There goes a saying: no two similar customer service tools yield the same result to multiple companies. Different customer communication channels from phone support to live chat support, email services to in-app messaging, offer multiple benefits to the brands and their customers. However, when it comes to providing on-demand personalized customer service, phone support and live chat are the most preferred options.
Both channels have a close-knit connection between the live agents and the customers. The process starts with the questions asked by the customer and the live agent answering the issues. Both the communication channels are important and there are differences. It can create a significant impact on how you use these channels and in what situation.
What is Live Chat?
Live chat support refers to the communication channel that allows its customers to connect with the brand instantly through the app or website. It is a direct message platform where a live chat window will pop up for customer help proactively to check if the browsing consumers need any help. Live chats are very useful whenever a customer needs help in making their purchasing process.
The research report says that almost 60% of the customers are likely to use live chat services of brands as they receive instant replies. Live chat support has enabled a whole new mode of customer support that includes collecting customer data that can easily integrate into the existing web platforms. It is considered one of the easiest communication channels as customers can chat while browsing from mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc.
Pros Of Live Chat
There are numerous advantages of live chat services that companies avail when they integrate them on their website.
1. Fast and Efficient
Live chat conversations are shorter and known for faster ways of problem resolution. Unlike email where mails sometimes get stored in the spam folders, live chat has very little waiting time compared to other modes of communication.
2. Increases Support Capacity
Unlike voice support, live chat support allows customer care agents to communicate with multiple customers at a time. They can assist more than one customer because they are aware of the previous customer interactions and they are using text messages rather than talking on a phone.
3. Generates Lead Data
The most important benefit of using live chat is that customers’ data are stored in the chat window. Unlike other communication channels, you can get the key customer information before the chat begins. It is very useful not only to resolve customer queries but also to extract customer information such as email id, name, location, etc.
4. Generate Support Data
Live chat tools integrated on the website automatically create searchable and indexable databases of customer complaints and issues. That database is used by the agents in identifying the common customer issues, new problems, and possible areas of product and service development.
5. Proactive Customer Support
Live chat is the fastest mode of customer communication. The response time for live chat is 20 sec to 1 minute. Sometimes companies do proactively text the customers whenever they enter their website so that customers feel comfortable in asking any query they want to get cleared. This proactive mode of customer support is beneficial for the customers in making the purchase decision.
Cons of Live Chat
There are a few cons of live chat that brands should know before integrating it on the website.
1. Lack of Personal Touch
Since messages are typed in the live chat window, it will be harder to detect the sentiment of the customers as well as the tone of the message. Irrespective of the live agent, sometimes customers may feel that they are chatting with a robot that sometimes they don’t want. Hence, there is a lack of personal touch in the whole communication process.
2. Not for Complex Issue
As there are chats involved in the communication process, hence it can be very difficult for the customer to type the whole issue. It is not only time-consuming but also customers have limited patience to type the issue. It is better to speak with customer care and describe the problem and they can also help in a more refined and faster way than live chat support when it comes to complex issues.
3. Limited Information Sharing
Live chat support is meant for smaller customer issues where customers can ask for minute details like product and shipping related and they will be answered instantly. However, sometimes much information is not allowed to share in the chat window that may cause a problem in resolving the customer issue.
What is Phone Support?
Voice support or phone support is the mode of customer communication channel where the customer can reach the brand by dialing a number where a representative will answer the customer queries. Phone support is the most commonly used customer communication channel for most brands. Being one of the oldest and reliable customer support channels, many people still rely on voice support for resolving the customer issues as there are live agents involved in it.
Pros of Phone Support
Phone support has many advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss the pros of phone support.
1. Instant resolution
Sometimes customers don’t get solutions from email or live chat services. The most reliable way of resolving technical issues or any other complex issue is via phone support services. Customers rely more upon when they speak to a customer care agent rather than sending mail or chatting to some chatbots.
2. Direct Contact with Live Agents
Phone support is the only mode of customer communication channel where the customer can speak with the customer care agent and can resolve the issues faster. Within the call, the agent can demonstrate the solution and the customer can apply it, thus the resolution is faster. For complex issues, phone support is the best solution among the other communication channels.
3. Improved Customer Interactions
In phone support, since there are two persons directly talking to each other, there are enhanced customer interactions. It helps the agents to understand the customer expectations and serve them in a better way while offering a customized solution. Agents can also cross-sell or up-scale products during the calls so that sales also increase to some extent.
4. Faster Resolution Times
Since a live agent is talking with the customer in the phone support of the brand, hence there is a chance to solve the issue faster than any other mode of customer support channel. Customers can explain multiple aspects in the call and the agent can provide the desired solution based on the situation. Hence, there is a faster resolution time of the issue raised by the customer.
5. Offers Personalized Touch
When a customer calls a brand, it is easier for the customer care representative to detect how the customer is feeling by hearing the voice. Most of the customers prefer a human touch whenever they are connecting with the brand with their issues. On the contrary, the customer care agent can offer a personalized solution to the customer as they are talking directly and both of them can explain their thoughts in detail with each other regarding the problem.
Cons of Phone Support
Apart from the benefits of phone support, there are few disadvantages too.
1. Not Available 24*7
Phone support of a company is available for limited hours only. Mostly they are not available 24 hours a day. So, if a customer wants to speak to a customer care representative, he has to wait for the operational hour. Unless the company is much bigger and hires resources for offering 24*7 phone support, customers have to wait for business hours.
2. Delayed Response
Since the customer support agents of a brand are handling calls and it takes time to resolve the customer issues, hence they attend to only one customer at a time. Until they are done with one customer, they will not be able to help another customer. It is one of the major drawbacks of phone support. However, if the number of live agents is more, then they can attend to more customers at a time.
3. Harder to Scale
It is a hurdle to scale the phone support of your brand, as you will not be able to properly track the problems occurring to the customers and how often the problem comes to them. It is very important to know the history of the customer interaction to offer seamless customer service which sometimes may not be gained through phone support.
When is Live Chat Right for Your Business?
There are multiple scenarios where a live chat service may seem right for your brand. Let’s discuss the cases where you can rely on live chat for your business.
- Online companies that have higher order values and sales may benefit from live chat services.
- A subscription-based online brand can leave your company with a bunch of inquisitive questions that require instant answers from live chat services.
- Having a business that runs solely on its mobile application needs live chat services to answer all the customer queries.
- Companies can reduce their support cost by enabling live chat support on their website.
- To generate more leads, a business can use live chat to convert the potential website visitors to actual customers.
When is Phone Support right for Your Business?
Just like the live chat support, there are multiple aspects where a business can benefit from phone support. So, let’s discuss a few of them.
- Businesses that like to create an emotional connection with their customers may find voice support useful.
- To deal with VIP clients, businesses must include phone support in their customer communication channels so that they can provide personalized service.
- Businesses having a brick-and-mortar shop along with an online presence must include phone support to resolve complex customer issues.
- E-commerce, retail, telecom, and service-based businesses rely much on phone support as their customer volumes are higher hence, they will get higher call volumes.
In the end, entrepreneurs may think that live chat service is the winner among the two. However, we need to understand the scenarios where we can use live chat and phone support based on the needs. No doubt that these two communication channels are very important and different from each other, but businesses have to find out the situations where they can use these as per the requirement.
Businesses must know how to harness the power of customer service and how they can utilize the omnichannel strategy for increasing sales and profitability. That is why it is crucial to understand the areas where you can integrate live chat and phone support while creating a centralized customer support system.