Live chat just exploded. From 2015 to 2016 live chat usage more than doubled. All the signs are that growth will be even bigger in 2017 with more and more companies implementing it.
But is live chat the right decision? Our survey suggests that for those customers who don’t want to call, the majority would prefer instant messaging.
How would you rather contact service providers of financial services, telecoms/broadband/tv, medical care, utilities, transport, recruitment or public services?
Live chat (wait for a connection and correspond in real-time for as long as a conversation takes)
Instant messaging (WhatsApp / Messenger / SMS type experience with notifications when a response is received)
And that’s not even taking into account the fact that wait times and poor customer service are prevalent in live chat services that are deployed (eMarketer).
The indisputable fact is that messaging is most people’s customer service communication mechanism of choice. This demand is already being forced onto institutions through social media. Customer service interactions over Twitter have increased 250% in the last 2 years. The public nature of these channels means institutions have to ensure strong staffing levels to respond quickly. However, certainly for industries like financial services, this demand has caused a problem. They can’t serve customers over these channels because they don’t know they are who they say they are, and the data isn’t secure. This means the institution either calls the customer back, or directs them to an alternative channel. In both scenarios, the company pays twice. Once to serve the customer on social media, and once again in another channel. And despite paying twice, by failing to serve the customer in their channel of choice, satisfaction and advocacy are adversely impacted.
Many companies have seen live chat as the answer. Where security is a concern they deploy a live chat solution behind their own customer authentication capability. For those that have done this it has delivered strong benefits. It gives customers a messaging interface. As a result customers are happier. Plus research estimates serving customers via messaging is 2-6 times more efficient than the phone. Happier customers and lower operating costs are a winning formula.
Reading too much into the success of live chat misses the bigger picture on the future of communications though. It is instant messaging that’s dominating channel growth as a whole outside of customer service. The top 6 of the 10 global apps are messaging apps. 60billion messages are sent every day over WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger alone. The only thing the success of live chat proves is that it is better than the telephone. Just think about the benefits of embracing an instant messaging strategy instead:
- As shown in our survey, the majority of messaging customers would prefer this experience over live chat
- If your customer has to break-away from the conversation because of a time constraint or if a connection drops, the conversation can be easily picked up at a later point
- Instant messaging affords the time to effectively route and segment customers to the appropriate agent, even mid-conversation
- There is more leeway in response times with instant messaging because of notifications, whereas in live chat poor response times destroy satisfaction
- You can communicate outbound to customers as well as responding to inbound queries
- You can more naturally share files and images e.g. statements and images of documentation
- You can spread complex conversations (like onboarding prospects) more conveniently over a period of time.
If you want to explore an instant messaging solution but you need to trust the security of data and the identity of the individual, then Nivo is the answer. Nivo doesn’t require expensive integration to existing technology infrastructure.