A few weeks ago we reviewed the live chat software report created by the small business CRM recommendations company Software Advice. After looking at the data we had even more questions. We reached out to the Software Advice team to dive into the findings and get their perspective on live chat for small business.

Here’s the conversation between our team and Craig Borowski, market researcher for Software Advice.

LB: Why should small businesses use live chat?

live chat vs phone

Image courtesy of Software Advice.

CB: Small businesses generally have more limited resources at their disposal. One thing live chat excels at is letting companies make the most out of their available resources, namely time and money. For example, let’s say you have a small business with a phone that’s always ringing. When an employee is on the phone with a customer, they can only help one customer at a time. With live chat, agents can handle anywhere from 3 up to over ten simultaneous interactions. That’s a much better use of their time. Plus, many customers appreciate the convenience of live chat, so they’ll benefit as well.

Live chat excels at is letting companies make the most of their available resources, namely time and… Click To Tweet

Of course, more needs to be considered. Like in the example above, the business would need to find a way to make customers use live chat instead of calling. But where there’s a will, there’s a way! Often, customers go to a company’s website to find their phone number. So a strategically placed live chat box can often be a simple way to redirect them. They’ll get their question answered more quickly, a huge bonus for them, and the company benefits as well.

LB: What data do you have that shows live chat is more effective than other communication methods?

CB: A few of our recent reports have presented data from our surveys of consumers, most of which points to the strong preference they have for using live chat. So in terms of meeting customer’s expectations— which determines their overall satisfaction and customer experience— there’s plenty of data showing the effectiveness of live chat. But it doesn’t stop there. There are many other studies that show how live chat can, among other things, reduce cost per interaction, raise the average purchase amount (for online retailers), and cut the costs of providing service on more expensive channels, like phone and email.

Image courtesy of Software Advice

Image courtesy of Software Advice

LB What is the biggest deciding factor in a company deciding to use live chat software or not?

CB: The company should look at all the ways they currently interact and communicate with customers and potential customers. If there’s a way to seamlessly direct those interactions to live chat, then that’s very often enough of a reason to finalize the decision.

LB: What is the future of live chat for both businesses (enterprise to small business) and for live chat software vendors?

CB: Live chat usage is already quite high among enterprises and mid-sized corporations. It’s been spreading down the size-ladder to smaller businesses and will continue to do so. Secondly, while live chat initially found favor mainly in industry segments that have a high degree of customer interaction, and therefore higher service expenses (think telecom, Internet, and cable TV providers, insurance companies etc.) this too is changing. e-Retailers have been adopting live chat at a very high rate. The public sector is as well. We expect it to continue to spread down vertically and across horizontally.

Many thanks to Craig for sharing his thoughts!

Do you have any questions about why small businesses and teams should use live chat? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you!