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Proactive vs Reactive Web Chat Support: Which is Better?
27 Jun

By Roma Gonzales | Posted on June 27, 2018 at 6:01 AM 0 Comments

As competition increases and client expectations diversify, businesses have to find new ways to stay on top of their game. To improve customer satisfaction and reduce cart abandonment, some have already integrated chat support into their websites.

According to this Forrester study, 44% of online clients are impressed when their concerns are addressed in the middle of the purchasing process. When chat support is available, 90% of customers reported feeling more secure.

Proactive and Reactive Chats

Already thinking about jumpstarting your website by launching chat support? First, you have to determine which of the two types - proactive or reactive - will work best for you.

In the simplest sense, reactive chat is when the shopper approaches the agent for help, and proactive chat is when the agent offers assistance to the shopper.

Let's say a customer enters your store. He or she seems confused about the specifications of the product they're planning to buy. So, the customer seeks help from one of your salespeople. When your salesperson responds to your customer's request, this is reactive support.

On the other hand, when one of your salespeople greets a customer as they enter the store and asks the customer how they can make their shopping experience better, this is proactive support. A website is basically like a store, and the chat support agents are the virtual salespersons.

Here is a summarized comparison of proactive and reactive web chat support systems: 

Proactive Chat Support vs Reactive Chat Support Comparison Table
 
A. SPEED 

On average, it takes 23 seconds to address a client’s query through reactive chat support. On the other hand, calculating how quick proactive chat responses are can be tricky. The speed depends on the shopping behavior of the client. Proactive chat offers to help the shopper from start to finish. Response time also depends on the number of chat invitations that can be sent and processed in an hour.

B. ENGAGEMENT

With an engagement level of only 2%, it seems customers don't respond much to proactive chat invitations from support representatives. Obviously, it doesn't compare to the 7.8% engagement level of customers towards reactive chat responses.

The passive nature of proactive chat may be the reason for such a low turnout of customer engagement. Chat invitations are often ignored until the point when the customer realizes that he or she has questions that need answers immediately.

While the shopping experience is enriched with the recommendations and assistance of proactive chat support, customers may not see the need to fully engage. On the other hand, reactive chat has higher engagement because the customers are the first to contact a support agent out of necessity. Thus, they will stick around until their concerns are addressed.

C. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION & SALES

Both proactive and reactive web chat support can increase satisfaction among your customers on how fast they're provided with clear and concise answers to their questions.

Getting answers from a reliable source while browsing through a gallery of items or selecting one brand over another can make your customer's whole shopping experience satisfying and memorable. It lessens unnecessary delays brought about by doubt or hesitation. It fosters trust and builds loyalty. Best of all, your customers don't experience buyer's remorse which can affect how they perceive the whole shopping experience has been at your online store.

However, hesitant buyers are 6.3 times more likely to buy an item after they're given proactive chat support than when they are left alone. Thus, this type of web chat leads to higher lead generation and sales conversion. In fact, this Forrester study claims that proactive chat has an ROI of 105% while reactive chat only has 15%.

D. EXECUTION

The potential downside to proactive chat is that it may cause your customers to totally disengage and even try to stop the chat window from popping up. Pop-up windows offering unsolicited assistance may be taken as intrusive and annoying especially if they constantly appear on screen.

While it could lead to higher sales generation, the use of proactive chat is a slippery slope. Even the overall look of the pop-up window, how the invitation was worded, and what triggers its appearance can affect how your customers respond to it.

Moreover, the customer's profile, geographic location, current page, referral page,and time spent on the website, among many others, must be analyzed to help understand how to offer the service effectively. The key to getting the results you want is knowing how to deliver the right message at the right time.

Meanwhile, reactive chat support is only activated when the client asks for it.

E. STAFFING NEEDS

You don't need a large team to provide reactive chat support. An agent can cater to 3-5 clients at the same time. It’s relatively easy with proper training and a database of knowledge that agents can readily pull up when needed.

It is important to note that your staffing size will depend on the roles your agents need to fulfill. One of the questions to ask is, "Do they have to answer simple questions only?" You may also need to consider the metrics that you'll use to automate chat support invites, your site traffic, and the baseline amount of chats, among other factors.

Web chat support is a great feature for your company’s website. However, one must not assume that it guarantees an immediate and tremendous boost. It is important to study and adjust the type of chat service you will offer based on facts, figures, and trends.

 

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Tags: Chat Support, Web Chat Support, Online Chat Support, Proactive Chat Support, Reactive Chat Support

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