Live chat first appeared some 20 years ago and it didn’t take long for it became a common method of connecting customers to sales & service teams.

Chat (or messaging) evolved due to the shortcomings of email, which lets face it, is really just an evolution of the letter.

Whilst email remains, chat has sprung up in various forms, be it Slack, MS Teams, WhatsApp, Messenger, and of course, chatting from the website.

But live chat is a pain for a business. It’s a pain, because you have to reply to every enquiry within 30 seconds, and this means running your own contact centre, or paying someone to answer the chats for you. If yo don’t answer, you lose the lead, or at best, capture their email address.

And when you pay to have someone answer it for you, in many industries/sectors, this simply results in obtaining their contact details – basically, a very expensive form filling exercise.

Any marketeer worth their salt will tell you that chat will convert more website visitors than a form, or email and for many businesses, live chat forms an integral channel to engage their customers.

But technology changes fast, and if given the choice, many consumers don’t want to be tied to a web browser, when they have their own chat apps installed on their mobile devices.

You only have to look at leading brands to see how consumer experiences are changing. Just look at KLM. 5 years ago, their contact us page would have had an email address and a phone number – coupled with an option for live chat. Just look at their contact page today – with NO option for live chat or email.

 

Just because KLM have removed live chat, doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with their strategy – indeed, every business is different. But, we are confident in saying this – Live Chat is significantly harder and more expensive to run than Social Media Chat. And you don’t need to outsource it. Why?

Live chat is synchronous, and Social Media Chat (i.e. WhatsApp) is asynchronous. If you don’t answer Live chat within around 30 seconds, the customer moves on – at best, they will leave their email address.

But social media chat is completely different. Because the chat leaves the website, and moves onto the users WhatsApp, the need for immediate response is completely negated (and therefore the need to outsource).

In fact, a recent poll, suggests that only 18% of consumers expect an immediate reply over WhatsApp. Further more, 30% expected a reply within the hour, with another 26% happy to wait for upto 4 hours. So, myth busted, as 82% of your customers DO NOT expect an immediate reply. What they want is a reply, in the channel they came in through, with the right person in the business to engage with.

 

 

We asked another question in our poll. We asked what consumers perception of the customer experience when they entered into a live chat, only to be asked for contact details and told that someone would email/call them back. 57% said this was a poor, or a very poor customer experience.

 

 

With this in mind, you still think outsourcing your live chat is the right way forward?