Live chat support is a great way for companies to provide a convenient channel for support. According to research from Inc.com, 51 percent of customers expect businesses to be available 24/7 to assist and answer questions. Chat boxes provide a low-stakes way for customers looking for support to contact the company. This can pose a problem. Many companies are staffed from 9-5 by support agents or sales reps. While some companies schedule staff to accommodate different time zones, few have their chat feature manned 24/7.
People love live chat support for its speed and convenience. It is an easy and fast way to get answers to common questions and promotes open dialogue between companies and customers. It’s a happy medium between email and phone, providing customers the flexibility and speed of a person-to-person conversation.
But if chat support is only staffed for a third of the day per time zone, businesses are missing out on a chance to engage customers. So, after encountering an offline chat feature and then taking the time to navigate the website, the customer is now a) forced to wait until the next business day (unlikely), b) try another channel like phone support, or c) find the answer or buy the product somewhere else.
Instead of turning customers off, take these missed opportunities to turn customers on to communicating through live chat. Let’s be honest, for most companies it is impractical to staff live chat 24/7. That doesn’t mean you have to leave customers in the lurch when they need off-hours assistance.
Live Chat Support Needs Self-service Content
With a robust self-service content engine backing your live chat, you can improve customer engagement and ticket deflection. Rather than shutting down live chat outside of business hours, MindTouch content can fuel automated chat. That way, rather than “Sorry, try again later,” you can give your customers a friendly “How may I help you?”
When customers ask a question via chat during off hours, MindTouch can help deliver contextually relevant content. If a customer asks a question, the odds are that another customer has had the same question. Top companies capture these questions and turn them into SEO-friendly articles. With this content powering your live chat on nights and weekends, you can still provide customers the answer they need.
Off-hours isn’t the only time when live chat can be a letdown. High volumes of live chat traffic can leave some customers unattended. Or, the person manning the chat may not be equipped to answer the question. Both scenarios ruin the illusion of instantaneous support provided by live chat.
These situations make it difficult for companies to justify the expenditure of a chat service. But try approaching off-hours chat time as a chance to provide customers a casual, low-effort entry point into your self-service content. You’ll not only get more value out of the chat client, but you can promote brand engagement.
From the customer’s perspective, live chat support is an easy way to get help with minimal effort wherever they are in the journey. Integrating your product and help content into the chat experience will benefit your customers because they will have access to information at all times. Employees staffed during business hours will love it too.
Automated chat should be a customer-friendly space to learn and connect, not the business equivalent of the Missed Connections page!
Want some more chat about chat? Check out our webinar with SnapEngage!