Providing great customer service isn’t just a nice feature to have; it’s something that consumers have come to expect from every business. The level of support a company offers can often be the deciding factor when customers are trying to choose between two similar products. That means in order to maximize sales, your company needs to provide top-notch customer service.
When establishing a customer service system for your own company, it’s important to choose the method that works best for your needs. Two of the most popular options available today are live chat and email. Each of these customer service methods has its advantages, and understanding what those are will help you select the one that’s right for you when it comes to live chat vs. email.
Email Advantages and Disadvantages
When deciding whether live chat or email is the right option for your company, you need to carefully evaluate what each method can offer as well as what the limitations are. Only by carefully considering these aspects can you determine whether live chat or email is the better fit for your needs.
Here’s a look at the benefits that come from using email for your customer support:
- Email is a cost-effective option. Even when using automated software, the fees and upkeep costs of running your customer service through email are low.
- Email is a flexible method for providing customer support. You can customize each email you send out to customers in a variety of ways, such as adding images, videos, links, surveys, and more.
- Email is easily scalable. Whether you’re providing support to a small or large consumer base, email is an effective method for reaching your intended audience.
- Email can help promote brand awareness. The format and tone of each email can be specifically crafted through logos, slogans, and tone to help your brand become more recognizable.
While email customer support has several advantages, it isn’t without its disadvantages. Be sure to carefully review these downsides to email customer support when choosing live chat or email as your preferred method:
- Emails may not be delivered. If an email inbox is full or inactive, your company’s email may not be delivered. There’s also a chance that the email will be viewed as spam by the customer’s email service provider.
- Email conversations can become confusing when they go on too long. The more responses that are sent back and forth in an email exchange, the more difficult it can become to refer back to the information mentioned earlier.
- Email is difficult to convey empathy through. When your customer receives a long email message and has to read the entire response at once, it may be difficult for them to feel like your company cares about the issues they’re facing.
- Email puts your company website at risk. If enough people were to report your emails as spam, your website could be shut down as a result.
- Emails can take a long time to respond to. Reading and responding to each one sent to your company doesn’t always have a quick turnaround, and this can frustrate your customers even more.
- Email exchanges make it difficult to clarify a problem. If the customer’s first email doesn’t contain all of the necessary information, you’ll need to send them a response asking for more information. You’ll then have to wait for their response to find out whether it has been fully explained or if you still need more information.
Live Chat Advantages and Disadvantages
Live chat is a popular alternative to email for customer support. This method allows customers and service representatives to speak in real-time on your website so you can provide immediate help for any issues visitors may be experiencing.
Some of the live chat’s benefits include:
- Live chat allows you to directly interact with customers. Instead of leaving messages for each other and hoping you’ve conveyed the information clearly, live chat allows users to ask clarifying questions right in the moment.
- Live chat has instantaneous responses. There are no long waits in between messages because the service representative and the customer are speaking in real-time.
- Live chat makes it easy to convey empathy. Unlike email, live chat allows service representatives to express their apologies for the customer’s problems in a standalone message instead of burying it in a long email response.
- Live chat allows you to maximize conversions. You can send your customers a message through live chat while they’re actively experiencing problems on your website to help rectify the issue immediately.
- Live chat feels like a real conversation. Since the customer and support representative are speaking in real-time, it’s easier to establish a feeling of human connection during the conversation.
Live chat can be an extremely beneficial customer support tool, but it can also have some downsides.
- Live chat service representatives need to be able to multitask effectively. Since representatives may be engaged in more than one conversation at once, they need to be able to think and solve problems quickly.
- Live chat availability can differ across time zones. If you don’t employ around-the-clock staff to run your live chat, customers from different time zones won’t get the same experience.
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