These days it is pretty common to find a live chat option when it comes to customer support. In theory, the idea is great and has clear advantages over traditional methods of phone support. One, it’s more efficient– customer service reps can provide support for multiple people at a time. Great! Two, Call center employees don’t necessarily have to come into the center to perform Web chat duties – so long as they have an active Internet connection, they can work from home on their own time, which typically means lower costs. Awesome! And more so than anything, it provides a fast, convenient form of communication that will make customers happy, right? Wrong. All it takes it a quick Google search to see the customer service blunders that have occurred when web chat fails. So, if you’re looking to avoid your business being associated with poor customer service, check out the following reasons not to solely rely on a Web chat system for your contact center:
1) Bad Customer Experience
Considering the one of the main advantages of live chat is to provide customers with a better experience, it’s unfortunate that so many companies fail to do so. A common issue we’ve seen is the dreaded “no agents available”. Nothing is worse than building up a customer’s expectations only to let them down. If you’re going to offer live chat, it’s crucial to make sure your web chat system works correctly and is staffed appropriately. At the very least, make sure to offer customers at least one channel of communication so they are able to get their problems resolved. A great option could be to allow them to SMS text a customer service representative instead.
2) Low Customer Satisfaction
Not surprisingly, when a customer had a bad experience, they’re usually not going to be very happy afterwards. Remember that the customer is only engaging with the Web chat window for a very specific purpose. They might be trying to get technical support for a product they purchased, ask a follow up question to something they called about previously or maybe they just want to find out a quick bit of information about a specific topic. For whatever the reason, the Web chat client needs to make the customer feel fulfilled when everything is said and done or it will have all been for nothing. Every inherent benefit to your call center that Web chat communication has to offer isn’t worth a thing if the customer doesn’t feel they’ve gotten what they were after.
3) Poor Retention rates
So your customer has a bad experience that leaves them unsatisfied with your support service. It’s pretty easy to see how that can quickly lead to poor customer retention rates. A support chat may be a customer’s first impression of your company’s Web presence. If they are immediately dissatisfied with the Web chat experience or feel like it was too difficult to find the information they were after, they aren’t going to return to it in the future. Not only that, they may never return to your site at all… or purchase anything from your company again. According to the 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report, 89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. That’s pretty scary.
With all that being said, live support chat options can be a great way to interact with customers. The caveat here is that if you’re going to offer web chat, make sure you’re doing it right. And remember if you’re trying to keep your customers happy, web chat should be one of many channels of communications offered for customer service, not the only channel offered. When combined with SMS chat and properly employed IVR, you will be able to create a multichannel experience that leaves customers feeling delighted.