The popularity of live chat for customer service is rising fast. Increasingly, people are turning to live chat when shopping online, and a growing number of consumers say that it is now their preferred way to engage with an organisation’s support team.
The recent launch of Facebook’s Businesses on Messenger, which lets businesses reach customers wherever they might be, is just one example of the growing ubiquity of live chat.
Customers using live chat are more satisfied when it comes to customer service, than those who call, email or use social media, according to new report from customer service research company Zendesk Benchmark.
Specifically, customers who need support come away happy 92 per cent of the time after a live chat session. That’s compared to just 88 per cent of the time when calling on the phone, 85 per cent when filling out a form on a website or sending an email, 84 per cent when using Facebook, and 77 per cent when using Twitter.
“Customers are gravitating more towards live chat as their preferred channel,” said Jason Maynard, senior manager of data and analytics at Zendesk. “Organisations who use live chat move customer requests away from web forms and feedback tabs to real-time chat, where questions can be answered directly in the web or mobile experience.”
The report found that customers appear to like live chat because it provides a more back-and-forth style of conversation. Customer satisfaction increases with live chat as the number of chat messages exchanged increases. Zendesk believes that one possible reason for this is that customers are happier with agents who are more engaged in the customer support process — either by asking more troubleshooting questions, or simply taking the time to ask the customer how his or her day is going.
The report found that on average Australian organisations receive 42 chat conversations per month with 9.7 messages exchanged in a chat conversation. Australia was ranked third in the world for first response time to live chat, with an average of one minute 25 seconds response time by customer service agents to a first chat. The most popular time for consumers to use live chat options is between 10am and 3pm.
Another sign of the growing popularity of live chat support is that after adding the option, businesses see a drop in the number of help requests they receive via their websites. “We found that 30 days after implementing live chat, ticket volume from embedded Web forms plummets — suggesting that customers prefer to communicate with support directly from the company website, instead of waiting for a response to arrive via email,” the report said.