Finding the right insurance is a big deal. There are multiple plans from several different companies and each plan usually comes with several different level of ceiling that comes with different cost and it’s highly frustrating when the information you need is hidden between obtuse legalese when what you primarily want to know is the details of what is supported in each plan. So you try to contact the companies via e-mail only to be referred to a phone number or an insurance agent to help you with this. If only there’s a way you could contact them directly from their website in real-time without the use of a telephone. Well, ask any web developer and they would readily tell you that there is in fact one feature you could use, adding a live chat feature to your website.
Everything is instant. Your news is instant, your music is instant, your video games get preloaded so you can instantly play it on release day, and even your love is merely a swipe away. Why should customer service be any different? It shouldn’t. Instead of asking your customer having to painfully search for your customer information or a hotline so that they could contact you, why not provide them with a box in the lower left corner where they could contact a representative of your company directly to send some queries your way? Can’t find a reason why you shouldn’t do this? Neither can I! What I could tell you is why you should, because having a live chat is really about making it easier for your customers to reach you and here are some reasons why:
- Because it’s helpful and convenient
Ever seen the film The Shawshank Redemption? Think of how Andy would be like without the wise and calming voice of Red guiding him as he adjusts to a life in prison. That is exactly how I feel finding insurance details in websites without a live chat feature. Okay perhaps not exactly, but you get the impression. As live chats are conducted well, live, it’s considerably more helpful than firing off an e-mail, waiting quite a while for a response, only to find out that something must’ve definitely been lost in translation as their response wasn’t what you were looking for. Answering queries on a live chat also allows your customer service agents to multitask more easily as they would be capable of serving multiple customers at any single moment.
- Sales and customer service rolled up into one
Instead of having live chat be restricted into one particular use, a live chat service could work both as a sales layer and a customer service layer. The insurance example above is one way you could leverage this feature as a sales service for the interested public. Phone calls and landlines are of a rare breed today and having a live chat feature would allow customers that aren’t into either to still reach you without having to wait for the standard 1×24 e-mail response. This is important as speed is one of the core tenets of a good customer service experience.
- Less expenses in the long run
If you’re just transitioning, maybe hold off on disconnecting your phone but see just how much the reduction in phone calls when you add a live chat feature. You can eventually cut off your multiple landlines that you no longer need once the transition is complete and as live chats enable your agents to serve multiple customers at the same time, this could potentially saves you in hiring more manpower.
- Geographically agnostic
If you serve customers in multiple different countries, some of them are going to find it hard to call you directly but with a live chat feature, they don’t necessarily have to. This would also save you from having multiple customer service centers as live chats could be served anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection.
- Easier troubleshooting
This would be especially applicable for an ISP. Imagine you get a call from someone not used to dealing with network equipment and they ask for your help with their connection problems. Instead of having to ask them to describe the state of their modems, you could simply ask them to take a picture and send it to you, saving you from having to decipher what they mean with their description. This could also work both ways, when you ask them to try and fix the problems manually, it would be easier for you to give a video showing what they have to do instead of having to repeat the information over and over again until they get it.
Now, while live chat is definitely a useful feature to have, its usability naturally depends on the person behind the screen. Like I’ve said before, this could function as a sales service and/or as a customer service so it would goes without saying that your team is going to have be able to handle both. They have to both know how to best sell the product and how the product works. Also, as your team is required to support multiple customers at the same time, make sure to remind them of their responsibilities and not focus on just a single customer. If you’re being swamped with queries, take care to tell the customers that they’re being put on a queue, it’s important for them to know they’re not being ignored.
Adding the live chat feature itself isn’t that hard, there are numerous widgets you could use to add one to your website. Get in touch with a web developer if you want one that’s customized. One of the main considerations is whether to allow anonymous chats or not. Most websites will usually ask for some information before allowing you to use the feature but it is possible to allow them to jump straight in as well, the decision is completely up to you.