Customer Service Chat: How Live Responses Meet Customer Expectations

With the tides of business rapidly changing, it should surprise no one that customer service chat is seeing a rise in popularity. It’s one of the quickest ways for customers to get their questions answered by a human on your support team.

Of all the website features that a company offers, 44% of consumers listed having access to a live person as the most important. Did you know that 38% of online consumers end up making their purchases while talking to someone over live chat? It’s one of the best channels for helping customers who have questions before purchasing.

Why? Because customers love an instant response to their questions. 

Can chatbots and AI help deliver live customer service? 

With all the focus on providing a fast response, it can feel tempting to employ chatbots and automation for faster answers. And in fact, a recent Tata consultancy services survey found that 31.7% of major companies are already using AI in customer service. 

But chatbots don’t always meet the high expectations your customers have. Sure, AI helps to automate low-level issues and frees up your team’s bandwidth, but relying on AI too much may actually decrease your customers’ satisfaction.

Live humans are capable of emotions like empathy and understanding the nuances of communication — which are especially important when trying to offer an excellent experience.

Here are four of the benefits that live chat has over automation and other forms of customer service:

Four Benefits of using Live Chat for Customer Service

Humans can show empathy in real-time

Empathy has become a scarce commodity in the modern business world. The increasing lack of empathy costs the average brand over $300m in lost revenue every year. Robots can’t interpret human emotion or deeply understand our experiences in the same way that a person can – and that causes customers to feel like they aren’t being heard. 

Beyond providing empathy during sticky situations, the people staffing your customer service chat function can also do things like reading between the lines, understanding nuance, and tone matching throughout a conversation. A customer may start angry and get calmer as the conversation transitions—a human recognizes that.

Many customers recognize that they can’t expect such personalized attention from an AI. While some customers may appreciate the ability to get an answer immediately, that still doesn’t negate the value of your customers feeling understood. 

A recent survey uncovered that 18% of consumers stopped using a brand in the last 12 months because of the gap between the empathy that the brand was marketing and the actual customer experience. Even more frightening is that 32% of those shoppers also believe the gap is widening. Staffing your live chat with human agents who care is a significant opportunity to recover that trust.

Humans can personalize the conversation

As we continue to socially distance, the opportunity to build connections with customers continues to increase. People may be reaching out to customer support with issues, but they are also reaching out to get a little taste of human interaction. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to be hyper-personalized with your communication.

81% of consumers want brands to take the time to understand their communication preferences. Despite customers preferring chat over almost all other customer service channels, they still expect us to personalize it as much as possible.

Having a live person responding to your customers opens your team up to be able to personalize communications. You’ll no longer have to use placeholders (“Hello, {name}!”), or automation to do so. Nothing can fake actual human experience.

Similarly, with the flow of natural human conversation, your team is more likely to learn about the customers’ use cases and needs. This info is often lost when a bot or AI handles conversations. These insights are critical for your product team because they providing context into feature requests.

Humans can make the process easier

More people choose to use live chat for customer service because of its speed.

79% of people prefer customer service live chat because they get immediate answers.

But slowing down the process can provide a better experience for your team and the customer alike. Have you ever had a customer service chat begin with a whole slew of questions that seemed like excess automation? When you’re using a chatbot, it isn’t easy to be selective with questions. 

The perk of a human support representative is that they can ask only the necessary questions. That way, your customer feels less overwhelmed at the start, and you can build a closer relationship. Don’t worry about the extra minutes that this might add on to your resolution time: 95% of customers rate high-quality support over speed.

Humans are better at proactive help

Another benefit of active listening is catching potential customer needs before they even have to voice them. Customer service chat is one of the best places to be proactive because the conversation feels so natural and casual.

When a customer reaches out via customer service chat, your team has the opportunity to really hear them, and provide customized, proactive advice on the features or tools that make the most sense. 

Listen carefully to determine which aspects of your product are most important to the customer and where they perceive value. It will help your team guide the user through your product and use it to its full potential. Feature adoption is one of the best ways to lower churn and encourage customer loyalty moving forward— your customer support team members can have a significant impact on these metrics.

We’re doing it live!

While it can be more scalable to implement AI in live chat, having a real human on the other side can be the extra push that users need to become customers. 

A live agent provides a much better support experience for customers, and can even serve to boost loyalty. Take the time to actively listen, solve their issues, and use their insights to guide your product roadmap. A human being providing customer service chat is one of the best things that you can do for the continued success and happiness of your customer base!

Using TextExpander can help your support team deliver faster answers over chat. 
Learn how our own customer support team uses TextExpander to help our customers.

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