Why a live chat line is a lifeline

Live chat software is more than just another channel for online customer service. For some, a live chat line is a lifeline.

Chat is an extremely versatile communication channel. It’s useful for commerce, yes, but also charities, banks, insurance, services and a host of other support services. And no matter the user’s situation, ability or needs, live chat provides a discreet way to get in touch.

Here are three examples of how a live chat line can prove a lifeline for vulnerable visitors.


Victim support

One area that a live chat line can become a lifeline is in offering support for victims of crime.

The key benefit of chat in this instance is its subtlety. In many cases, crime victims are reluctant to seek help due to fear of aggravating the situation. For example, a victim of domestic abuse may not be able to pick up the telephone to have a conversation about their situation out loud. Likewise, they may not want an email trail of their request for support.

For people unable to call or email privately, then, a live chat line offers an alternative way to get support. Even better, this support is real-time. Victims can connect with trained support workers and receive responses almost immediately. They get help inconspicuously, and don’t have to deal with their trauma alone.

Plus, live chat channels have an ‘emergency exit’ option. This allows users to click ‘x’ to instantly end the session and re-load an entirely different web page in its place – say, an innocuous news or ecommerce site.

So, chat serves as a low-barrier, low-risk entry point for victims of crime to access further aid. All without drawing attention or exposing vulnerable people.  


Privacy for young people

Another area that sees a live chat line become a lifeline is when you’re supporting young people concerned about their privacy.

This might happen, for example, for teenagers looking for assistance with sexual concerns. Or for stressed out students. Or for young people experiencing depression, career confusion, or indeed any manner of difficulty that might be uncomfortable to air out loud.

In this instance, live chat becomes a non-threatening platform to seek support. Chat already appeals to younger people, who tend to interact with friends and family through instant messaging. In fact, many younger people prefer chat over meeting in person or talking over the phone.

Offering a live chat line means offering a level of privacy and sense of safety not afforded by other channels. Younger chatters can get the human support they need, while still feeling safe behind their screens.

No Limits, a charity for young people in Southampton, is a testament to this. After deploying WhosOn, they found that their chat channel offers a stepping-stone to their young visitors. One that bridges the gap between the challenges of initial contact and later, more in-depth support.

In short, the incognito, online nature of chat creates a private space. One that feels comfortable and familiar to chatters.


Accessibility and anxiety

Sometimes, the factors that prevent us from being able to get in touch over traditional channels relate to health. For some online visitors, disabilities or mental health can make reaching out difficult.

For example, a deaf or mute visitor isn’t going to be able to call you. So, if they need service in a rush, they’re left out in the cold. Or, for another example, consider visitors struggling with mental health, such as a social anxiety disorder. The intrusive, loud and personal nature of a phone call can be enough to trigger anxiety. The safety of live chat, then, provides a quiet, relaxed alternative.  

From another angle, online visitors may need to get in touch with you about their medical and accessibility needs. Talking about such sensitive topics over the phone or in-person isn’t easy. But live chat creates a secure, comfortable space between agent and visitor. And so, it provides a lifeline for customers needing to discuss sensitive topics.

In fact, this applies across the board. Live chat provides a safe space for any customer in any industry that needs to discuss sensitive information.


A live chat lifeline

Some people might find it difficult to discuss their experiences on the phone or in person. For such situations, a live chat line is a lifeline, thanks to its discreet nature and real-time functionality.

Chat offers a quiet, private space. Behind the safety of a digital wall, chat users can anonymously ask for and receive help and support, or discuss sensitive or private information. 

Could some of your visitors use a discreet way to get in touch? Start offering a lifeline today, with a 30-day free trial of WhosOn.


Useful links

Care at the end of a keyboard: a live chat use case

Accessible customer service: is your business open?

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