Chat Support vs. Phone Support: What are the Differences?

Published: September 9, 2019
Cjhat Support vs. Phone Support

Chat Support vs. Phone Support

These days, customers almost exclusively do their research on products or services online. This has lead companies to install live chat software on their websites for immediate engagement options, but this does not mean that phone support has already become an outdated customer support tactic. 

 Many clients still crave genuine human connection, despite the trend of using chatbots in live chat and other cross-channel customer service tools. A study conducted by InContact with over 4,700 respondents shows that  67% of consumers still opt to have agents assisting them through phone support, live chat, or email support.

Before determining if your business will need both support channels or just one of the two, you must properly assess and evaluate your business needs and available resources. Succeeding in communicating with your customers lies in learning when to use either chat support or phone support, or when you can leverage both channels’ strengths so they could complement one another.

 For you to make an informed decision in your pursuit of a balanced approach to customer support, you must learn the key differences between the two.


Providing phone support to your clients can be more expensive, as it requires massive structuring and planning with your contact center in terms of hiring, training, and scheduling your call center agents. 

Live chat support is cost-efficient because one agent has the capacity to answer multiple chats simultaneously, making it unnecessary to hire more agents. And since live chat does not require the installation of phone lines and state-of-the-art equipment, overhead costs and facility maintenance expenses are reduced. Additionally, chat support often has built-in ticketing management tools that can be integrated with your company’s existing customer relationship management system (CRM).

Response Time

Choosing between chat support and phone support depends on your expected volume of requests, which in turn hinges on the kind of products or services you offer.

 Both live chat and phone support make real-time interaction possible, but actual response times are different. Live chat is a better choice for providing fast responses to clients who want simple and quick answers on products and service queries as FAQs can be easily answered with canned messages. Some live chat features also allow live support agents to share their screens, which can be helpful in walking them through instructions. There are also co-browsing features where agents can guide clients in navigating connected platforms.

 With phone support, there could be a considerable wait time before you are patched through to an available customer service representative. The “industry standard” is to answer 80% of calls within 20 seconds. Of course, if you are like most people who have called customer service centers many times over, you would know that wait times could go on for minutes on end.

Personal connection

Live chat responses are usually much faster than phone support. However, when it comes to sensitive information like billing details, clients prefer being able to speak with human customer service representatives on the phone, rather than typing their concerns. 

 Consumers also prefer to call in when it comes to resolving product or service issues, or when the task involves changing their account information. Phone support gives agents the ability to demonstrate genuine empathy and let customers at the other end of the line feel more at ease during tricky situations.

 Chat support, on the other hand, has a higher possibility of getting lost in translation. Additionally,  live support should not entirely be dependent on chatbots. While bots are great for addressing simple and straightforward queries, they cannot show empathy and may lack the problem-solving capabilities of a skilled and properly trained call center agent.

Metrics and Data Documentation

Both chat support and live support could potentially give you high-quality leads. The two communication channels will allow your company to collect vital data that would aid your team in developing better marketing strategies, products, and services based on recorded interactions with your target market. 

Live chat uses transcripts that require less storage space compared to phone call recordings, and it is much easier to analyze data by searching for specific keywords. 

Agent productivity

Live chat support agents can get flustered, frustrated, and distracted when they are asked to multitask for the sake of efficiency. Handling multiple queries at one time means that they could be spread too thin, which could decrease the quality of their service. 

In a lot of cases, phone support is generally slower compared to live chat. This is because call center agents are only able to deal with one customer at a time, which is time-consuming, making wait times for clients longer. But, this also translates to higher resolution rates because customer service representatives can give customers their full attention.

What’s the Score?

Live chat is highly practical and cost-efficient for businesses with a strong web presence. If your business is operating on an eCommerce site, on Facebook, or on an app, offering live chat is probably more ideal. Customers hate it when it takes them a lot of effort to get in touch with a business. Providing live chat on the platforms where your clients already are, makes a frictionless customer experience. Remember, being easily accessible to your customers is the first step to excellent customer service.

On the other hand, if you are offering high-end products and services that cater to VIP clientele, you most probably need phone support. Customers who pay a higher price tag will always expect personalized customer service. Additionally, trained agents will be able to pick up nuances in the client’s tone of voice or manner of speech, and adjust quickly to the situation in real-time.

Some small businesses may already be doing just fine by choosing either chat support or phone support, but many companies find that implementing both do wonders for optimizing their overall customer service.

Great customer experience is made possible with the right balance of technology and human touch. Let SuperStaff help elevate your client support to a whole new level. 

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