When Google announced its new Pixel phone last month, it backed it up by promising 24/7 live customer support via phone or chat – right from the device.
A recent study by LogMeIn and Ovum found that 68 percent of consumers believed that phone calls are the most successful way to resolve a problem. However, 78 percent would choose another channel if they knew they could get a resolution on the first attempt. Sixty percent of survey respondents said they wanted organizations to improve access to web support channels including social media, communities and live chat.
Google’s announcement and the LogMeIn study point to the importance of giving customers fast access to support and customer service.
At Adestra, we’ve provided instant customer support via live chat since 2004. In the past three years, we’ve seen use of the live chat function surpass email and phone as the most-used channel for getting immediate help. Today, an average of 65 percent of queries come through to us via our online support functionality.
What they need, when they need it
While we provide enterprise software rather than a consumer device or service, I think the needs of our customers are similar. People want help immediately – not when it’s convenient for the vendor. And given the fact that ROI on email is so high, any slight delay can mean losing all-important revenue.
I think we’re seeing this growth in the use of live chat for support for a few reasons:
An emphasis on relationships, not sales: While live chat has long been used as a sales tool and a way of converting website visitors, the rise of relationship marketing has changed the dynamic between brands and their customers. Consumers want a more personal interaction with brands, and enterprise customers feel the same way. We may be a global vendor, but our customers still want a relationship that feels personal.
The always-on work day: The marketers who use Adestra’s email platform are, like everyone else, tasked with doing more and more, as their own customers expect them to be available digitally at all times. No one wants to wait for “normal business hours” to get something done.
A generation raised on texting: Younger workers are used to communicating with friends and family via text – and they enjoy this medium of communication with customer service, as well. A study by Aspect Software found that 33 percent would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service reps. Yikes!
The complexity of marketing campaigns: We’re proud of the robustness of our platform and the richness of our features. The very fact that marketers can do so much with Adestra increases the need for us to provide help so that our customers can take advantage of everything we offer.
Live chat in enterprise services
I believe that if a company takes its customer relationships seriously, it must be as available as soon as possible and respond to customers as quickly as it can. Live chat is a prime way to offer that critical response.
Customer support should be seen as a skilled role anyway. Support via chat raises the stakes, and it may require an increase in training of staff. In addition to deep product knowledge and expertise in how to use products, chat support staff must be able to communicate information clearly, while creating an emotional connection through text.
The implicit message is an important one for every company to deliver: We’re here for you, whenever you need us.