Imagine a world where webchat for business didn't exist. Smart devices would still be just as ingrained in our daily lives. Instant messaging would resemble its early iterations, like Yahoo Messenger and AIM, allowing constant communication between family and friends.
But for whatever reason, businesses wouldn't catch on to the instant messaging hype. No 24/7 customer support via webchat. No live chat windows to greet you on your favorite websites. You get the picture.
Granted, we don't have to travel too far back in time to return to a world where webchat didn't exist at all. Instant messaging platforms took off in the '90s, but webchat for business experienced a game-changing growth spurt in 2017.
What might a world without webchat for business look like? Let's speculate.
Customer support hold times would be much longer.
With a 92% customer satisfaction rate, webchat beats all other customer service channels by a long shot. Email, form, phone, and social media support can't hold a candle to the convenience webchat provides. Millennials in particular prefer webchat over all other channels.
Over 75% of customers say that the most important thing businesses can do is prove they value their customers' time. What better way to do that than with webchat?
For SMBs, phone support can be cumbersome. Agents can only handle a single call at a time. What happens if a customer can't get through? A third of customers get frustrated about being placed on hold and having to repeat their concern to multiple agents — who can blame them?
While email is still one of the top customer service channels, response times are typically longer, between 12 and 24 hours. And although customers are generally okay with email responses within 24 hours (according to Hubspot), over 80% customers expect a response within an hour. And 30% of customers want a response in 15 minutes. Very few channels apart from webchat are equipped to achieve this.
In a world without webchat, would customers' expectations remain the same? It's likely. Especially considering that the widespread adoption of instant messaging for personal use played a key role in shaping those expectations.
Businesses would still be using forms to capture leads.
Remember how we said that customers want businesses to value their time? Long gone are the days when customers were willing to fill out long forms to contact your business.
One reason why many of our clients switched to ZyraTalk is because they weren't seeing results with forms. Why? Because forms ask for a long list of personal information that many customers aren't willing to give.
Plus, they just don't have time to submit a form. Chances are, that form will take much less time for you to answer than it will for them to fill out.
Webchat has streamlined lead capture and customer service. Customers only need to enter the important information, like their first name and email address, to get the answers they need.
In a world without webchat, where instant messaging was still commonplace except for business use, customers would be frustrated. "Why can't I just send them a message?" they might wonder.
Telehealth as we know it wouldn't exist.
Telehealth is breaking barriers to healthcare. Technology like video and web chat have revolutionized the way people access care. Webchat has been instrumental in booking appointments quickly and getting answers to pressing health questions, especially in a socially-distanced world. Not to mention it saves clinics time and money by automatically scheduling appointments and processing inquiries.
Some of the latest advancements in AI technology in healthcare even use AI to check a patient's vital signs through video. If futuristic advancements like these still existed in our hypothetical world, it's safe to say patients would be frustrated that they couldn't just message their doctor.
Telehealth through video can literally be a lifesaver. But video isn't always the most convenient option in a public setting. Instant messaging is much more discreet, making it the perfect solution for the healthcare industry.
Patients could always pick up the phone, of course. But not everyone feels comfortable discussing sensitive healthcare needs over the phone. Plus, many people work full-time. When their workday is over, their local clinic is closed. And their healthcare concern might not be urgent enough for the ER.
These are just a few speculations on how a world without webchat would affect healthcare. We could go on, but you get the idea.
A world without webchat: final thoughts
In a world where most everything remains the same except webchat for business, one thing is certain: someone would invent it.
Webchat is now a necessity, not just for keeping in touch with loved ones, but also communicating with businesses. Webchat is essential for every industry: healthcare, home services, software. The list goes on.
As a webchat provider, we realize we're a little biased. But the numbers don't lie. Webchat captures more leads and converts more prospects. Most importantly, it allows businesses to provide outstanding customer service with maximum efficiency.
Fortunately, we don't have to wonder what a world without webchat would look like. Businesses of all sizes and within all sectors know the importance of prompt, reliable customer service in an age where customers demand instant gratification.
Of course, webchat is useful for more than just customer service. To find out more, check out our blog post "5 Ways to Use Webchat that Aren't Customer Service".