The Cost of Free Messaging

Posted by
Rita Romero
LivePerson Contributor
Friday, June 17, 2016 - 14:29

We all want to save a penny. And no matter the size of your business or budget behind your customer care, the cheapest option for any solution will always appear with a gold star.

When it comes to messaging and chat solutions, not only are the options unending, the price range can be even more extensive. But are the savings really worth customer relationships and brand reputation? What is the real value of industry-leading consumer chat and messaging software? And what might a free solution be costing you?

The crowded (free) messaging market.

When you Google "free chat," you get ~230 million results. Type “free chat” in Google, and almost 230 million results come up, roughly the same number you’ll find if Googling “President Obama.” There are so many free options for a couple of reasons: one, they’re easy to make. Any skilled developer will tell you how quickly they could create chat software if it’s simple enough. But that’s just it — simple isn’t always smart. Just because something works doesn’t mean it works for business. And two, they don’t last. Free is rarely free forever.

Chat and messaging solutions for enterprise businesses need to do so much more than relay information from one person to another. Sophisticated software has to take in the needs of the end user. In this case, both ends.

The dangers of the quick fix.

What most free solutions offer is an unintelligent, one-size-fits-all approach to customer engagement. “Exactly what everyone wants”...said no CMO ever. Sure, simple and free may work for some, but it’s important to weigh the associated risks.

The latest solution that has brands sticking their neck out is, you guessed it, bots. Bots are a great example of what can happen when the proper time and investment needed isn’t put in place. According to Sarah Perez from TechCrunch, this is why bots fail to live up to the hype. “Trying to use the bots for simple tasks — like finding out if it would rain or buying a black shirt — was frustrating, disappointing, and ultimately far less efficient than simply visiting the company’s website itself.”

I tried to chat with the famous feline weatherman myself, and the results were telling.

Poncho's not getting it.

Not what I asked, Poncho.

Poncho still doesn't get it.

Still not what I asked.

At this point, some of the interactions are laughable. But customers won’t be laughing for long when they reach out to brands for answers and are met with more questions. Free, entry-level tools, bots, and automated responses represent demand and potential promise. But when your brand’s reputation and relationships are on the line, you’ll want a live person leading the charge. With the right balance of human-led and AI intelligence, brands can create a stand-out customer experience that’s not only memorable for the consumer but impactful to the business, too.

Great customer support experience = bottom-line impact.

According to Forrester Research, consumers cite customer experience as more important than price when it comes to fostering their loyalty, especially in the financial and retail industries. Another survey from Medallia finds that customers who have great customer service experiences spend approximately 140% more than those with poor experiences. The results also show that those customers with great experiences remain loyal six times longer.

Chat solutions aren’t always looked at as demand-generation tools. And until recently, customer service was more a cost center than anything else. But with the right tools, chat and messaging can be extremely impactful. On average, LiveEngage users see a 20% lift in conversion rates, 35% increase in average order value, and 25% reduction in support costs.

Here’s why it works.

  • With the latest in-channel, mobile support — consumers can connect with brands in the same way they connect with friends and family, opening the door for more meaningful, convenient interactions.
  • Predictive intelligent targeting lets brands identify and prioritize top prospects and which customers to engage. This means you’re getting the best use of your resources.
  • Cobrowsing features let you guide customers to and through conversion, developing your customer journey along the way.
  • LiveEngage also equips your customer care team with the resources to be successful, including insights into customer intent, history, and live sentiment analysis.
  • The platform brings best-of-breed security and service team support into the latest consumer networks, like LivePerson’s Facebook Messenger integration.
  • As an award-winning mobile product, LiveEngage is built for SMS, in-app, and mobile web connections.

Are you happy with your current chat solution, or are there opportunities for more intelligent and meaningful consumer conversations? We’d like to invite you to try LiveEngage free for 30 days and see what a difference it can make for your business. For a limited time, a special rate is available for our Drupal partners. Click here to find out more. 


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