It may seem like live chat is all the rage at the moment — that’s because it is. You’ve most likely noticed that a huge number of websites you visit have the option to chat with someone, at least during business hours.
Nonetheless, is live chat the good option for your business? Many business owners are still on the fence about whether live chat is a worthwhile investment of time, money, and other resources. The following statistics should convince you that it definitely is!
1. The Vast Majority of Businesses Will Soon Have Live Chat
In 2009, only 38 percent of businesses had live chat, but this number had already risen to 65 percent in 2015. By 2022, we can expect more 85 percent of businesses to be offering some kind of live chat.
This means that if your business still hasn’t added live chat to your website by the end of next year, you’ll definitely be at a disadvantage. The likelihood is several (if not all) of your competitors will have live chat, which could mean customers turn to them instead.
2. Customers Expect Live Chat
Various researchers have surveyed users to find out how many expect live chat when they visit a website. Numbers vary: anything from 40 percent to 60 percent of customers say they expect live chat, depending on the survey. Whatever the correct number is, this is a large portion of customers!
Many customers demand even more than this: more than half expect someone from the business to be available at all times and 44 percent say that being able to ask someone questions live while shopping online is among the most important features a website can provide. The good news is, when you do have live chat, customers are more likely to trust your business — 41 percent consider a website with live chat more trustworthy.
3. Users Prefer Live Chat to Other Means of Communication
Younger users, in particular, will opt for live chat when possible. For instance, 60 percent of Millennials say they prefer live chat to traditional media and 61 percent of customers under the age of 24 say they avoid making phone calls to businesses. For 59 percent of customers, the reason for avoiding phones is because they prefer to communicate without needing to use their voice.
Multiple surveys have discovered that live chat has the highest satisfaction rate among customers. One survey found that live chat has a 73-percent satisfaction rate, compared to email at 61 percent and phone support at 44 percent. Another survey put the satisfaction rate for live chat even higher: at 92 percent. This is more than even social media — only 84 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with communications on Facebook and just 77 percent were satisfied with Twitter. This is despite Twitter being widely considered the go-to for customer support.
The differences in satisfaction rates for live chat in the various surveys is likely due to when the studies took place, as satisfaction rates for live chat have been increasing over the years. For instance, a review of 45 million live chats found that satisfaction rates increased by 2.5 percent between 2017 and 2018.
A reason for the success of live chat is that it gives businesses access to more tools to support customers than any other channel. Depending on the software, users may be able to share their screen with the customer support rep or enable browser tracking, which allows the company to answer questions related to a particular webpage. Plus, customers may have the option to switch from instant messaging to voice or video chat to improve communication — although there’s never any requirement if they’d prefer to stick with text.
Many businesses log interactions from live chat conversations in their CRM, which improves customer experiences into the long term. They can use the information obtained from live chat to nurture leads, cross-sell, and upsell. In addition, customers often expect businesses to retain information about them for future use. Two-thirds expect customers to know their name and location, more than half want businesses to have records of their previous conversations, and half want companies to know their purchase histories.
4. Resolving Problems Is Faster with Live Chat
More than three-quarters of users say they prefer live chat because they’re able to resolve their problems faster than through other channels. Half of all customers also say they like live chat because they can multitask while talking to a customer support representation and 46 percent say it’s the most efficient mode of communication.
Research differs as to how fast businesses are able to resolve problems with live chat. The average wait times appear to be 2 minutes, 40 seconds, which is much faster than other means of communication: 1 hour for text, 12 hours for phone, and some point within the business day for email. This means that when customers need an answer fast, they’re more likely to choose live chat. This is extra important for ecommerce sites, since more than half of all customers say that they will abandon their shopping cart if they’re unable to find an answer to their query quickly.
5. It’s Faster for Businesses, Too
Not only can you resolve the problem of individual customers faster, you’ll be able to deal with multiple customers at the same time — something that’s not possible with phone calls. Instead of putting customers on hold, you can maintain conversations with up to six customers at the same time. This is particularly significant when you take into account that 67 percent of customers say that being put on hold is the most frustrating aspect of customer service.
6. Live Chat Can Improve Conversions and Increase ROI
More than two-thirds of customers shop more with businesses that offer consistent customer support — which is something you can achieve with live chat. In addition, you’re more likely to be able to nurture leads and receive repeat purchases when you have live chat. By using live chat to increase retention rates by just 5 percent, you may be able to see an increase in profits of anything from 25 to 95 percent, depending on your industry.
You’re most likely to retain customers if you use live chat as part of an omni-channel engagement strategy. However, it’s important that your strategy is effective: 89 percent of businesses with strong omni-channel strategies are able to retain customers, compared to just 33 percent of those with weak strategies.
7. Chatbots Can Support Human Operators
Chatbots are ideal for taking the strain off human support. Chatbots are always improving, although accuracy varies according to whether you use a basic chatbot or an AI-powered chatbot — accuracy of at least 80 percent is considered to be high quality. You should be aware, though, that 70 percent of customers prefer talking to a human than a chatbot.
The problem with live chat is, of course, you need someone waiting at the other end of the line. A chatbot is great for handling the same queries you receive time and again, but for more in-depth support, you need a real person. Instead of dropping everything whenever a customer demands your attention, delegate the task to a virtual assistant.