The point of phone-based customer service used to be the human element, where you could experience empathy, patience, and guidance from someone with a heart who cared about your concern. For companies, it was all about efficiency and convenience. You could hire a crew of call center agents to handle customer service issues in one central location.
These days are no longer.
The time has come to move on. The “New York Times” reports that most Fortune 500 companies are making the rapid transition to leave phones behind. Phone customer service is no longer viable and it is not what people want. In fact, according to Forrester, 30% of consumers expect live chat to be on your site.
Let’s be honest — technology is a moving target. There is no time to “wait and see what happens” or “let the market decide.” You have to take action if you want to stay profitable and successful as a business. Here are four reasons your company should cut the phone cord.
1. Phone Customer Service = Long Wait Times
Automated telephone service is hated worldwide. You will have a hard time finding anyone who enjoys punching “0” into their phones a million times only for a robot to not understand them and repeat the question.
This wastes the customers’ time and makes them furious by the time they are on the line with an agent, adding even more time (and pressure) to the phone call. That means more money out of your budget for no good reason.
Any person who’s reaching out for any form of customer service is never doing it out of joy, boredom, or because they have nothing better to do than chit chat with your team A customer service call means the customer needs something, and the name of the game is to resolve it ASAP.
Plus, let’s not forget (how could you?!) that Millennials dominate the consumer base, and it’s incredibly important to offer customer service options that don't require things such as “patience” and “hard work” because God knows they just can’t with that. Millennials, am I right?
Actually, Millennials have a point: Customer service shouldn’t be hard work. It should be easy, quick, and effective. Keep all of your customers happy with prompt service and keep your profits.
2. Call Centers Are Expensive
A Gartner study showed that by the year 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent.
This isn’t a coincidence — it’s money.
Call centers are expensive for a multitude of reasons. Working on-site is currently the industry standard, as Forbes states that call centers employ more than 2 million Americans and there are more than 6,000 call centers in the U.S.
However, the disappearance of the call-center industry is imminent with the rapid approach of automation. Millions of workers are going to need to be retrained to provide a more modern form of customer service.
Be ahead of the curve! Wasting time with retraining, finding new staff, and implementing new systems will do nothing but cost you money.
3. Customers Prefer to Chat
Per a study conducted by FurstPerson, 77% of online customers will not make a purchase on a website if live chat is not available. This is a massive blow to essential conversion potential.
A study done by Emarketer found that 63% of customers returned to a site if it offered live chat, and that visitors that engage with your company via live chat are worth four times more than visitors that do not.
It is clear what keeps website traffic high in the current market, and that is the convenience of being able to get immediate customer service with one click. Live chat gives your customers the option to make the purchases and inquiries they want quickly and without hassle.
4. Low Productivity
It’s a simple equation:
- One call center agent can handle one service call at one time
- One live chat agent can handle up to three live chats at one time
This means a live chat agent is three times as productive as a call center agent. As a business owner, you’re paying the same or less in overhead and getting up to three times as much output from your crew.
ATG’s customer service survey found that most customers think that live chat is the most effective form of customer support for resolving quick issues because of the immediacy.
The average response time for emails is 12 hours. And for social media, it’s 10 hours. Customers can get a response to their inquiry within two minutes on average through live chat.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Live chat is the wave of the future for any business looking to make it. The phone industry is dying at a rapid rate, and consumers have changed preference in how they want to be served. It is only a matter of time before all competitive industries trade in phone customer service for the live chat model.