Live Chat Support vs. Email Support: Who is Leading the Charge in 2020?

Published: October 6, 2020
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Live chat support is a trending communication tool for businesses. It was once just an option in customer service. Now, it has become the prime choice over email support because of its benefits.

The Pros and Cons of Email Support Customer Service

Email support is a non-voice customer service solution that enables asynchronous interaction between a customer and an agent. For years, businesses have appreciated the benefits of using email when communicating with customers and vice versa.

The Advantages of Using Email Support in Customer Service

Any customer service center that has email support can benefit from the following advantages: 

  • Cost-effective. Writing and creating an email for clients nearly costs nothing. In most cases, companies invest in email automation software to send messages to their clients. Fees will vary, depending on the client’s needs and the number of messages needed to be sent out.
  • Flexible. Emailing grants flexibility in messaging and content types. It allows attaching images, plain text, video links, infographics, or feedback forms. An email can include a company logo and other details to help clients know more about the brand.
  • Scalable. A company’s market can be a small group or thousands of people living in a specific location. Hence, email is the most suitable choice for product promotion, whether for small or large audiences. 
  • Brand awareness. Emails with attractive designs, including the business logo, slogan, and essential links, can increase brand recognition faster. The more appealing the email is, the higher are the chances for the brand to be recognized.

The Limitations in Using Email Support in Customer Service

Despite these appealing benefits, email support also has its shortcomings. Here are some:

  • Spam. Unsolicited emails can be a risk, as some recipients shun commercial emails. Also, emails must be updated with a privacy and data protection disclaimer to ensure information security. 
  • Deliverability issues. Undelivered emails are unavoidable as some of the email addresses may be inactive or have full inboxes. Email software and service providers may automatically deem certain email subjects as spam. 
  • Website risk. If several customers report the company’s email as spam, the company website can be shut down once the web host approves the report.
  • Long queues and expectations. Customer service agents are not required to respond to emails promptly. This can lead to a pile of long email chains, which slows down the operation. The longer a customer waits for a response, the more absolute and exhaustive they demand the answer to be. Receiving a templated or short, unclear message from the agent will not be graciously accepted.
  • No potential for clarifying questions. Clarifying questions to fully understand a customer’s issue is more challenging via email. Poor customer experience can occur if several exchanges of messages are needed before the problem is resolved. 
  • Lack of empathy and emotion. It is easy to misunderstand or neglect the frustration of a customer through email. If the agent cannot understand a customer’s sentiments, they can quickly give a reply that may further damage the customer’s already frustrated state.

Email is still a necessary mode of customer communication. However, with the fast-paced advancement in technology, customers can switch to a more conventional tool: live chat.

How Live Chat is Leading the Customer Service Race

Today, the business world is all about earning profit, getting ahead of the competition, and expanding to other regions. Achieving these goals would require customers, or else the business will not survive.

Live chat is a beneficial option for companies to be able to provide exceptional customer experience. It usually helps by reducing long queues and lengthy explanations over the phone.

Some industries that use and profit from live chat solutions are:

  • eCommerce
  • Airlines
  • Government
  • Health and Medical
  • Software and web development

These industries use live chat solutions to directly and instantly contact their website visitors. But other than these two advantages, there are more reasons why customers and companies prefer to have live chat support for websites.

Advantages of Live Chat Customer Service

According to Zendesk, a US company that designs software for customer relationship management, 91 percent of consumers prefer phone calls as a channel for customer service. Next to it is live chat, as 85 percent of customers choose it as the second-best channel. Only 82 percent prefer email support.

Given these facts, let’s look at why customers favor live chat solutions over email support:

Direct interaction. One frustrating part of poor customer experience is when the customer service department is hard to reach. However, most consumers find it a pleasant experience to talk to a customer service agent. Live chat for websites is the best communication tool to achieve that.

Quick response. In today’s fast-paced world, nobody wants to wait for an answer. Live chat allows the customer to receive instant answers to their concerns.

HubSpot’s customer service survey showed that 60 percent of consumers want a quick reply when contacting a support team. 

Karl Pawlewicz, the Head of Communications of Olark, said, “When a customer starts a conversation, start with a quick response . . . This way, the customer knows they’ve reached a live person.” Doing so will help them feel relieved and assured that their message was received and will be acted on.

More efficient handling. 89 percent of consumers quit their business with a brand due to poor customer support experience. Live chat helps build long-term relationships between a business and a consumer. It allows customers to express their concerns better, therefore making them feel heard. In addition, agents will have more time to understand customers’ needs. This way, businesses can relate to their customers more and serve them upfront.

Empathizing. When you empathize with your customer, you gain their trust. The best way to express this is via live chat.

Customer service agents can adjust the tone of their interaction, depending on the disposition of the customer. A happy client would prefer a happy live chat agent interacting with them. If a buyer is frustrated, communicating with concern is the best tone to use.

Establishing Live Chat on Your Website

Understanding the benefits of live chat solutions takes you to the next step: setting it up on your website.

Getting a live chat for your website is pretty simple. The live chat tool will run on your website after copy-pasting a few live chat tool code lines.

To help you further, here are some of the live chat tools available for you: 

HubSpot Live Chat
Pure Chat

All these live chat tools offer features worth considering. It is best to choose which software suits your needs and standards.

Getting the Super Team Behind the Chat

Live chat support is a better option than email support in meeting customer demands. It is a faster and easier channel of communication between a business and a consumer. With the number of live chat tools to choose from, enjoying its benefits is achievable in no time.

However, tools are just tools. Quick responses are not enough; what is equally important is proper handling. Hence, the live agents behind the medium should be well-trained and professional.

For businesses that want to start a live chat customer service, consider outsourcing live chat agents. Why?

Outsourcing can present cost-efficient solutions. Hiring an in-house team can add expenses in facilities, equipment, training, and the like. Also, outsourcing enhances the performance of internal employees since it frees them from additional workload.

To experience the advantages of both live chat support and outsourcing, you must find a reliable outsourcing partner in customer service.

SuperStaff has been providing outsourcing solutions in customer service for a decade. We designed our customer support programs to fit your business needs. Whether our team needs to communicate through email, phone, or chat, we are ready to assist 24/7. 

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