When it comes to getting a question answered right away, customers typically have only a couple options: make a phone call or start a live chat, if the website has live chat available.
According to Giga Group, it costs companies $5-30 for each inbound phone call to a customer service rep. These costs are fully 10x higher than the cost-per-conversation of live chat. On top of that, agents can handle multiple concurrent chats, which is something that would be impossible on the phone.
On the customer side, they don’t have to worry about navigating an automated phone system or long hold times.
No one likes to admit being afraid to pick up the phone, but it can be intimidating. It’s a little more formal, and it can be uncomfortable calling a company you’ve never done business with before. I’ve experienced this personally when I have a question and can’t figure out how which option from the menu is going to get me to the right department. The last thing you want to do is intimidate customers or make them feel stupid.
In those cases, live chat can be a low-risk, low barrier-to-entry medium with which to engage customers. I used to spend all day on the phone, but now it seems like I’ll go out of my way to avoid making a phone call. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who’s like this in today’s text-happy society.
The bottom line: offer a live chat option and reach customers in their comfort zone.