Live chat and the older demographic: looking after your older customers with chat support

Contrary to popular belief, older customers use live chat for customer service. It’s a wide misconception that only the young use chat channels.

More than half of all customers prefer to chat (not just the ‘young’uns’). 51% of older customers (aged 45+) believe that live chat is a convenient channel. Then, add to this the fact that live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel at 73%.

This all culminates into a real case for looking after your older customers with chat support.

So, how does live chat help you support the older demographic? Here, we explore how a chat channel improves the customer experience for older customers.

Live chat and accessibility for the elderly

Live chat software improves accessibility for everyone — older customers included.

Because it’s written (rather than spoken) communication, customers can consume your messages and answers at their own pace. They aren’t forced to try to hear and comprehend as support is rattled off down the phone. They can read your words and feel less rushed to understand, without asking for repetition.

It’s well known that as we age, we sometimes lose our hearing. A live chat channel, then, is great for people hard of hearing or completely deaf. It doesn’t rely on crackly phone lines, and so doesn’t rely on the weakest senses of such customers.

Additionally, live chat software supports other assistive technologies and formats. For example, it can accommodate screen readers. This makes it easier for older customers with sight issues such as presbyopia.

Live chat also enables older customers to get instant feedback with complex processes and forms. For instance, they can make sure they’ve filled a form out correctly without waiting indefinitely for an email reply.  

Live chat features that support older customers

General accessibility aside, numerous live chat features work well to support older customers who may struggle with technology. For example:

Co-browsing allows you to guide users through tricky processes on their computer. (Think filling out web forms, or onboarding into a new service, or completing transactions inside a portal.)

With co-browsing, operators can send a screen sharing request into the chat for users to click and optionally accept. From there, it lets operators scroll, click, and type alongside the user.

For older customers, this means that operators can offer hands-on support at the click of an easy-to-find button. They’re not left to flounder on a web page they’re struggling to navigate.

Live chat transcripts allow you to provide older customers with a written record of their conversations. This helps with recall — they have any instructions you’ve given them to use whenever they need. And, they have a record of the conversation if they need to refer to it in later communication with you.

“My parents are in their 70s, and to this day that age demographic still enjoys the tangible. They want to read something in print”

– Sean Ochester, vice president of digital marketing at Sage Age Strategies

Chat markdown and customisable chat windows allow you to offer high colour contrasts and large fonts. This aids with the accessibility of your customer service. In particular, those customers with sight issues.

Live chat and older customers

Good service and great experiences come from much the same offerings, regardless of the age and demographics of your customer.

All your customers want their questions answered. They want empathetic service, which is accessible and easy to use. They want support as and when they need it, in a format that’s convenient to them and their available time.

And simply, live chat software is a popular, well-equipped channel to deliver such experiences.

Useful links

Accessible customer service: is your business open?

Chatbots vs webforms

Co-browsing: a feature dive