A Guide to Outsource Live Chat Support

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We can think of a hundred different reasons to outsource live chat. You probably have, too! So, we decided to do this guide for how to outsource live chat.

Have you ever been caught in a back and forth email exchange with a potential customer asking basic questions on how to navigate your site? Have you lost leads because they gave up halfway through their customer journey? 

Well, that’s just a couple of areas where live chat support might be a helpful addition to your website or app offerings.

What Is Live Chat Support?

Live chat support is an extension of customer service. You can outsource live chat so a customer or site visitor can have real-time conversations with a virtual assistant.

This form of instant messaging uses software that is integrated into a business website or app so that buyers can easily access it and ask questions regarding the website itself, a specific process or action, and even sales talk. You may have seen this in the form of a small pop-up, widget, tab, or window. It is usually located in the bottom right corner of a website that offers goods or some type of service.  

There are several ready-made software solutions and plugins out there if you want to add a live chat feature to your support repertoire. However, live chat is more than just having the feature, you need to be able to outsource live chat to sustain it. Then it can be a truly effective communication and service tool to enhance the customer experience.

How Does It Work?

A collage of a live chat button.

Live chat support is as much about the software as it is about the assistants behind it. With live chat, your customers can talk with a real person in real-time. They can also share other information like images, links, and other files. When you outsource live chat, you can also collect useful information from interactions and save transcripts of conversations for future reference.  

Some advanced live chat features include interactive messages where live chat AI can detect commonly asked questions and key words and generate a set of responses that you can click on. These automated responses are helpful both to the customer and to the live chat agent who won’t have to type out the same answer every time. Sometimes, people ask a question that isn’t frequently asked. Other times, the generated options are not what they’re looking for. Don’t worry, though, because the software usually notifies the dedicated live chat service agent as soon as they enter the chat. This means that the chat is monitored.

How Does Live Chat Support Benefit My Business?

Offering a live chat feature could significantly improve your customer satisfaction levels. When a site visitor feels cared for right off the bat, they are more likely to become a converting customer. 

Below are some of the reasons why live chat is popular among buyers and could be beneficial to your business.  

Accessible

Navigating an unfamiliar website and its services can sometimes be perplexing. You can make it easier for customers by giving them the option to access live help. When you outsource live chat, they have access to support any time, no matter where they are. This is more intuitive than having them try and find a contact page just to ask, say, how to find a different page on your site or app.

Flexible

If a visitor is on your website and is having trouble during a process in their customer journey, live chat allows you to meet them where they are and give them the opportunity to explain what they are having difficulty with. More advanced software will even tell the chat agent where the customer is exactly and what the customer was doing beforehand to provide more context and a better chance to rectify the situation.

Immediate

There’s a reason why instant messaging has become so popular over the years. Emails are industry standard and getting a reply in the span of a few hours will already make your customers happy. However, if you can give the same answer instantly plus be able to answer any follow-up questions they may have, they will surely be more appreciative of that as they can continue what they were doing and be one step closer to conversion. Even if they were to ask for a refund, being able to help them through that process immediately will display your care for the customer and will increase your chances that they will purchase from you again. 

Comfortable

The difference between email and instant chat is the formality. Emails tend to put pressure on the customer to be as literate and precise and clear when expressing the issue they are facing. This is not the case when it’s a live chat. This medium is quite familiar and casual and puts less demand on the customers to know everything about their problem or to fully contextualize their questions. Through live chat, the interactions are digestible and the agent can guide them through and help them understand what the issue is in real-time with less chance of miscommunication or delay due to incomplete info in an email.

What are the Pros & Cons of In-house VS. Outsourced Live Chat?

Software is just one piece of the puzzle. You also need the human resources to operate your live chat service. Let’s take a look at your two options to outsource live chat and the benefits and disadvantages of each. 

In-house

Managing live chat in-house entails that you will be responsible for handling all the hiring, training, software selection, and all other operations needed to get it up and running. 

Benefits

  • You and your employees can manage brand image more easily. 
  • You have full control of everything.

Disadvantages

  • It’s more expensive considering overhead costs like employee benefits. 
  • Less professional training around live chat operation means less effectivity 
  • No expert advice or guidance to help 
  • Might not be able to run the chat 24/7, which means potentially lower response times 
  • High influx of visitors might mean overwhelmed operators. Conversely, low influx could mean that they aren’t being used as efficiently.

Outsourced

Allowing a team to manage your live chat operations could mean letting go of control and stepping out of that comfort zone. However, it could also mean giving the reins to experienced professionals who can get you the results you are looking for. 

Benefits

  • All processes are taken care of. You can sit back and relax.
  • Get a dedicated, well-trained team handling your chat support. 
  • 24/7 ready support  
  • Semi-outsourcing could mean hiring a consultant to guide you through some operations. 
  • It’s cheaper.

Disadvantages

  • Investing in an outsourced team does hold a level of risk. 
  • Your brand image is on the line when you give the reins to an outside team.

Where Can I Find VAs to Help with Live Chat Support?

A man looking through websites on his laptop and phone, doing research.

Virtual Assistant Talent

Here you can hire a trustworthy dedicated chat support agent to handle visitor and customer questions and concerns. Level up your customer experience and increase conversions with a readily available live chat service.

20four7VA

If you want a full-service option, 20four7VA Virtual Staffing Solutions has you covered. Get connected with a virtual assistant trained and vetted to handle chat support functions. No long term commitments are required.

Express Virtual Assistant

As the frontrunner in terms of live chat support, you can’t go wrong with Express Virtual Assistant (EVA). Their company specializes in live chat and has extensive knowledge and experience on what it takes to run live chat all day, every day.  From recruitment to training, they make sure their virtual assistants will make your business more successful.  

How Much Does it Cost to Outsource Live Chat Support?

The cost to outsource live chat will fluctuate based on which country you decide to outsource your chat support needs to.  The price can range from $5-$60 per hour. This rate range applies to independent contractors, agency hires, and virtual employees. You can opt to cut costs by outsourcing to countries where the exchange rate is favorable and the cost of living is much lower than your own country. If you do, keep in mind that paying lower rates means hiring agents with less experience, poorer internet connections, and less-than-fluent English.

Take note also of the specific pricing of live chat software, services, and call centers.

What Do I Need to Consider When Hiring VAs for Live Chat Support?

Infrastructure – Make sure the software not only runs the basic functions excellently but also contains all the bells and whistles you want for your website chat support.

Culture – Make sure that you’re on the same page about the culture of your company to avoid clashing or miscommunication.

Competence – Make sure the service providers are knowledgeable and skilled at what they do and can deliver excellent results.

Experience – Make sure that the one you work with has extensive experience in the space and a good work record with other clients and projects.

Final Thoughts

When you outsource live chat, you get all the advantages of long experience and practiced skill. Outsourcing also helps to keep you safe from the risks of hiring an in-house team in an area that has flexible demand. With the right partner, you can also avoid the risks involved in opening up your company to outsiders.

 

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