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Live Chat vs Phone Call

Customer support can be crucial for any online selling platform. Your customers are unable to see your product live, to witness its' quality, to touch and to feel it.

 They will want to ask you some questions and you must be ready to answer as soon as possible. For some e-commerce, the best approach would be to invest in online customer service support. For others, live phone calls are the way to go. But, just as in everywhere else, there are pros and cons to both these solutions.

Let’s start with taking a closer look at the more traditional way of handling customer’s general questions and more specific inquiries. What are the pros and cons of traditional phone support?

Pros of offering
a phone customer service:

1. Better understanding

Clients prefer talking to another human being, instead of talking to a bot. By conducting phone conversations with your customers you will start to understand them better. You will learn about their needs, what are they most concerned about, what brings them to your product, which makes them feel insecure about it and why are they interested in it. That knowledge alone is good enough to create an amazingly detailed buyer’s persona! By having a proper conversation you no longer rely on impersonal data and analytics, but you gather live feedback that can help you meet the needs of your clients and therefore improve!

2. Fixing every problem

Some customers will ask the most basic questions about your product – many of which can probably be answered by visiting your website or having a closer look at your product. Some of them, however, will have the complex questions you have never thought of before. These are definitely better explained on a phone call, during which you can go into specific details regarding your product. Also remember, that clients tend to seek your phone number when they have the question that they find difficult to answer.

3. Trust = value

Providing a phone number on your online store makes you more trustworthy and you automatically seem less like catch-and-go kind of company. Clients feel that, if there’s a phone provided, there is someone on the other side – someone real that they can talk to and that t’s not a scam. Speaking with well-qualified customer service professional can convince your potential client to become a real client and closing the sales. It is also the fastest way your clients can communicate with you and the fastest way for you to solve all their problems and answer all their questions. And that’s what creates a perfect customer experience!

Cons of offering a phone customer service:​

1. On-hold

There is nothing quite as infuriating as being put to wait on hold. Your customers want answers and they want it now. In the XXIst century, there is no time to wait for the answer. Being put on hold by other companies can create a feeling that every phone-operated customer support will take ages to answer your phone. That’s why some people tend to choose live chats instead of phone calls. Especially, that the average wait time to talk to the support of the organizations that scored 90% or higher for customer satisfaction during a live chat call oscillates around 46 seconds. Can your phone customer support beat that time?

2. One at a time

It is simply impossible for a customer support professional to speak via phone with two clients at the same time. And that results in the extended waiting time, which creates a bad customer experience. And that can lead simply to hanging up and seeking for other companies that offer exactly what you have to offer, but perhaps answer their phones quickly enough. By making them wait you lose them.

3. Potential chaos

Constantly ringing phone can add some chaos into your workspace and your workflow. It can be really frustrating in having to answer the same question for the third time in a row this day, and it can be really disruptive in having to answer phone calls every 15 minutes. Every phone you answer is a potential client – sure. But every phone you answer equals less amount of work done. At one point, it can be vital to hire a customer service specialist, to deal with all the inquiries.

While live chat seems like a way to go these days it also has some cons that can make a traditional verbal interaction more valuable for every e-commerce. What are the pros and cons of live chat support?

Pros of offering
live chat support:

1. Anytime, anywhere, anyone

While your customer support team will answer your clients’ phone calls during certain working hours, your live chat is there to help you anytime and from any place in the world. Some shoppers tend to buy after hours, which makes live chat very convenient tool for most of the e-commerce platforms. It is also very helpful for the companies that aim to acquire foreign clients, as there is no language barrier in setting a live chat properly.

2. Analytics & Reports

Live chats are what gives you the best quality data on your customers. Using it properly you will know well what they are interested in, are they satisfied with your product and your service enough, what are the real most frequently asked questions and what else are they seeking for. Most of the live chats can also be customized to your specific needs.

3. Multitasking

Live chats can solve one of the disadvantages of having traditional phone-operated customer support, which is not being able to multitask. With live chat, your customer service can help many people at the same time. Being able to simply create answers to questions that pop-up in your live chat most frequently and then pasting them into the right window is one of the ways of achieving a high instant response rate.

Cons of offering
live chat support:​

1. Setting difficulties

Picking up a phone and answering a couple of questions seems easy, unlike properly setting a live chat. It can get tricky, from choosing which data you want to gather to properly answer all the clients’ questions. It is not easy to completely relay on a tool you don’t fully understand. Sometimes creating a properly-set live chat requires long training and many tests.

2. No mobile

The percentage of people relying on their smartphones rather than on their computers increases. And so does the number of people purchasing online via mobile devices. Whether they wait in the line at the grocery store or travel by bus, or just scroll through their social media feed – your customer support must answer their needs. And not all live chat solutions work on mobile platforms.

3. Only basic answers

Any more demanding question or more complexed inquiry will not be answered properly by live chat support. Some of the problems will require a detailed conversation. Some of the issues may require an emotional approach, which is very important in creating a long-lasting relationship with any client. That point itself seems to prove that while live chat is a convenient tool to have on your e-commerce, nothing can replace a human, verbal interaction.

There are many pros and cons to both customer support solutions.
While live chat seems like a top-of-mind option for modern e-commerce it is crucial not to underestimate the power of human interaction, verbal communication and emotions that at the end makes the real brand-client relationship experience. Sometimes it is easier to ask a specifical question a real person than to spend time talking on a live chat with no feeling of being properly heard. Nevertheless, both ways of approach seem to work perfectly together and it might be a good idea to consider them both simultaneously for the customer support that’s completely taken care of.

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