When it comes to customer requests and inquiries, speed is nearly everything. In fact, 71% of customers say that issues being resolved quickly leads to the best customer experience.
Yet, it can take 10 hours on average for customer service representatives to respond over social media and more than 12 hours for email responses.
This is why online customer chat tools have become so important to providing fast, efficient, and personal customer service channels.
An online customer chat tool, or live chat support, is software that allows support teams a way to communicate and interact with customers who visit their website. Customer service agents can solve issues, answer questions, and provide support to customers through live chat messaging.
Online Customer Chat Tools vs Customer Service Software
Online customer chat tools are a bit more limited than customer service software or help desk software.
Strict live chat software refers to a single solution built specifically for live web chat with customers. Modern customer service software or help desk software will typically have live chat as one of many features in an all-in-one customer service platform.
Whether you’re looking for a single online customer chat tool or more comprehensive all-in-one platform, you still want to ensure your tool has the most personalized and advanced features to meet customer expectations.
Modern Chat Tool Features
As customer service tools and channels continue to improve, there are some specific modern features you want to look out for in your online customer chat tool.
- Moving Between Channels: When asked about their expectations of a customer service experience, 86% of customers said they expect conversations with agents to move seamlessly between channels. Providing customers with multiple options will speed up issues and inquiries while giving customers the comfort they expect to freely move between channels.
- Allow User Ratings: Following a chat or conversation with an agent, customers should have the option to rate their call. Not only will their answers provide valuable feedback, it lets customers know you care and are constantly aiming for improvement.
- Typing Indicator: Typing indicators, which show you what your customers are saying as they type, are becoming increasingly popular. Agents can gain more insight into customer responses, and it allows agents to respond and solve issues quicker.
- CRM Integrations: When live chat is integrated with your CRM tool, you can simultaneously and automatically update information in both your live chat platform as well as your CRM. Additionally, you can gain some insight into the customer’s history through the CRM.
Personalized Online Customer Chat Tool Features
In a customer service experience report, it turned out that personalization is important to a majority of consumers. Nearly 80% say that personalization is more important than marketing, and more than 50% say they’d like to feel listened to and heard.
While this might seem like another hurdle for your agents to cross, there are features that specifically cater to these kinds of needs and expectations. Some of these features include:
- Lifelong Chat History: When you have a single, lifelong chat history across all channels, your representatives can pick right up where your customer left off. This provides more context, less repetition, quicker responses, and a radically personal touch to customer service.
- Unified Chat Thread: On top of being able to see a customer’s life-long chat history, all of those chat threads are linked to a single communication thread. This means you don’t need to switch between platforms based on the channel a customer is reaching out to you from.
- Customer Profiles: Customer profiles make it easy to learn everything you need to know about your customer before saying hello. This includes contact information, purchase history, chat thread, and other valuable information that can be found through a single profile page.
- Proactive Support: Learning about their customers will allow agents to learn their preferences and proactively reach out with new and relevant product offers.
- People vs Tickets: Personalized recruiting isn’t about solving tickets, it’s about working with people. When your platform prioritizes the human aspect of customer support, your team is transformed for agents to customer service heroes.
Why Online Customer Chat Tools are Essential
Online customer chat tools are essential because they help agents meet the growing expectations that customers demand of them while simultaneously driving revenue.
So far, we’ve learned that customers want personalized customer service. They want to be heard and understood. They want customer service reps to know who they are before they say hello, and they want to be able to do all of this on the channel of their choosing.
In the most recent Customer Expectations Report, we recently learned, that this kind of personalization drives revenue. Approximately 70% of customers said that they would purchase from a knowledgeable agent and are more willing to purchase additional items after a positive experience.
Online customer chat tools that prioritize personalization not only improve the experience of your customers and preparedness of your agents, they help drive revenue. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Types of Online Customer Chat Tools and Customer Service Software
When looking at the types of online customer chat tools, there’s a lot to consider. Pricing, size of your company, and your individual needs. What should be consistent, however, is the efficiency, speed, and personalization that comes with your platform.
- All-in-one Platforms: All-in-one platforms are great for enterprise companies and mid-sized companies looking to scale, but they can also be good investments for smaller companies who want to maximize efficiency and gain an edge over the competition. These platforms have cutting-edge online chat features as well as all the other features you could look for in a platform. Examples of these companies include Gladly, Oracle RightNow, and Salesforce Service.
- Help Desk Software: Help desk software has more functionality than a strict online customer chat tool, but they aren’t nearly as comprehensive or efficient as an all-in-one customer service software. Examples of help desk software include Zendesk and Freshdesk.
- Live Chat Software: Online customer chat tools are limited to live chat and chat features. These are good options for companies that don’t necessarily need the kind of scale, efficiency, and functionality of help desk software or all-in-one platforms. Live Chat, Drift, Intercom, Pure Chat, and Olark are just a few examples of these software.
Final Thoughts: Online Customer Chat Tools
When your agents can connect with and understand your customers more, they can do their jobs better. Personalization leads to more efficiency, faster purchase times, positive experiences, and life-long customer relationships.
Online customer chat tools that prioritize personalization will help you meet the expectations of your customers while making your agents’ jobs easier and driving revenue. Transform the way you do customer service with Gladly today.