3 Questions to Ask Before Launching Live Chat for Customer Service
Adam Toporek Keynote Speaker of Customers That Stick®

3 Questions to Ask Before Launching Live Chat for Customer Service


At CTS Service Solutions, we believe one of the best ways to improve  customer experiences is by making interactions ad easy as possible and by decreasing the hassle-factor.

Enter live chat.

Live chat contains a number of attributes that contribute to hassle-free experiences. From ease of first contact, to low-to-no hold times, to the convenience of customers interacting with service reps while performing other tasks, live chat offers an opportunity for organizations to assist customers quickly, easily, and cost effectively.

Live chat allows organizations to assist online customers in real time. When customers run into a problem, the customer can immediately take advantage of the live chat feature, interact with reps, and hopefully have their question answered or issue resolved quickly.

Live chat seems like a no-brainer.

However, investing in a new or lightly staffed customer service channel comes at a cost. Live chat is not for every customer, or every organization. Using data from a recent Software Advice report, we have formulated three questions to help you determine if live chat might be an effective channel for your customers.

What is the age of my target audience?

Although live chat has been around awhile and 56 percent of respondents in this survey said they have used it at least once, usage of the technology still skews heavily towards younger consumers.

According to the research, 56 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 prefer live chat to phone, compared to 27 percent of respondents aged 35 and older.

If much of your customer base is made up of Millennials, live chat is likely to be not just appreciated but even expected.

Usage of Live Chat by Age


Online Shopping

Does your customer experience contain touch points where live chat could add value?

When you look at your customer’s journey, do you find touch points that tend to generate a high number of customer questions? Do you find online shopping carts being abandoned at certain points in the sales process? Depending on the complexity of the reasons, these two scenarios might be perfect places to implement a live chat window.

Despite the age skew, the research shows that customers are open to using live chat for simple inquiries.

Usage of Live Chat to Answer Question

Simple Queries

Are most questions sensitive or complicated?

Many organizations or departments deal with questions or service issues that are complex or sensitive in nature.  According to the charts above, the preference of phone versus live chat for simple questions or online shopping queries is fairly equal. But the numbers change for customers with financial queries; they prefer to have issues addressed by phone.

As seen below, 49 percent of respondents prefer using live chat for online shopping questions, yet only 26 percent prefer chat for financial questions.

If your company deals primarily with sensitive information, live chat might not be the most effective channel.

Preference for Phone v Live Chat by Query Type

Financial Queries

Of course, these questions are just a start. More detailed questions of technology, cost, scale, and organizational buy-in will inevitably be part of any discussion. However, with the many benefits live chat can create for your customers’ experiences, the three questions above should provide a good starting point for evaluating live chat’s potential usefulness to your organization.

Charts courtesy of the help desk reviews and comparisons company Software Advice.

About the Author Adam Toporek

By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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