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Can you remember the last time you used a company's helpline and actually felt you'd been helped? Or the last time you called a customer service line and hung up feeling served?

Many factors are to blame for the malice consumers feel towards today's corporate help lines. Some include: endless pre-recorded menus, eternal hold times, and when a human finally answers, the operator is so concerned about productivity that they are rushed, unhelpful and sometimes even rude.

All the average consumer wants is quick, friendly service, which ironically, is exactly what most support lines can't provide. This problem becomes even bigger when online consumers are added to the mix.

Servicing the Online Consumer

There are few consumers more impatient than those who shop online. If anything, the Internet is about speed; when consumers find themselves waiting too long for online support, they will simply click their mouse and move on.

Another obstacle online support services face is providing efficient support for consumers who use their only phone line for a dial-up Internet connection, making it impossible for the consumer to be online and on the phone with your help operator at the same time.

So what's an online support service to do? How can you meet the needs of online consumers and continue to improve business efficiency? The answer is live chat customer support software.

Enhancing Customer Satisfaction

Live chat support is an innovative tool that lets your chat operators interact with consumers by 'talking' to them through instant, typed messages. Not only does live support software do away with the need for an additional phone line (for your dial-up customer), chat software also allows operators to surf online with consumers through technology called co-browsing. Chat services also let your operators 'push' your consumer to alternate web pages through a feature known as forcing web pages.

Live chat support also gives your chat operators power to chat with several consumers at once, increasing efficiency, shortening customer wait times and allowing more customers receive help, start to finish.

Increasing Operator Efficiency

Through live help, operators can transfer chats to another operator if necessary, view or create new notes in the visitor history/transcripts, a feature that keeps record of visitor notes, and can even block IP address of callers that have become a nuisance.

As a live chat support manager, you can use chat software to gather statistics about website traffic, check operator statistics (like the number of chats handled per hour) and even update and administer your chat operators' computers remotely.

Live chat support helps increase quality of service by helping chat operators communicate more accurately, with automatic spell checking . Many live support software programs provide a customer survey so that the consumers can rate their chat operator once a chat is over.

Another service many live help programs offer is online/offline messaging, which connects consumers to an email server when a customer clicks the chat icon after hours; giving the customer an opportunity to leave an email message.

Live chat customer support software is the answer that online support services are looking for, by not only improving the online consumer's experience, but also giving operators and managers tools needed to handle online consumers needs their professionally and efficiently.

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