Why chat is key to successful customer experience for every brand
Online chat has been around for many years, but it’s now becoming a crucial part of every brand’s online customer experience. Customers increasingly expect it, are happy using it and many consumers prefer it to picking up the phone or using other digital channels when in the middle of the customer journey.
83% of shoppers said they needed some form of support during their online journey according to research by Econsultancy. Chat delivers on this extremely effectively providing important benefits both for consumers and for brands.
It delivers four key advantages for consumers:
1. No waiting around
If you have a query while visiting a brand’s website, you can access chat straight away, without having to wait for a brand to answer an email or tweet or change channel and pick up the phone.
2. Greater accuracy
Because it’s a real-time conversation the chat agent can ask clarifying questions to better understand what the consumer is asking. When combined with access to a centralized knowledge base, agents are empowered with accurate and up to date information to help them deliver a fast, relevant response.
3. It’s instant – but you can hit pause if you need to
With chat you can have a real conversation, rather than the stop-start nature of sending emails back and forth. It’s like a phone call, but with the advantage of being able to pause before responding if you need to do something else. In fact 68% of consumers surveyed by Eptica say they prefer to use chat rather than the phone, email or social media to communicate with brands.
4. It’s so easy
People today are very familiar with the concept of chat from using instant messaging apps. Unlike phone conversations, leading chat solutions also enable brands to provide a written transcript of the conversation, giving added confidence to consumers.
Chat also offer these three clear advantages for brands:
1. Improved productivity
With chat, individual agents can handle multiple conversations at once, without impacting quality. This makes it more productive and cost-effective than the phone, which restricts agents to handling one call at a time. Providing agents with access to knowledge further increases productivity as they can deliver faster, more consistent answers while improving the customer experience.
2. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
Getting a quick, accurate response to a query via chat improves satisfaction - in Eptica’s UK Chat Study 72% of consumers said a good chat experience makes them more loyal to a brand.
3. Prevent customer churn
By using chat to proactively support customers that might be stuck or confused in the customer journey brands can increase the chance those consumers will go on and make a purchase. According to a study by Forrester, “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 web site can offer.”
However, while it offers strong plus points for both consumers and brands chat does bring with it some challenges. Consumer expectations around chat are rising, with many now seeing it as a priority channel for brands, rather than just a ‘nice to have’.
Our UK Chat Study suggests that most brands aren’t meeting these consumer expectations. Just 15% of people said they’re always happy with the service they receive via the channel. The research also reveals that:
- 69% of people are unhappy with the resources brands devote to chat. For example, while nearly half (49%) of companies in the study sample claimed to offer chat, just 22% had it working when tested. 60% of people want more companies to offer chat.
- 60% feel agents didn’t always have the right information to answer their queries when they spoke to them through chat.
- The majority of people (84%) complained about the lack of personalisation when chatting with brands.
Chat is very definitely coming of age. It fits with today’s digital, time-poor lifestyles where people don’t want to wait too long for an answer to their queries. But brands need to step up their investment and resources if they want to engage with customers with chat and to enjoy the benefits of greater loyalty, efficiency and higher revenues.
To help companies successfully embrace and reap all the benefits that chat offers, Eptica has created the Changing Face of Chat Study which includes research, best practice, case studies to help. Download it here.