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Live Chat Support vs. Email Support: A Comparative Analysis

Do you know that in 2022, customer experience quality for many brands declined by more than 19%?

It was the highest decline in the past 17 years. Amidst such chaos, businesses are now more concerned than ever about delivering exceptional customer support using different support channels. 

But the question is, which customer support medium reigns supreme-live chat support vs. email support?

Both solutions offer distinct advantages and can effectively address specific business pain points. 

But which is truly superior? 

Join us as we delve into the strengths and weaknesses of live chat and email support, helping you make informed decisions to enhance your customer experience.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s a sneak peek into our topic of live chat support vs. email support. We’ve compared the two on multiple parameters to give you a fair idea of the pros and cons of both customer support approaches.

Live Chat Support vs. Email Support

Aspect Live Chat Support Email Support
Real-time interaction Provides instant, real-time customer communication. Responses may take hours or even days to receive.
Speed Quick response times, allowing for immediate issue resolution. Longer response times due to email turnaround.
Features Pre-chat forms, proactive chat initiation, chat transcripts, canned responses, and post-chat surveys. Threaded conversations, record-keeping, and tracking, attachment support.
Convenience Instant support is accessible directly on the website or app. Requires customers to compose and send emails.
Simplicity Simple interface for initiating a conversation. Relatively easy to send an email with a clear subject.
Interactivity Enables back-and-forth conversation with a support agent. Conversation occurs in a more linear, thread-like manner.
Multitasking Support agents can handle multiple chats simultaneously. Agents typically focus on one email at a time.
Clarification Allows for immediate clarifications or follow-up questions. Requires customers to wait for the next email response.
Privacy Offers a more private channel for sensitive or personal inquiries. Requires careful consideration when sharing sensitive information.
Customer context Agents can gather immediate context from the customer's browsing session. Lack of real-time context, often relying on the provided information.
Resolution time Allows agents to initiate conversations with customers based on certain triggers. Requires customers to initiate contact for support.
Proactive support Real-time personalized assistance, conversational tone. Asynchronous personalization, formal tone.
Personalization Multiple chats at once, more scope for AI and automation, streamlined support when business grows. One email thread at a time, less scope for AI and automation, becomes daunting to handle massive support requests as the business grows.
Scalability Multiple chats at once, more scope for AI and automation, streamlined support when business grows. One email thread at a time, less scope for AI and automation, becomes daunting to handle massive support requests as the business grows.
Archives Chat logs are typically not stored permanently unless specifically saved. Emails are typically stored in an email client or server.
Accessible history Chat history is available only for the current conversation session. Email history can be easily searched and accessed.

Now that we’ve covered live chat support vs. email support in brief, let’s get into the nitty gritty details.

What is Live Chat Support?

Live Chat is a customer service channel that enables real-time customer communication and supports agents or representatives. It provides a quick and convenient way for customers or website visitors to seek assistance, ask questions, and resolve issues.

Live Chat is displayed as a chat window or widget you can embed on websites and mobile apps, prompting visitors to initiate a conversation. 

Some live chat tools like ProProfs Chat also offer additional features like file sharing, co-browsing, or screen sharing, all at zero cost.

Live chat also helps prevent helpdesk tickets for minor queries and issues. For example, support agents can use self-help tools like a knowledge base and empower customers to resolve minute issues independently.

Read more in detail:  What is Live Chat Software? 

What is Email Support?

Email support, also known as email customer support or email helpdesk, is a tool companies use to provide customer service and assistance regarding queries, technical support, billing problems, order tracking, and other issues through emails. 

Customers can write emails stating their issues or queries and send them to the designated email address, which will be reviewed and attended by customer support representatives.

How Do Live Chat and Email Support Work?

Since the live chat support vs. email support battle needs thorough research, we will start with a general differentiation of how each works:

Live Chat Email Support
Imagine browsing an online store and having a question about a product. You can click the live chat widget and instantly connect with a support agent. Email support is like sending a letter. Suppose you purchased a faulty electronic device and need assistance. You can write a detailed email explaining the issue, attaching relevant documents or photos.
You'll get real-time assistance with your questions about product specifications, the checkout process, or package tracking. A support representative will carefully analyze the problem in the email and respond with troubleshooting steps or instructions on returning the product for repair or replacement.

Both live chat and email support aim to provide efficient and personalized customer assistance, ensuring a positive experience by resolving issues promptly.

How to Choose the Appropriate Channel for Your Business’s Needs?

The right communication channel is crucial for businesses to ensure seamless and effective customer service. With many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which one best suits your company’s needs. 

Fear not! We’re here to guide you through decision-making and shed light on the hot buzz: email support vs. live chat support.

When is Email an Appropriate Choice?

Email has long been a staple in business communication. It offers a formal and documented approach, making it ideal for various situations. Email is handy when:

  1. Handling Complex or Lengthy Inquiries: Some customer queries or internal discussions require detailed explanations or involve multiple parties. Email lets you present comprehensive information, attach relevant files, and maintain a clear communication trail.
  1. Resolving Non-Urgent Issues: Not every business issue requires an immediate response. Email provides a suitable platform for addressing non-urgent matters, allowing support agents to respond conveniently with thoughtful and well-crafted responses.
  1. Facilitating Asynchronous Communication: Businesses often work with teams across different time zones, and so asynchronous communication, like email, makes it possible for these teams to collaborate effectively without needing to be online at the same time.

When is Live Chat an Appropriate Choice?

Customers expect quick and personalized interactions with businesses in a fast-paced digital landscape. It is where live chat shines. Live chat is particularly effective when:

  1. Providing immediate assistance: Customers often have urgent queries or require instant support. Live chat enables your team to offer real-time solutions, promptly guiding customers through their concerns and increasing customer satisfaction.
  1. Nurturing leads and conversions: Real-time interactions via live chat allow businesses to engage prospects, gather relevant information, and convert them into leads. 

Furthermore, you can integrate live chat with CRM software to directly capture valuable lead information, such as contact details and chat transcripts, into the CRM system and easily access it.

This data assists in nurturing leads through personalized follow-ups, targeted marketing, and tracking interactions, resulting in improved conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

  1. Offering personalized support: Live chat delivers a customized experience by tailoring responses based on the customer’s specific needs. Using chat transcripts, your team can access customers’ chat history and personalize their experience based on their past preferences.
  1. Preventing cart abandonment: Live chat plays a crucial role in preventing cart abandonment by providing timely assistance, reassurance, or reminders to customers during checkout. This proactive approach significantly reduces the chances of customers leaving your site without completing their orders.
  1. Automating customer support: Live chat helps automate customer support by employing chatbots. These AI-powered virtual assistants handle routine inquiries, respond instantly, and guide customers through self-service options. 

There are multiple types of chatbots that can assist with order tracking, basic troubleshooting, and FAQs. Chatbots can also gather customer information and route chats to human agents, ensuring efficient and streamlined support processes.

  1. Promote lead generation: Pre-chat forms allow businesses to gather lead data, such as name, contact details, account number, or order ID, enabling support agents to provide personalized assistance more efficiently. 

By collecting these details, support agents can better understand the customer’s needs before the chat begins, leading to faster issue resolution and improved customer satisfaction.

Read More:  Best Live Chat Software & Services for Website Customer Support 

The Perfect Solution: A Blend of Live Chat and Email Support!

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to live chat support vs. email support. According to research, live chat has a customer satisfaction rate of 73%, while email lags at 51%

On the other hand, email support provides a convenient way for customers to seek assistance and allows for detailed explanations. 

Thus, the decision boils down to your business’s specific needs and customer preferences. By carefully considering factors such as response time, complexity of queries, and resource allocation, you can determine which support channel aligns best with your goals. 

Remember, it’s not about live chat support vs. email support but finding the perfect balance that delivers exceptional customer experiences. So, whether you opt for live chat or email support, ensure you invest in the right tools, train your agents effectively, and prioritize your customers’ needs.

And if you are looking for a reliable platform to get the best of both worlds, then ProProfs is your go-to solution. The tool provides free live chat software and a dedicated email management solution. With ProProfs, you can guarantee instant support and a delightful customer experience.

So, why wait? Get started today!

sate and rebuild my relationships?”

“How do I prevent it from happening again?” 

Customer service extends beyond mere problem-solving. It involves a proactive approach, anticipating and surpassing customer expectations. 

In this blog, we’ll teach you what customer service is, why it matters, and the top trends in 2023 that will give you an edge over your competitors.

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About the author

The ProProfs Live Chat Editorial Team is a passionate group of customer service experts dedicated to empowering your live chat experiences with top-notch content. We stay ahead of the curve on trends, tackle technical hurdles, and provide practical tips to boost your business. With our commitment to quality and integrity, you can be confident you're getting the most reliable resources to enhance your customer support initiatives.