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It’s ALIVE: The Clear Benefits of Live Chat Customer Support


Emmy Way

According to a report from Time Magazine, humans have a shorter attention span than ever. The average is now around eight seconds, down from twelve seconds in 1999. This drop in attention span is widely believed to be a byproduct of our digital age, with more than 77% of people reaching for their phone when there is nothing occupying their immediate attention.

For businesses, this attachment to mobile devices (and technology in general) can mean a few things. Most notably, customers tend to favor online interactions – which allow them to multitask between responses – rather than phone interactions, which tend to take longer and require more the customer’s attention.

In fact, according to eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark, 73% of customers are satisfied with live chat as a customer service option, outranking both email (61%) and phone (44%). Because of the time commitment involved in calling a customer service line, many people would rather purchase an item elsewhere than go through a lengthy channel just to ask a simple quick question about a product.

According to a study done by HubSpot, 82% of customers rated an immediate response as “important” or “very important” when they were looking to buy from a company, speak with a salesperson, or ask a question about a product or service.

This is why live chat is becoming so prevalent in the online marketplace – and exactly why any business, big or small, should have some form of live chat option. Quality customer service is imperative for client retention, and offering immediate chat support is a simple way to provide that! The money spent on the service is generally less than the cost of acquiring new leads – and repeat, satisfied buyers create a much greater lifetime customer value.

The message here is simple: you definitely need to at least explore the idea of implementing a live chat… But there are so many options. How do you decide what platform to use?

To simplify things, here is a look at four different live customer support options available right now, and how they compare in features:

Intercom:

Cost: Starts at $87/month, depending on your needs.

On the $87/month plan, you can:

  • Chat with customers
  • Receive customer data
  • Access reporting tools
  • Manage your email and chat from one place
  • Send targeted messages, push notifications, emails, and chats
  • Track and analyze user information

Other Information:

  • Because Intercom is designed as an all-in-one tool, using the chat option alone is only a limited version of the platform
  • Many of the chat options count as add-ons, so unless you pay for premium features, you will not be able to customize your bots, control who can chat with you (and when), or access bot performance reports

Drift:

Cost: Free “Personal Plan” that allows for one chat bot. Plans that allow for multiple chat bots range from $50/month to $1,500/month.

On the free Personal Plan, you can:

  • Add up to 100 contacts
  • Block IPs
  • Add a personal welcome message
  • Send up to 150 sales sequences/month
  • Create personalized email signatures
  • Integrate your calendar, Slack, Vidyard, and Google Analytics
  • Access conversion reporting tools

Other Information:

  • Each plan allows one chat bot – to add more chat bots, it’s an additional cost per month that ranges from $20 to $80, depending on the plan
  • Custom bots are only included in the Pro Plan ($400/month) and the Premium Plan ($1,500/month)
  • Unlimited contacts are available on every plan but the free option
  • Integrations with other platforms are allowed, but many are only available through the Pro and Premium plans

Olark:

Cost: You receive a 2-week free trial at signup. After that, the cost is charged monthly at $17/agent.

Upon signup, you can:

  • Send and receive files
  • Transfer chats between agents
  • Receive visitor information (such as name and location)
  • Receive desktop notifications for new chats
  • Track visitor URL changes to see where they are on your site
  • Access chat analytics that include chat volume, chat tagging options, emailed reports, and transcripts
  • Integration with Google Analytics
  • Create “Agent Groups” that can delineate departments/specialities and route chats based on visitor details
  • Set conversation limits on agents
  • Access agent performance reports
  • Send customer satisfaction surveys
  • Set up pre-chat surveys
  • Send canned responses
  • Set automatic greetings
  • Offer a custom contact form for visitors to fill out when the chat is offline
  • Customize your chatbox
  • Set up security measures
  • Integrate with many different platforms including Slack, Magento, HubSpot, Zendesk, WordPress, and more

Other Information:

  • Unlike the previous entries on the list, this is not an “all-in-one” tool
  • Discounts are available if you sign up for one or two-year plans
  • For more in-depth tools such as language translation, cobrowsing, or a non-branded chatbox, the cost increases to as much as $99/month

SnapEngage:

Cost: You receive a 7-day free trial at signup. The cost is charged monthly at $16/agent for the Essentials plan, with a minimum of 3 agents (meaning the cost starts at $48/month).

On the Essentials plan, you can:

  • Send and receive files
  • Collect data once a chat has been submitted/completed
  • Log in from any location and use saved messages
  • Monitor chats and visitor activity in real-time
  • Integrate with Google Analytics
  • Transfer chats between agents
  • Integrate with a limited number of tools, such as Zendesk, JIRA, and HubSpot
  • Manage conversations through Facebook Messenger, Hootsuite, and WeChat
  • Include some security measures, such as End-to-End Encryption
  • Insert 3 widgets onto your site
  • Send customer satisfaction surveys
  • Set up pre-chat surveys
  • Send canned responses
  • Offer a custom contact form for visitors to fill out when the chat is offline
  • Allow customers to request email transcripts
  • Allow team chats
  • Set up page redirects

Other Information:

  • Unlike the previous entries on the list, this is not an “all-in-one” tool
  • For more in-depth tools such as language translation, HIPAA compliance, SMS-to-Chat, and branding removal, there is an additional monthly cost
  • There is a minimum amount of users for each monthly plan
  • There is no option to initiate a live chat manually

 

Whatever platform you choose, offering a live chat on your website will make the customer feel more engaged with your brand. Your staff can make immediate, personal connections with visitors in a way that suits the customer, and the people reaching out can easily eliminate guesswork before making a purchase decision.

The only factor left in launching your live chat is staffing it with personable, quick, and effective agents who make sure your customers receive top-quality customer service.

Here at LongerDays, we don’t like to toot our own horn (well, not too often), but we have experience providing service to tons of different customers from our clients, across a range of products and services.

For more information on our customer service expertise, reach out to us today!