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8 Key Benefits of Live Chat for Customer Service

While the benefits of live chat for business are commonly associated with sales efforts, its capabilities also have a significant impact on customer service. 

According to NICE’s 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report, 53% of customers prefer engaging with companies using chat compared to other digital methods.¹ Surprisingly, though, only 31% of businesses have caught on to this trend and begun implementing this increasingly popular feature.

The gap in those statistics signals that businesses are failing to meet clear consumer demands. Fortunately, customer service teams did show progress in adopting chat in 2022: there was an impressive average increase of 43% in chats per customer service representative per month compared to the previous year, according to Comms100’s Live Chat Benchmark Report 2023

Customers are becoming aware of the fact that live chat offers a whole new level of convenience and efficiency when compared with other forms of communication. With live chat, their questions and concerns can be addressed promptly, making their lives easier and their experiences more satisfying.

This article explores the key benefits of live chat – for both customers and businesses – and lays out best practices for integrating it within your tech stack to enhance the customer experience and drive results.

What is live chat?

Live chat provides a real-time messaging channel for customers to directly connect with your business through your website or app. Rather than traditional methods like phone calls or emails, live chat gives customers a convenient way to interact directly with support representatives through an online channel.

When combined with automation and bots, live chat provides immediate responses to customer questions, captures crucial context regarding their needs, and efficiently directs complex queries to the appropriate teams.

What are the benefits of live chat?

1. Uninterrupted 24/7 support for customers

One of the major benefits of live chat for customer service is how it allows companies to offer always-on assistance to users whenever they need it. Customers can engage in real-time conversations with your business at any time, day or night, giving them access to practical solutions in a maximally convenient fashion. 

While most people probably still associate the concept of live chat with human agents, it now encompasses much more than that. Even if agents can't be on duty around the clock, live chat makes it possible to assist customers at any time through automation and AI.

For example, an automated chatbot can direct users to self-service support options in your knowledge base. Meanwhile, an AI chatbot can utilize your help center to source reliable information, compose answers to queries, and forward more complex questions to support reps during business hours.

2. Proactive customer assistance

This live chat benefit goes beyond its conventional role – that is, to enable customers to talk directly with a support rep. The best tools in the market also allow live chat messengers to enable proactive assistance. With this feature, you can engage customers in proactive support through targeted outbound messages, paving the way for long-term satisfaction and success. 

Rather than waiting around for customers to ask questions during onboarding, you can actively push contextual task lists to them in the live chat itself. This ensures they have everything they need to smoothly navigate products or services – including more challenging ones with steeper learning curves – on their own schedule.

Proactively walking users through common processes like setup and implementation means customers spend less time searching and more time doing. They'll appreciate the personalized guidance that clears roadblocks so they can stay focused on core tasks.

3. Support across all channels

Live chat may seem like a standalone channel, but it can seamlessly integrate with other existing solutions, offering support across multiple channels. This integration helps facilitate a more cohesive support journey for all your customers. 

A robust live chat solution goes beyond your website or app. It’s also capable of integrating with your other tools and channels, allowing you to meet customers where they are and provide exceptional support that consistently goes the extra mile. 

For instance, by integrating with WhatsApp, one of the world's most popular communication platforms, you can make it even more convenient for customers to reach out to your business.

With omnichannel integration, conversation history is carried across channels. This empowers your team to deliver personalized and efficient support without losing context. No matter which channel customers choose to engage with, your team is equipped with the necessary information to provide a seamless and highly tailored experience.

4. Personal, conversational experience

Live chat makes it easier to offer support to those customers who want real conversational experiences, rather than the kind of robotic responses that defined earlier iterations of AI. It enables meaningful interactions through messaging-based communication, emphasizing both real-time and asynchronous connections.

With live chat, the continuity of information remains intact, regardless of how customers engage. Whether they start a conversation, pause it and return later, or switch channels and interact with different support representatives, the context is always preserved and at the fingertips of team members.

Even when customers interact with chatbots, conversational AI maintains the same approach. The best AI chatbots greet users, address common queries, and engage in natural, organically flowing conversations that provide helpful guidance through live chat.

A more personalized experience is another key benefit of live chat, as it allows customers to see the names and profile pictures of the people they're talking to. This humanizes the interaction and fosters a stronger sense of connection. Furthermore, the support team can express themselves with playful gifs and emojis – when appropriate and in line with the brand guidelines, of course.

Messenger-based conversations can transform your support team into a value driver. Learn how in our guide: The Ultimate Guide to Conversational Support.

5. Support at scale using automation

When implementing live chat, businesses often worry about handling the influx of messages and spending excessive amounts of time on simple queries. Managing one-on-one conversations with thousands of customers may seem overwhelming and costly. 

However, there's a solution to this potentially staggering increase in queries: automation. You don't need an army of support agents to achieve success on a large scale. Live chat, coupled with automation, can help your team work efficiently and effectively with the resources you already have.

Here's how you can leverage automation to scale your live chat support:

  • Offer easy access to your help center articles within a live chat built on your product, website, or app. This empowers customers to find answers on their own while their query is still fresh in their minds.

  • Let AI chatbots handle repetitive and straightforward inquiries. They can provide instant resolutions within the live chat interface.

  • Guide new customers through a seamless onboarding experience by assigning tasks and goals directly within the live chat. This ensures they have a smooth transition and quickly become confident, proficient users more likely to stick with your product or service for the long-term.

  • Capture valuable first-party data during live chat interactions. This empowers your team to provide more efficient support, as customers won't need to waste time repeating themselves.

By leveraging the right customer service platform, your live chat can handle support at scale. Through proactive support, self-service options, and human assistance when the situation calls for it, you can strike the right balance.

6. Efficient resource management

In challenging economic times, efficient resource management proves even more critical for support success. With budget cuts and headcount reductions, there’s a great deal of pressure on customer service teams to achieve just as much, if not more, with limited resources. 

That's why 68% of support leaders are planning to invest in automation to manage support costs, according to Intercom's Customer Service Trends Report 2023

The key lies in finding the right live chat support tool – one that strikes a perfect harmony between human and automated assistance. This allows your personnel to dedicate more of their bandwidth to circumstances and scenarios where they elevate customer experiences the most: the more complex and challenging conversations that require a human touch, such as tackling intricate technical issues.

By implementing simple yet effective live chat best practices, you can optimize your support resources, saving your company time, money, and energy – incredibly valuable resources in all service departments – all while delivering excellent customer service.

Read more: 10 elements of excellent customer service you must know.

7. Contextual insights into customer queries

Throughout this article, we've highlighted numerous benefits of live chat for customer service that emphasize the importance of context in delivering exceptional support. Not surprisingly, context itself is also an advantage.

With a unified communications platform, live chat gathers precise customer details, arming teams with insights and opening doors to deeper understanding while simultaneously maximizing the effectiveness of your customer messaging.

This is particularly impactful when you integrate live chat with an AI chatbot. While the AI chatbot excels at handling challenging troubleshooting problems by providing step-by-step guidance, there are occasions when it encounters complex issues beyond its capabilities. In such cases, the chatbot seamlessly transfers the customer to a human support representative within the live chat.

However, prior to the transfer, the AI chatbot takes the proactive step of asking relevant questions. This strategic initiative ensures the gathering of essential details upfront. When the customer is subsequently handed over to a support representative, that rep is equipped with all the necessary context to successfully address the query.

8. Productivity boost for support teams

Among the myriad benefits of live chat for business that we've outlined thus far, there's a single common thread: enhanced productivity for your support teams. This productivity boost stems from various elements, including adopting an omnichannel approach, offering proactive support, and leveraging automation and AI.

However, the productivity gains extend even further than that. Unlike phone calls or emails, where support representatives can only handle one interaction at a time, live chat allows them to juggle multiple conversations simultaneously.

Consider the inefficiencies of email support. With email correspondence, time is wasted as teammates share tickets, gather information, and shift context with each reply. In contrast, live chat offers end-to-end ownership. Support teams have complete control over the conversation, resulting in a more streamlined and productive support process.

This not only benefits support teams but also enhances the customer experience. With live chat, customers receive timely responses and uninterrupted support, leading to higher satisfaction levels.

Email can be a really unproductive channel for support. With chat, there’s ownership from beginning to end, which is a better experience for both us and our customers.
Jack Harrison-Sherlock

Product Manager at Vend

Real examples of live chat benefits for business 

Vend witnessed a 48% increase in agent productivity

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and remote work became the new normal, Vend – a cloud-based retail management solution – faced unprecedented change overnight. With a surge in conversations from worried customers whose businesses were impacted, their workload rapidly escalated by 24%.

To adapt to this new reality and provide the best support possible, Vend made a bold decision – they turned off phone and email support, choosing to fully embrace live chat. This strategic move gave Vend's team the space and flexibility it desperately needed to handle customer queries while working from home. 

According to Jack Harrison-Sherlock, Product Manager at Vend, the team has experienced a remarkable transformation since adopting Intercom's live chat solution.

“With email, our response time used to be in the multi-hour range, but with Intercom we’ve been able to drop that to 10 minutes. Contacts per agent increased by 48% while our CSAT score stayed above 90%.”

tado° saw a 92% decrease in first-response time

Previously relying on phones and email, tado° – an intelligent heating control app – redirected 45,700 annual calls to Intercom's live chat instead. For customers, this pivot meant immediate help through online conversations. It empowered reps, meanwhile, to fully focus on the modern support channel.

And the results have been remarkable. Since implementing Intercom, tado°’s support team has achieved significant improvements across the board.

Despite experiencing a staggering 100% increase in customer contacts since making the switch, tado°’s first-contact resolution rate has surged by an impressive 21%. Moreover, their overall customer satisfaction (CSAT) has seen a remarkable rise from 79% to 87%, with a consistent chat satisfaction rate of 90%

tado°’s success story highlights the benefits of live chat for customer service in enhancing support team performance and the overall experiences of their customers.

Live chat is just the beginning: Go even further with Intercom Messenger

While many live chat solutions focus solely on real-time conversations, Intercom Messenger goes above and beyond to empower your business

With Intercom Messenger, you can provide lightning-fast answers to customers, create exceptional onboarding experiences for new users, reach them wherever they prefer, and help customers quickly access your support content – everything throughout the entire customer journey.

Intercom is more than just a live chat tool; it's a comprehensive customer service solution designed to make your customers' lives better. Our platform offers a range of powerful features, including AI chatbots, an AI-enhanced help desk, and proactive support capabilities. All these elements seamlessly integrate with one another, providing a unified support experience for your customers.

Start your free trial today or ask for a demo, and unlock the full potential of exceptional customer support.


1. NICE, 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report. NICE commissioned a survey of 1,320 respondents, with 1,000 consumers and 320 senior decision makers from Customer Care, Customer Experience, Contact Center IT, and stakeholders between the Director level and C-suite in Strategy departments. All of the business respondents work in companies with more than 1,000 customer service agents.

2. Comms100, 2023 Live Chat Benchmark Report.

3. Intercom, Customer Service Trends Report 2023. We commissioned an independent market research firm to survey a random sample of 1,775 global customer service leaders and decision-makers. The study’s margin of error is +/- 2.3% at the 95% level of significance.