Chances are you’re already well versed in why live chat is a cost-effective decision for your business: it’s cheaper, reduces call center traffic, and many customers find it more convenient. But live chat can – and should – be used to accomplish more strategic, high-level goals than simply making customer support more efficient.

Many companies analyze their live chat data periodically, if at all, and only at a very basic level to learn which issues were most prevalent. They fail to see that their live chat data has so much more potential to help them be proactive and strategic about the way they approach customer support.

Live chat is a valuable data source that you probably already have at your fingertips (and if you don’t, start thinking hard about implementing it!) Start thinking about how you can make the most of it. Here are a few strategic benefits that you should start chasing:

Proactively Solving Issues Before Other Customers Experience Them

Most companies still take a reactive approach to their live chat and contact center data. Support tickets and live chats come in about various issues and are resolved on a case-by-case basis – but the underlying problem is often only addressed once enough customers complain. By the time that happens, however, a significant number of your customers have been impacted.

Analyzing live chat data, especially in real time, enables companies to uncover those issues while they are still relatively minor and take action before they become widespread.

This process can be spread out over weeks or even hours. For instance, many mobile gaming companies have set up live chat analytics systems with the goal of identifying bugs in their software as soon as possible after a new release so they can fix the bugs before their biggest revenue-generating market wakes up and logs on. Talk about being proactive!

Improving Customer Experience by Providing a 30,000-Foot View of Issues

Live chat agents spend all their time interacting one-on-one with customers. While they may see some patterns across all the customers they talk to, they cannot see what issues occur most frequently across all other agents. Analyzing live chat data as a whole provides a better understanding of the most prevalent issues being reported, which issues lead to critical events such as cancellations or refunds, and which issues should be escalated or dealt with differently.

Providing Hard Data to Support “Hunches” About Issues and Customer Pain Points

When an issue can’t be solved in a two-minute chat conversation, high level insights provide the data needed for other parts of the organization to understand the urgency of the problem. For example, approaching the development team with, “I need your help to solve this problem with our product,” becomes far more effective when you can say, “I need you to solve this problem because 35% of our clients experienced it last week.”

Collecting Information About How Other Support Channels Are Working

Interestingly, customers often reach out to companies via live chat to share what needs to be improved with other support channels like phone or email support. For example, customers may express their dissatisfaction with language barriers, being put on hold for too long, or being disconnected.

Analyzing your live chat data is a great way to get insight into what’s working – or not working – with your other support channels as well.

Your live chat data is an underappreciated and likely underutilized source of insights. Beyond cutting costs and improving customer service, it can help you be proactive, prioritize issue resolution efforts, serve as hard data points to encourage action, and even help you understand how your non-chat support channels are functioning. For every company, there’s a different way to can strategically use this data. How will you use it at yours? Get creative!

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