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Why Live Chat Is The Best Customer Service Right Now

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customer service

E-commerce website owners have reported that one of the main issues in the online environment is maintaining customer engagement and preventing shopping cart abandonment. A key tool that has been proven in preventing these issues is Live Chat customer service.

It can be frustrating for customers when they have to read large amounts of text on a website, just to find the answer to a simple question. Live Chat is the answer that bypasses that frustration, allowing customers to get direct responses to all their queries with virtually no effort on their part. Live Chat can be a key tool to turn casual website visitors into regular customers, which can maximize sale opportunities and build up a website’s reputation and brand.

How Important is Live Chat?

The importance of having a customer support chat for e-commerce businesses cannot be reiterated enough. A key way Live Chat can increase sales rates is through implementing customer testimonials about their experience with Live Chat services into business plans.

Most customers who received Live Chat assistance while shopping online reported being satisfied with the service and 63% reported that they were more likely to return to the site. That is not all, 40% of online buyers who had previously used live chat services were more likely to make online purchases at least once a week than buyers who had never chatted live.

customer service

How Does Live Chat Work?

The reason why live chat appeals to many online store visitors lies in the simplicity and effectiveness of the service. The average company takes only 48 seconds to answer a query with Live Chat.

customer service

Most companies answer 1,143 chats each month on average. This means that a single operator handles approximately 274 chats per month. The data collected reported that customers are most likely to ask questions via live chat between 10am and 3pm local time.

The research indicated that over half of live chats occur during this time-frame.

customer service

The number one live chat country in the world is Mexico, followed by Australia and Canada. The highest number of live chat conversations take place on Mexican e-commerce websites.

This has made Mexico the recipient of the highest customer satisfaction rate, with a rating of 94.11%. The customer satisfaction rate in Australia is 93.59%, while the Canadian customer satisfaction rate is at 88.36%.

customer service

The fastest Live Chat replies are received by customers in Denmark. Danish operators provide a swift and straightforward service which is characteristic of the well-known Scandinavian simplicity.

When it comes to the demographics of live chat users, the older generation of Baby Boomers are particularly fond of this service. The research indicated that more than one third of people aged 57 to 67 are already using customer support chat.

Chat Duration vs. Customer Satisfaction

Naturally, the customer service chat that results in the highest customer satisfaction rate is the one which provides customers with clear and straightforward answers to their questions. This means that the operator needs to take his or her time to review each question and then provide an in-depth answer.

customer service

The operator also needs to find the right balance between being concise and informative. For example, chats that last 5 minutes correspond to a customer satisfaction rate of 78.20%, chats that last 15 minutes result in an 88.23% satisfaction rate and chats that last 20 minutes or more receive a significantly lower customer satisfaction rate.

customer service

Chats per Month vs. Customer Satisfaction

To highlight the effectiveness of Live Chats for customer service, consider this: The customer satisfaction rate of the e-commerce industry has reached 87.5% in 2015. Live Chat usage rates have been steadily increasing in the past five years.

In 2009, Live Chat was used by 38% of online shoppers, in 2012 that percentage grew to 43% and in 2014 more than half of customers were using Live Chat. The online stores that have approximately 1,000 chats per month have the highest customer satisfaction rate of 87.29%.

customer service

Which Channel Works Best?

Online communication channels have made communicating for online customers easier than ever. The number one communication channel for e-commerce websites is live chat with a 92% customer satisfaction rate.

Other channels that have high ratings among customers are voice services with 88% customer satisfaction rate, web form and email with 85% each and social media networks Facebook and Twitter. Customer satisfaction rates for websites using Facebook to answer customer questions is 84%, while websites with Twitter-based communication have a customer satisfaction rate of 77%.

customer service

Learn from Examples

There are many famous online stores which highlight the positive effect of implementing live chat service. Travel website Orbitz reported a 40% increase in American consumer brands chat traffic during the period between 2013 and 2014, while continuing to maintain an enviable customer satisfaction rate.

Similarly, tech giant Dell reported a 30% increase in chat usage over the past several years. A third of Dell’s sales in the US are currently being finalized through live chat. Dell reports that 30% of its online customers engage through proactive chat, which amounts to 40% of revenue.

The American department store chain Sears, is another big company that has benefited from live chat services. Sears has recently reported a 20% increase in sales revenue, which was a direct result of using a predictive chat service. Sears also has an impressive customer satisfaction rate of 90%.

Another good example of how live chat can boost sales comes from the exercise equipment brand Total Gym. During the fourth quarter of 2014, nearly 40% of Total Gym’s online orders came from customers who had live chatted with an operator.

So as we can see from our industry examples, live chatting has become an integral part of today’s business environment, setting apart the best from the rest and clearly delineating the market based on live chat service availability and professionalism; as such, if you’re interested in furthering your company’s performance and numbers, setting up a proactive live chat team would be a good starting point.

Colin Cieloha is an American author and content marketer at Skilled.co.  He writes about everything that will draw his attention, with a focus on the mobile and e-commerce space.  When he is not writing, he is spending his time traveling the globe and snowboarding.  You can follow him on his Twitter at @ColinCieloha or on Linkedin.

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