I don’t like Live Chat as a form of communication with customers. But i’m obviously wrong about it. There are more and more web hosts that are moving to provide support through LiveChat. The recent one is going to Bluhost, a popular and well-established shared hosting provider. You can read more about this on Matt Heaton’s blog.
Now let’s take a loot at “pros” and “cons” a web hosting provider to maintain Live chat Support.
1. There are many people who don’t like to stay on the phone. They have different reasons about that! Some of them don’t wanna talk to starngers, others just don’t speak English very good! There are many international customers, from all over the world, who prefer to chat instead of tallking on the phone.
2. Providing Live Chat support is cheaper both for web host and for its customers. Web hosting provider saves money on Toll-Free phone calls. Its international customers save money on phone bills.
3. Hosts can keep a record of Chat history. That will help them to train their Customer service representatives and to keep the communication clean!
4. If the support operator is busy, the customer can stay on the Chat line. The customer can take their time to do something while waiting for the operator.
5. Chat provides an opportunity a service provider to have real time communication with its customers.
6. A good Live chat support operator can serve more 2 or even 3 customers at the same time.
7. The customer support is not required to have excellent English language skills. Operators may have an eskimo accent and nobody will know that. They however still need to have a decent spelling skills.
1. It is a little bit “cheap”. You don’t know where is the physical place of the company support and you don’t know who are you talking to. It may be John, it may be not!
2. Taking phone calls helps any web host to better serve its customers.
3. Serving customers by phone makes them to feel they have a personal touch with their service provider.
4. Providing customer support through Live Chat makes most of web hosts’ customers not to submit support tickets. That’s not good at all because the support ticket keep the history of the communication between the service provider and its customers.
5. Staring at the live chat window and typing all the questions and answers looses time… both web host’s representative and client’s.
6. It is not secure. Anyone can open the Live chat window and to start talking to Customer service. At the same time, the service provider’s representative may not answer sensitive questions related to passwords, domain transfer and other questions which require a website owner to be identified. That makes the Live Chat client suitable for “Front Desk” or Pre-sale questions only.
I’m sure I missed some but I’ll think about “pros” and “cons” again and I’ll come back to post. At the meanwhile you may discuss those issues at Best 10 Web Hosting Forums or at European hosting forums Web Host Talk.