Customer Experience News & Trends

When live chat is most effective in the customer lifecycle

Live chat conversations can be used in nearly every step of the customer lifecycle – but some contacts are more effective than others.

Customers are more willing than ever to use live chat to learn about companies, products and services. Some will even close a sale using live chat.

That’s pretty amazing considering online chat presents a situation when customers never see or hear the person who’s helping them. And after what happened to Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who famously never saw and rarely spoke to the person on the other end of his chats, you might think some web-goers could be more reluctant to use the channel. But there’s no evidence of that.

Live chat usage and it’s effectiveness are at its highest points early and late in the overall customer lifecycle, a recent study by Aberdeen Group found.

Here is the percentage of online customers using chat at each stage of the customer lifecycle, along with the department responsible for conducting the chat in that stage:

  • Marketing: Awareness – 29%
  • Marketing: Conversation to interest – 39%
  • Sales: Early-stage direct engagement – 32%
  • Sales: Mid-stage direct engagement – 32%
  • Sales: Closing the deal -18%
  • Customer service: Support, education, engagement – 39%

Increase effectiveness

Here’s what each area of an organization can do to increase the effectiveness of chat time with customers:

  • Marketing. Marketers are vital in the early stages of the customer experience. Their influence starts the moment customers become aware of the product or company. Marketers want to give the sales and service agents who chat the information, training and tools to link customers to the most credible sources and authorities on your company and its array of products.
  • Sales. The sales role diminishes through chat. Customers apparently still want to seal their deals with a more personal means of communication. So sales’ most important role via chat is building customers’ confidence in the brand, products and people. They want to share customer testimonials, personal experiences and customer successes.
  • Customer service. Service pros can build loyalty and satisfaction through continued support. They want to be prompt with answers and know when issues are too complex or emotionally charged to deal with in chat, and offer to take the conversion offline.

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