What is Synchronous messaging, and how is it different from Asynchronous messaging? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Which should you pick as a medium to provide customer support when running a business? We discuss all this and more below.
The Basic Difference between Synchronous and Asynchronous Chat
Synchronous communication is when there is a live conversation between two parties with shorter response time. There is a clearly defined beginning and ending to such a conversation. A phone call, for example, is synchronous communication. Synchronous communication can also happen on messaging and chat platforms, often referred to as live chat.
In business communication, a synchronous chat typically has an agent who represents the business and tries to address and resolve customer queries/complaints. They close the chat once they are assured that the client’s requirements from the communication participated in, has been met. Many businesses prefer synchronous chat as their go-to CS medium as it enables them to track performance metrics. It also offers customers with an easy and convenient query-resolution experience.
Asynchronous communication occurs over a period of time and is not as instantaneous as synchronous communication. An example would be, email or WhatsApp communication. It is also more open-ended in nature. So if the customer that has reached out to your business customer support finds that their concerns have not been addressed in the first sitting, they can always leave you another message. In other words then, asynchronous chat enables you to solve deeper and more complex customer issues that require more than a one-time communication fix.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Live Chat for Customer Support?
Live chat provides its unique set of advantages and disadvantages for CS activities when compared to WhatsApp. Let’s learn about these in depth below.
- More effective for alleviating customer frustrations – A live chat customer support service is much more effective in making a frustrated customer feel heard and their frustration recognized than asynchronous chat. They feel more productive when they are able to reach out to your company representative and have their concerns acknowledged by a human and their issue resolved there an then.
- It allows for easy resolution of customer problems – Synchronous chat is a great way for companies to solve everyday customer problems instantly.
- Established a human connect – Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. In live chat and other forms of synchronous chat, the persons communicating are aware of the nuance or expressions being used as an immediate response to them. In asynchronous communication, the language used is more formal and generic. It does not allow for a human connect to be built, which makes customer experience from the customer support your business provides, all the more gratifying.
- Can involve long wait time for the customer–Live chat demands that individualized attention. The number of customers your CS team will be able to help at a time will depend on the size of your CS team. Since a CS professional will only be able to help one person at a time via this type of communication, your customers will inevitably be subject to wait time. In addition, the customer’s call might have to be transferred through agents if the concern requires escalation and so on, leading to further wait time and poor overall CX.
- Demands both parties be available at the same time – Synchronous chat necessitates the availability of both communicating parties at the same time. The chat session ends if the customer has to step out for more than a limited time duration. The particular drawback in this structure leaves customers frustrated, who engaged in the live chat to have their queries addressed in the one sitting itself.
- Feels a lot like customer support phone calls – The live engagement provided by synchronous chat is almost the same as in a CS phone call. If your customer does not prefer making a phone call to your CS team, they will be unlikely to opt for synchronous chat.
- The customer is tied to their browser – The chat is restricted, and the customer can really only move on once the agent has resolved their issue.
- Out of channel – in cases where live chat is outsourced, and the agent is often used for message taking capabilities, resulting in an experience where the customer is moved to another communication channel to complete the enquiry.
Why WhatsApp is a Far Better Way to Provide Business Customer Support?
In this section, we learn how WhatsApp is an improvement on Live chat for the advantages it provides.
- Enables flexibility of communication – Customers find WhatsApp more convenient than Live Chat, as it permits them the ability to communicate with the CS team of a business more flexibly. If the customer has been interrupted and inactive on the chat for some time in synchronous chat, their chat is flagged closed by the agent. The customer then has to reattempt having the same conversation with another CS agent from scratch to resolve their queries. Customers tend to feel abandoned and inconvenienced by this. In Asynchronous chat, there is a record of the back-and-forth communication between the two parties and a consistency in communication is maintained, to the customer’s relief.
- Allows customers to contact as per convenience –Live chat options require the customer to have a good amount of time to spare to have their issue addressed. It is not always possible for customers and client to have this time at hand. WhatsApp chat makes it possible for these people to get a head-start on having their issues resolved before having to wait for the weekend, so to speak.
- Accessible across devices – The customer can’t continue a Live chat they’ve started on their laptop in their mobile. They must complete the conversation or terminate it. WhatsApp chats can be accessed across devices and poses no such disadvantage to the customer, in need of support services, from your company. The chat is locked down the customers WhatsApp app, not a browser on the companies website.
- Offers chat beyond just engagement – once a customer is engaged in WhatsApp, the platform can be continued to use for sales progression, notifications/updates long after the initial enquiry – all in one single channel.
- Media/Links/Docs – WhatsApp is a great way for consumers to manage documents, media and links sent to them by a business. WhatsApp is as much a messaging app, as it is a great way to manage media and files.
The disadvantages of Asynchronous chat such as WhatsApp chats for providing customer services are almost negligible. Further, using Asynchronous Chat as your medium to provide Customer Support also allows you to harness the benefits of Artificial Intelligence, is you please. If your company does outsource its customer service tasks to a separate agency, using WhatsApp in-house and linking it to your business operations will prove to be of great help. You will be able to easily and affordably communicate with your customers and provide them with an enjoyable customer service experience without paying a third-party to do it for you.