5 key reasons to use web chat for digital customer service

19 March 2018 by Anita Matthews

Young woman on the sofa chatting online.jpegA good customer service experience can make or break a sale.  Being there to immediately respond to a question when a visitor is considering making a purchase can make all the difference. It provides a reassuring presence to help visitors browsing your website, guides them to the answers they are looking for – and helps you increase sales.

  • Customers who use live chat are 3 times more likely to make purchases versus those who don’t (American Marketing Association Study)
  • 83% of consumers will need some type of customer support while shopping online (Econsultancy)

Today’s customers expect customer service to be:

  • On the channel of their choice – whether that’s a social channel, your website, or a messaging app. If you have a digital presence your customers will expect you to be able to respond and serve them.
  • Personalised – and tailored to their individual need, not a generic reply or an automated response. Customers don’t want to keep repeating the same information over and over. They expect you to know about their previous conversation history.
  • Portable – even if you need to switch channels for privacy reasons, or to deal with customer details securely, it should be a seamless process to move from one channel to another.

Here are 5 top reasons you should add web chat to your digital customer service mix to enable you to build better relationships with your customers and prospects.

#1. Helps you increase sales

Having an agent available to answer questions in real-time reduces the chance that your visitor will bounce off onto a competitor site. It also opens up opportunities for up-selling.

63% of customers said they were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat as opposed to one that doesn’t. (Forrester)

Once a customer is engaged the agent is in a perfect position to make personalised recommendations that may be of interest and can help close the deal.

#2. Reduces the cost to serve

Web chat agents can handle multiple chat conversations simultaneously, unlike phone agents who can only serve one customer at a time. This therefore increases the overall capacity of the team and ultimately reduces the cost to serve.

  • Chat agents can typically engage in as many as six simultaneous chats (Telus)
  • Web chat customer service is 17-30% cheaper than a phone call (Forrester)

Integrating web chat into your social customer service workflow can further improve process efficiency, as agents only need to monitor one unified queue of messages.

#3. Improves customer satisfaction

Enabling customers to interact when they want to means they are more likely to have a satisfied experience in dealing with your brand. This is key when you consider that 82% of customers have stopped doing business with a brand following a bad experience (Ovum).

Customers want to search for information and be served on digital channels that are seamlessly integrated so it makes sense to join up your digital contact channels.

Measuring and benchmarking customer satisfaction enables you to track the effectiveness of your web chat interactions and demonstrate the value of your team.

#4. Encourages self-service

Many customers use the web to access information before making contact with a brand.

  • 72% use the web to access information prior to calling a contact centre (Ovum)
  • More than two thirds use a website or mobile app to search for relevant information while on the phone with a customer service agent (Ovum)

Use web chat to support customers who are already browsing your site looking for information.  This can help deflect calls from your contact centre and reduce customer effort.  Provide guidelines for agents and links to proactive self-service content that will enable customers to find the help they need.

#5. Unlocks valuable information on customer pain points

Many contact centres find it challenging to consolidate digital customer information and so lack visibility about their issues or problems.  This means they are losing out on a valuable opportunity to personalise the interaction and will lack details on any previous conversations that might help resolve the issue more quickly.

Only 48% of Contact Centre Managers report capturing and using information about customers’ digital activity to improve interactions (Ovum)

Tracking and reporting on your web chat interactions is key as it provides greater insight into the most common issues customers are having. You can use this knowledge to train agents to have more productive conversations.  Knowing and understanding the customer’s challenges or preferences will help ensure a more seamless experience.

Uncover further insights by measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction with each of your digital channels to benchmark performance. Send a simple CSaT survey request after each interaction to understand how happy customers are with their customer service experience.  You can then use this for agent training or to demonstrate the real value web chat brings to your business.


Sentiment helps hundreds of leading brands manage customer engagement on digital channels. Find out how web chat can help your business win and retain more customers. 

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Tags: web chat, digital customer engagement, digital customer service