What’s the alternative?
We live in an omnichannel world, and consumers are more diverse than ever. So you would expect channel preferences to vary widely. This is true to some extent, but each channel also has its strengths. Time-strapped consumers gravitate to the channel that will offer them the easiest and quickest resolution.
Plagued by nightmarish hold music and endless menu options before getting through to the right department. Sound familiar? It’s no wonder customers hesitate to pick up the phone nowadays. And while email is great at delivering beautiful comms, for quick answers to questions, it doesn’t quite hold up when it comes to fast-paced conversations that customers crave.
Live chat, like texting, doesn’t pressure users to interact. They have the chance to process information in their own time. Plus, the near-instant response times make this channel unbeatable. Responses could be automated or generated by a bot; at the very least users are comforted by the three-dot-ghost of a fast-typing human, working quickly on a reply.
Here are some more reasons why live chat is so essential.
Customers love live chat
In Econsultancy’s research, 79% of customers who prefer live chat said they do so because they get their questions answered quickly. 51% did so because they could multi-task. It’s a winning combination of low social pressure on the customer end with the expectation of quick answers and resolutions. Live chat provides access to answers within seconds – the closest thing to a brick-and-mortar experience, but from a desk or sofa. There’s no worry over adoption, as it’s as familiar to customers as texting is. Plus, people also understand it’s private – that any sensitive data they share in the chat is secure.
Customers expect live chat
CRM platform SuperOffice found that 62% of mobile users expect sites to have a live chat feature. What’s more, FurstPerson found that as many as 77% of customers won’t buy online unless live chat is available. Live chat is no longer a pleasant surprise that customers stumble upon, either. They expect it. So much so, they’re reluctant to place an order if they have a concern that no one can address there and then.
Disruption in traditional B2B sales funnels
Today’s B2B customer approaches the sale fully informed by their own research. With so much information online, B2B buyers can explore the products and services that they need before diving deeper with inquiries. Not having live chat could automatically disqualify a business from the shortlist, simply because the customer cannot get the information they need easily or quickly enough.
Personal shopping experience
Having a personal shopper used to be a luxury. But now, offering instant messaging via live chat tailors the experience for all. After all, we used to think customers wanted choice – the more, the better. But anyone who has tried to order a coffee in the last decade will know that what we really want is for someone to narrow down our options. People want to cut through the white noise: all the stuff that’s irrelevant to them.
To explore these themes in more depth, learn more about live chat and take a deep look at the customer-first landscape, download our ebook: All the benefits of chat for your business (and how to create experiences that convert!)