Econsultancy recently posted an article titled 'Why online businesses still need call centres'. The article suggests that for the purpose of offering good customer service and enabling customers to complete sales online, businesses still need old fashioned telephone customer service. We believe the article points to another, far more suitable option though, live chat.

 

According to Econsultancy's research, 76% of companies learn about problems on their websites as a result of contact made to their call centres. In most cases this is no doubt because of there being no option for fast problem resolution through the website itself. Email takes far too long. If a customer can't buy because of a site problem they are forced to call, or leave.

Live chat means that this help can be found online. Online, when and where the problem occurs. It's quick. It's free. It's simple. A far better option for site visitors.

71% of online shoppers actually expect to be able to access help when purchasing online within five minutes. Live chat means that customers can be walked/clicked through their problem, especially useful if the problem originates from the customer's computer/browser/etc.

 

A step-by-step walk through with live chat can improve customer service and increase conversion. Customer satisfaction increases from solving problems and empowering the customer to complete the purchase on their own on their next visit. And live chat of course increases conversions as fast problem resolution stops basket abandonment.

 

Many customers do actually need this step-by-step service. In their article, Econsultancy stated that “many web transactions are still completed with the help of an agent, and many customers will go elsewhere if this is not a smooth interaction”. In our opinion, being confronted with a problem, having to find a telephone number, and then being put on hold or waiting in a call queue doesn't suggest smooth interaction. Facing a problem and beginning a conversation with a chat agent with one click does.

In fact, a LivePerson report found that 93% of online shoppers see real-time help being beneficial during their online customer journey, whether it’s before, during or after their purchase process. Creating a better online experience is crucial for retaining customers and encouraging repeat purchases. A recent Harris poll found that if a customer receives bad customer service after having problems on the web, 45% would stop doing business with that company altogether.

 

Not only should live chat be chosen over telephone customer support due to the better and more convenient service it can provide, but also because of the benefits to your conversion statistics. The article from Econsultancy provides an excellent example of how to increase sales through live chat:

"Let’s say, for instance, I contact my bank’s call centre because of problems with a wire transfer. If the call centre agent has visibility to see that during my last five visits to the site, I looked at home equity lines of credit, they would have a huge opportunity to offer me promotions to get me to complete the sale."

This can easily be achieved through visitor history and behavioural targeting with live chat. Click here to read more about the benefits of live chat from a sales conversion perspective.