Both live chat and phone support were introduced to make it simpler to connect with customers and handle their grievances and queries. Each comes with its benefits and drawbacks that make one option suitable to a firm while the other option is suitable to another.
However, with the world getting as fast-paced as it is now, which option of the two is better in 2022?
Defining Live Chat
Let’s take a look at what is Live Chat. It is a platform that allows one on one, direct ‘chatting’ between a customer and customer support staff. It seems familiar to the customers as it resembles the popular, instant messaging feature provided on phones and apps.
Defining Phone Support
Introduced back in the late 1980s, Phone Support is a service to assist customers via phone calls. It gives the customer the autonomy to initiate the call. It also generates an immediate response and allows the customer to ask their questions freely leaving lesser room for misinterpretation.
Pros and Cons
Regardless of how innovative or traditional it may be, every feature in the world has its pros and cons.
Here are the top three benefits and drawbacks of using Live Chat and Phone Support, respectively.
Pros of using Live Chat
- Proactive support: Live Chat offers customers proactive support rather than reactive (in which a customer calls the support agents themself). This allows agents to gently nudge the customers and answer any query that is stopping them from buying the product.
- Reduces repetition:Live Chat provides both customers and agents with a record of their chat. It allows customers to not ask the same questions again and again as the chat would contain the history of previously held conversations. It also lets the agent recall and recognize a customer based on their previous chat and then offer solutions to their inquiries accordingly.
- Quick analysis: Since live Chat keeps records of the chat with the customer, data collection is simpler as compared to a phone call for customer support. Moreover, it takes up less space to have chats than it does to have recordings of each conversation with customers.
Cons of using Live Chat
- Pranks: Sometimes people may use the Live Chat feature to have fun by pranking whoever is on the other side of the chatbox. This wastes the time and energy of the agent that they could have spent on a real customer with a real issue. Even frauds can be attempted through these chats.#
- Tougher to resolve complicated matters: It may become tougher to resolve complicates matters through text. Lack of clarity increases the possibility of misinterpretation. A customer may lose their patience making it harder to settle the issue.
- Customer abandonment: If an agent takes too long to respond, the customer may abandon the chat altogether. This may be a bigger issue than it seems as unresolved issues may leave an adverse impact on the brand image of the firm’s customer support.
Pros of using Phone Support
- Resolves complicated issues: When a customer calls, they can explain their questions better than they could have typed it out on Live Chat. It also allows the agent to understand the query better and offer suitable assistance. In case of complex issues, agents can pick up the changes in tone and voice and offer more fitting and quick service as compared to Live Chat.
- No customer abandonment: It is more reliable to explain questions or concerns to a person on call where one can feel heard. Therefore,customers find it more convenient to voice out their concerns than crafting detailed messages.
- Offers personal association: The agent in charge is supposed to be friendly and pleasant when interacting with customers. This creates a satisfying experience for the customer when they feel heard and have their queries answered within the same call.
Cons of using Phone Support
- One call at a time: Of course, no agent can take multiple calls at once; therefore, it slows down the process. The firm may need to hire multiple agents so that multiple calls can be answered within a short time.
- Expensive: Hiring multiple agents in a firm will indefinitely lead to a higher amount of salaries paid. It is a permanent expense that a firm agrees to pay when it goes for Phone Support.
- Hold times: In order to reach an agent, it may take quite a while for the customer to stay on hold. It may exhaust the customer in the meantime and they may not proceed with the hold time at all.
“One shoe does not fit all.”
It goes without saying that there is no absolute choice between the two as one shoe cannot fit all. Some firms may be inclined towards Phone Support for the personal association it offers its customers, whereas other firms may prefer Live Chat for the proactive service it yields.
Either way, both features are designed to serve the same purpose and that is customer support. However, it is up to the firm to decide which option is desirable for them to use.