Live chat support: The complete guide

Jeremy DSouza
|
9
min read
Live chat support: The complete guide

Everyone’s telling you that you need to respond to your customers as fast as possible. They’re saying that the customers’ attention span has shortened. This probably got you wondering, “What’s live chat support all about and should I be making use of it?”.  

Well, we’re going to answer those questions (and many others) for you, right here.

What is Live Chat?

In a nutshell, it’s the future (and the present) of customer service. It’s a way of communicating with your customers in real-time and answering all their questions without a delay. And the best part? Your customers don’t need to make a lot of effort to engage in these conversations.

It feels natural. It’s easy. They get their issues resolved in a few minutes over a quick chat session.  

Interested? Let’s dive right in!

Reasons to use Live chat for customer support

The question in your mind, at this point, probably is, “Why should I use live chat? What’s the point?”. Here are a few good reasons for you to use live chat software:

1. Increases conversions

2. Builds relationships

3. Allows for localization

4. The customers love it

Reasons to use live chat

1. Increased conversions

According to Forrester research, more than 30% of customers expect live chat on your website. If they have questions about your offerings and can’t find answers quickly, they’re going to lose interest faster than you can bat an eyelid.

In fact, Forrester also says that if they don’t get their questions answered instantly, 53% of customers would abandon their online purchase.

On the other hand, according to the American Marketing Association (AMA), the fact that live chat answers customer questions instantly and removes buying objections, results in the customers being more confident. The leads to a 20% increase in conversions for B2B companies.

But, that’s not just restricted to B2B companies. According to Invesp, chatters tend to spend 60% more than non-chatters.

live chat increases conversions

2. Builds relationships

How many times have you had impersonal customer service interactions? Inspite of you have conversed with them previously, you still need to repeat yourself and tell them about your issues every time you interact with them.

With live chat, your agents have access to recent conversations and have context regarding the conversations. With Engati Live Chat, they can even make notes about the customer and pass them on to the next agent who converses with the customer, whenever that conversation takes place.

Now the customers get personalized treatment, which lays the foundation of a relationship and keeps them coming back.

3. Allows for localization

Only 25% of netizens speak English. You need to be able to engage with your audience in their own language.  

You can’t really expect your customers to feel comfortable interacting with you if you don’t converse with them in the language they prefer.  

With a multilingual live chat platform like Engati, you can route conversations to agents depending on the language and the area of expertise, so that customers won’t have to keep waiting to talk to an agent who speaks their language.

live chat allows localization and is multilingual

4. The customers love it

It’s an open secret. Customers prefer chat to other support channels. 63% of millennials prefer to have their basic support questions answered over chat rather than other channels.

Let’s see how they compare.

Live Chat vs Email vs Phone calls  

A lot of businesses think customers prefer phone support. They have no idea how wrong they are.

Forrester studies have shown that customers don’t want to call customer support. They don’t want to talk to companies over the phone.  

While writing a structured email feels like too much effort, calling customer service can be intimidating to customers.

And if that wasn’t enough to deter them, they hold time certainly is. The average human’s attention span is now down to 8 seconds. Why would you even start to imagine that they’d be happy to wait 5 minutes on hold?

EConsultancy shows that 79% of consumers prefer live chat because it allows for instant responses. The other benefit is that live chat does not require their complete attention, allowing them to multitask.

Another major disadvantage with email customer support is that it does not allow the agent to ask questions to better understand the customer’s needs. Imagine waiting 8 hours for a response and then getting one in the form of a question. To avoid annoying customers in this manner, agents just end up trying to provide solutions without fully understanding the customer’s problem.

And to make it worse, they won’t even be able to realize whether the customer fully understood the solution. Now, they need to send each other yet another set of emails, stretching it across 16 more hours. And in most cases, this could get solved in 5 minutes over live chat.

customer satisfaction ratings across support channels

Benefits of live chat support

Live chat software can prove to be very valuable to an organization. Here are a few of the benefits that come with it.

1. Answers complicated questions

2. Increases agent productivity

3. Reduces customer support costs

4. Increases trust

5. Raises CSAT  

6. Creates upselling and cross selling opportunities

7. Provides a deeper understanding of your customers

8. Reduces cart abandonment

benefits of live chat

1. Answers complicated questions

With a chatbot, you can answer a good 80% of your customer questions. All the routine, monotonous ones don’t need a human to handle them.

But, when the customers do ask a rather complicated question, you can’t really say, “Please call us up” or “please send us an email”.

It’s clear that they don’t want to do that.

With live chat, the most complex customer questions could be answered in real-time, without any delay.

2. Increases agent productivity

It’s real simple. Over a phone call, an agent can serve just 1 customer at a time. Over live chat, it's not uncommon for agents to serve 7 customers simultaneously.  

Engati Live Chat is loaded with features that help you boost the productivity of your live agents. Our systems even help you measure agent productivity so that you can take action to improve it.

3. Reduces customer support costs

The most obvious benefit is that since you have a single agent handling multiple customers at a time, you could make do with a smaller team.

According to Forrester research, live chat customer service is 17-30% more affordable than phone support.

4. Increases trust

In a study into global customer trends, ATG reported that 90% of consumers said that seeing the live chat widget on the website inspired confidence in the site. It made them believe that they could get support whenever they need it.

5. Raises CSAT  

You already know that customers prefer using live chat. But here’s the kicker. Studies have shown that offering live chat support has raised companies’ customer satisfaction levels by an average of 34%.

6. Creates upselling and cross selling opportunities

With live chat, you have the opportunity to introduce customers to other offerings that they could benefit from. And the best thing is that you won’t even be randomly recommending products.

You’d be making personalized suggestions, based on the history of their conversation with your agents.

7. Provides a deeper understanding of your customers

Live chat helps you to understand your customers in ways a telephonic conversation just could not. Engati Live Chat provides you with analytics and insights that help you understand what your customers really want, allowing you to improve your offerings as well as your service.

8. Reduces cart abandonment

Cart abandonment is every e-commerce operator’s worst nightmare. But, it’s solvable.

You already know that 53% of online shoppers would abandon their carts if they didn’t get immediate answers to their questions.

Imagine the impact you could have by just setting up live chat support. That little chat widget in the corner could inspire trust in your customers. It could have a powerful impact on your conversions.

Best practices for live chat support

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to live chat. Follow these best practices to create fantastic experiences for your customers:

1. Don’t restrict yourself to text

2. Explain in layman’s terms

3. Use quick replies

4. Leverage automation in tandem with live chat

5. Don’t make your customers repeat themselves

6. Pay attention to analytics

7. Route conversations intelligently

8. Integrate with your CRM

live chat best practices

1. Don’t restrict yourself to text

Go beyond text. Make the experience as engaging and helpful to your customers as possible. Leverage images, videos, gifs and even emojis in your conversations with them. Make the experience more human, rather than making it completely transactional.

2. Explain in layman’s terms

You know everything about your product. Your team knows it too. But the customers don’t.

Don’t try to explain everything in technical terms. Rather than tossing jargon around in an attempt to appear smart, explain everything to your customers in a manner easy to understand.

3. Use quick replies

It does not make sense to have agents repeatedly type out the most commonly sent messages. To save time, they should make use of quick replies. They can just click on them and send them, without needing to manually type them out.

With Engati Live Chat, in addition to the default quick responses pre-existing in the portal, you can have your own quick responses, relevant to the customers you most commonly interact with and the messages you most commonly send.

live chat quick replies

4. Leverage automation in tandem with live chat

While agents can handle multiple conversations simultaneously, you don’t need to have them handle all the conversations you have with customers.

About 80% of customer conversations can be automated. You could have a chatbot handle these simple, repetitive conversations and pass on the remaining 20%, the ones that actually need human attention, to the live agent.

This would eliminate the frustration of typing out the same answer again and again. Simultaneously, it would even give the agents the opportunity to answer the customers that they do have to deal with it in better manner, rather than simply rushing them along.

Chatbots working with LiveChat

5. Don’t make your customers repeat themselves

The most annoying thing for a customer is having to repeat themselves. They just told one agent all about their problem over one channel, and now the other agent engaging with them over a different channel has no idea what’s going on.

With Engati Live Chat, you could link these conversations together across multiple channels and access recent conversational history. This allows you to always know what the customer is talking about and what they’re dealing with.

Now, you have context into every conversation and don’t need to ask your customers to repeat themselves at all.

6. Pay attention to analytics

The data speaks, pay attention to it. The rich analytics and insights available with Engati Live Chat can show you how your team is performing, giving you an idea about what you need to improve.

You’d even be able to monitor SLAs and see which agents are performing better.

7. Route conversations intelligently

One of the biggest benefits of live chat support is that you’re able to route conversations intelligently, based on skills and categories.

The customer won’t have to hop from one agent to another, hoping to reach someone who can answer her question. The conversation can be intelligently routed to an agent with the expertise to handle it.

8. Integrate with your CRM

Integrating your live chat system with your CRM will help you understand your customers to a greater extent.  

In addition to your CRM, your chat system should also be integrated with other enterprise systems, including your ticketing system.

The best live chat software

With Engati Live Chat, you can do all these things (and more), ensuring that you create fantastic experiences for your customers, boost your CSAT scores nad increase your conversions.

But don’t just take our word for it, test it yourself. Try Engati Live Chat for free, no credit card needed.

Get started with Engati Live Chat today. Start your free trial here.

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