Customer Service Glossary

Businesses now use instant messaging to support other customer service and sales functions. Customers can initiate a conversation with chat support agents using various telecommunication tools as well, including asynchronous Short Message Service (SMS) or synchronous instant messaging. 

What Is Instant Messaging? 

Instant messaging is an Internet-based communication software or mobile application that allows users to communicate in real-time. Early versions of the service limited communication to text-based messages between two connected users. However, instant messaging has since evolved to include everything from social media sites like Facebook Messenger to customer service live chat platforms. 

How Instant Messaging Impacts Customer Service

Many companies incorporate instant messaging platforms into their existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems to provide real-time solutions to online customers. In most cases, instant messaging results in faster resolution times than email exchanges.

Other benefits of instant messaging for customer support departments include: 

1. Streamlined Customer Service Processes

Instant messaging offers a simple solution for two common customer support complaints: slow responses and noncontextual communications. Customers and representatives can exchange short messages with one another while customers navigate through the purchasing process. 

A live message platform also allows customer support agents to draw from a database of canned responses, providing quick answers to common customer queries. 

2. Easy User Access

Nearly seven billion instant messaging accounts exist worldwide, making instant messaging one of the most popular forms of business communication. With this in mind, businesses have leveraged live chat solutions to improve customer experience. 

Instant messaging allows customers to contact support agents anytime from their work computer, laptop, or smartphone. The back-and-forth exchange reduces the need for formal writing. In addition, customers don’t have to synthesize questions or concerns into a single query. Instead, customer support agents can ask questions and help customers quickly identify and resolve issues. 

3. Improved Productivity

Chat support agents can attend to multiple customers at once using instant messaging software. Many agents can handle up to ten customer support chats at once by using one customer’s pauses to answer another client. In doing so, the customer service process accelerates while productivity, scalability, and efficiency increase. 

4. Lower Costs

Instant messaging reduces the cost of each customer query by shortening the communication time. However, it also eliminates the need for additional financial resources needed to build a customer support department, recruit and hire dozens of chat support agents, and manage human capital. 

5. Increased Customer Satisfaction 

Instant messaging platforms increase customer satisfaction in several ways. First, they allow customers to connect with a chat support agent immediately. Secondly, chat support agents can provide quick assistance or contextual guidance that helps the customer move through the sale process with confidence. 

Thirdly, many instant messaging software platforms save customer information. The backlog of purchase histories, previous discussion transcripts, and website activity helps chat support agents provide each customer with personalized care. By acknowledging the customer’s history with the brand, chat support agents can improve customer satisfaction and enjoy more returning customers

Instant Messaging Features

Businesses employ various instant messaging platforms based on their needs. Some software only supports text-based conversation. Others facilitate additional forms of telecommunication, such as: 

Video and Audio Calling

While instant messaging can help resolve many problems, some customers prefer the immediacy of audio or video calls. Many instant messaging platforms support video and audio chats, allowing customers to communicate face-to-face with chat agents from the security and convenience of a mobile app.  

File Sharing

Users can easily drag or upload files into instant messaging windows, instantly sharing forms, photos, or user guides. The secure transfer helps alleviate data privacy concerns and may even allow chat agents to help users fill out paperwork. 

Group Chatting

Finally, instant messaging platforms often support collaborative group chats. While many customer requests don’t require a team effort to resolve, live chat agents can add technical support or sales professionals to the call when necessary.