Live Chat Customer Support:Cost-Benefit Perspective - TELUS International Europe
  • Live Chat Customer Support:Cost-Benefit Perspective

    If you’ve missed to check out our whitepapers on the topic of live chat support services you might want to take a few minutes and read through the following article. After reading it you’ll know what major factors to consider when deciding whether to implement live chat customer service.

    Live Chat Customer Support

    A Growing Trend

    In a multichannel environment the digital space is one of the most preferred contact channels for customers as they are increasingly techno-dependent and internet savvy. Therefore, customer service call centers are rapidly implementing live chat as additional method of customer interaction as it has a significant impact on operating cost, employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

    Labor Costs Reduced

    In terms of labor related costs, the main savings come from the rate of concurrency on chat sessions. That is the same volume of contacts can be handled by fewer chat agents than by phone agents. Thus, staffing is lower for a chat channel, which reduces operating costs. In other words, multitasking increases productivity.

    Agents’ Skills are Crucial

    The success of a live chat session has more to do with the agent than with the software used. Hence, a major emphasis is put on hiring and training. Chat agents need strong typing skills, reading comprehension and writing skills. They are often tested for these attributes during interviews, which might result in an additional cost. Compared to the voice channel there is no difference in the program management including workforce management, reporting and quality management.

    Technology is Cheaper

    In terms of technology infrastructure, live chat appears to be cheaper because it is cloud based and software requires only a subscription fee. On the other hand, the telephony infrastructure requires a large investment up-front and regular maintenance.

    Higher Customer Satisfaction

    One of the soft benefits is the higher customer satisfaction compared to voice or email channels because customers get personal, fast and effective support by knowledgeable representative anywhere anytime. Also customers get more engaged as agents may provide sources in the form of hyperlinks for additional information if required by the customer, which may reduce the rate of future calls.

    Reduction of Customer Effort

    Another benefit is the reduction of customer effort in terms of the amount of work need to interact in the channel. Customers prefer live chats because they are fast, easy and allow them to multitask.


    However, a major disadvantage is the tradeoff between cost savings and customer satisfaction. That is because customer issues may be too complex for agents to handle multiple conversations. Customer frustration and brand image are also at stake. Crucial factors here are the agents’ writing skills (grammar, spelling, sentence structure), conversation flow and communication style (including voice, tone and personalization).

    Nevertheless, the costs and benefits of the implementation of live chat support are not static but they vary among companies. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages must be analyzed in the context of the company itself and the environment in which it operates.

    For more detailed information on the topic of Live Chat Customer Support check out our whitepapers:

    Comparing the Cost of Chat vs Voice Customer Service

    Reducing Customer Effort in the Chat Channel

    Live Chat | The 2012 Market Adoption Report

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