Considering an online messaging service or a business phone system? This doesn’t have to be a pursuit of mutually exclusive options. The live chat vs phone support debate can end with a harmonious joining of the two services.
You just need to know the benefits of each service and when it’s best to use them.
Today’s guest post, written by business phone service provider VirtualPBX, explores the idea of using live chat (including chatbots) and a phone service side-by-side. Each one has its strengths, and you can learn how to harness those strengths to improve the customer service at your own business.
The live chat vs phone support debate often lands on the side of online chat programs because they’re accessible and affordable to most businesses.
Intelliticks, for example, has pricing that begins with a reasonable $0 per month and provides a host of features that work for businesses on any style of the website. But pricing isn’t all that matters.
The power of an online messaging service comes from the instant connection businesses can make with customers – leading to online chat’s ability to place customers in a queue (if necessary) that’s not seen as disruptive to the support or sales process.
A customer can enter a support session with a single click and be immediately connected to a company representative. The chat system can then provide the customer with an estimated wait time and offer them helpful links to information or company services that are available. Agents can respond to inbounds chats just as easily, and automatic queuing gives customers desired information about their situations.
When Live Chat Works Best
Live chat services have been around for a much shorter time than phone service. The Millennial and iGen generations are likely most comfortable with this type of customer support because they grew up with it. There’s a familiarity with chat that can’t be replicated by other types of services.
Likewise, chat services often lend themselves to light- or medium-difficulty problems. Customers that need their password reset or are looking for basic product use information will find a good home here.
VoIP phone services have come a long way regarding reliability and pricing. As just one example, a small business can gain 99.999% uptime in as low as $17.99 per month with an entry-level VirtualPBX plan.
Prices are competitive across the market, and access to professional features like automated attendant and call routing is expected with most plans. The live chat vs phone support discussion isn’t so clearly one-sided.
That said, the greatest benefit of a phone system is its ability to connect two people in a live conversation. It is, by its nature, driven by the human voice and therefore much more personal than a text-based service.
When Voice Works Best
A phone service’s pedigree makes it a great option for anyone wanting to make a personal connection with customers. Older generations of customers who are reluctant to use online chat will appreciate the option for a voice call, and Millennial and iGen customers won’t feel excluded here.
Phone calls can let customers more easily explain problems that require nuance – such as describing the setup of a piece of networking hardware. A voice call is also a good avenue for when customer service reps need to lead customers through a step-by-step process (like plugging in a modem or piecing together a product with multiple connectors).
Running a voice service alongside online chat can help it perform even better by giving customers the option for one service or the other. Customers that are given the choice between two or more services can be trusted to pick the correct one for their needs. Therefore, phone service can work best when used hand-in-hand with other communications channels because customers will choose it when it’s appropriate for them.
End the Live Chat vs Phone Service Debate
It’s within the reach of most businesses to adopt both an online chat platform and a phone system.
The live chat vs phone support competition can end because you can easily use both services when they’re appropriate. You just need to keep in mind the benefits of each system.
Neither tool will fit perfectly in every interaction with customers. As long as you know the benefits and limitations of each tool while offering both options to your customers, you all can experience better client-brand interaction.