One of the biggest shifts over the past few years? A digital-first mindset. While phone support isn’t going anywhere, when you force consumers to switch platforms in order to get their questions answered, you give them a reason to abandon their purchase or generate negative feelings. The less effort, the better — and with the digital-first consumer, chat is often better.
In an effort to understand how brands are currently using live chat for business, why some have not yet done so, and whether there is a disconnect between customer needs and brand expectations, Kustomer went out and surveyed over 100 CX professionals and compared these findings with our recent consumer research.
What Is Live Chat for Business?
Live chat is a customer service widget that allows your questions to be answered effortlessly within the web browser. Live chat allows customers to effortlessly communicate with customer service representatives in real time, without having to leave the platform they are already doing business on. The live chat allows customers to communicate with customer service at stores or brands in real time without having to talk with a customer service representative.
Why Consumers Love Chat
Think about the online shopping experience. You find the perfect Christmas present for your son, but have a question about whether batteries are included. So, instead of picking up the phone or searching for an e-mail address to contact the business, there is a chat window right there on the page that can allow your questions to be answered effortlessly. While switching channels may not sound like a deal-breaker, the data says otherwise.
According to recent consumer research conducted by Kustomer, 79% of consumers get frustrated when they can’t contact customer service on their preferred medium or platform, and 81% of consumers would abandon a purchase due to a poor service experience.
Chat, as well as social media messaging, allows you to instantly meet your customers where they are, whether that is browsing online for products, checking their shipping status, or perusing your social channels. Research from Matt Dixon revealed that only 9% of customers who have low effort experiences display any kind of disloyal attitude or behavior, compared to 96% of those customers with high effort, difficult experiences. And chat does a great job of delivering this effortless quality customer service experience.
Want the complete findings from our live chat research? Download the report here.
The Business Disconnect
Curiously, businesses are not aligned with these consumer preferences and wants. Only 25% of surveyed customer service organizations are currently using chat, and 18% report they currently use chatbots. When taking into consideration the effortless, fast service that modern customers demand, the vast majority of businesses are missing a huge opportunity and leaving themselves open to competitors.
The top two reasons that companies have not yet adopted chat software, speak to a lack of time, resources or strategy internally: the organization does not know where to start, or they have staffing constraints when it comes to managing more channels. However, the third most popular reason speaks to the massive disconnect between CX organizations and consumers: businesses report that they don’t think their customers want or like it. However, according to Kustomer’s recent consumer research, customers rank live chat as the second most popular channel or tactic for contacting customer service, right below the phone.
Top Reasons CX Organizations Haven’t Adopted Chat
Customers No Longer Want to Call for Support
While some customer service organizations might have a rough time integrating live chat into their available channels, customers are finding other ways to get support. Things like self-service channels have seen an increase in traffic over the last few years while phone customer service has seen a decline. Consumers prefer working with low-friction channels in order to interact with an agent.
While adopting live chat for business may have its benefits, it may not be right for every organization due to these reasons:
- Don’t know where to start
- Staffing constraints
- Customers don’t want / like it
- Lack of customizable solutions
- No budget
- Lack of executive buy-in
Additionally, many organizations report that they are prevented from adopting chat because of the lack of customizable solutions. Seventy-five percent of CX teams say that matching the chat experience to the overall brand experience is important, so slapping any old chat widget on your site just won’t do. Make sure that your customer service CRM can allow your business to build or integrate chat widgets seamlessly, ensuring that all customer data and history is integrated within the chat experience while maintaining brand guidelines.
When it comes to chatbots, the reasons for lack of adoption differ slightly from live chat:
Top Reasons CX Organizations Haven’t Adopted Chatbots
Chatbots Might Not Be The Solution You’re Looking For
Chatbots, in addition to personalized recommendation systems and FAQs help CX organizations achieve 24/7 customer service. While they have certain benefits for consumers, chatbots also run the risk of removing the sense of the human touch and conversational support that consumers also crave.
Furthermore, they can cause customers to go in circles trying to get a resolution for their problems, creating more frustration in the process. Based on survey data compiled by Kustomer, here are the top reasons CX organizations are not adopting chatbots:
- Not sure of the benefits
- No budget
- Lack of resources to manage chatbots
- Customers don’t want/like it
- Tried, isn’t effective
- Lack of executive buy-in
As chatbots are quite new, and often involve buying a pricey solution or building one with an internal team, the top reasons for lack of adoption make sense. But 61% of the younger generation prefer self-service over talking to a company representative, meaning that the benefits are clear: your customers now expect chatbots as an option.
Additionally, chatbots free up agent time for more complex and proactive support. They can be used to collect initial information, provide responses to simple questions, and even complete standard tasks like initiating a return or answering an order status question. While there is always a fear of losing personalization when using AI and automation, with the right platform, businesses can actually do the opposite. For instance, if a business leverages customer data properly, chatbots could ask personalized questions based on an individual’s purchase or browsing history. These interventions save time for both the customer and agent, and they can increase the time spent on the actual issue rather than information gathering and low-level support.
Look for a platform that leverages chatbots and AI-enabled deflection to act as the first line of defense, optimizing a customer’s ability to self-serve so agents can focus on the most important cases and deliver the highest impact.