Online presence has become a mandatory vehicle for any business striving to continue its growth journey in the present age. The concept of online presence is no more that of an information providing website to a fully business-capable website. Online businesses are estimated to grow to USD 4.5 trillion dollars by 2021, with B2B sales taking the lead. (Source:shopify) It is little wonder that the founders of online businesses, Amazon and Alibaba are some of the richest people in the world.
Growth of online businesses
The growth of the online business has also been stellar. After recovering from the dot come bubble, the sector has truly grown to disrupt a number of industries. The growth for e-Commerce has been a staggering 46.4% in 2017 alone (Source:amasty). This massive, consistent growth has also pushed innovation across a number of sectors including business logistics, finance, information technology, information processing, and analytics. The growth of these industries, in turn, pushed the growth of online businesses like a rapidly evolving symbiosis.
Factors leading to the growth of online businesses
Online businesses grew formidably big recently. The advent of DIY (Do-it-yourself) website creation platforms made the entire process of creating a website easier and more design centric. Earlier, business owners used to depend on IT for the implementation of new features. Today, the focus is not on features as any decent platform like WordPress or Wix already provides more features than what a business might need. These platforms come equipped with hundreds of ready-to-deploy widgets that work harmoniously together. So with features taken care of, the focus today is on the design and the experience. Customers identify your brand and your business with the experience you provide. The topic of experience brings us to the important aspect of customer support.
Importance and approach to modern customer support
As online businesses grew in size and customer base, the requirement of a good experience was felt in the after-sales service as well. Thus was born, the art and science of customer support. Today, customer support is executed by websites in a number of ways.
- Email-based customer support- Emails are the first level of customer support, even today. A typical email address sounds like firstname.lastname@example.org where customers are expected to drop in their queries. A customer service agent then picks the query and engages the customer on the emails. Emails are good because they have no theoretical limit on the number of customers that can reach out simultaneously. But emails cannot capture the instant reaction of the customer and can tire out an already frustrated customer.
- Phone-based customer support- Phone calls emerged on the customer support scene with the growth of IVRS (Interactive Voice Response Systems). Phone calls are typically taken through a series of decision paths via some routing questions. The customer is then expected to land up with a service agent who helps with the queries. But phone calls are notorious for frustrating and even angering customer with their elaborate questions, long waiting times and dubious availability.
- Interactive FAQs and Guides for customer support- Some online businesses (like Amazon) take the customer through various FAQs and tutorials in a hope to resolve the common questions more easily. This is sometimes useful and in other times, a shot in the dark that misses.
- Chat-based customer support- Chat using a live chat widget is emerging as a highly sought-after feature for an online business. Live chat for website brings cutting-edge technology to the problem of providing extreme personalization. Chat-based customer support is instantaneous, easy-to-use and provides that instant relief to a customer.
The benefits using live chat support system
Live chat-based customer support sits in the sweet spot of being quick, customer-friendly and available. It is able to bring the best of all the worlds that customer support formerly lived in.
- Live chat support results in high availability- A live chat for website can be invoked by numerous customers at the same time. There is nothing that prevents a customer from entering a bunch of text into a live-chats. It is also possible to configure the chat feature with some standard message to ask the customer to wait for some time. This beats the phone based support as it allows the customer to express his query instantly. On other platforms like phone, that can take a while.
- Live chat support system can adjust to context- It is possible to track where the customer is on the business website and place the chat window in the right context. Online businesses are beginning to use this to suggest shopping deals, offer shopping advice or even preempt the answers to common questions. A chat feature knows more about the customer even before the customer made any request.
- Live chat support system is instantaneous- Apart from being available, the response in the case of chat support can be obtained instantaneously. The service agent can speak to the customer in a shorter span of time as it is easier to manage different service requests at the same time than with a phone call.
- Live chat has little maintenance cost- The cost of setting and configuring a live chat support system is similar to setting up an email server and lesser than setting up an IVRS system. The cost of maintaining it is however dramatically lesser compared to other customer support counterparts.
- Live chat widget is widely supported- All modern shopping platforms and websites today come equipped with the live chat functionality. It is no longer needed to custom-write any code or hire IT staff to maintain the application.
- Live chat support system can be done by bots- This is a feature where live chat beats its competitors beat everyone out of the work. Using high-grade Artificial Intelligence, chat-bots can communicate with the customers with near-human expertise. Not only does this save significant costs on resources, but it also makes the chat more accessible and powerful to handle customer queries.
According to this report by inc.com, “42% of consumers say that they prefer live chat functions because they don’t have to wait on hold.” This also goes hand-in-hand with the biggest trend of e-Commerce in 2017 which was personalization. A person talking to a customer conveys a powerful feeling of personalization that is instrumental for conversion.
Personalization is one of the benefits that live chat brings to the table. It is seen that the entire set of trends that are going to define online businesses are found while using live chat support system. From generating customer satisfaction to reducing cart abandonment to enabling faster decision making to quicker conversion, from reducing support costs to enhancing support turnaround times, live-chat support is a feature that touches upon every one of those important aspects.
The power of live chat for website is best experienced by using any standard live chat widget today. We encourage you to use any such live chat support system and explore the benefits to the fullest!