When a customer has a question about your company, they can likely choose from several channels to reach out or get the information they’re seeking, including phone, email, social media, searching your website, or visiting your brick and mortar location. However, in our fast-paced, technology-driven world, many consumers don’t have the time or patience to wait around for a response, especially if they’re coming to you with a complaint or timely concern. No one enjoys waiting on hold for 15 minutes to speak with a customer service representative or wondering for days if their email was received. If you’re not able to respond to inquiries quickly, a lot of potential customers will have a negative impression of your business, or worse—they’ll move on to one of your competitors who makes communication more convenient.
Many companies large and small have addressed this by adding live chat support to their websites. Also known as instant messaging, live chat windows offer a faster way to communicate with customers. When someone visits your website, a chat box pops up and welcomes the visitor by asking a question like “How can I help you today?” You’ve likely seen this type of customer service support on Facebook too. Adding a live chat function to your website can help improve customer satisfaction, but like most digital tools, it’s not always 100 percent successful.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of adding live chat to your website, so you can decide whether it’s right for your business.
Advantages of Adding Chat to Your Website
When implemented correctly, live chat offers benefits for both businesses and clients or customers.
- Live chat offers immediate access. No more waiting. Potential and existing customers can get immediate access to your support staff for questions, comments, or issues with a product or service. Being able to get in touch with your team in real time makes customers feel important and valued.
- It can increase leads or purchases. Sometimes a customer is ready to purchase but has a quick question or two they want to confirm first. With live chat, they are able to get the information they need right away without leaving your website, increasing the likelihood that they’ll convert. Even if they end up leaving, you’ll have collected data from their visit (where visitors are located, which web pages they browse, how many times they’ve visited your site, etc.) that can help you deliver more personalized services in the future.
- Live chat is affordable and efficient. Adding live chat to your website is easy and affordable. And when it comes to customer service in person or over the phone, one employee can only serve one customer at a time. But with live chat, one employee can be chatting with two or three customers all at the same time, improving efficiency and, therefore, saving you money on customer support.
- It can enhance your brand and boost customer loyalty. More and more consumers, especially younger generations, expect live chat to be an option. Adding it to your website makes your brand appear relevant and in-touch with what your customers want. Being accessible makes your existing and potential customers feel like you truly care about their needs, which can equate to a major boost to your brand’s image and customer loyalty.
Disadvantages of Live Chat
Depending on your availability and customer expectations, live chat can also have its drawbacks.
- Live chat feels impersonal to some customers. Some people will always prefer to receive customer service over the phone or in person, especially older generations. They think live chat is impersonal or even lazy. They feel like your company is providing substandard customer service by putting it in the hands of robots (many don’t believe there are actual live humans on the other end of the conversation).
- Time zones can be problematic. If your live chat is available 24/7, customers in different time zones may reach out outside of your regular business hours. Yes, you can often turn your live chat service off during the hours when you’re closed, but then customers who have used it once before may be annoyed that it’s “disappeared.”
- Not responding promptly can drive customers away. A customer using your live chat expects it to be live. If they don’t get in touch with a representative within 60 seconds, it can quickly turn into a negative experience. If you have your live chat set up to send a scripted response in the meantime, that can also be frustrating to some users.
- Your message can be easily misinterpreted. It can be difficult to convey the right tone or brand voice via text, which can lead to customers misinterpreting what your employees say or even feeling offended. Customers may also not provide enough information or have a hard time explaining their needs in chat, which can be stressful for employees—especially if the chats keep popping up and interrupting other tasks.
As you can see, there are many things to consider before adding a live chat service to your website. Whether it’s the right choice for your company depends on your industry, availability, and customer expectations. Live chat offers a convenient and fast mode of communication that many customers enjoy, but it has some challenges and should never be the only way customers can reach you.
Want to talk to a marketing expert about whether live chat is right for your business? Contact Triton Commerce! We provide a variety of digital marketing solutions to drive qualified leads and success to your company. Not only can we provide you with a marketing platform packed with all the tools needed to generate quantifiable results, we’ll also assign you a dedicated team of experts who will get to know your company inside out. Learn about our process and get a free proposal today!