Did you know the most satisfying customer support mechanism in business today is Instant Live Chat? A lofty 73 percent of users claim they are happy with their experience, according to a research study carried out by eDigital - Customer Service Benchmark.
Customers claim it’s better than phone, social media, email, post and SMS. What’s more, they prefer this method by a surprising 66 percent more than the telephone, which interestingly ranks at the bottom end of the spectrum save for SMS, which ranks just marginally worse.
I think I fully appreciate why this trend has emerged. The name’s a bit of a clue - INSTANT. We’re instantly pleased by anything that respects the insatiable ‘give it to me now’ nature we’ve all adopted since the advent of the digital age.
Why else do people prefer Instant Live Chat?
Well, it’s discreet isn’t it. You can be at your desk whilst sorting out your mobile phone contract or your utility provider and no one would ever know. And with the ever-growing prevalence of mobile devices, the accessible nature of such a help-point is going to make Instant Live Chat an even more convenient choice.
Let’s distill the benefits: instant, efficient, accessible, discreet, effective, and I’ve not yet mentioned that it’s free. There’s quite a lot to like. Working for a business about to launch its own 24/7 Instant Live Chat for our end users, it’s comforting to know that it’s what our customers will want.
Yet I have to admit, there was a part of me that was skeptical. I decided to do some research into other Instant Live Chat services to find out more about the customer service experience.
As I hit the ‘start live chat now’ button, I was thinking; “Where are these people? Are they real people? Will they get what I want?” My preconceptions were that it’d be wooden and scripted; packed with annoying, formal, subservient, politeness - ‘yes pls madam’, ‘anything else I can do for you today’ etc. My main concern was that I just wanted to be treated like a human!
Yet interestingly, it’s customer support by phone that leaves us feeling the least like we’re being treated as humans. Which is probably why it gets almost the lowest customer service rating score. There can be lot of annoying things about customer service by phone; poor line, appalling hold music, indecipherable accents, laborious menus, and impossible scripts. Ever felt like you’re being talked at rather than talked to?
Just like with anything, there’s doing it right and there’s doing it wrong.
Here’s 5 absolute no-no’s when it comes to Instant Live Chat:
• Automated systems. This is not even a no-no, it’s a never ever. An impersonal approach is simply not acceptable in this highly attuned age.
• Untrained support members. If the end user is connected with some one who can’t instantly help with basic issues, then it’s simply a waste of their time.
• Not getting the balance right. Make sure your live chat operators know when to give lots of detail and when to keep it succinct.
• Scripts. It needs to be human and conversational. Your users might already assume it’s not a real human at the other end, so ensure they feel that human element in the first interaction.
• Slow typers! Ever had to wait a couple of minutes for a five word response? I grant it’s a very first-world problem, yet it can still raise those frustration levels and lower credibility.
If you are considering providing this type of service to your customers, a good practice would be to assume every user is a cynical first timer and it’s your job to win them over. It’s actually a fair assumption; only 27% of people have used this method so far, so it’s still not prevalent by any means.
And if Instant Live Chat takes the place of older methods of customer support, you need to reassure your end user that it’s a service installed for their efficiency and benefit.
Customers, employees, or just end users. Whoever they are - give them the choice.
Even if you think you know what your end users want, follow our lead and offer Instant Live Chat as just one of a plethora of contacts means. Give your customers a choice - instant chat, email, telephone and social media. Make it easy and completely up to them which one they choose. Measure which ones are being used the most and ask your customers from time to time for their opinion on which contact option they prefer to use and suggestions for improvement.
Exceptional customer support isn’t rocket science. You just want to give your customers the support they need, when they want it. And in this digital age, they want it NOW.