Messengers vs. online chats. What will be the best solution for your business?

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One of the most essential parts of any online business is its customer engagement and the way it handles feedback, support tickets and outreach as a whole. No matter the scale of your business or the niche it operates in, the facilitation of customer engagement is of utmost importance for your continued growth and development. According to Adobe 80% of organizations aim to compete on the market based on their Customer Experience (CX) features alone in 2019, while data points to the fact that unsatisfied customers are 88% less likely to return to a particular brand’s website anytime soon.

Choosing the right tool to engage your customer base will determine how you are perceived by the public at large when it comes to pro-active behavior. Thus, picking between messengers and online chats can be difficult given the plethora of factors that go into the choice. Let’s take a look then at which of these two solutions you should settle for, their main differences, as well as the benefits of opting for this type of customer engagement.

The Benefits of Customer Engagement

Let’s talk about the importance of customer engagement and CX before we dive into the differences and factors that go into messengers and online chats. Quality products, good SEO and professional conduit will only get you so far when it comes to running an online business. In the age of social media and instant messaging, customers expect a more hands-on approach from brands they invest time and money into.

Jerry Mitchel, Head of Customer Relations at TrustMyPaper spoke on the topic recently:

Even a simple follow-up question in regards to a recent purchase directed at your customer can increase your overall appeal in their eyes. Make sure to take engagement via messaging into consideration both in terms of servicing and feedback collection going forward.

According to Forbes 73% of companies with above-average CX perform better financially than their competitors while 96% of customers expressed that customer service is an important brand loyalty factor. Given that every online industry represents a competitive market, taking every option at your disposal into consideration is pivotal for ongoing success. Choosing to include messaging or online chat into your business model will thus bring several important advantages to your brand, including but not limited to the following:

  • Brand humanization and personalization
  • Better industry positioning and authority
  • Higher traffic and conversion rates
  • High ROI in terms of customer retention

The Difference between Messengers and Chats

Now that we have a clear value proposition in regards to customer engagement, let’s take a look at messaging and online chat to determine which is which. Let’s start with online chats since they are more akin to what we are used to in social media platforms

An online chat dedicated to customer engagement revolves around instant communication with the user on the other side. An example of this would be to chat with a friend via Facebook in real-time. Messengers, on the other hand, work in a delayed manner compared to online chats. This is what is commonly referred to as customer support, meaning that you and the customer interact via delayed messages. They might send you a message to which you will respond in 10 minutes, an hour or a day later.

In some cases (such as international e-commerce), messengers are the only logical solution due to time differences. However, local businesses and those that outsource their customer servicing to third-party agencies or chatbots can rely on online chat as a go-to option. Writing platforms such as TopEssayWriting and Evernote can also be utilized in customer support which will give you the ability to prepare adequate responses to FAQ ahead of time. While they may not seem that different at first glance, customers will perceive these two types of engagement in distinctly different ways – which makes choosing the right one that much more important.

Factors to Consider

1. What type of business do you run?

The first thing you should consider when choosing between using messengers or online chats for your website is what kind of business you are running. Does your business revolve around in-house made products and services or do you act as a third-party reseller?

Do you operate in a localized area or internationally? Do you offer shipping and handling services or rely on traditional international shipping? These questions will allow you to narrow your decision based on the services you provide to customers based on the frequency in which you expect them to reach out to you.

2. Who is your target audience?

Different demographics will react to messaging and chatting in various ways depending on a number of factors such as their age, lifestyle, etiquette, education, etc. Thus, it’s important that you settle for the engagement channel which will serve as much of your target audience as possible.

If your audience is made up of millennials and tech-savvy youth, chatting can be a great choice to go with. Alternatively, elderly people and those who are busy with day jobs and chores might prefer messaging due to its delayed nature.

3. What resources are you working with?

It’s worth noting that you should never stretch your resources too thinly between departments, especially if you operate as a small business. Consider the resources, manpower and workload you have to handle on a daily basis before you choose the right channel for your customer engagement.

While writing platforms such as Supreme Dissertations and Hemingway will help you formulate and deliver professional messages, you will still have to make time to do so. Messaging is a great choice for businesses with a few employees and a lot of work between them given that it doesn’t require instant responses while online chats are the polar opposite and can work well if you appoint a dedicated customer support representative to handle it.

4. What are your goals and KPIs?

Lastly, you should take your business’ goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) into consideration when choosing the right communication channel. Lead generation, customer retention, and email list building are only some of the KPIs you could integrate into your business model going forward.

As such, your choice of whether to go with messengers or online chats will affect your ability to fulfill those goals and grow your customer base beyond their initial, first-time purchase. An online chat will limit you in terms of calls to action, post-sales polls, or conversion offers, as well as the feedback you can receive as a result of your customer servicing. Messaging, on the other hand, will allow you to send surveys, questionnaires, emails, and other post-communication content to entice customers into repeat purchases or brand advocacy.

Communication at its Core (Conclusion)

Whether you opt for messaging or chatting in your servicing activities, it’s important to note that they will both serve the same purpose at the end of the day – increased customer satisfaction. Take every factor into consideration when choosing between the two and settle for the option that suits your coworkers the most in terms of ongoing customer support management. Before you know it, you will have settled into a healthy routine of responding to customer tickets and the dilemma of which channel to choose will become an afterthought.

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