As your business works diligently toward its digital transformation, your customers are expecting you to use your technology to enhance their experience with your company. More than 60% of your customers expect you to understand and anticipate their needs, and most have no problem leaving your brand if you don’t.
This means that things like 24/7 live chat support and omnichannel customer service are no longer optional for your business. Instead, your customers have grown to expect these elements as part of a standard experience. To meet this demand, many companies have begun incorporating live chat software into their websites. However, it’s possible that this may not be the best way to engage customers.
Are you considering adding a chat feature to your website but aren’t sure whether software or live agents are the way to go? If so, this guide will help you understand the differences between the two. It will also assist you in deciding which one can help you reach your goal of building your brand reputation through exceptional customer service.
What Is Live Chat Software?
Live chat software is a platform that allows your team to provide customer service through a chat box or window. In most cases, a chat is initiated when the customer types and sends a question or information through the messaging mechanism provided on your website. This then sets off one of three chains of events:
- The customer is instantly connected to a live agent
- The customer is informed that no agent is available
- The customer is given an automated response through a chatbot
Depending on the customer’s need and the company’s service model, automated responses may be followed up by contact from a live agent.
What Is a Live Chat Agent?
A live chat agent is a human customer service representative who provides real-time assistance to customers with inquiries. This CSR may work directly for your organization or for a third party if your business chooses to outsource live chat support.
The agent providing chat support services usually waits for a customer to ask a question or otherwise start a conversation. The live chat agent then responds immediately, providing answers, resources, and support to help solve the customer’s issue on the spot.
Live Chat Software vs. Live Chat Agent: Which Is Best?
The debate between using live chat software and live chat agents is somewhat challenging because the software facilitates your use of live agents. Whichever option you choose, you will still need to use some form of live chat software to connect with your customers.
However, issues occur when live chat software is employed when no live agents are available. Most live chat software platforms will initiate what is known as asynchronous communication. This means that your customer will be informed that there are no live agents to help them and that a representative will answer their query as soon as possible. Unfortunately, your company’s reputation can suffer as a result because:
- Most customers expect an immediate response to their question or issue
- Most customers want their problems resolved in one conversation
- Most customers will move on to a competitor before you get back to them
Your customers understand that you may not always have enough agents or that your team may be sleeping in the middle of the night. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they need an immediate answer. Using live chat software on your website without an available live agent to help customers results in high bounce rates and low conversions and revenue.
How Live Chat Outsourcing Can Help Your Business
What can business owners do about this live chat software dilemma? For many, the answer lies in BPO live chat outsourcing. Live chat outsourcing means offloading your live customer service chat responsibilities to a third party.
You may wonder whether this type of business process outsourcing is useful. Indeed, it can offer a plethora of benefits for business owners, including:
Augmenting Your Team
In some cases, customers are left waiting in the chat because the live agents you have are too busy to answer them. When you outsource live chat to a third party, you can augment your team and ensure that a live agent will always be available to provide an immediate response.
Your agents may not be available outside of standard business hours, but there’s no getting around the fact that some customers will need assistance during these periods. Instead of employing asynchronous messaging and getting back to their query later, outsourcing chat support can allow you to provide live agents 24/7 without wearing out your existing team.
If you don’t have enough agents available, your go-to solution might be to hire more of them. However, doing so can be expensive, especially if turnover rates are high. Your outsourced live chat quote will likely be much lower and more cost-effective, as your third-party partner will take care of the hiring, saving you money in the long run.
Customers expect you to provide them with personalized experiences. Unfortunately, chat software alone cannot get to the core of their problems, understand their emotions, anticipate their intent, or point them to customized solutions.
An outsourced live chat team will take this personalized approach with your customers. As a result, you can help them get what they need quickly so that your business reputation is not left in the hands of an algorithm.
Tracking and Reporting
Outsourcing your company’s live chat feature means having someone else take care of the tracking and reporting. You’ll always have a handle on how live chat is working to boost conversions and revenue and a better understanding of how it enhances the customer experience.
Make the Customer Experience Your Number-One Priority
While providing live chat services to your customers may seem like a “set and forget” opportunity, that could not be further from the truth. When your customers have questions or issues, they expect immediate, friendly, and personalized support that gives them the information and solutions they need. Software alone cannot provide this, which means live agents are vital.
When you prioritize the customer experience by ensuring your live chat agents are available for constant support, you ensure brand loyalty, higher conversions, and ultimately increased revenue for your business — a win-win for everyone involved.