That Little Customer Service Chat Box Does More Than Customers Think…

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90% of customers find customer service via live chat beneficial. Are you taking advantage of this easy to offer and easy to master touchpoint?

live chat customer serviceIn a business climate where operating costs are escalating with higher prices for everything, telecommunications and Internet costs are actually going down, notes TMCnet.

Managers are taking advantage of this, using online chat features to increase revenue, several recent studies report. 90% of customers find chat beneficial, while more than 60% of online shoppers return to an online retailer that has real-time chat options, reports KISSmetrics. Here are five ways online chat can benefit your business:

Reducing interaction time

Live chat is more productive and more efficient than traditional telephone communication. Chat functions cut “talk time” by 20 percent, Virgin Atlantic Contact Centers reports. Customers appreciate shorter conversations that get them back to their busy schedules more quickly.

Managing cash flow

Consumers are looking for mobile alternatives for customer service, and they want them immediately. More than 20 percent of consumers connect via multiple devices, according to Forrester Research. When a consumer finds a problem with a credit card statement or hospital bill, they want immediate solutions. Accounts receivable departments in all industries that respond quickly to billing disputes or posting inquiries should see payment delays decline.

With technology that links “callers” to online payment options, or that allows operators to accept payments, there is no longer a reason to postpone payment based on questions about bills. Efficiently eliminating frustration can lead to service upgrades or prevent cancellations, too.

Video conferencing

Video chat has multiple benefits, from personalizing the conversation to allowing parties to share vital images relevant to the conversation.

Virtual doctor visits allow patients to interact with primary care physicians via webcam and Internet connections. One company, Doctor Vista, offers video chat calls and email conferences for patients in 12 countries. Doctor Vista claims 83 percent of its patients rate the service as “good” or “great.” Educators also utilize video components to discuss class assignments with students and share information with colleagues.

Continuity

Technological advances allow conversations to be sidelined and reconvened later. If a customer needs to gather more information or change devices, technology allows reconnection via a “limited-use link.” The ability to continue live help conversations eliminates frustration that accompanies having to restate prior conversations to a new agent. This feature is an exceptional channel for situations that require customers to complete a task that may take more than a few seconds, such as installing a new part or powering down a piece of digital equipment. The customer service agent is free to continue working with other clients, and the consumer is never rushed.

Sales conversions

Customer service and marketing programs that use chat features rely on analytics to stay ahead of the competition. Data gathering techniques help managers develop strategies based on real-time consumer information. Software that delivers information to agents regarding consumer buying history, location and demographics puts knowledge in the agent’s hands to increase sales, improving conversion rates.

What benefits do you think live online chat has for businesses? Share them in the comments.

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