What Is a Chat Service?
A chat service is an application, software, or website-based service that customer service representatives use to communicate with consumers. While some chat services use asynchronous SMS texting, others utilize live instant messaging tools or online chat windows that mimic social media platforms.
Chat service platforms may also incorporate chatbots, artificial intelligence-powered software that analyzes and responds to customer questions. Chatbots draw from training and vast knowledge banks of customer history, data analysis, and canned responses to formulate conversational answers or redirect costumes to available agents.
By investing in a chat service, businesses can ensure real-time assistance for customers at any point in the sales journey. Live chat services support the consumer before, during, and after the sales process. In addition, customer service departments can resolve inquiries or concerns immediately through instant messaging or SMS.
Why Are Chat Services Important for Customer Service?
Chat services benefit customer service departments in several ways. For example, studies show that 73% of customers prefer chatting with support departments over emailing or calling. In addition, chat services can help companies improve their bottom lines by reducing the number of customer service representatives they need to handle high-volume requests.
Other crucial advantages of chat services include:
1. Timely Support
No matter if companies opt for instant messaging or asynchronous text messaging, customer service representatives typically respond more quickly when using a live chat service. With average response times of three minutes or less, customers can receive timely advice before or after purchasing goods or services.
2. Personalized Communication
Each time a customer uses a company’s online chat service, the customer relationship management (CRM) creates a ticket containing their information and prior message transcripts. Customer service agents can then review the customer’s purchasing history, prior concerns, and order information before responding. In doing so, representatives can initiate a personalized conversation and improve the customer experience.
3. Easy to Use (and outsource)
Many chat service application software integrated seamlessly into an organization’s current CRM system. Perhaps more importantly, chat services don’t distract from the customer’s purchasing process. Generally, live chat buttons appear at the bottom of the customer’s screen, making it easy to send a message to customer service representatives. It’s also easy to keep phone and email support distinct and in-house, and only outsource the live chat to a contact center. Many companies do this for microsites or specific product-lines
4. Improved Customer Satisfaction
Chat services have the highest satisfaction rates of any asynchronous or real-time customer service channel. The conversational problem-solving process, combined with the flexibility, ease of use, and rapid response times of chat services, result in happier customers and more efficient customer service departments.
5. Increased Sales Revenue
When a business’s website offers chat service support, customers are more likely to make a purchase. In addition, studies have shown that customers are up to 63% more likely to return to the same website for future purchases, thanks to the presence of a chat service.
Finally, companies that incorporate chat services into their customer support processes may experience a 48% increase in sales revenue for every hour of chatting.
How Businesses Use Chat Services for Customer Service
Both chatbots and live chat software can provide cross-departmental support for businesses. From qualifying sales leads to providing answers to basic questions, the flexible software may help streamline organization processes and reduce the burden of non-core functions.
That said, most businesses add an instant messaging or text message feature to their website to bolster their customer service offerings and simplify the buying process. Businesses may also choose to add chat services for:
Additional Technical Support
On average, companies take 12 hours to respond to a single email. Chat services consolidate multiple rounds of messages into a ten-minute conversation. As a result, customer service representatives can clarify user concerns and present a solution in real-time.
Improved Customer Relationship Management
Chat services provide customers with a simple way to contact customer service. However, chat services also represent a seamless way to build and maintain customer relationships. The software monitors user activity, keeps records of previous interactions, and may even follow up with customers during and after purchase.
Pre- and Post-Sales Support
Studies have shown that customers are more likely to make an expensive purchase if they have direct access to a customer service representative. Chat services make it easy for agents to share text messages or instant messages with customers, answer their questions, and guide them through the buying process before following up post-purchase.