Live Chat Apps Of Today
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.
Real-Time Help Boosts Lead Capture
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.
Trigger Management Intercepts Critical Touchpoints
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
- Ecommerce software
- Analytics platforms
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.