Phone Support or Live Chat? Which is Best for Your Business in the 21st Century?

If yours is a customer/client facing business then you are more than aware of the fact that you need to provide great customer service in order to satisfy customers, build customer loyalty and outshine your competition. But there are so many ways to do that now. In a perfect world, every business would strive to offer support from every single channel: but in reality, that’s just not possible.

The more support channels your business attempts to offer, the more data that needs to be managed, more agents that need to be hired, and more software needs to be purchased. Many have tried the social media customer service route but it can be very difficult to manage, so phone support and live chat via the company website remain the most popular options. But which should you offer, especially if yours is a smaller business? Phone? Text? Both?

It’s important to understand the benefits of both phone and Live Chat support to recognize the right situation for each channel. Some businesses might be able to get away with simply offering Live Chat on their website or in their mobile app, while others might need the personalized experience a phone call can bring. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the benefits, and drawbacks, associated with each method:

Live Chat Benefits

You Can Offer Proactive Support — Live chat allows your reps to reach out to customers as they are shopping instead of waiting for them to come to you. This enables agents to “nudge” a customer towards making a purchase they were on the fence about or enables the user to ask a question and receive an answer in real-time before hitting that “Checkout” button.

Faster Resolution Time — Customers love speed. They want things fast. Live chat makes handling the quick and simple questions that customers are looking for fast answers to quicker and more efficient. Live chat can serve as an alternative to self-service options, like FAQs, enabling the user to ask questions and receive answers instantly from an agent, instead of having to spend time going through a ream of text to find answer.

Quick Analysis of Conversations — Live chat transcripts not only take up less space than phone call recordings, but then can be easier to analyze quickly as well. Transcripts can be searched through to target specific keywords or product names to quickly hone in on the right context.

Phone Support Benefits

Reactive support — Offering phone-based customer support provide customers with the help they need, only when they need it. Instead of bugging clients with pop up messages or push notifications, it just lets them come to you when they have an issue.

Personalized support — Phone calls may not be face to face interactions, but they are much more personal than typing into a generic text box. Hearing another person on the end of a phone line can be calming to some callers, something that can help diffuse situations in which a customer has a complaint.

In-Depth Analytics — With phone support, your business can gain a deeper knowledge into customer needs, customer trends, customer satisfaction, and service quality levels. When reviewing call recordings, you can gain more information like emotions or tone to understand why an interaction ended the way it did. These systems also go the extra mile in tracking many different metrics like call time, hold time, and more.

Intuitive Support — Phone calls enable a more direct conversation, with live chat it’s possible that an agent is slow to respond, distracted, or simply doesn’t understand your message. With phone support, it’s easier for the agent to ask follow up questions, or gain a better understanding of the customer’s needs, enabling to offer even more intuitive support.

When is Live Chat Right for Your Business?

It is difficult to answer the question “should my business use Live Chat support” with one direct response. Instead, your business needs to take a look at your existing support process, the channels customers are using, and possibly even capital investments to understand if utilizing Live Chat makes sense. When looking to keep investments low, Live Chat can generally offer a more cost-effective support solution, for a number of reasons: mainly that the platforms don’t require phone lines, and agents can handle multiple requests at once.

This enables your business to provide wide support without paying extra for more services and having to hire more agents. But that doesn’t mean Live Chat should directly replace your business’ Phone support — many times the best strategy is to utilize these channels together, to create a total omnichannel experience for your clients, and so seeking out hardware and software solutions that allow you to do that may be the very best way to go.

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