About Live Website-based Chat For Business
Maybe because chat for business can serve as a convenient visitor-friendly option to a phone call, some companies are adopting these website-based applications. What should your business do? What follows will list some of the advantages and also the disadvantages to consider, so that you can make an informed decision about ‘chat’.
And keep in mind that while there are obvious advantages, there is never a ‘one fits all’ business solution. Many of our clients have jumped into chat, only to quickly shut it down having witnessed ‘live’ challenges that they’d rather not have nor adjust for. Let’s start with the downside of chat and then get into all the potential for upside.
Potential Disadvantages Of Chat For Business
If your company offers chat for business then the public’s expectation is that you are available. Immediately! This can be a difficult challenge or a disadvantage for many small to medium-sized business owners who are in the habit of answering a phone call, when possible. And when it’s not possible to answer that call, knowing that a ‘message left’ affords a convenient option to return the call soon as is possible. Not all businesses are designed to have agents at the ready and they don’t necessarily have to in order to succeed. In many cases, a business may not have the resources to be on the public’s timeline.
What’s more, some generations are unlikely to use a website’s chat application. Some are simply conditioned to call, having no problem leaving a message when they don’t get through. And depending on whether or not a business owner has thought about the chat option – maybe a non-immediate 1) contact form, 2) a phone number offering the choice to leave messages, and/or a direct email address are all that’s necessary to satisfy their and the greater population’s needs.
The Advantages Of Chat
Those disadvantages being to a particular type of business, there are obviously great chat advantages to the average business too. Here are some:
- Chat is easy for website visitors, and (possibly) for clients alike because it is immediate. For some, it is more appealing than a phone call or an email.
- There’s less chance of ‘customer service employee’ exhaustion with chat, for instance, being able to more easily deal with an angry text as opposed to an extremely difficult phone call.
- Chat affords a simpler way to answer common questions, via auto-prepared answers; thereby, empowering ‘customer service employees’ a means to deal with multiple interactions simultaneously.
- Chat applications may afford a means for keeping a written record of interactions, for when an exchange needs further interpretation by those other than the ‘customer service employee’.
- Chat applications may afford ‘customer service employees’ a chance to see what website page the visitor is on, possibly making it easier to support or guide them on it or to other useful pages.
- Chat may afford an ability to track and count the kinds of interactions that are coming in, possibly supporting future efficiency for dealing with various types of interaction.
- It’s possible that documents can be transferred right in a chat window.
- It’s possible to integrate access for popular messaging apps, possibly FB Messenger, WhatsApp, and other 3rd party apps making the chat application even more user-friendly.
- If it matters to the individual visitor, chat is potentially more discreet than a phone or email conversation.
- Chat may be set up to require registration information to start, affording a business the chance to gather lead information directly into a CRM program for follow-up.
As stated above, businesses and their target audiences come in all shapes & sizes – so there is never a ‘one fits all’ business communication solution. Not all of the old ways are bad and in many cases, they remain very productive. Ultimately be careful with a ‘chat for business decision’, consider all the potential advantages and also how some of those might actually be a disadvantage for your business.