If you take a look at Kayako’s website and blog, it’s obvious that we know live chat customer support is a big difference-maker for businesses large and small. Our study of 500 consumers and businesses proves it. After all, more than 41% of the consumers we talked to said they prefer live chat over email, phone, and social media support.
But the biggest takeaway from our study isn’t a particular statistic—it’s that live chat (when done right) has the power to drive sales and boost customer loyalty. Why? Why does live chat reign supreme over every other customer support channel, even while 47% of consumers haven’t had a positive live chat experience in the last month?
Let’s talk about the 4 main reasons live chat is so powerful for driving revenue and boosting customer retention—and how your business can capitalize on them.
1. Customers Buy from Companies That Offer Live Chat
Our study turned up one piece of data that I find the most intriguing. We found that nearly 4 in 10 consumers say they’re more likely to buy from companies that offer live chat. Just offering live chat alone means that 38% of consumers are more inclined to do business with you. That’s big, right?
The bottom line is that customers want to buy from people who value their time and concern. They want to work with businesses who create an effortless experience for customers. Offering live chat support is a tell-tale sign that a company is committed to their customers.
A small chat box is just one of the ways you can communicate that commitment. Live chat tells consumers that your business is approachable and driven by customer needs. Communicating your customer-centric focus says a lot to potential customers. It can make them feel more secure in their decision to do business with you—leading to more conversions and higher sales.
2. Real-time Support Boosts Loyalty and Creates Upsell Opportunities
When we talk about trends in consumer behavior, it’s a study in sociology. Consumers are all of us, so big shifts in technology and culture affect our habits and desires as consumers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the mentality of instant gratification.
Thanks to technology, we can get almost anything on-demand—entire seasons of TV shows, groceries delivered, 2-day shipping on millions of products… on and on.
That expectation of instant gratification doesn’t end when it comes to customer support. Gone are the days of filling out a support form and waiting days for an email reply. Customers expect support to be effective, efficient, and in real-time.
That’s where live chat comes into play. We know that customers who receive instant support are more likely to be satisfied and loyal customers. Seamless and quick, live chat support can help to foster that loyalty and retain more customers, for longer. And customer retention has an outsized effect on revenue—with a mere 5% improvement in retention spurring 95% higher profits.
Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold. They stick with you for the long-haul and are also more likely to trust your business and recommendations, making them much easier to upsell to.
3. Proactive Live Chat Can Turn Browsing into a Sale
Sometimes when we talk about customer support, we get a little tunnel vision-y about immediate post-sale support. But customer support and experience begin long before the sale is made, and they continue long after.
In fact, the time leading up to the sale might be the most important time to get customer support right. After all, Forrester found that as much as 55% of shoppers will abandon a purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their product questions.
That’s part of the reason consumers who engage with your company are more likely to become customers. Proactive live chat has gained popularity as a way of capitalizing on that. Proactive live chat gives customers a little nudge to engage with your business—making it easier for your team to help them along the path to a sale.
The best live chat tool (in our totally unbiased opinion, that’s Kayako) works with your ecommerce solution to empower support agents with the knowledge and context they need to knock proactive chat sessions out of the park. By giving reps valuable information about where customers have been and what might have them stuck or hesitating.
That context gives your team a leg up when the time comes to strike up a conversation and turn it into a sale.
4. Real-time Feedback Means a Better Product and Customer Experience
If there’s one thing that drives customer loyalty and retention above any other, it’s a feeling of reciprocity. Customers want to feel like their loyalty is mutual. They need to feel that your team is as committed to their success as they are to your own.
Truly customer-focused businesses are driven by one thing above all: customer feedback. There’s simply no substitute for hearing your customers’ wants and challenges—directly from them and in their own words.
That feedback is invaluable to your team because it empowers you to create a better product and more seamless customer experience. That’s why we always recommend building a customer feedback loop into your sales and support processes.
Gaining access to that feedback in real-time means you can continuously improve your offering, ensure customers feel heard and supported, and demonstrate your commitment to customers—boosting their loyalty in return.
Live chat support creates the perfect channel for gathering this feedback.
One of the biggest issues with building a customer feedback loop is getting customers to actually give you feedback. Since you can reach out to customers proactively via live chat, you can create a trigger for that exchange. And unlike email or phone support interactions, live chat sessions leave your team with a clear and comprehensive record of the conversation.
With all the context of integrated live chat, your team is left with an informed view of the customer’s problem—making it easier to find and implement a more holistic solution for all customers.
Live Chat is Your Competitive Advantage
By now, it’s pretty clear that live chat holds incredible power to grow your sales and inspire customer loyalty and retention. So why aren’t more companies offering the kind of live chat experience customers are looking for?
Our study found that 56% of consumers can’t remember having an exceptional live chat experience. Eighty-four percent of consumers have given up on a live chat because they were frustrated with slow or inadequate responses.
That disconnect between customer preferences and the reality most businesses are offering is your opportunity. Turn stellar live chat experiences into your competitive advantage, and your bottom line will love you.