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And the award for best customer support platform goes to…

Before Live Chat and Instant Messaging as we know them, there was the EMISARI System. Murray Turoff, computer scientist and professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, considered the founding father of computer mediated communication, created the Emergency Management Information Systems and Reference Index System in 1971 for the U.S. government to use during emergencies. This system was used during the Nixon Administration with the original purpose of replacing telephone conferences.

In 1973, Doug Brown and David R. Woolley from the University of Illinois created Talkomatic, a multi-user online chat system that was used until the mid ‘80s. Nowadays, technology has improved, societies have changed and customer service platforms are of an uprecedented variety.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in growing your business and increasing your sales while also offering your customers a useful and pleasant experience in the process. The nominees for best customer support platform are: email, phone, live chat, other social media forum. And the winner is… [drum roll, please!] LIVE CHAT!

Chat adoption rates have known an exponential growth between 2009 and 2014, from 38% to 58%, and such a growth is projected to occur in the years to come. The main reason is that live chat services are not only time efficient for businesses and shoppers alike (offering the possibility to multi-task, getting answers quickly while shopping since they are already online, without having to be put on hold on the phone or waiting hours or even days for an email reply), but also the most cost-effective channel. Therefore, it should be no surprise that this has become the main contact platform for online customers, with 42% preferring it to email (23%) or other social media channel or forum (16%).

Due to its convenient and efficient use, quality service, personalized and sales-friendly interaction, live chat is now the customer support service with the highest satisfaction levels among online shoppers, reaching 73%. For comparison, the satisfaction level for email is 61% and 44% for phone. Moreover, 53% of customers say that they prefer this channel rather than calling a company for support. This is also the reason why 62% of customers expect live chat services to be available on mobile devices.

And if you’re still not convinced live chat is the leading platform for one-on-one sales, here are some conclusions from a 2015 study of the Aberdeen Group, comparing businesses with live chat to those without this service. Sites that offer a live chat platform benefit from a 34% greater satisfaction rate than those who don’t offer this service. Moreover, these businesses have lesser customer care costs, lesser customer abandonment rate, a 40% conversion rate and a 10% increase in the average order value.

That being said, there is no doubt that live chat is the best customer support platform and its popularity is only growing! As we said in the beginning of this article, technology has improved and societies have changed. People have more and more wishes and less free time, which is why online shoppers are the fastest growing segment of customers. With that said, the future looks great for the businesses that offer live chat services – done  right. So do it right (or better yet, contact us to do it for you), because live chat is here to stay!

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