Effective Web Chat Solutions Put Customers At Ease, Increase Leads, and Build Reputation

Virtual receptionists are becoming a permanent fixture within connected modern companies, and many people want to measure the efficacy of these services across various industries.

One certainty in business is that customers will have questions; sometimes, a lot of them. Purchasing a product or investing in a service should be a decision that makes sense to people, and the answers they receive from their point of contact make a difference.

Is your business available to assist your customers with their questions at any time of day?

If you are considering embracing the world of virtual web chat services for a competitive edge, you may be wondering whether virtual receptionists provide customers with enough personalized information about your company and your products or services. Below, AnswerFirst breaks down the key components of an automated web chat vs. virtual receptionist services to see which is the best choice.

Portrait of a young beautiful Asian woman in headphones with a microphone. Works as a consultant in a call center, answers calls. Sitting at the table, looking at the camera, smiling.

First, What Is a Virtual Receptionist?

A virtual receptionist functions much like a traditional in-house receptionist, except that the agents work remotely for an outsourced service provider. Digital receptionists answer calls and messages right from their location, whether on behalf of a home improvement business or a prestigious law firm. All types of businesses can benefit from a virtual receptionist, but the concept is slightly different from an automated web chat feature.

Virtual Assistants Vs. Automated Web Chats

Automated web chats have become all the rage since companies have begun investigating alternatives for serving customers outside of regular business hours. All companies understand the benefits of taking the load off already swamped customer service teams, but are the chatbots that use artificial intelligence technology enough to solve the problem? Without perfect programming, the limitations are immense.

There’s no question that web chats offer some value. For example, they manage basic customer requests and allow in-house customer service representatives to focus on more complex issues. Chatbots also respond to inquiries at the speed of lightning, which is satisfying for customers that need quick answers to make better purchasing decisions.

However, despite the efficient processing time, chatbots do not understand natural human language. These features cannot handle inquiries outside of the programmable data fed into them, even as AI virtual assistants continue to improve their capabilities. In fact, experts tend to agree that today’s AI virtual assistants will never be as efficient as human virtual receptionists.

Are Human Virtual Receptionists Better At Handling Web Chats?

Yes. A Statista survey revealed that only 34% of consumers feel comfortable using web chats for retail, with the rest preferring a real person in a live web chat setting. Live chats generate satisfaction levels of up to 73%, but around 63% of consumers say they are likely to shop on a website with a live chat feature; understandably, businesses want to explore other options.
On the contrary, virtual receptionists provide customers with the human interaction they crave during the support process, and these professionals are more than capable of handling web chats. Here is why virtual receptionists should be handling your company’s web chats:

1. Better Long-Term Relationships

Virtual receptionists are crucial to building long-term relationships that help your business succeed because real people form bonds. Over 70% of consumers feel more connected to a company that provides them with high-quality, personalized customer service, and it is the top feature that makes them fall head over heels for a brand or service. Friendly customer support boosts customer satisfaction and easily increases brand loyalty because it curates a great customer experience.

A good first visit invites the customer into the fold for life, with long-term customers worth around ten times more than their first purchase. More than half of happy customers make multiple purchases, and that is certainly worth a few minutes of human-to-human conversation.

2. Help When Customers Need It

Using a virtual receptionist service for a website provides customers with real-time assistance and the answers they need. Phone calls require a wait time, and emails involve lengthy back and forth that only happens during office hours. If customer service is going to be a priority in your business, virtual receptionists are the answer to resolving any customer problem quickly, and it takes place in a single live chat at any time of the day or night.

The best virtual receptionists exhibit excellent active listening skills to understand customer needs and will ask for clarification when necessary. Automated web chats lack that capability and cannot adapt the conversational style to appeal to different inquiries. If they cannot resolve a customer’s problem, the virtual assistant will also be able to guide them to the information they need elsewhere or even motivate the customer to consider alternative solutions.

3. Higher Selling Potential Through Meaningful Interactions

Over 80% of consumers report that they require assistance when making a purchase online, which is why a live chat feature is so valuable. Real virtual receptionists offer chat support before and at checkout that may lead to an actual sale, convince the customer to purchase additional products or services or increase their likelihood of returning; that’s gold to any company.

Is It Wise to Invest in a Live Answering Service?

Businesses that want to provide value for their customers should say goodbye to limited automated chatbots and wholeheartedly invest in a live answering service with amazing virtual receptionists. It gives you the opportunity to provide consistent, high-quality customer service and the experience that your customers deserve. Investing in a live answering service also saves time, allowing you to refocus on other vital business areas.

Virtual receptionists know how to interact with customers and navigate common support challenges with flexibility, and that’s crucial for building a team that can deliver personalized experiences to foster lasting client relationships. Whether it is an affordable call answering service, traditional call center services, or competent virtual receptionists, AnswerFirst should be your first port of call. Businesses only pay for the calls handled or for each chat message answered, and improving your customer service offering has never been easier.

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