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Should retailers focus on Live Chat?

Before the introduction of the Internet to the masses, the only effective way for businesses to contact their consumers was by telephone or snail mail (postal services), fast forward to the present day and there is an array of communication channels enabling the opportunity for real-time communications.

With consumers becoming more tech savvy, businesses are engaging with them through web forms, email, self-service, forums and social networks all of which pose new issues - servicing all their consumers across multiple platforms in a timely fashion as 'within 24 hours' is now deemed unacceptable.

Companies that have adopted live chat support have done so to create a better consumer experience with the added benefits of being fast and easy to use. A report by Forrester claims the number of consumers that now use live chat over the telephone and email support has risen 50% since 2012 and is the most preferred customer communication channel according to a study by [24]7.

However, Live chat support only works if there’s someone behind the software to respond to customers and a recent survey undertaken by SuperOffice included the results of how 1,000 websites use chat to better serve their customers.

- 21% of live chat support requests are not answered
- The average wait time for live chat support requests is 2 minutes and 40 seconds
- 55% of companies do not offer transcripts once a chat has ended
- 23% of companies do not ask for contact information before a chat begins
- The average handle time for a chat request is 6 minutes and 50 seconds
- 45% of companies do not ask users for feedback once the chat has ended

If live chat is part of your customer communication strategy, then making sure that all chats are answered (and quickly) should be a priority and I for one hope that investment and improvements are made to prevent me from having to listen to the dreadful 'hold music'  businesses still rely upon. 

Written by Nick Dereka, Head of Digital, Prime People Plc.