The Pros and Cons of Chat Support

One of the most ingenious communication tools that have evolved over the last few years is of course live chat support. With the advent of internet technology, business communication has changed tremendously.  With the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimating that there are 2.3 billion active internet users, it is time to make sure you take a piece of this pie using a live chat feature. 

Basics of Web-based Chat Service

If you are not leveraging on web-based chat service it is time to hop onboard. Those days when all you needed as a business owner was a phone connection are long gone. Internet usage over the last two decades has been on an upward trajectory and if you are able to tap this market, you will be on your way to high ROI.

According to a study by CRM Magazine in 2013, 45% of companies offering web-based support reported increased site traffic. Another study by eConsultancy in 2013 indicated that 57% of customers sampled prefer live chat service for their queries. The same company indicated that 83% of online customers require support to complete a purchase. 

From these numbers, the importance of online presence for your business coupled with live chat becomes obvious. To implement chat services on your page, you will just need to install a third party call on your and then have a help button placed strategically. When users click on this button, they will have initiated a chat with your customer care team.

Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Live Chat for Your Business


Having understood how chat operates and why it is the in-thing in customer support today, it is important to appreciate the advantages your business will get. 


Immediate access: There is nothing that gratifies a customer than immediate attention. If a user on your page gets immediate response, they are more likely to return. A Nielsen-McKinsey study in 2012 found that 45% of customers abandon transactions when queries are not attended to quickly. With live chat support you do not run this risk as your team will be in touch with users.

Personalized touch: With chat services, there is a more human touch to communication as opposed to e-mails responses. Your team will even be better placed to seek further clarification in order to help the customer maximally. This human element in communication is a guaranteed winner in business communication. 

Reduced stress on other communication tools: Your business will still be using e-mails and phones to respond to weighty issues. As such, using chat for quick response will free these other tools hence speeding up resolution of other matters. If everything will have to depend on e-mail and phone resolution, you will have a long queue of unresolved problems.

Time efficiency: A RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report indicates that 89% of consumers stop doing business with a company after experiencing delayed customer service. With chat service, you will be able to eliminate this problem as responses are real-time unlike e-mail and phone support. Your customers will be grateful as they will be doing other things on the page as they continue chatting with your team. In essence, no one loses time and it is a win-win situation. Research has shown that one of the worst irritants to online based clients is queue time which forces them to other websites.

Cost efficiency: Installing live chat on your website is not costly and using it is also affordable. There are different chat software packages that will suit your office needs and hence you will not have to break bank to talk to your clients. At the same time, you will save in terms of personnel as one agent can chat with different customers at the same time. 

Enhanced customer trust: if your team is able to sort out any ensuing issues promptly, your website visitors will become loyal. Customers love brands that listen to them and offer instant solutions and chat support offers you exactly this. In short, chat service helps you to build long-lasting customer relationships. 

Convenience: to ensure your customers are fully satisfied, you can send them a deeper link on the page to ensure they get further details. On the other hand, your customers will not need to compose emails and wait for days before getting a response. They can easily get resolution just by visiting your page from the comfort of their home or office. 

Truth be said, the power of live chat is simply infinitesimal. Your business will enjoy constant conversations with customers and this will in turn translate into sales. According to an E-Marketer report in 2013, 25% of customers who engaged in live chat did 51%-75% of their purchases on those pages and these are the numbers you will enjoy for your business venture. 

With higher sales conversion, you will be on your way to gaining a competitive edge over the competition and creating brand loyalty due to chat service. The fact that you can initiate the chat also gives your company a unique touch as users will feel appreciated. This is ideal if they were having a problem and did not know how to initiate a chat. 


There are some downsides on using chat support and it is crucial to understand them as a business owner. 

Impersonal touch for new chat users: if a web user is new to chat and is used to hearing a voice on the phone, this service might seem a bit impersonal. The fact that you are not in a face-to-face situation or on call means some confidential information will be tricky to just fill in on chat. This might force an agent to try and resolve a problem without all details.

Limited mobile access: with more internet users on mobile phones and tablets, your chat software might limit communication if it has not been adapted for these gadgets. As such, you might incense a big section of your target market as they will not enjoy instant response. 

Lack of know-how: many internet users are not yet technologically savvy when it comes to chat and hence they might still stick to the other forms of communication thus creating a queue. 

Time zone problems: your customers could be anywhere on the globe and hence, they require chat services 24/7. With time, you will realize that this is tricky to fulfill unless you hire extra personnel.

Other problems with chat include lack of emotional connection on chat as customers might feel like their concerns have not relay hit in. Customer’s personal details also raise security issues while prank chats which are common can reduce resolution speeds for real customer problems.

There is no denying that chat support is a great tool for your business despite its minor drawbacks. All you need is to train your team to help them give a personal touch to their chats. Simply put, if you are able to install dependable chat software, you will be on the right track to success.


Amy Clark is the Lead Author & Editor of IWantItNow Blog. Amy established the Customer Engagement blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to customer service, support and engagement.