We’ve come a long way from the sound of a slamming door as one of your buddies leaves AOL AIM or nudging someone on MSN Messenger. Would you believe me if I told you that MSN Messenger was released 18 years ago? In its most basic form, instant messaging has actually been possible for over 50 years. This has now developed from a personal communication tool to a key consideration for business.
Over 19,000 companies across 140 countries have taken the idea of instant messaging and utilised this as a tool to offer speedy support to customers online. Resulting in 235.7 million chats from 2014 – 2016 (and those stats are only from one live chat software provider).
In a recent survey with our user research panel, the speed of response and eliminating the need to wait in a call centre queue were the two biggest reasons for using Live Chat over other means of contact. Live Chat is certainly becoming more prevalent online. Of the people surveyed, 90% told us they had used Live Chat previously with 36% of these having used live chat at least 6 times in the last year.
When it’s done right Live Chat presents a great business opportunity
Live Chat offers lots of benefit to businesses too. Not only can you offer great service, help customers to complete their purchase and improve the perception of your brand, it’s also an opportunity to uncover usability issues. By analysing the chat data you can uncover those questions that aren’t currently being answered on your site. Those chat transcripts may contain nuggets of UX gold!
With the expectation of Live Chat, comes the expectation that it’s well staffed, fast to respond and genuinely useful. A poor experience can really damage someone’s perception of your brand, especially if they are making contact because they’re already feeling aggrieved about something that has gone wrong.
Live Chat is a real challenge for businesses today and by no means is it a silver bullet. There’s a minefield of questions that come with implementing this kind of tool. Where does it go? What does it look like? We’ve put together some tips on how to optimise the experience to ensure it’s smooth and enjoyable for users, rather than an annoyance.