If you counted every person in the 100 most populous cities in the United States, the total sum would be fewer than the number of users who are active on Facebook Messenger every day. If you counted every person in the 100 most populous cities in the world, the total sum would be fewer than the respective number of users who are active on WeChat or active on WhatsApp every day. Unlike live chat, which, as its name suggests, exists as real-time interaction, messaging apps allow users to converse with brands and with other users on their schedules. Messaging seems both more popular and more convenient, yet it hasn't replaced live chat.
Here are 4 Major Reasons Why Live Chat is the Better Option:
1. Continuous Improvement
Customer service delivered by messaging app does not include the reporting and analytics required to continuously improve agent performance. In short, remarkable customer experience relies upon professional chat agents and agent management processes, and both of those rely upon the kind of actionable data that live chat, but not messaging, can provide. This may change as messaging technology matures, but it is unlikely to be available soon.
2. Real-Time Needs
Relatedly, some customers need to rely upon technologies that are only available when working with a live agent in real-time. Screen-sharing, co-browsing, audio chat, and video chat are just a few examples of scenarios that cannot be satisfied by the asynchronous nature of messaging.
Supporting the real-time interaction on the company side, skill-based routing, language translation, and sensitive data-masking features allow for greater convenience and security for all parties involved. Additionally, being able to view and edit, or initially create a customer’s CRM record while interacting with them is a time-saver for agents. It also helps to maintain data quality within your CRM. At present live chat is the only way to utilize this functionality.
3. Website Buying Signals
The ability to invite users to the conversation is parallel but not identical between apps like Facebook Messenger and live chat software. Providing a static button is standard for both channels, but more personalized invitations are also possible. For Facebook Messenger, you can use demographic criteria to set parameters for who can see an ad inviting them to talk with you (or your bot). These ads can (and should) differ in appearance based on the demographic criteria of your target audience. With live chat software, you can use demographic information or activity on your website (e.g., “30+ seconds idle on pricing page”) as triggers for a pop-up invitation to chat.
Moreover, most live chat software will include a visitor monitoring function, which will provide information such as referring sites and historical activity. This can inform where each visitor is in the buyer’s journey, indicate what specific products or services they might be interested in, and can trigger personalized responses based on past behavior, like the differentiated ads you can set up on a messenger platform.
4. Customer Experience
Asynchronous messaging vs. live chat is not expressly an either/or. Some customers are not going to visit your website, and live chat is not helpful if you can’t get them there. Similarly, some customers don’t use Facebook Messenger, or your messaging platform of choice, so asynchronous messaging won’t be an effective means of engaging them. That said, live chat will include more robust technological capabilities than messaging, due simply to the maturity of the channel. Whether you’re looking to generate new business, to support existing customers, or to enhance the customer service experience, messaging apps are not likely to replace live chat software.