Accessible customer service: is your business open?

Brands, we need to talk about accessibility.

Now, when most people think about “accessibility”, their thoughts typically leap to offline, physical factors like elevators and wheelchair ramps.

But there’s something that’s often forgotten.

What about online accessibility?

Accessibility also extends into the digital realm – spanning everything from your website to your communication channels.

In terms of service, how reachable are you? How easy do you make it for customers to access support?

If the answer is ‘not very’, you’re alienating your audience as well as (potentially) breaking the law.

Fortunately, in terms of your website, there’s an easy solution to accessibility problems.

Here, we explore how the addition of a live chat channel can create accessible customer service that opens the door for your audience – regardless of nationality, disability or location.

Found in translation

You want your business to be approachable. That means being able to communicate outside of the English language, and opening your service up to all.

But how can you convey messages in languages you don’t know? Multi-lingual agents can be difficult to locate, and they’re expensive to boot.

Live chat software can help. With real-time chat translation, you can talk to anyone in the world in your own language, while they chat back in their native tongue.

Firstly, this translation function means that your site and services can go global. The upshot of this is more routes to market, and more sales.

Beyond that, and perhaps more importantly, real-time translation ensures that you’re offering accessible customer service without discrimination.

For the millions of people who don't speak English, translated web chats offer the perfect channel for easy, fluent support. Click To Tweet

Granting access

From language barriers to physical inability, verbal communication isn’t always an option.

Not all customers have the means to communicate over telephone, shutting them out from your service.

Are you catering to people with speech impediments, for example? What about customers with deafness? For these people, immediate communication can be a struggle.

Fortunately, there’s another way to converse in real-time.

A chat channel eliminates the need for physical speech. In terms of accessible customer service, the availability of live chat helps customers with a disability feel considered.

Live chat software is an effortless way to make your business not only accessible, but more inclusive to those out there that struggle daily with verbal communication.

Cater to the anxious

Physical disability isn’t the only barrier that can stop someone from being able to communicate with your business over the phone.

Mental health is now being openly spoken about, and it’s a factor that needs considering. Many people suffer from a mental disorder, some of which are as debilitating as any physical condition.

So how can you reach out and make your business accessible to those that need a little extra support?

Take, for example, potential customers that suffer from social anxiety. For some of those with anxiety disorders, any form of voice call can be daunting.

Live chat software gives such customers a method of contacting you without having to face calling up or verbally speaking at all.

Chat provides a friendly, relaxed method of communication, which opens the doors to introverts and the nervous members of your new customer base.

Get with the times

Live chat software is a simple, subtle way of signifying your modernity. It shows that you’re embracing contemporary technology, as well as demonstrating a welcoming approach to younger customers.

It’s common knowledge that chat appeals to younger customers. For Gen Y and Z, communication is more likely to take place via chat apps and text than voice calls.

To give accessible customer service to the generations who’ve grown up using instant messaging, you need to meet them on their court.

To use a real-life example, our customer, Southampton-based charity No Limits, recently deployed a chat channel in a bid to open the door to more young people.

In doing so, No Limits has been able to serve vulnerable young people while allowing them to feel safe behind the comfort of their screens.

Out and about

Your customers are busy. Are you giving accessible customer service to those who are short of time?

Due to the rise of smartphones, your customers could access your website in a coffee shop, or while out shopping with their friends. In a busy coffee shop, or on a packed high street, noise levels will be high.

But as long as your customers have an internet connection, live chat software enables them to talk to you, without trying to shout over the crowds.

Better than email

People are inherently self-centred, and nowadays they are more impatient. They expect fast connections, speedy responses and quick service. So, are you valuing your customers’ time?

With live chat software, consumers don’t have to constantly refresh their emails while waiting for a reply.

Not to mention, the quick, snappy replies received via live chat help your business appear far more accessible than those delayed, drawn out responses you would find in email conversations.

Basically, emails are far less efficient than live chat. Live chat enables your customers to continue to browse your site and ask questions without changing tabs or windows.

In other words, contacting you is more accessible, and so is your website – win-win.

Lost in the web

Sometimes, limits in accessibility can be as simple as technical issues or confusion in navigating a site.

Live chat software means that your employees can talk your customers through those navigation difficulties. They can quickly get them on the right path to a sale – all while talking them through how to avoid getting stuck in the future.

With a chat solution installed on your website, you can screen-share as you support. Your employees can choose to see what your customers see, and provide a proactive approach to assisting site visitors.

As well as the upshot of more accessible customer service, this also decreases the likelihood of cart abandonment.

Plus, if the issue the customer faces is too complex to simply talk through, chat software can enable a co-browsing session. (To show, rather than tell.)

Open the doors

As with any big decision, it’s important that you don’t dive straight into deploying live chat software on your website.

It’s always advised that you test the water first, and conduct research to understand where and how a live chat option should be used.

However, there can be no doubt that a chat channel helps you offer accessible customer service to those who need it.

To open your doors to an increased customer base, take the leap to live chat.

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