5 Reasons to Embrace Chat

A persons hand holding a smartphone with "Live Chat" in a green banner across the screen. The chat says "Hello! How can I help you?"

In our world of high customer experience expectations, offering your customers and constituents a live human chat option through your web presence is key to building relationships and keeping the lines of communication open at the point of need.

Julie Strange is the Marketing Manager at Vertical. Previously she worked with the Maryland State Department of Education and the Baltimore County Public Library facilitating a statewide cooperative, internationally staffed live chat service for the students and residents of Maryland.

Let’s start with some stats, shall we?

  • U.S. companies stand to lose more than $3.7 Trillion due to poor customer service. (Qualtrics)
  • 76% of customers will never do business with that company again after just one poor Customer Experience. (Invoca)
  • 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one bad experience. (PWC)

Part of providing the best experience and service possible to our customers and constituents is making sure we’re removing obstacles for them, big and small. Take, for example, the person who views your web presence (versus walking to a store/office/location). They have a need and they have come to our website to solve it. Our job is to be where they are, when they need us.

In the bad scenario, the customer comes to you via your web presence, can’t find what they need and (depending on the value the resolution holds for them coupled with the assumed level of pain towards reaching said resolution), the customer either leaves (temporarily or worse, permanently and towards another organization that is easier to interact with) or tries to come to you in another way – calling on the phone or driving to a location, for example.  (If you’re a government service instead of a business, you’re the only game in town but guess who gets voted out next round? You’ve got the idea.)

In the perfect scenario, however, the customer comes to you via your website and gets the help they need either through the content you provide or a human-staffed chat experience. The customer is satisfied, their need resolved, and depending on how the interaction (vs solution) portion went, a relationship has now been built and you likely gained a fan (or motivated constituent) for life.

Providing human-staffed chat on your website should be a no brainer in 2024. Following the “move the question, not the customer” principle, embedded chat allows the customer to continue their interactions with your company or organization right where they are. No switching communication modes to telephone, email, or webform. Chat improves customer & constituent satisfaction. Here are 5 key reasons to embrace chat:

1. Chat enables you to exist when and where customers have a need

If you’re not where your customer or constituent is when they run into a problem, you’re going to miss the opportunity to be that personal interaction. Live chat offers immediate access to responsive customer support, creating a seamless and personalized customer experience.

Existing where they are in the moment they have a concern means they can get instant assistance. People appreciate getting answers quickly without having to jump through a lot of hoops. Live chat enables businesses to address customer concerns promptly, leading to a positive impression of reliability and dedication to customer satisfaction. Being able to resolve issues promptly demonstrates an organization’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

2. Chat builds relationships and fosters trust

68% of customers said the service rep was key to a positive service experience. (The famed American Express #WellActually Survey)

There are a few ways that offering a live human chat function on your website can foster trust and build relationships.

  • Immediate response or existing at the point of need builds confidence. When customers feel seen and heard, they tell you more things and they tell their friends.
  • You’re both humans; there’s the opportunity to build real human connection and give the interaction that personal touch that I’ll never understand why it’s not the assumed standard.
  • Availability demonstrates commitment. Look, I get it – we’re living in a whole new world post 2020 and finding and keeping (good) staff is hard. The library service I managed was part of an international cooperative of librarians which allowed our service to be live 24/7 even if our local libraries were all closed up tight for the night. While that level of cooperation comes with its own difficulties, having all-the-time access for the students and residents of Maryland was truly the best thing.
  • Live chat provides an open channel for customers to voice concerns, ask questions, or provide feedback. This open communication can foster a sense of community and belonging.

3. Chat removes barriers to complaints and solutions

While I personally have been inspired by my retired father who has plenty of time to tell companies and public officials exactly what issue he has with them, only 1 in 5 customers will complain to you. You might be thinking this is a great stat! Nice and low! Au contraire, dear reader. You WANT customers to complain to you. You WANT to listen when customers tell you things both good and especially bad! If someone has taken time out of their busy day to tell you what’s wrong – consider it a gift.

You don’t need expensive consultants or painful strategy sessions to tell you what your customers need or want. Your customers are volunteering that information. Great organizations know they have to 1) make it easier for them to tell you things and 2) LISTEN! The truly top tier organizations with loyal fans/customers/constituents take it a step further. Just like with person-to-person relationships – if a customer tells you how you hurt them and you don’t take action? You’re the toxic one in the relationship and you’re going to lose them.

Even if you’re the only game in town (I’m looking at you, Utilities…) “customer satisfaction is positively related to […] profits because customer satisfaction helps decrease […] operating costs incurred by serving their customers. Specifically, […] firms that have higher customer satisfaction benefit from cost savings achieved by addressing fewer customer complaints. Moreover, these firms can more easily implement operational and technological changes, facilitated by increased customer trust and goodwill.” (Source)

4. Chat increase cost savings

Research shows that phone calls are twice as expensive as electronic interactions. While you want to offer customers a range of choices when it comes to interacting with you, having reps be able to manage more than one chat interaction at a time (within reason) can help them be more productive and lower the cost per interaction.

Additionally, customer retention is easier and cheaper than customer acquisition. Rather than spending time recovering from lost unhappy customers, building and keeping relationships with current customers/constituents is a far more worthwhile endeavor. Especially when you consider that happy people tell other people about your brand. Even today with all the options for how to get in front of people’s eyes, word of mouth is still the best way to gain a following. McKinsey says, 68% of customers said the service rep was key to a recent positive service experience.

5. Chat is the expected standard

While 20 years ago offering chat through your website was a unique thing, it’s the expected standard these days. A Forrester study that shows that 53% of US online adults used chat in 2023 and 43% say it is their preferred method of communication. If you’re not offering what’s expected, you’re already starting from behind. People assume a high standard of experience, service, and excellence. If you don’t meet those assumptions, people will go to organizations who will. Life is too short to waste hard conserved energy and hard earned money on organizations that don’t meet our expectations.


Ready to get started with live chat? Vertical can help you through it. We have various product options from our curated vendors partners including 8×8, Five9, Nice, and RingCentral.

Our experts will sit down with you, listen to your pain points, and come up with a solution tailored to your organization’s needs. Then, since we have a unique model in the country with the vendors we work with, we’re able to own the entire relationship from solution design, installation, billing, and support. That’s The Vertical Difference. To speak with one of our experts about adding chat to your suite of customer contact points, get in touch: