The Pros and Cons of Online Store Chat Support

by Michael Kammer

by Michael Kammer

The Pros and Cons of Online Store Chat Support

The availability of live chat for eCommerce gives retail customers the ability to quickly and easily ask questions or submit complaints. But is this necessarily a service your eCommerce site should offer?

Offering the option to interact with a trained human representative in real time opens up a whole world of possibilities for converting prospects into sales and creating satisfied customers. On the other hand, live chat support isn’t the easiest feature to implement. There’s a lot that can go wrong, which could ultimately make it harmful to your business and customers.

To help you decide whether online store chat support is right for you, we’ve outlined a number of the major pros and cons of the service. Keep reading to learn more. 

The pros of online store chat support

Real-time assistance. The most obvious benefit of live chat for eCommerce is the instant access to support that it provides for customers. Questions about your products or services can be immediately relayed to your customer service staff, giving customers the knowledge that their queries are being heard and the peace of mind of knowing that their issue is being dealt with.

Convenience. Live chat isn’t just a potential alternative to more traditional customer support options – it’s preferred. According to eMarketer, 63% of customers said they were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat as opposed to one that doesn’t, which means that live chat edges out all other forms of customer service and support in terms of popularity. That popularity is based in large part on the convenience that live chat offers – from the customer side, there’s no waiting on hold for a phone representative or constantly checking for email replies. 

Chat widget example

Chat widget example, source:

Cost-efficiency. When it comes to affordability, live customer chat is a far better customer service option compared to customer service in person or over the telephone. In fact, research from Forrester has shown that live chat is 17 to 30% cheaper than a phone call. Companies can also save on personnel costs through chat concurrency. When your team can handle more than three chats simultaneously, customers will not be stuck in a long wait, which translates into higher customer satisfaction.

Global reach. Live chat can be especially beneficial for international customers who face language barriers when interacting through traditional channels. Studies indicate that over 70% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they get information in their own language. For more than 50% of consumers, information in their native language can be more important than price. Most will never purchase a product in foreign languages. Sales, client satisfaction, and client retention are all influenced by language, because these roles are relationship and conversation focused. Multilingual live chat allows you to target a much wider market, increase sales and brand loyalty, reduce churn, and increase trust.

The cons of online store chat support

Limited personal connection. Unlike phone calls, which can enhance communication and foster personal connections between agents and customers by capturing the speaker’s tone, inflection and emotion, live chat services often rely on scripted responses. These can cause frustration among customers, who often find them impersonal or patronizing. Unfortunately,  using such auto-responses can prove unavoidable unless you have a large staff at your disposal. 

Increased potential for misinterpretation. All forms of text-based communication can potentially lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of customer queries, potentially causing frustration. Live chat agents may also struggle to resolve complex customer issues, as service agents can typically handle complicated issues more effectively over the phone than via live chat. 

Dependency on agent availability. The Internet operates around the clock, so customers may need service at any time of the day or night. As a result, your live chat agents may need to address time zones and accessibility to determine whether you can deliver around-the-clock service. If not, you could disappoint some customers who need help outside of traditional business hours.

60% of your customers want to chat when you are not available

source: own data


PerfectBot is the answer

At PerfectBot, we believe that our GPT-powered AI chatbot for eCommerce is the easiest way to enjoy the pros of live chat while avoiding the cons. Unlike human operators, PerfectBot is available to answer customer questions professionally and comprehensively at any hour, day or night. It doesn’t require human staff to function, so it can operate all day, seven days a week.

When PerfectBot is trained on your FAQ pages and other support materials it can use relevant information to deliver the kind of personalized experiences that will have customers coming back for more. 

Example of AI bot operation

Chatbot-customer interaction

In addition, PerfectBot can collect customer feedback, enrich and optimize its own knowledge, and serve more customers at scale. If you’re ready to see for yourself what PerfectBoy can do for you, it’s available to try for free with no strings attached. 

Contact us now and get started on the road to lower costs and enhanced conversational commerce today. 

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