Robots are taking over the world, right?

AI and live chat services seem to be the current buzzword. AI is gathering momentum and delivering some interesting solutions across sectors. But small businesses should be aware of AI’s shortcomings when it comes to customer service.

Small businesses have always been a vital part of our economy, providing essential products and services to communities all around the world. In today’s fast-paced business landscape, it can be challenging for smaller players to keep up – so they can look to cut costs. One area smaller businesses do this is by using live chat or AI services to replace customer service teams. But there are some watch-outs when doing this.

frustrated business man

What is a live chat service? 

A live chat service is a digital communication platform that allows real-time text-based conversations between a website visitor and a company representative.

The service is becoming increasingly popular for small businesses as it provides an easy and effective way to communicate with customers. It allows customers to get quick answers to their questions, and businesses to provide immediate support.

One thing small business owners should keep in mind is that live chat services don’t fulfill the basic requirement of customer service – which is listening to and empathizing with customers and leads.

automation in live chat services

Here are six trends that are shaping the live chat service landscape for small businesses

Trend #1: Automation

Automation is a trend that is rapidly gaining traction in the live chat service industry. By automating certain tasks, small businesses can reduce their workload and provide faster and more efficient service to their customers. 

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market size was valued at USD 2.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.2% from 2021 to 2028.

For example, businesses can use chatbots to answer common questions, or provide information on demand – but they’ll never replace the human touch of empathy and understanding that comes with telephone customer service.

AI-powered live chatbots are a growing trend. But is it the silver bullet to all your customer service woes? Sure, they can provide useful information on demand. But they also lack the personal connection of a person. 78% of consumers prefer to speak to a real person over AI or a bot.

In other words, they’ll never replace the human element that’s at the core of effective customer service.

There are many popular automation tools available for live chat services, such as Intercom, Drift, and Zendesk. These tools can help businesses automate their chat responses, route incoming chats, and even suggest relevant knowledge articles to customers.

Trend #2: Personalization

Personalization is another increasingly important trend. Customers expect personalized experiences, and businesses that can deliver them are more likely to stand out. By offering personalized replies and offers through the live chat widget, small businesses can provide a more tailored experience. Your online conversion rate can improve by roughly 8% when you include a personalized consumer experience.

Personalization can take many forms, from using the customer’s name in chat responses to providing personalized product recommendations. Businesses can also use information about the customer’s previous interactions with their business to personalize their live chat service.

Trend #3: Mobile optimization

In today’s mobile-first world, it’s essential for small businesses to optimize their live chat service for mobile devices. According to a report by Statista, mobile devices accounted for 61.51% of global website traffic in the fourth quarter of 2021. More and more people are using their smartphones to browse the internet and communicate with businesses. And businesses that aren’t mobile-friendly risk losing customers.

To optimize their live chat service for mobile devices, businesses need to ensure that their chat interface is easy to use on smaller screens. They should also consider implementing features like quick replies and emojis to make it easier for customers to communicate on mobile devices.

Trend #4: Video chat

Video chat is a growing trend in the live chat service industry. By offering video chat, businesses can provide a more personalized and humanized experience to their customers. Video chat is particularly useful for businesses that offer complex or technical products or services, as it allows them to demonstrate features or provide hands-on support.

Small businesses can integrate video chat into their live chat service by using tools like Zoom or Google Meet. These tools allow businesses to connect with customers in real time and provide a more personalized experience.

Customer support representative doing video chat with her customer

Trend #5: Data analytics

Data, data, data – it makes the world go around. Analytics tools are an integral asset in customer service, specifically in live chat options. By analyzing data from their live chat service, businesses can gain valuable insights into their customers’ needs and behaviors.

They can track metrics like response times, chat volume, and customer satisfaction. In turn, these metrics allow you to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. This can help businesses to optimize their live chat service and provide better customer experiences.

There are many popular data analytics tools available for live chat services, such as Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and Mixpanel. These tools can help businesses track key metrics and gain insights into their customers’ behavior.

Analyzing graphs on the computer

Small businesses stay aware of live chat

Live chat services are something small businesses should be aware of. Business owners need to be across the latest tech trends. But this also comes with a heavy pinch of salt.

Whilst AI can help provide leads and customers with instant information, it falls short when it comes to nurturing. Effective customer service has human empathy and understanding at its core; this isn’t something AI can currently deliver – or likely ever will.

Book a free consultation with our team to find out how we can help supercharge your customer service.