, making your company more agile in delivering care to customers and providing the insights they were looking for more quickly.
Of course, there are many cases where a face-to-face chat with a sales representative will be of value to the consumer in making a purchasing decision – this is where live video chats enter the picture. Video chat solutions enable businesses to connect with their customers and prospects in a more engaging, personalised and unique manner, driving higher conversions and customer satisfaction.
While adding another channel might sound like a complicated undertaking, the truth is that implementing live chat software is simple. In most cases, all you’ll need is a subscription to a live chat platform and some lightweight code on your website.
Within a short time and with relatively little effort, your business can provide high-quality customer service via live chat and reap the benefits that come with increased customer satisfaction.
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