This a guest post by Daniela McVicker for Talkative
In the modern world, there is an array of ways to communicate with each other.
We can contact people quickly and easily - something that proved to be a tedious task decades ago.
However, with new and improved technology, there are innovative ways that we can now communicate with people. The world really has got smaller.
This is excellent news for companies that are looking for new ways to communicate with their customers. They are now provided with new ways to answer queries, give advice, and improve customer service.
Two of the best ways to provide your customer with new opportunities is with live chats and web calling.
This post will explore both options, and decipher which one is best for you. Let's dive right in.
What is live chat?
Live chat is a concept we're all familiar with. Essentially, it's instant messaging, which allows you to chat in real-time to a customer, offer valuable advice and assistance.
In the past, many queries would come in through an inquiry form. This would come through to the company as an email, which would often become the assumed format for the correspondence.
Despite their undeniable advantages, emails still pose multiple issues, such as increased resolution rates caused by longer response times.
Live chat enables you to have a helpful conversation quickly and easily, removing the long delays between replies often associated with email.
**Here are the three biggest reasons why your customers love live chat:
How is live chat different to automated chatbots?
Chat solutions for websites are split into two main categories - chatbots and live web chats.
There are pros and cons for each option, and although they have similar qualities, they're also incredibly different.
Obviously, the main difference is the fact that live chat is a human conversation, and a chatbot is AI.
The main benefit of live chat is that it enables human to human conversation in real time. Customers can get advice and support quickly, without having to repeat themselves or have a jarred conversation with a bot. Having said that, there are now some writing companies that can consult you on how to improve your chatbot dialogue.
Below, we've listed all the benefits of using a live chat and how it can help revolutionize your business. If these fall in love with your overall contact center strategy, it may be worth considering a live chat solution on your website.
**If you want to delve deeper and understand the differences between chatbots and live chat, check out our post Live Web Chat vs Chatbots: The Ultimate Guide"
Deep, meaningful conversations
Compared to chatbots, live chats offer communications which are more in-depth, personalized and useful to the customer. The reason for this largely comes down to the fact that there is an empathetic human answering on the other side.
A lot of people don't like talking to robots; it's a pet peeve that many have. This mainly lies with the fact that they don't seem quite to understand emotions.
Sure, they can answer a question or queries with facts - but they can't express any kind of sentiment. This can be somewhat off-putting, or in the worst cases, frustrating and not helpful.
The human-powered nature of live chat means that you have a real conversation with an agent.
This also helps you to deliver individual support to every single customer or client.
If the conversation becomes a little more complex, or if the text-based conversation isn’t cutting the mustard, you also have the ability to escalate chats at the click of a button.
For instance, you can choose to use voice, video, or cobrowsing sessions. This is particularly useful for industries which provide services or products which are complex or expensive, such as travel or automotive. This allows you to offer a more meaningful service, manage customer queries efficiently and offer an unrivalled level of customer support.
Being able to escalate the conversation in this way has many benefits. For example, as it will be the same agent dealing with the query throughout the interaction, the customer/client will not have to repeat themselves as they switch between contact channels.
It creates a seamless process that provides a customer service that's effortless and reassuring. This is especially important for companies that are predominately run online – it can be difficult to translate great customer experience if the customer hasn’t interacted with you physically before.
If you form a relationship with your website user, they're more likely to become loyal to your brand or company.
Live chat helps you to boost trust and credibility through genuine relationships, which in turn helps to cultivate brand loyalty. Being genuinely helpful and offering instant advice and support goes a long way.
The fact is people like to speak to people, especially when they have a problem. Delivering this to your customers shows your customer that you are available to assist them whenever they need, fostering more trust in your brand.
**Live chat is a great way of communicating directly with customers and improving customer loyalty, providing you don't make these easy mistakes!
Reduce waiting times
When a customer emails a company, it can take hours (sometimes even days) to get a response. These long waiting times can lead to a customer looking elsewhere for an answer - ultimately making you lose out on a sale.
A slow response can also make a customer lose respect for your store or website. If they begin to feel frustrated by the lack of response, it reflects poorly on your brand.
Live chat offers customers a fast, helpful, and genuine response. The agent can also use canned messages, which will make the message responses even faster, too.
A live chat is, at its very essence, a responsive customer contact channel.
In short, a customer has to initiate the chat for there to be a conversation. This is an excellent function for your site to have.
This means customers are more likely to converse with you, as other forms of contact are much lengthier and take a lot more effort. A simple live chat is quick and straightforward.
Of course, you can provide prompts and nudges. For example, a pop up saying "Need help?" could appear, letting the user know that you're available and ready to assist. Nudges are used by many companies as a way of increasing the number of chats on their website, which results in higher conversion rates.
Despite the numerous benefits of live chat, there are occasions where only a phone call will do. In these situations, offering a web call may be the most appropriate option for you.
Now, let’s dive in to web calling.
What is web calling?
You might think that all phone calls are the same. However, there's an average phone call, and then there's a web call.
Many customers still very much prefer ringing up a customer - it's completely justified too. Conversation flows faster, you can be more direct, and phrases aren't as easily confused or misinterpreted.
It's also a lot more convenient, especially if a customer has a particularly complicated issue, and aren't tech-savvy.
Obviously, voice calls are still highly popular - and one of the main ways that companies stay in contact with customers. Now, there's an easier and much more effective way to do it.
Web calling is a website-based form of communication. It securely uses the internet and a technology called Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC).
Using this kind of technology has immense benefits for your customer service department, as well as for your customers.
How is web calling different to phone support?
Web calling eliminates the need for landline phone numbers, giving you more insights and making it much easier for customers to contact you. This is great if you're planning on growing internationally, as customers aren’t forced to dial expensive landline numbers or input unfamiliar area codes.
It has all the benefits of a traditional phone call, and then some extra additions.
We've compiled a list of all the benefits of web calling. If your company profits from multiple phone calls, this is definitely worth considering for you.
Your users don't have to make their way away from your website in order to contact you. This has two main benefits:
Your customer doesn't have to spend ages looking for a contact number and thus doesn't lose interest. They stay on your site to initiate the call, and at the click of a button the phone call is routed through to your existing telephony system.
The customer can accurately describe the problem they're having, without any confusion or distraction. They stay on your page and can direct you to the specific issue or product. It also just creates a seamless experience.
Giving your customers or clients easy ways to contact you always proves to be a big benefit for your company.
Similar to live chats, web calling also allows you to escalate a conversation.
There are times when a voice call might not quite cut it. Perhaps, sometimes it would be easier to have a video chat or a screen sharing session.
This proves incredibly useful for those companies that provide a service. It allows an agent to accurately work with a client, and show certain features in new ways.
Big investment products, like cars, bikes, artwork, and furniture, can also be shown over a video chat.
**It's important to understand how you can maximise the number of calls your website generates. Check out our video to find out how!
In the past, traditional phone calls offer no insight into the website journey that a customer took.
This means you couldn't see what they searched for, where they looked, and how long they've been on them.
This has all changed with web calling. Agents can now see exactly where the issue is, and how they can help you in a more extensive and personal way.
This can also prove to be valuable feedback for your website. Are there certain areas that you would like to improve?
On a similar note, it also allows you to see what prompted most calls.
Using journey mapping, you can track a customer's journey, and highlight the areas which might have triggered them to call you.
Similar to live chats, they are reactive - and are commonly used in response to a certain moment or emotion. In this way, they're very instant.
By looking at the data, you can determine which pages generate the most web calls, and through organizing inquiries by their nature you can also understand what it is about those particular pages which encourage customers to begin a web call. You can spot areas on your website which are potentially confusing to a customer, and work towards making these better, or you can spot an opportunity to place more CTAs.
Traditional phone calls aren't an option for everybody - especially if the company is overseas for a customer.
You can often be charged a nasty bill if you ring an international number, from a landline number.
We can also waste time trying to get through to the right person, with the right number. Often, there are referrals and long waiting times.
A web calling button just requires the internet. This means it can be placed anywhere on a website, and used by anybody free of charge.
This is extremely appealing for many people all over the world. Encouraging them to contact you without the risk of being overcharged.
Which one is for me?
With the benefits of both of these additions, it seems like a difficult decision to make. You can easily become dismayed with the decision.
It all depends on the needs and KPIs of your particular company.
Web calling predominately benefits those who are trying to drive more calls, or that excel in in-person conversations.
Alternatively, if you’re objectives are to generate more leads, book appointments, and provide fast answers – live chat is the best option for you.
It’s difficult to answer the “should I use live chat or web calling?” question, in one direct answer. Rather, your company should look at its existing support process and the channels that customers already use.
Both of these options provide your customers with new and more efficient ways to contact your company, without spending any more money.
The benefits of both of these additions to your website are incredible. You'll be able to communicate with your customers, in ways that weren't possible before.
Remember, customer experience is one of the best marketing techniques for your company. It recovers word of mouth marketing, increases recurring customers, and helps to improve your online rating.
It will also help you to convert more website browsers into sales, in a quick, seamless way.
Subscribe to Talkative Resources | Customer Experience & Service Articles
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox