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Should Your Business Have Online Chat as a Customer Support Platform?

While many businesses are successfully adopting online live chat as their customer service platform, other businesses have yet to become aware of just how important this platform is. It is now proving to be one of the best channels for customer service as it is meeting the customers exactly where they go to get answers: the Internet.

Survey - Who prefers Live Chat?

Building and running an online live chat customer service platform can be quite costly and it is not always easy to understand the return on such an investment. The best return would be given if customers were to use it. The question remains: will your customers use it?

If your business is on the fence about deciding whether or not to implement the online live chat, the finding of a recent survey by Software Advice may just help you take that decision. The survey questioned over 300 persons about their online live support experiences and also talked to companies who had implemented the service already.

Key Findings

The major findings of this survey showed that over half the people surveyed had used online live chat at least once to get a questions answered.

49% of the respondents said that they preferred live chat when they had questions while shopping online while 74% preferred telephone calls for the more complicated financial questions they may have.

Finally, no matter what their question was about, 56% of the people surveyed aged 18 to 34 definitely preferred live chat to calls while only 27% of the respondents who were aged 35 and above preferred the live chat to calls.

The overall findings of the survey showed that people do want to use online chat support.

Age Matters

The findings from the survey showed that age is actually an important factor when using online live chat support. Age kept coming up in the findings as a correlation factor and here is a simple chart showing how younger people used online chat for their questions many more times than people aged above 55.

The Question Type is Also Important

While the age factor was a big indicator for preference, it seemed that people’s usage of online chat support platforms also varied depending on the type of question they needed answered.

The survey asked people about three specific situations where they would need help and asked them to identify what medium they would use for support. The situations presented to the respondents were:

  1. To discuss complex financial data
  2. To perform simple tasks like updating contact information
  3. To ask regarding an online purchase

 

Once again, age played an important role in those specific questions as the survey showed that:

  1. For financial queries, people aged 35 and above preferred to use the phone.
  2. For simple queries and tasks, again, people aged 45 and above preferred to use the phone.
  3. For shopping queries, the results across all age groups were almost equal.

Businesses Should Consider Their Customer Age if Thinking of Offering Live Chat

As part of the survey dealt directly with businesses, it seemed that businesses were aware of the correlation between customer age and their need to use online live chat support. Companies that had a target audience of young to middle-aged customers reported that their online support was very successful and so the age is a factor to keep in mind.

We need to keep in mind though that while age is a very important factor, it is not the only one that play such an important role. There are reasons why older people also use live chat and here are some of them.

Why do Customers Turn to Live Chat

It seems that regardless of your customers’ age groups, they want to use live chat because it is convenient and there is no "waiting time".

Here is a chart of the findings:

How Easy Is It for Your Business to Implement Live Chat

Businesses who have already done it call the process quick and painless. However, the efforts do not end once the new software is running. Here are a few words of advice from businesses that have already done it and are using these best practice examples to make it a success:

  • Respond to your customers quickly
  • Don’t keep live chat running while your business is closed
  • Keep a list handy of simple and typical responses to FAQ’s
  • Experiment with where you place your live chat buttons on your website
  • Always be ready to switch to email and calls if you feel it is necessary