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This relationship persists across all three types of queries, as evidenced in the general V-shape shared by the following three charts: Taken together, these results show a direct relationship between a consumer’s age and his or her preference for using live chat instead of the phone to answer their customer service questions.

This relationship is clear for all three types of queries we tested, and thus, it’s plausible that it would be present for other query types, as well.

The most obvious reason for this is that the customers are already online, and thus can use live chat with little effort: they don’t need to reach for the phone or worry about hold times, and they can expect a quicker answer than if they called or emailed.

From a business perspective, live chat software offers many functions tailored specifically to the context of online shopping.

” This preference for using live chat to answer pricing and product questions when shopping online is likewise seen in the results of our survey.

We asked consumers which channel they would prefer to use in the following scenarios, if both phone and live chat could offer the same end result: Live chat is especially well-suited to answering questions customers have while shopping on the Internet.

In our discussions with businesses that use live chat, we found that many affirm the relationship between age and preference.

Companies that target customers in the middle age ranges, for example, report great success with their live chat channels. Roy Reyer, owner of Radar Roy Enterprises Inc., an online car accessories company, has offered live chat since 2005.

This examination will help businesses learn about the impact of live chat, particularly on certain demographic groups, so they can make more informed decisions about implementation.

Regardless of industry, great customer service usually revolves around one common theme: reducing the effort customers expend in order to get their questions answered and problems solved.

Live chat excels at providing immediate answers to simple questions, but as the question or support issue becomes more complicated, phone or email support channels gain the advantage.

Some excerpts from our discussions: ⇒ Wicker Central, an online furniture store, says its customers use live chat primarily to ask “more detailed questions about information that isn’t readily available on the Web page or product page.” ⇒ Diamond Envy, an online gemstone retailer, says that “price inquiries can be handled quickly and efficiently via live chat, as well as requests for more information about the appearance (color, clarity etc.) of a stone.

And unlike other channels such as email, live chat provides instant support, with minimal customer effort required.