With what started in the 1970s as a means for university students to internally communicate on campus, the very first live chat tool, known as PLATO, has evolved significantly into what we know as today’s live chat apps.
Customers can expect any reputable brand to include a live chat service online when agent-assisted support is required. And these expectations have only increased since the pandemic began. Without face-to-face customer service, digital customer service tools such as live chat were relied upon and quickly became customers’ preference over speaking to operatives over the phone.
Did you know, 79% of customers said their preferred contact channel was live chat?
With demand for the quick and convenient contact channel skyrocketing, the global live chat software market is projected to reach $997 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2017 to 2023.
A Must-Have For Customer Service
Live chat can be considered as a must-have when it comes to customer service, not only does it help to provide a smooth customer journey, impacting on CX and CSAT ratings but it promotes efficiency within the contact centre.
Some live chat app providers include features within the agent interface that contribute significantly to the reduction of average handling times (AHT) and overall efficiency, therefore bringing support costs down.
For instance, AI-predictive suggestions is a feature that recommends relevant articles to the agent as they begin to enter a query. This takes place in real-time and updates on each key-press, revealing relevant knowledge articles with optimal efficiency.
Similarly, vendors that include a live key-press feed function within the agent interface produce huge reductions in Average Handling Times (AHT). As the user types their query in the live chat app, the agent sees a preview on each key-press. This often results in the agent finding a resolution to the issue before the user has hit “send”.
Further, live chat works seamlessly with other customer service tools such as a chatbot. A chatbot can automatically escalate to live chat when necessary, taking place inside the same window for great CX.
For instance, a chatbot detects that the query in question is too complex by nature for AI to handle or sentiment analysis identifies a certain word that indicates urgency. Through automation, the chatbot escalates the user to live chat eliminating the need for query repetition or sourcing a support telephone number. This significantly improves CX and streamlines the user journey
More recently live chat apps are being utilised as lead generation tools, converting visitors into leads alongside their traditional customer service function.
It means that now, live chat apps help with the entire user journey rather than solely after-sale should a query arise to do with the product or service they have purchased.
So, How Do Live Chat Apps Work For Lead Generation?
Live chat apps of today include sophisticated, AI-powered features that facilitate not only excellent customer service but even lead and revenue generation. Here’s how.
Live chat is far more accessible than other agent-assisted contact channels such as telephony or email. The time in which it takes to connect a user to an agent via live chat is considerably shorter than telephone or email which can take up to days – which by when the user might have chosen an alternative company or even changed their mind.
But, by providing real-time help and advice to leads whilst they’re hot, the chances of conversion increases.
Custom triggers can be configured that force your live chat app to launch when certain conditions are met. For instance when a certain amount of time is spent on one page or when a user lands on a specific page. By configuring such triggers and intercepting site visitors at critical touchpoints within the user journey, companies increase the chances of capturing leads that would otherwise be anonymous and lost.
Similarly, companies can set up intelligent escalations from self-service to live chat based on the keywords that are entered. For instance keywords such as “subscribe”, “buy” or “new account” indicates a lead and potential new business. By forcing live chat at these moments, companies increase the likeliness of lead generation.
Seamless Integrations Fasttrack Lead Nurturing
Effective live chat apps include open RESTful APIs that enable the two-way sharing of data amongst 3rd party apps such as CRMs. Such integrations automatically send lead data to your CRM, populating the system ready for salespeople to begin the nurturing process.
Other popular 3rd party business tools that live chat integrates with to help convert leads into customers are:
Email marketing systems
Intelligent Forms Automatically Capture Lead Data
In digital CX, when it comes to lead generation it is good practice to capture personal information at the earliest possible opportunity. This prevents valuable lead data from being lost if, for example, the connection is lost.
By including a mandatory form when a live chat conversation is first initiated, companies not only capture lead data, but if something goes wrong, with information such as email address acquired, companies have a secondary method of contact whereby user queries can still be answered, contributing to good CX.
Asynchronous Messaging Allows For 24/7 Support
Some live chat apps offer asynchronous messaging. This gives the user control over when they message the agent, initiating and continuing the conversation without it timing out. It maintains the chat history for the user to look back over and ultimately means that they can ask a query 24/7, rather than having to wait a certain time to do so.
This provides convenience and flexibility to the user, who is in control of when they submit a question or reply to an answer – particularly useful for those with busy lifestyles.
Live Chat Apps: Beyond Customer Service And Lead Gen
What is next for live chat apps?
From customer service to lead generation and revenue generation, here are just some of the processes we can expect to see live chat handle today and in the future:
Identification & Verification (ID&V)
Quotations and purchases
Augmented reality for fixing physical issues in real-time
If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about live chat, you can read our guide here or for advice on which live chat app is right for your business, please get in touch.
Whilst customers now have the capabilities – thanks to technological advances in AI – to solve their own queries online, there will always be instances where some human intervention is required. For instance, users can take advantage of self-service channels such as an FAQ portal, widget or chatbot to solve routine queries using AI, but when it comes to more complex queries that require empathy and emotional understanding, a human is required.
This is where agent-assisted contact channels are necessary. In a world where fast service is now not only expected but is arguably the new norm, waiting in long phone queues or waiting days to hear back from an email enquiry just won’t suffice in your customers’ eyes. This is why live chat for customer support is so popular, and customers’ preferred contact channel – 79% in fact!
Not only does it provide your customers with a smoother, more efficient experience, but for the contact centre, it proves significantly more cost-effective to operate than telephony and email. Telephone agents are limited when it comes to their capacity to handle more than 1 query at a time, but live chat provides agents with the tools to solve multiple queries simultaneously.
Live Chat for Customer Support: What to Consider
So, when it comes to choosing the best live chat for customer support, where do you begin? We have broken it down for you into sections below in your very own checklist
1. Does Live Chat Align with Your Customer Support and Business Goals?
Before considering live chat solutions, it is fundamental that you and your team are clear on the rationale behind why you are acquiring live chat, what it is aiming to solve and that the goals and objectives are measurable.
Then, once you are ready to begin looking for the right solution, you will be able to identify if a solution’s capabilities and features match your expectations.
For instance, if your goals surrounded improving NPS or CSAT scores then the capability to escalate and integrate would be a deal-breaker. Or, if you have a small call centre of 15 agents and are looking to reduce contact centre costs whilst maintaining quality customer service, finding a pricing model that works for a team of that size, that is fast to implement and supports remote working is essential.
2. Does the Live Chat Vendor Offer Sufficient Customer Support?
It is also important to discuss with those involved the level of customer support you might require from the live chat vendor. This way you have an expectation in which you can measure against, filtering out those who cannot offer you what you need.
This helps to manage expectations from both sides and prevents any detriments surrounding your live chat tool down the line.
For Your Customers
3. Does the Software Facilitate Escalation from Self-Service to Live Chat?
There a number of ways in which customers can reach your site, whether they are actively looking for help or stumble across a reason to ask a question during their customer journey. In both situations, it is vital that, although they might not require it, escalation from self-service to agent-assisted channels are available.
If a visitor wants to purchase something online or has an issue with an order, they might engage with your chatbot initially but come to realise they need human attention. This is where seamless escalation to live chat – within the same window – is vital. Anything less than this is poor CX.
4. How Quickly Can the Live Chat Solution Be Implemented?
It is vital that before you decide on your live chat vendor that you have discussed implementation timeframes and expectations. Perhaps you want your live chat for customer support up and running as soon as possible, or you have a timeline mapped out already.
Depending on your business requirements, live chat implementation should take a matter of days or weeks and will involve the following steps:
Project kick-off meeting
Design guidelines are discussed
First look designs are shared
Draft integration code is created and sandbox environment access is granted
Design is signed off
Final low-code integration is provided
For more on the stages of live chat implementation, click here.
5. Can the Live Chat Software Integrate With 3rd Party Applications for Optimal CX?
To ensure that your customers’ journeys are smooth and that you are always delivering excellent CX, consider your integration needs. Which everyday business tools must your live chat software connect with in order to achieve this?
Perhaps you require an integration that through live chat facilitates:
Identification and verification (ID&V)
Adding and/or updating contacts in your CRM
Adding/removing a contact from a particular mailing list
Producing certain documentation upon customer request
Whatever it may be, ensure the live chat vendor you choose offer open RESTful APIs that enables the simple 2-way sharing of data.
6. Can the Live Chat Reflect Your Brand?
Injecting your customer support tools with your brand personality is key to standing out amongst competitors. Not only is it a free branding opportunity, but it is a great means to portraying your business to the world.
Select a live chat solution that supports customisation. You should be able to customise colour schemes and add logos, as well as configuring canned responses and search layers to include language and quirks that match your brand guidelines.
7. Can It Contribute to Lead and Revenue Generation?
Whilst many businesses primarily adopt live chat for customer support purposes, it has the capabilities to support both lead and revenue generation.
Live chat solutions that include custom trigger options help to promote additional revenues and lead generation by proactively offering help during critical customer touchpoints.
You simply configure the conditions in which you’d like live chat to trigger, for example, when a certain amount of time is spent on the cart page and the customer is offered help. This could be the difference between a conversion or cart abandonment.
For Your Team
8. Does Live Chat Utilise Natural Language Processing?
Selecting live chat for customer support that is built on AI and harnesses Natural Language Processing (NLP) promotes contact centre efficiency whilst improving your agents’ experience.
Some live chat vendors include an integrated knowledge base within the internal live chat interface. For agents, this means significantly less time is spent searching through resources or asking supervisors for answers. All displayed within the same window, the agent simply begins by typing in the customer’s query and the system, analysing each keyword to understand intent, displays relevant articles.
9. Does It Include Features That Promote Agent Productivity?
AI-predictive suggestions slash handling times by recommending to your agents relevant articles based on what the customer is typing. This refreshes on every keypress and is displayed in the mini knowledge base panel, all your agents have to do is click to copy the content into their chat.
A live keypress feed similarly helps to speed up the query handling process. It provides your agents with a preview of what the customer is typing so that resolutions can be prepared often before they have submitted their queue.
10. How Easy Is It to Train Your Agents?
When it comes to live chat for customer support, training your agents shouldn’t be something you have to worry about. Choose a vendor that provides excellent after-sale care – this should include an account manager training your team in how to use their new live chat tool – from basic functionality to clever tips and tricks.
Don’t waste precious time figuring out these things yourselves, ensure experts can demonstrate them for you.
Every company’s needs will be different when it comes to live chat acquisition, however by sticking to the above checklist and using its answers as a key criterion, finding the best live chat – that utilises AI, supports a suitable pricing model, is implemented quickly and promotes efficiency – is made simple.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about live chat, you can here. Or for help selecting live chat software and advice please
Live chat is an online contact channel that allows your customers to speak directly with your company representatives. Most commonly used to facilitate customer support, it can also assist in lead and revenue generation activities.
Unlike other online customer service channels such as self-service portals or chatbots that rely on AI to generate results to routine queries, live chat utilises human agents. This, therefore, makes live chat the perfect support channel for dealing with non-routine queries that are complex and require a level of human understanding and emotion.
Live chat software has been around since the 1970s when Illinois University introduced PLATO, followed by the explosion of instant messaging platforms in the 1990s. But today, live chat is multifaceted and quickly becoming customers preferred method of communication.
First-generation live chat software, PLATO was used at Illinois University in 1973.
With the global live chat market rapidly growing at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2017 to 2023 , it’s no wonder that it’s replacing traditional agent-assisted contact channels like telephony.
Reasons Online Live Chat Is Replacing Telephony
So, why is online live chat quickly replacing telephony:
Online live chat is significantly more value for money than telephony
Customers prefer online live chat
Online live chat is more efficient than telephony
Online live chat is easy to audit
Online live chat offers proactive support
Live chat teams up with your chatbot for 24/7 support
Online live chat is the ideal remote worker’s tool
1. Online Live Chat Is Significantly Cheaper Than Telephony
When it comes to handling individual queries in the most cost-efficient way, live chat is the clear frontrunner.
When a customer rings into the contact centre for help, the agent that answers is only physically capable of dealing with that individual – they cannot multitask or speak to multiple customers at once.
Whilst it’s not feasible to have more than 1 verbal conversation at once, live chat provides the tools enabling agents to handle multiple customer queries simultaneously. When we take into consideration the accumulation of costs associated with handling a query, live chat proves significantly cheaper as a contact channel, bringing contact centre overheads down considerably.
2. Customers Prefer Online Live Chat
Your customers are used to doing virtually everything online today, whether it’s banking, booking medical appointments or even grocery shopping. These expectations don’t stop when it comes to customer service, your customers not only expect to have their queries resolved entirely online, but they prefer it. 79% of customers in fact said their preferred contact channel was live chat – the most popular reason being its instant responses.
Customers love using online live chat because it offers them the convenience and ease-of-use of a digital channel, paired with the personability and depth of knowledge available with having a 1-to-1 conversation with a skilled agent.
Live chat embodies all the benefits of telephony but with quicker, more available access.
To learn more about why customers prefer live chat, click here.
3. Online Live Chat Is More Efficient Than Telephony
Online live chat includes a number of integrated features that boost agent productivity that telephony does not.
Within the chat console, agents have access to an integrated knowledge base that provides AI-predictive suggestions. This is a library made up of thousands of knowledge articles, available at their fingertips without having the switch in between tabs, browser or windows. Chat interfaces that utilise Natural Language Processing (NLP) significantly speed up Average Handling Times (AHT), making for a better customer and employee experience. NLP unpicks the customer query on every keypress, analysing every keyword to determine search intent, offering relevant results in the same window. The agent simply clicks to copy the whole or a section of the knowledge article and pastes it into the conversation.
Some online live chat vendors include a live keypress feed within the agent interface. By providing the agent with a preview of what is being typed from the customer’s side on each keypress, an entire resolution can be built, often before the customer hits send. Not only does this reduce AHT but contributes to a great customer experience.
4. Online Live Chat Is Easy to Audit
Unlike telephony, which requires significant manual auditing, for example, logging a call and the customer’s details and queries, live chat which is solely digital, automates these tasks and processes. For example:
Reviewing query information: Conversation transcripts are automatically saved once a chat has ended. This makes retrieving details simple, rather than having to search and listen for the same details in a lengthy audio recording.
Customer metrics: Instead of manually entering data on customers, using forms, live chat captures name, contact details, landing page, journey and more.
Agent metrics: Rather than relying on manual entry of data regarding performance – which can be affected by human error – live chat automatically captures data on completed chats, average answer time, average response time and more for greater visibility.
5. Online Live Chat Offers Proactive Support
Whilst telephony is a reactive form of customer support; it responds to customers needs once an issue has already occurred, live chat is proactive.
Using custom triggers, live chat can be configured to fire under certain conditions, intercepting the customer and helping them to their intended destination. For instance, when a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on a page such as a product page or cart page it could indicate that they need help before buying. When live chat is configured to trigger under these conditions, you are proactively offering assistance which could be the difference between cart abandonment and a sale.
Triggering live chat proactively in this way can also answer queries that avoid product refunds, returns and complaints, saving you money.
6. Live Chat Teams Up with Your Chatbot for 24/7 Support
Whilst call centres generally aren’t open 24/7, live chat can still offer out of hours support with the help of an AI-powered chatbot.
Through seamless integration, facilitated by open RESTful APIs, chatbots take the reins from live chat when there are no agents available. Whilst the customer won’t be speaking with a human, chatbots that are powered by AI harness NLP and this means that a huge range of routine queries can be dealt with.
So, rather than a customer reaching a support page with no options, they are met by a chatbot that can offer help or record their details to pass on to an agent if the query is too complex – a far greater CX.
7. Online Live Chat Is the Ideal Remote Worker’s Tool
While remote working was already on the rise before the COVID-19 crisis, the practice has further been catalysed through necessity. It is predicted that remote working will stick for many companies, with 98% of employees agreeing they would like to continue with some form of remote working for the rest of their career – this includes contact centre and customer support employees.
If working from home is the new norm then online live chat conquers telephony for a number of reasons:
Agents need not worry about background noise when operating live chat
Poor signal won’t affect their ability to help customers on live chat
Live chat allows agents to contact supervisors through direct messaging, avoiding long wait times otherwise experienced through telephony
Will Live Chat Replace Telephony Indefinitely?
Whilst we are not there yet, it is possible that in the future live chat will replace telephony indefinitely. But for now, audiences still require a blend of digital and human customer service experiences. This is why omnichannel support is critical. Customers want the option to contact you how they want, whether it’s online live chat social media, WhatsApp or self-service.
Not only does live chat offer a quick and convenient means of direct communication for your customers, providing them with great CX but it proves particularly cost-efficient for businesses compared to other agent-assisted channels.
Telephone and email, for example, channels that include long handling times and asynchronous sessions prove costly. Live chat on the other hand brings support costs down significantly by offering multiple simultaneous chat options and a range of features that improve agent productivity.
Not only is live chat the preferred agent-assisted channel when it comes to reducing costs, but for customers – 79% in fact – live chat is their go-to tool for solving issues.
Reasons Customers Prefer Live Chat
Complex issues are solved online
It saves your customers time
When asked why live chat was their preferred contact channel, customers’ top answer surrounded its capability to respond instantly.
Alternative agent-assisted contact channels like telephony usually include long wait times, being put on hold and transferred from department to department. For customers, this creates discomfort and frustration – it unnecessarily dominates a chunk of their day and feels like a waste of time.
Similarly, for customers, email as a communication channel feel disjointed – waiting days for a reply to the first of what might be 5 follow up queries simply isn’t realistic, nor does it reflect positively on customer reviews or CSAT ratings.
Live chat’s ability to deal with multiple customer queries at once means that agent time can be utilised far more effectively than other channels. It means that wait times are minimal, reducing Average Handling Times (AHT) and as a result, boosting CSAT scores.
With instant messaging platforms and social media chat usage significantly increasing amongst your customers, it is no wonder that live chat proves so popular as a contact channel.
Not only do customers use messaging interfaces every day as a way of keeping in contact with others, but generation such as Millenials and Gen Z, who have either grown up using instant messaging or know no different expect such interfaces when engaging companies.
When live chat software includes features such as emojis and chat ‘history’ (chat transcripts) on a familiar, mobile-friendly, 2-way chat interface, it builds comfort and positive brand associations with your company, which in turns enhances CX.
Customers love live chat because it offers the familiarity and convenience of a digital messaging app, whilst serving them the depth of knowledge associated with an agent-assisted channel.
When a customer has a non-routine or complicated query that needs resolving, they no longer have to pick up the phone and wait in the queue for assistance from a trained agent – the query can be solved entirely online.
This is how a customer’s query is intuitively and quickly resolved through live chat:
Once the customer has engaged with live chat and the agent has introduced themselves, the customer explains the issue they require help with.
The agent interface that is powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP) analyses every keyword entered on each keypress to unpick and understand search intent.
In the same window that the chat takes place in, a series of AI-predictive suggestions are displayed, each containing relevant articles.
The agent selects the most relevant, either choosing “copy article to chat” for the whole article of “copy snippet” for a specific part of the article.
The agent hits send.
Because your agents are equipped with a knowledge base full of information and resolutions that are automatically generated for them via AI, there is no need for the customer to pick up the phone, creating a smooth and efficient journey.
Choosing live chat software that is built using AI and harnesses powerful Natural Language Processing (NLP) to offer agents AI-predictive suggestions.
It Saves Time Your Customers Time
When it comes to offering customers a great experience and satisfying their customer support needs, time is an important factor.
Telephone and email as contact channels are renowned for long wait times and often unpleasant experiences. As your customers’ lifestyles become busier and time becomes more precious, it is no wonder that such contact channels are no longer suiting their needs.
The mechanics of live chat on the other hand means that your customers can continue their everyday tasks whilst engaging with an agent and having their issues resolved. Customers can interact with agents from anywhere, whether it’s a busy outdoor space or noisy area.
Unlike telephony, the format of live chat doesn’t warrant an instant response which allows customers to multitask whilst they communicate with agents. If an agent hasn’t heard back from a customer after a certain amount of time, they can send a “poke”. This prompts the customer, asking if they’d like to continue, otherwise the session will be closed.
Get it right by:
Selecting live chat software that utilises low code; let your customers benefit from convenient online channels as soon as is possible.
Customers love the multiple ways in which they can engage with your live chat agents. Whether its through their favourite social media platform, instant messaging service or directly through your site, it’s easy and the choice is theirs.
Live chat software integrates with the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp so that customers can get help with support or purchases quickly and from any device. With the utilisation of APIs, agents can see all chats within the same interface, regardless of their origin and handle them accordingly.
So, whether your customers engage with your live chat tool as a result of finding you on Google search, being escalated from a self-service channel or through social media, getting help is straightforward.
Get it right by:
Choosing live chat software that includes seamless escalation options and multichannel integration capabilities.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about live chat, read our guide here or if you would like any assistance with software and implementation, please
Live chat is an agent-assisted customer support channel that utilises a familiar instant messaging format. Unlike other channels that rely on AI to serve customers, such as a chatbot solution that automates routines queries, live chat utilises human agents. Live chat is therefore ideal for handling customer queries that are non-routine or complex, those that cannot be solved using AI.
Where self-service tools utilise Artificial Intelligence to provide support, live chat utilises human intelligence.
As a staple in the wider customer support ecosystem, when it comes to handling issues, live chat proves significantly cheaper than alternative agent-assisted channels such as email and telephony. With its multi-chat capability and features that speed up the resolution process, customers can be dealt with simultaneously and efficiently.
Better ESAT – agents are empowered by the tool that allows them to simultaneously help customers.
Greater competitive advantage – by providing visitors with a more enjoyable website experience than competitors who don’t offer live chat.
Fewer customer complaints – with quick access to agent assistance, long wait times are repetition are reduced.
Your Customers’ Preferred Channel
Whilst digitisation has been underway for many decades, the recent and rapid shift to online consumption and services – largely driven by external forces and behavioural changes – means there is a far greater demand for online customer support than ever before.
It’s therefore fundamental for businesses that they comply with their customers’ fast-changing expectations of online customer support if they want to remain competitive – if their demands are not met, they will simply go elsewhere.
Live chat is favoured by customers for its convenience and real-time resolutions. In fact 79% of customers say they prefer live chat to other channels due to its instant responses. Not only is it loved by customers, providing them with a slick and smooth customer experience, but it is hugely beneficial for companies too.
It Fits in Amongst Your Wider Customer Support Ecosystem
Live chat plays an important role when it comes to your wider customer support ecosystem. As a direct channel in which your customers can communicate with you, live chat if often the result of escalation. It is triggered by AI when non-routine questions cannot be resolved and therefore human intervention is required.
Here are some examples:
A customer finds your self-service page through an organic search result but is later escalated to live chat when AI detects the query is too complicated to solve.
A visitor lands on your website directly and after browsing through a few pages, engages with the chatbot that offers assistance. When the non-routine questions cannot be solved, the chatbot escalates the visitor to live chat.
On Facebook, a customer interacts with your page’s bot that determines intent. Through integration, your customer, within the same window, is then escalated to a live chat agent who can help further.
To offer your customers the support they require and a smooth journey, the live chat solution you choose must be capable of connecting seamlessly with your key customer service tools. When it comes to the best live chat for customer support, integration is fundamental.
It’s important that the live chat software you choose has a pricing model that is right for your company, fitting your goals that surround the customer service channel.
Some companies for example, with a customer service team of 5 agents will require a smaller, more consumable contract. Whilst others, perhaps with larger contact centres might want to maximise the value returns of pricing models that operate at scale.
Either way, ensure you ask the questions surrounding your requirements and choose a live chat vendor that is flexible in its pricing models.
It Connects with Your Everyday Business Tools
It is equally as important that the live chat you choose for customer support can integrate with your everyday business tools. Such integrations not only allow the 2-way sharing of data across platforms, which improves CX and enriches your companywide knowledge capabilities but can automate the following:
Identification and verification (ID&V)
Adding and/or updating contacts in your CRM
Adding/removing a contact from a particular mailing list
Producing certain documentation upon customer request
And a multitude of other tasks
When considering the best live chat for customer support, make sure you look for open RESTful APIs that enable easy integrations. This is key for customer satisfaction and contact centre efficiency.
It Includes Features That Maximise Agent Efficiency
Live chat allows agents to deal with multiple customers simultaneously, which proves advantageous in comparison to telephony or email channels that can only tend to one customer’s needs at a time.
Already the design of live chat is far more efficient than other agent-assisted channels, but the best live chat solutions offer additional features custom-built for boosting productivity in the contact centre.
For example, software that includes a live keypress feed decreases Average Handling Times (AHT) and consequently reduces support costs. This feature allows the agent to see what the customer is typing on every keypress, by the time they have hit “send”, the agent has often had time to prepare a resolution.
Further, some live chat software vendors include AI-predictive suggestions that recommend knowledge articles in real-time based on what the customer is typing. AI analyses each keyword as it is typed and subsequently retrieves relevant results from the wider knowledge base for the agent to choose from. This saves precious agent time that would otherwise be spent searching through resources or consulting supervisors.
It Uses Custom Triggers to Proactively Offer Help
When it comes to choosing the best live chat for customer support, lead generation and sales, custom triggers are considered essential.
Custom triggers can be configured to launch live chat when certain conditions are met, for example:
When a certain amount of time is spent on the cart page, indicating that the visitor might require some last-minute help, live chat is triggered to pop up and offer help. This can be the difference between cart abandonment and a sale.
When a visitor has been browsing certain resources created to capture leads, a trigger fires and live chat offers help, qualifies the lead and automatically adds them to your CRM.
When a trigger keyword is entered by a customer, for example, “subscribe”, “renew” or “upgrade” – those that are associated with revenue, live chat is automatically launched. This contributes to both retention and acquisition.
Your live chat solution is capable of dealing with much more than customer support – ensure it is powered by AI for maximum utilisation.
Its Implementation Is Quick and Effortless
It is fundamental that the implementation process, its timeline and expectations are discussed with a reputable and experienced vendor before choosing your live chat solution.
It is beneficial for companies and their customer support teams that live chat is up and running as soon as possible. Therefore, it is good practice to choose a vendor that adopts low code implementation, embedding live chat into your wider customer offering quickly and with ease.
This removes the requirement for cross-departmental involvement and hours of developer work. Instead, a simple line of code is installed and you are ready to go – you can begin helping customers, improving CSAT and enhancing CX.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about live chat for customers support, you can read more here or, for help with software selection
Live chat is an important part of the customer service toolkit and is utilised by a multitude of businesses. With 67% of companies in the B2C sector and 66% in the B2B sector using live chat for customer support, the adoption of this key contact channel is expected to further skyrocket, as the market’s value is projected to reach $997 million by 2023, growing at a 7.5 CADGR.
Live chat facilitates two-way communications between your customers and agents, acting as a digital portal to which customers receive support, information and answers to their queries. Unlike self-service channels like chatbots or self-service FAQs that rely on AI, live chat utilises human intelligence to answer queries, making it the perfect solution for dealing with complicated non-routine questions.
Live chat is particularly popular within customer service because it’s versatile and low-cost to run in comparison to other agent-assisted channels such as telephony that doesn’t enable multiple queries to be solved simultaneously. Live chat for your website also offers the following benefits:
Increased lead generation
Reduction in Average Handling Times (AHT)
Improved first Contact Resolution (FCR)
For more on how live chat can benefit your customer service operations, click here
How Does Live Chat Work?
Live Chat’s Key Role in Customer Service
Live chat earns its place as a key player in the online customer service offering by supporting other contact channels to ensure FCR whilst presenting itself at opportune moments to boost CSAT and revenue generation.
When the AI that powers your self-service channels such as an FAQ widget or chatbot cannot handle a non-routine question, the customer is automatically escalated to live chat where an agent can deal with the complicated issue. This is facilitated through seamless integration, all taking place in the same window for optimal CX and FCR.
Live chat on your website can also be presented to your visitors in specific forms and at specific times. Trigger management settings are configured to trigger live chat when certain conditions are met, these might be based on pages visited or duration spent on your website.
Selecting Your Live Chat Vendor
When it comes to live chat for your website, the selection process might seem monotonous, but choosing an effective vendor is arguably the most critical part of live chat implementation and should therefore be done with care. It’s good practice to conduct thorough research on multiple vendors to ensure you are delivered exactly what your company needs.
Whilst something might appear to be ‘good value’ at first glance, consider that in the long run, such solutions won’t serve companies and their requirements to scale.
When choosing a live chat vendor, consider these points:
Does the vendor meet your requirements and have they presented you with a business case? This helps you understand ROI, the payback period and whether they offer a flexible commercial model aligning to your needs.
Does the live chat software integrate seamlessly with other key customer service and 3rd party tools? Knowledge sharing and access to AI-powered functionality improves operational efficiency – ensure the vendor can facilitate this effortlessly.
Does it offer features that encourage agent productivity? Features such as live keypress feed, AI-predictive suggestions and chat routing promote agent efficiency and satisfaction.
Does it offer features that contribute to CX? Trigger management, integration with other online tools and escalation capabilities help visitors get to where they need to be, enhancing CX.
Does the live chat software include comprehensive analytics? Intelligence on agent activity, showing handling times, user feedback, login times, logoff times, active chat times and breaks is key to optimisation. Gamified user stats can also encourage healthy competition between agents.
Live Chat for Your Website: The Implementation Process
Once a vendor has been selected and the SRS has been agreed, live chat deployment – that’s being fully integrated, branded and up and running – should take a matter of days or weeks, depending on your business requirements and timeline.
The live chat implementation process will differ from company to company depending on its individual needs, but generally follows this structure:
Project kick-off meeting takes place: This is where key project expectations are discussed, including timelines, outcomes and functionality. It’s an opportunity for your vendor to thoroughly understand your requirements when it comes to execution.
Design guidelines are discussed: You want your customer-facing live chat channel to represent your brand, this is where brand and design guidelines are shared so that they can be built into your software.
First look designs are shared: Once they are built, the first look designs are shared with you and your team to ensure they have been properly executed. This is an opportunity to suggest any amendments if necessary.
Draft integration code is created and sandbox environment access is granted: Now that you’re happy with the design elements, your vendor will give you access to the sandbox environment where you can test the tool’s functionality. Again, if there are any apparent issues, this is where they can be discussed.
Design is signed off: Once you and your team are satisfied, the design is signed off.
Agent training: The account manager that has supported you throughout the implementation process will conduct the agent training. This is to ensure that your team get the most out of live chat and know how to use each feature adequately.
Testing: Next, thorough testing is carried out to eliminate any issues that could affect the tool’s effectiveness.
Final low-code integration is provided: The last step in the process is a simple one. It’s what gets live chat up and running on your website and involves one line of code. This is given to your developers by the vendor to install and you’re ready to go.
It’s good practice to discuss the implementation process with vendors in advance to manage expectations and make sure that these steps are included.
Measuring Live Chat Effectiveness
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. To continue reaping the benefits provided by live chat and ensure its constant optimisation, its effectiveness must continuously be measured. This is carried out by the frequent analysis and close monitoring of both performance and knowledge effectiveness metrics.
This group of metrics helps you to determine agent productivity, by providing you with data on each agent and their chat metrics, issues can easily be identified and resolved. These metrics include:
Operator’s Summary: This group of metrics gives a granular insight into agent activity, including, chat capacity, handling times, durations, user feedback, login times and more.
User Up-time: This demonstrates how your live chat teams’ time is spent throughout the day, showing data on login times, logoff times, active chat times and breaks.
Gamified Leaderboards: Visible to agents, these visuals encourage healthy competition by highlighting agents who complete the most chats or receive the most favourable customer feedback.
Knowledge Effectiveness Metrics
It’s important to study knowledge-related metrics in order to understand if the content and knowledge articles being delivered to your customers are serving them effectively. This set of metrics include:
Search Result: This collects data on every article, revealing how effective each is at answering customer queries. By pulling top-level effectiveness insights you can see how many queries were resolved and how many were optimisable.
Top Queries: This set of metrics including, top queries, how many results were generated and whether it could be resolved, help to gain insight into your customers’ behaviour and current needs, it can also help to reveal where any content gaps exist.
Triggers: Understand how well your configured triggers are performing with data that reveals where tools are being triggered on your website and which is most optimal.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about live chat for your website, read our guide here. Or, if you’d like any advice on how to set up live chat, please
Live Chat Knowledge Base Integration: How Does It Work?
“The whole is greater than the sum of its part.” – Aristotle
This phrase rings true when it comes to live chat knowledge base integrations; whilst each tool provides value to customer service individually, when combined, that value becomes significantly greater.
Before exploring the importance of this integration, let’s first unpack the impact that live chat and knowledge bases have individually on your wider customer service ecosystem.
Live Chat’s Role in Customer Service
In your customer service offering, live chat provides your customers with a platform whereby they can communicate with agents who will communicate back. Unlike self-service contact channels such as chatbots or self-service pages that utilise AI to solve with queries, live chat is operated and solves customer queries using human intelligence.
Live chat solutions are particularly popular due to their low-cost and versatility. Compared with other agent-assisted channels such as telephony, live chat, which allows agents to deal with multiple queries simultaneously, is significantly cheaper to run.
From a customer perspective, live chat combines the depth that is provided by agent-assisted channels with the accessibility and convenience of an online channel. According to one study , 79% of customers preferred to use live chat because it offers instant responses.
A knowledge base’s role in your wider offering is an important one, it is the core knowledge repository and where all information is stored, collected, shared and updated. From company guidebooks to pension policies and product spec sheets to agent scripting, a knowledge base stores everything relating to your company, products and services.
The purpose of a centralised knowledge base is to provide quick, convenient access to information, to the right people at the right time. A knowledge base is versatile and can be utilised both internally and externally in the following ways:
By employees looking for company information
By agents searching for knowledge articles that will answer customer queries
By customers and prospects who require information on the company, products or services
You can set up various knowledge base views to include or restrict certain articles being accessed depending on who the audience is.
This nucleus of customer service feeds all your key business and customer service tools to ensure that any information that is distributed, internally or externally is always consistent and accurate. Without knowledge bases in place, companies must deal with disorganised databases and scattered information that leads to unreliable knowledge sharing.
Why Integrate and How?
Companies with efficient and functional customer service recognise the importance and make use of the integration between live chat and knowledge base software. By connecting the two a synergy is created, greater control over knowledge is gained and the overall cohesion makes for more efficient, lower-cost operations.
The live chat knowledge base integration is popular due to its abilities to:
Promote agent productivity
Produce valuable analytics
Boost ESAT and CSAT
Implementing the integration is straightforward. Providing that your software utilises low-code development, the integration can be set up and ready to use following the simple installation of code.
Live Chat Knowledge Base Integration: What Are the Benefits?
Reduce Distraction and Enhance AHT
The integration between live chat and knowledge base software encourages agent efficiency. The agent interface offers an integrated knowledge feature, otherwise known as ‘mini knowledge’, it gives agents quick access to knowledge articles in the same window as the chat console. From there, they can simply copy and paste an article straight into the chat.
The advantage here is the reduction of distraction and noise, agents no longer must open new windows to search for answers in often multiple, disorganised places. Consider the sheer volume of routine questions that agents receive on a daily basis – this process becomes cumbersome when repeatedly carried out, eating up significant, valuable agent time.
Not only does the integration between the tools reduce AHT considerably, but by providing your customers with faster answers, CSAT is impacted.
Consistency Makes for Better CX
The circulation of inconsistent, inaccurate information not only damages brand credibility but could lead to anything from a surge in customer complaints to legal action being taken against the company.
Not only does this integration make the knowledge base available to live chat agents when dealing with customers, but it also powers all self-service tools that live on your website – whether its a self-service FAQ page, chatbot or widget. This means that the same information accessed by customers via your self-service channels is the same as the information that agents send your customers via live chat.
Providing such consistency is not only important for brand but it gives customers the right answers the first time, removing the need for customers to search around for adequate resolutions after they’re served inconsistent messages.
Optimal Agent Productivity Through Integration Features
By integrating live chat with your knowledge base, a series of features that contribute to productivity are unlocked. The live keypress feature that is made available in the agent interface allows agents to see what a customer is typing in real-time before they hit “send”. This lets agents resolve issues often before the query has been sent, saving considerable time.
AI predictive suggestions features are also made available through the live chat knowledge base integration. As customers type their query, in real-time, AI predictive suggestions will recommend a series of relevant articles in the ‘mini knowledge’ section. This is hugely useful for agents who can simply copy and paste an article and send to the customer without having to search for anything or leave the current window.
Both features help to save agents significant time so they can focus on other tasks, therefore promoting productivity.
Performance and Article Metrics Are Activated
Connecting two powerful tools generates powerful results – and these should be measured. The integration provides you with detailed analytics on knowledge article insights, for example:
Search results: analytics that demonstrate the effectiveness of articles based on resolved queries, subsequently revealing the effectiveness of your knowledge base
Top queries: insights into not only customer behaviour and areas for improvement but also how well your team is resolving such queries and whether there is a gap that needs filling
Triggers: showing you where live chat and other tools have been triggered on your website and which trigger is most optimal
It can also help you measure agent performance with metrics such as:
Operator’s summary: In-depth data showing agent handling times, user feedback, login times and many more metrics
User up-time: a holistic view of how your teams’ time of spent, including data on login and logoff times, active chat times and breaks
Plus, gamified leaderboards to encourage healthy competition and agent progress awareness
With regular monitoring and analysis, such analytics can be the answer to continual content and operational optimisation.
Boost ESAT To Boost CSAT
The integration between live chat and knowledge base makes agents’ jobs much easier, providing them with features that simplify tasks, make knowledge articles more accessible and ultimately give them a head start on each chat they are assigned.
This relieves the pressure on agents who would otherwise be scrambling to find answers in messy, confusing databases and documents, all whilst hoping that the information they serve is up-to-date and accurate.
Instead, agents, equipped with the combined power of live chat and knowledge base features, learn how to quickly deal with routine questions and can therefore deal with larger volumes of complicated issues. This helps not only develop customer service skills but it provides agents with job satisfaction by resolving customers’ serious issues.
The integration allows routine tasks to be completed efficiently so that agents can focus on more complex issues that prove rewarding. This contributes to employee satisfaction (ESAT), which has a huge impact on the way queries are dealt with, thus CSAT.
As an agent-assisted contact channel, live chat is an excellent choice for your customer service offering in terms of cost-efficiency. It proves far cheaper to run in comparison with other agent-assisted channels such as telephony which unlike live chat cannot deal with customers concurrently.
But when live chat integrates with knowledge base technology there further, significant savings to be made. Features included in the integration such as integrated knowledge (‘mini knowledge base’), live keypress and AI predictive suggestions create small, incremental savings in agent time. When you consider how many agents are in a contact centre and how many customers they deal with in a day alone, this adds up to significant time savings, which of course brings your operational costs down.
Training costs are also reduced through the integration, the knowledge base itself is a training tool for new starters and gets them up to speed far quicker than costly training programmes.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more about live chat integrations, you can do so here. If you are interested in seeing the benefits of a live chat knowledge base integration, please
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These 18 tips offer recommendations and best practices to help improve live chat for customer service.
Ensure Live Chat Is Aligned with Your Business Goals
Configure Trigger Management for Maximum Lead Generation
Put Your Brand’s Stamp on It
Use Smart Web Forms for Pre-Qualification
Manage Customer Expectations When It Comes to Live Chat
Ensure Live Chat Supports File Transfer
Offer Live Chat Feedback Surveys
Integrate Live Chat with Centralised Knowledge for Consistency
Integrate Live Chat with Your CRM And Other 3rd Party Apps
Compliment Live Chat With AI-Powered Chatbots
Consider Live Chat’s Role in The Holistic Customer Journey
Make Use of Integrations That Handle Personal Data Securely
Use A Live Keypress Feed for Reduced AHT
Use AI Predictive Suggestions and Integrated Knowledge for Accuracy
Ensure Chat Transfer Is Seamless to Enhanced FCR
Study Live Chat Metrics for Continual Optimisation
Focus on ESAT If You Want to Improve CSAT
Utilise Agent Scripting
1. Ensure Live Chat Is Aligned with Your Business Goals
When implementing live chat into your wider offering it’s important to consider your wider business goals, which might surround:
Firstly, ensure all employees involved are clear on why live chat is being deployed and to which business goal it will help achieve. Having everyone on the same page, working towards a clear goal creates transparency and drive. This also ensures the utilisation of live chat for customer service teams.
It’s vital that live chat aligns to such business goals and their subsequent objectives as well as integrating well into your customer service ecosystem. This makes operations smoother, knowledge sharing easier, visibility greater which creates enhanced customer service.
2. Configure Trigger Management for Maximum Lead Generation
Live chat is configured to trigger when certain conditions are met, this might include when a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on the site, indicating they require help, or when a visitor lands on a particular product page signalling their interest. By simply letting them know someone is here to help, the chances of lead and revenue generation increases.
Similarly, a visitor might reach the website cart page, spending a few minutes here because they need a question answering – a trigger set up here can resolve this and lead to a sale that would otherwise have been lost without the presence of live chat.
3. Put Your Brand’s Stamp on It
Your live chat page, widget or pop-up is an opportunity to showcase your brand. Personify your brand attributes and personality through the many customisable features that live chat offers. This can be visually represented through colour schemes and logos to creates brand familiarity or to show your brand’s tone of voice, canned responses can be configured to include quirks that match your brand guidelines.
Further, it is good practice to include tone of voice and brand personality training in the onboarding process, agent scripts should also utilise this.
4. Use Smart Web Forms for Pre-Qualification
When it comes to live chat for customer service optimisation, agent time is precious. To get the most out of agent time, pre-qualify customers using smart web forms. Capturing all relevant data before the chat takes place can save significant agent time, especially when you consider just how many chats one agent might deal with over a day.
Smart web forms can be configured to capture the following data pre-chat:
Custom fields if required
Companies might include just some or all of these fields depending on their needs.
5. Manage Customer Expectations When It Comes to Live Chat
There is nothing more frustrating for your customers than expecting to be put in touch with an agent via your live chat and instead waits in a ‘queue’ for hours before giving up. Your customers did not receive the service they expected and as a result, become angry and frustrated, leading to poor CSAT.
What is important in such instances, for example when agents are not available due operating hours, that expectations are managed. Ensure settings are configured to remove live chat as an available option as well as making operating hours clear.
You can also consult the analytics section of your live chat interface , where data will help you determine how many agents you require to fulfil chat volumes.
The queries that your agents handle through live chat cannot always be solved using text alone, often the more complex issues require file transfer capabilities. This might include:
Documents such as Word or PDF files
7. Offer Live Chat Feedback Surveys
Offer your customers a feedback survey once their chat has ended. Asking questions about the chat itself, the agent and quality of resolution can reveal a lot about operations.
Collect and study such data to find out what you’re excelling at and what might need improving. This practice should be constantly carried out to encourage optimal CSAT and CX.
8. Integrate Live Chat with Centralised Knowledge for Consistency
Integrating your live chat solution with your centralised knowledge is key to providing accurate and consistent information both to customers but also internally.
By utilising knowledge base software , all relevant knowledge can be stored in one place to avoid errors and inaccuracies associated with multiple knowledge sources. By integrating live chat with a knowledge base, you can be assured that all information served to customers is regulated and fed from the same source as other customer service tools.
In addition, such integrations enable agents to look up results quickly and easily via the same UI as their live chat console, saving time and making their jobs easier.
9. Integrate Live Chat with Your CRM And Other 3rd Party Apps
Having your live chat, that collects valuable data on customers and your CRM platform, that stores this data, communicate with each other is fundamental. Not only does the integration enable automations that populate fields in your CRM based on the chat, but it creates a holistic view of the customer for your account managers – with data from entry to exit.
Choose live chat software that is built using open RESTful APIs to ensure quick and seamless integrations and two-way data sharing between live chat and your CRM.
10. Compliment Live Chat With AI-Powered Chatbots
Agent-assisted channels such as live chat often receive unnecessarily large volumes of routine questions. Chatbots can provide huge support to live chat by handling these routine questions through AI and subsequently freeing up the channel. The effect of which means that live chat agents can deal with the type of query they are trained to deal with – individual and complex.
By incorporating AI chatbots into your offering, automatic escalation to live chat channels take place. In instances where AI cannot find a solution to a non-routine query, the customer is seamlessly transferred to live chat, via the same window.
Further, such chatbots can be configured to automatically escalate to live chat when certain keywords are entered, for instance, “Renew” or “Emergency”. These keywords indicate urgency and therefore require human assistance.
11. Consider Live Chat’s Role in The Holistic Customer Journey
It’s important that the role of live chat as part of the wider customer journey has been considered. There is a multitude of potential customer journeys and its good practice to map the most common out.
Whilst live chat for customer service is necessary, not everyone that uses the channel needs to, a lot of queries and tasks can be dealt with using self-service toolsand chatbots. Emphasise these self-service tools, so that they are your customers first port of call, not are they significantly cheaper to run, but according to one study , 73% of people said they preferred to use a website’s self-service instead of live chat and other channels.
For enhanced CX and CSAT through quickfire answers to routine questions, put self-service at the forefront of your offering, but ensure that effective escalation points are set up for when agent assistance is required. Additionally, do not make live chat impossible to find – customers recognise when they require human-assisted support.
12. Make Use of Integrations That Handle Personal Data Securely
Integrate your live chat with Identification & Verification (ID&V) software that securely handles customer data to confirm identities. ID&V takes care of this whole process for you so that confidential account information does not need to be dealt with by agents. The secure questioning process simply tells your agent whether ID&V was successful and they can commence with the task at hand.
Your live chat can also facilitate secure payments through PCI partners, taking place in the same window for your customer’s convenience and your brand’s credibility.
13. Use A Live Keypress Feed for Reduced AHT
Live keypress feed is a feature utilised by agents for efficiency. It allows them to see what the customer is typing before they have pressed send. This lets the agent solve the customer query often before it has been sent, saving significant time in the long run.
14. Use AI Predictive Suggestions and Integrated Knowledge for Accuracy
Another helpful feature that exists within the agent interface includes AI predictive suggestions. When live chat is integrated with centralised knowledge, your agents can view a mini knowledge base in the same window as the chat itself, which makes looking up a topic or article simple.
AI predictive suggestions work with the mini knowledge base by suggesting relevant knowledge articles as the customer types their query.
These features help to ensure that the knowledge that is shared with customers is accurate and in line with what the centralised knowledge base says.
15. Ensure Chat Transfer Is Seamless to Enhanced FCR
Your agents all specialise in different areas, whether its complaints, renewals, sales or insurance. Therefore, it’s best practice that the chats surrounding each area are transferred to the appropriate agents. This is not only important in ensuring that customers receive relevant expert help, but by offering smooth transitions, First Contact Resolution (FCR) is improved.
Before joining a chat, customers generally pre-select the area that they require help with and this puts them in touch with an agent who has the relevant skillset. However, in some instances, customers might require help in more than one area or an agent believes a different skillset would be more suitable. This is when a seamless transfer from agent to agent is critical – this should all take place timely and within the same window so that the customer is not inconvenienced.
16. Study Live Chat Metrics for Continual Optimisation
It’s vital that your live chat software includes comprehensive metrics that can be analysed to influence key decision-making and continual optimisation. Both agent performance and knowledge article metrics are particularly useful in improving operations over time.
Live chat software collects data and compiles it into visuals and graphs that reveal where improvements must be made, areas that need flagging or interesting behaviours and insights. All of these can contribute to crucial decision-making and change that ultimately enhance operations and output.
17. Focus on ESAT If You Want to Improve CSAT
It’s no revelation that when your employees are happy at work, it’s reflected through their productivity, attitude and quality of work. Satisfying agents’ hygiene factors is a given, but what is effective in contributing to employee satisfaction (ESAT) is equipping them with tools that empower them.
Live chat that integrates with other business tools, offers a live keypress feed, AI-predictive suggestions, integrated knowledge and other features helps agents to:
Hit targets quicker
Become experts in multiple areas
Help more customers with a wide range of issues
All of which can lead to job enrichment and a sense of purpose at work, which in turn improves ESAT.
18. Utilise Agent Scripting
Agent scripting that is built and customised using decision tree technology can have positive impacts on AHT and FCR. Contrary to outdated, print-based scripts, decision trees allow supervisors to customise scripts by configuring a series of connected questions that guide your agents through complicated interactions with customers.
This gives your agents not only the independence to answer complex issues without supervisor intervention, but by doing so, costs are kept down and the customer journey remains smooth.
If you enjoyed this article you can read more about live chat in our 101 guide, or if you would like to find out more about a live chat solution that includes the features discussed in this article, then please
Whilst self-service channels are effective in solving customers’ routine queries, AI cannot always replicate the sensitivity and empathetic decision-making that comes with human understanding. Which is why live chat software is the perfect solution for queries that are more complex by nature, customers get the best of both worlds: the human touch and depth of answers that come with an agent-assisted channel, blended with the convenience and flexibility of using an online tool.
Customers are always going to have complex questions, the type that does not fit into the routine category and thus cannot be solved by self-service tools. This is why providing a live chat option online is paramount to CSAT and channel efficiency.
Beyond simple customer service, live chat can also facilitate lead generation and customer engagement, serving prospects, leads, new and existing customers.
How does it work?
On the customer’s end, a live chat conversation is initiated and their query is entered. This chat is received via the agent interface, otherwise known as the chat console, where it is assigned to an available agent, perhaps by skill if appropriate.
When integrated with a wider knowledge base, the interface recognises keywords that the customer has entered, prompting AI-powered predictive suggestions in real-time and shown in a ‘mini knowledge’ in the same window that recommends articles for sending. Agents can send pre-configured canned responses to save time or transfer chats to those with more appropriate skillsets. Certain live chat software includes live key-press features that allows agents to see what a customer is typing before they hit ‘send’, giving them extra time to resolve issues. All these functions are designed to promote incremental efficiencies.
Companies understand that there will always be non-routine queries to deal with and that agent-assisted channels prove costly. The reason why live chat software is so widely utilised is because it is a fraction of the cost of telephony and email. These features that enable incremental efficiencies along with the capability to handle multiple chats simultaneously, brings operational costs down significantly.
Live chat is perhaps most commonly known for facilitating customer service online. It provides customers with quick, easy and convenient access to company representatives who can help them.One study revealed that 79% of customers preferred live chat over other channels due to its immediacy – a key contributor when it comes to CSAT.
Whether it’s a simple but non-routine query or a serious and time-sensitive issue, live chat software assists your customers when they most need it, building strong, positive associations with your brand.
Live chat does not only serve customers post-purchase, but it can also assist in increasing lead generation. Live chat software can be configured to trigger under certain conditions, for instance, if a customer visits a certain product page more than once or spends a particular amount of time on the cart page. Such conditions suggest a lead is hot or is about to convert – this is where live chat can intervene via a proactive trigger, offering additional support and consequently secure the lead or sale.
According to one report, live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate.
Live chat software can help companies build better relationships with their customers, enhance brand credibility and increase conversions – all through customer engagement. CX can be enhanced by personalising the customer journey. Agents have access to returning visitor’s preferences and transcripts and can therefore utilise this data to make the experience smoother, more efficient and more enjoyable.
Just by being present and available through live chat software, companies can reap the rewards of customer engagement. Kayako reported that 79% of businesses said that implementing live chat resulted in increased customer loyalty, sales and revenue.
The implementation of live chat software can reduce your company’s operational costs significantly. Agent-assisted channels such as telephony and email are particularly high cost to run, this is because there are an accumulation of staffing and operational overheads involved, not to mention the fact that only one customer can be dealt with at a time, increasing handling times by upwards of 40% for some products. So, when companies deploy live chat software, that enables agents to handle multiple chats simultaneously, your customer service operations become more efficient. Pair this with features such as AI-powered predictive suggestions, integrated mini knowledge, live key-press feed and canned responses, that are designed to incrementally boost efficiency and huge operational savings are made.
The software can also have a positive effect on agents, which in turn can promote productivity and improve quality of work. When you deploy live chat software in contact centres and customer service teams, you are empowering agents by equipping them with tools that make their jobs easier. Not only do the features allow them to work through queries quicker, helping more customers, but access to integrated knowledge lets them become experts in many relevant areas.
Further, by including live chat in your online offering and using trigger management to prompt the tool when certain conditions are met, both lead and revenue generation can increase significantly.
For your customers that require help with issues that are not routine and fit into the complex category, live chat is the ideal contact channel. Not only do they get to speak to a human who is experienced in the area at hand, but live chat can handle their queries quickly and conveniently – allowing them to carry on with everyday tasks at the same time. This is a huge improvement from having to wait in line to speak to an agent via the phone. Not only does live chat software reduce Average Handling Time (AHT) significantly, but it makes for happier customers and this is reflected in your CSAT scores.
Live chat software also contributes to a smooth and successful CX. The role in which it plays in the holistic customer journey is key in ensuring the customer gets to where they need to be. Live chat compliments other customer service tools that specialise in self-service, if a visitor engages with a chatbot for example and the software detects it cannot answer the non-routine query, a seamless escalation to live chat takes place, within the same window for great CX. The visitor does not feel inconvenienced and having interacted with the familiar instant messaging medium that live chat provides, CSAT is enhanced.
It’s clear why so many businesses rely on live chat as an indispensable tool in the customer service kit. Acting as an intelligent portal that connects customers to agents, live chat software promotes operational efficiency whilst bringing costs down. It is also heavily relied upon by customers – as the quickest way to contact your company, live chat enhances CX and contributes positively to CSAT.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about live chat software, check out our guide if you would like help regarding your organisational needs, please
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