5 reasons why live-chat fails your customers

In short, it is invented to bridge the gap between the more personal offline face-to-face experience and the impersonal online experience.

But, in practice, the market is still full of many poor examples of live chat implementation in terms of user experience.

Here we look at the five key reasons why live chat can fail both customers and businesses.

Execution 

11 per cent of repetitive chat invites cause customers to leave the site, according to a report published on e-tailing.com. 

Use prospect detection to prioritise hot prospects using your own rules – i.e. basket value, location specific or once a specific item has been viewed. Link this to dynamic invites, the invitation will reflect the circumstance – for example “ten per cent discount for Midlands customers, click to talk to an agent now”. Remember, correctly executed, proactive invites can increase your conversion rate by 28 per cent.

Expectations not met in chat

WhosOn industry research shows that 15 per cent of customers have had a bad experience with one of the live chat solutions. Resource availability is the top annoyance for visitors. What is the point of having a chat icon visible, if nobody is free to take any incoming enquiries? 

All good chat providers will enable the option to remove chat from their site until assistance is available or it could be replaced with a call back request window, to ensure customer retention. Another piece of functionality recommended is the use of a pre chat survey which ensures your customers are directed to the correct department, skillset or even specific agent.

Expectations not met after chat

78 per cent of those who receive a poor follow-up to a live chat will return to other forms of communication, following our own industry research. A trusted chat provider will offer the ability to integrate with your current CRM system, meaning customers won’t have to repeat details as all historical data and chats will be visible to the agent instantly. 

A ticketing system will allow you to assign it to an agent, with a due date and relevant client history attached. This is stored against the customer record, so if they return the ticket is immediately visible. Post chat surveys are also a great way to continuously improve upon service.

Security concerns

A frequently asked question from consumers is; is live chat secure?

When choosing a chat provider, this is probably the most important factor – especially for the financial, health and legal sector – the secure chat window, should display ‘HTTPS’ for the customers’ peace of mind. For companies who prioritise security, an alternative to cloud-based live chat is an on-premise solution. Installed within your own data centre, all conversations and information received are kept secure, behind your firewall.

Poor implementation

e-tailing.com also reported that 22 per cent of customers don’t even notice live chat availability during their visit. Positioning and branding is key, it needs to be at a main focal point on the site. It needs to match the look and feel of your website, showing the customer that it’s not a foreign object – use your corporate colours, your logo and even agent pictures to build trust to enable a conversation to commence.

Howard Williams is marketing manager of WhosOn.

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