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Live Chat vs. Phone Support: Choosing the Right One for Your Business - A Better Answer - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Live Chat vs. Phone Support: Choosing the Right One for Your Business

If you’re lucky, your business will run into growing pains. Growing pains typically mean you have too much business with too many tasks and not enough staffing power or processes in place to efficiently keep things running  The one department that gets overwhelmed during the growth of a business is customer service.

When your customer service needs are too much to handle, orders get missed, questions go unanswered and you end up with unhappy customers.

A common problem business owners and operations managers run into is how to expand their customer service team or processes.

When one person can’t keep up with the influx of email inquiries and customer service needs, business owners often look to fill customer service needs through live chat or phone support. 

Choosing between the two can be difficult as they both have pros and cons. Ultimately, it depends on your business needs.

Here are some tips to help you choose between providing phone support or live chat to help scale your business and improve the customer service experience. There is A Better Answer.

Implementing Both Live Chat and Phone Support Is Ideal

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we want to note offering phone support and live chat together is ideal for most companies. It’s a “best practice” to provide multiple ways for customers to contact you, but if you don’t have the infrastructure to support both, choosing one or the other will have to do for the interim.

While many people think you need to have customer service teams available in every channel — phone, email, social media and live chat — customer service is only helpful if it’s offered where your customers are hanging out.

For instance, if your target audience is the Boomer generation, phone support might be the channel to implement first.

While live chat has been on the rise for years, phone support is the original form of customer communication and most people highly prefer it.

Despite the availability of automated solutions, three in four consumers still prefer to interact with a real person.

Think about your target market and what would work best for them before making any decisions. Where do they hang out? How do they like to communicate? When are they shopping or reaching out to companies? These questions should be some of the determining factors in deciding what type of customer service channels to add to your support system.

Also, consider the type of business you have and the type of inquiries you generally get.

Tech companies that handle complex products and provide complicated directions may prefer phone support to streamline communication. In contrast, retail companies that deal with many shipping inquiries or simple FAQs may opt for live chat to handle questions quickly.

Omnichannel support is almost always best if you’re able to do so. If that’s not feasible, here are the pros and cons of live chat vs. phone support for your customer service needs.

What Is Live Chat?

You’ve probably seen a little chat bubble on the right side of some websites. The chat bubble icon is what shows that a company offers live chat.

Live chat works similarly to text messaging — type a message in a chatbox and wait for a reply. 

Online chat support comes in two forms (or a hybrid of both). One option is to have a human handling the chat to get real-time answers from a real person. Another form of live chat is automated chat, which lets customers type or choose from a list of frequently asked questions. Beyond the designated answers chosen to be used in the program, the live chat doesn’t offer extended support. 

Pros of Live Chat

  • Quick to answer simple questions
  • Agents can potentially handle more than one chat at a time, answering more inquiries per hour
  • Can provide “automated” chat when reps are not available 

Cons of Live Chat

  • Often seen as spam or not a real person, so users don’t utilize it
  • Complex situations can be confusing and difficult to explain
  • Long wait times; high customer abandonment when they don’t get an answer quickly or think they’re talking to a bot
  • Limitations on what information can be shared via chat
  • Lulls in chat make resolutions take longer than if they were on the phone

What Does Phone Support Entail?

Phone support is as simple as it sounds; it includes a person-to-person conversation via telephone.

Even in the ultra-digital age we live in, 76% of consumers prefer to reach customer support via phone calls, so offering phone support is crucial for many businesses. Customers expect phone support, but implementing live chat is not an industry standard.

An additional benefit of offering phone support is if you hire an answering service, they can conduct other tasks in tandem with answering support calls and questions. Many companies that offer phone support can also complete outbound calls, send text messages and help with an abundance of admin tasks.

Pros of Phone Support

  • Personalized experience
  • Agents can gauge happiness or frustration levels and cater their demeanor to that
  • Support can help with complex inquiries 
  • Easier to read satisfaction and quality of service when hearing the customer’s voice
  • Generally faster resolution times
  • Can offer a call-back system instead of making customers wait in queue 
  • Easy to scale (when hiring a call center or answering service)

Cons of Phone Support

  • Potentially long wait times; customers can’t get through to a representative
  • Cost can be high if you hire multiple in-house team members to handle the phones (but you’ll see cost savings when you hire an answering service)

Having Trouble Choosing Which Service Is Best for Your Business?

8 in 10 consumers are willing to switch companies due to poor service, so whichever support channel assistance you decide to go with, make sure it’s an excellent experience for your customers.

If you can’t decide which is best to implement for your business, A Better Answer can help. 

An answering service acts as an extension of your company and can handle your phone support. If even more help is needed beyond phone support, you can hire an in-house employee to handle your live chat in tandem with an answering service so you’re managing both forms of support.

Are you interested in hiring an answering service? Here’s how much it costs to hire one.

Publish Date: June 21, 2021 5:00 AM


2021 Buyers Guide Headsets

 
1.) 
All Ears Ltd

Freemate headsets, and sanitary solutions for headsets
Freemate headsets available, corded and wireless for telephony and USB. 3 year warranty compatible with all model phones. We supply accessories from downleads, USB leads, ear cushions, leatherettes and we service call centre headsets, these are sanitised and repaired or serviced as required.

We supply the corporate environment, Government departments, security, medical and professional offices and meet the needs of many of New Zealand's SOHO market.

We can even develop and create one-off solutions for those with mobility or disability limitations opening up a world of freedom in communications. And we like to have fun on the journey.

2.) 
Comfort Telecommunications

Smith Corona Headsets
3 year warranty compatible with all model phones. Accessories also available. Cords, earpads, etc all factory direct pricing

3.) 
CTCOMM

Plantronics
Jabra
Sennheiser

4.) 
Headsets123


Since 1998 Headsets123 has been supplying Call Center Grade corded phone headsets, wireless headsets, headset telephones and a wide range of headset accessories to accommodate Medical, Insurance, Financial offices and large Call Centers environments offering you value, comfort, flexibility and increased productivity in your day to day business.

Our offices are located just outside of Seattle, WA. We hope you enjoy our wide range of headsets and accessories.

5.) 
Jabra

Jabra
Jabra is a leader in engineering communications and sound solutions – innovating to empower both consumers and businesses. We are committed to letting people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible. Through sound and video, we help transform lives. Jabra engineering excellence leads the way, building on 150 years of pioneering work. This allows us to create integrated headsets and communications tools that help professionals work more productively; wireless headphones and earbuds that let consumers better enjoy calls, music, and media; and pioneering video conferencing solutions, enabling seamless collaboration between distributed teams. Jabra employs approx. 1,400 people worldwide

6.) 
JPL Telecom

Based in Dorset, England, JPL designs and manufactures innovative professional telecom headsets. We have a wide range of professional telecom and call centre use headsets in wired, wireless DECT and Bluetooth styles.

Making sure that your customer’s voice can be heard is vital. JPL Telecom ensures that your customer’s experience is first-class. All headsets have our Surround Shield™ noise cancellation to make certain your customer only hears what you want them to hear. Comfortable and attractively designed headsets are built to withstand the constant use in any call centre environment.

Our aim is to continuously improve customer choice, offering a fair price and value to our resellers and end users.

7.) 
Unicom Services Ltd.

Contact center headsets and conference solutions
Unicom Services Ltd. is a distributor of professional headsets and communication solutions for all possible applications.

Products and Services:
* Headsets for contact center, office, small office and home, mobile phones, computer headsets and adapters.

* Conference systems - audio video terminals, personal and group multipoint conferences.

* Telecom Products - office wired and wireless phones, dect systems, softphones.

* Video conference software for contact centers and offices.

* Unified Communication Solution.

8.) 
Xiamen Mairdi Electronic Technology Co., Ltd

Call Center Headsets
Mairdi is a professional call center headsets maker in China. We've designed, produced and exported professional communication headsets for 16 years. Our headsets were exported to over 120 countires in the world.
Our headsets are widely compatible with nearly all IP Phones, desk phones, PC and mobiles. They are all noise cancelling and with built-in hearing protection technology. Our headset accessories are Plantronics or Jabra compatible. All the headsets and accessories are CE,FCC, RoHS certificated.
 



View more from A Better Answer

Recent Blog Posts:
5 Thoughts You Need To Stop Ignoring When It Comes to Customer ServiceAugust 19, 2021 5:00 AM
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Virtual Assistant vs. Answering Service: Which Is Right for You?June 22, 2021 5:00 AM
6 Most Common Call Center Myths DebunkedJune 21, 2021 5:00 AM
Live Chat vs. Phone Support: Choosing the Right One for Your BusinessJune 21, 2021 5:00 AM
Tips To Help Improve Your Company’s First Call ResolutionMay 30, 2021 5:00 AM
The Importance of Stellar Customer Service for E-Commerce BusinessesMay 25, 2021 5:00 AM
Growing a Business: Automated Messages vs. Hiring an Answering ServiceMay 21, 2021 5:00 AM
5 Benefits of Using an Answering Service for Educational FacilitiesMay 20, 2021 5:00 AM

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