Pros and Cons of Live Chat for Estate Agents

| Online marketing

Pros and Cons of Live Chat for Estate Agents

More and more consumers are bypassing the traditional customer service channels like phone and email and instead opting to use more modern channels like Facebook, Twitter and Live Chat.

As with all technology, there are always pros and cons, and despite the fact it will work perfectly for some, the same technology might just not be for others.

Live Chat is no different, and just like Facebook and Twitter it is a huge commitment for a company and take time and effort to get right and be beneficial.

Here are the pros and cons of Live Chat software:  

Pros for Live Chat:

Easy communication

At all times, most people have access to the internet and live chat can instantly connect you with your customers.

It can also help customers who may not be able to talk on the phone (due to being in work, etc), but may have access to a computer so they will likely be able to talk via web chat.

Also people who don’t like using the phone have the option to ask questions via live chat.

Can save time

It can improve response times if staffed correctly. As the queries are delivered in real-time, it may be faster and easier to respond to than email.

Easier collaboration

On the phone colleagues may forget certain details that a customer has requested. Live chat gives your staff the time team up and find out the information quickly and easily compared to a phone conversation.

Reduces stress on other communication channels

Having live chat available leaves other communication channels open for larger problems. Potential and current customers are likely to use live chat for small questions leaving your phone lines open for larger problems. Live chats can reduce the amount of time you have to spend on the phone or reply to emails.

Cons for Live Chat:

You have to staff the live chat

This is one of the major problems with online live chat. For all of the above to actually be beneficial to your business, the live chat tool must be manned during your office open hours constantly or it will reflect badly on your business.

With live chat software you can immediately be available to customers to answer their questions and help them, but will you be?

If you are not online and a customer visits your website with the expectation that you will be there to answer their questions, they will leave your website disappointed if you are unavailable for whatever reason, which could be anything (e.g. being on your lunch break, off sick, busy with another customer, etc).

If you don’t have someone constantly sat in front of a computer screen every day to manage this tool then it’s more likely to do more harm than good.

Live chat works best when you have a dedicated customer support team, however most estate agents either don’t have the time or the manpower to manage this type of tool throughout the day.

Having the live chat tool offline during the day or having no one respond to customers instantly it will make your business look very unprofessional.

It’s interruptive

Live chat will always be on in the background which means you run the risk of having your work interrupted by live chat messages.  

This means it can take longer for you to do the work you originally intended to do as you have to stop and start throughout the day to answer these messages.

It can slow down your website

Like any website plugin, live chat software can slow your website down considerably. Having a slow website will frustrate users, potentially leading to them abandoning the website and will also negatively affect your SEO.

Impersonal and robotic  

When a customer accesses live chat they are greeted by a very robotic automated welcome which never leaves a good impression.

Also to save time, many businesses have prewritten answers to copy and paste when needed.

All of this generally feels very robotic and impersonal when you are chatting online, which can be a deterrent to some people.  

Communication problems

Although we live in the modern world, many of us aren’t exactly tech savvy. Not only may this be an issue with live chat if the customer isn’t tech savvy but it looks even worse when the company isn’t. Slow typists, as well as grammatical and spelling errors will reflect badly on your business.

It can also be difficult to convey emotions and tones via live chat, which means you need to have trained staff to ensure that the phrasing can’t be misinterpreted, etc.

 

Although live chat can be very beneficial to many businesses, it isn’t for everyone. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Ensure you can handle the extra work load or risk damaging your reputation. 

Luke Stanley