The advance of Live Chat as a customer contact channel seems unstoppable — and now it's just stepped up a gear with news that agents can take secure payments during sessions for the first time.
Put simply, Web Chat has come of age: It can be trusted with people's money.
The breakthrough by Eckoh and Klick2Contact combines the convenience of instant human interaction with robust PCI DSS payment security.
For consumers, the announcement is great news and comes not a moment too soon. To date, Live Help sessions with agents have purred along smoothly — until purchasing time. Once the agent pastes a payment link into the chat window, customers have been expected to lurch off onto a bumpy dirt track and navigate the tricky bits for themselves.
Perhaps that sounds a little dramatic. But the 'channel shift' is certainly awkward. When customers click on the link, a separate web window opens up and they must complete the payment process, unattended. Meanwhile, the agent crosses their fingers in the dark, usually never knowing if the sale went through at all (often customers abandon their carts once the hand-holding stops).
Everything happens within Web Chat
With Web Chat Payments, the process is seamless. Once products are chosen, payment options appear and items can be purchased in moments.
Crucially, the agent is always on hand to steady any wobbles. But, ingeniously, contact centre agents never see people's card details, thanks to Eckoh's PCI compliant technology. The payment mechanism confirms receipt of the real numbers while the agent only sees meaningless ones.
For Eckoh's customers, the launch of the new service means Web Chat Payments can be locked down just as tightly as those made over the telephone, web, text, mobile apps and via Apple Pay. Every channel is secure and open for business — and able to combat card-not-present fraud, which is the fastest-growing form of credit card fraud globally.
Will it catch on with customers?
If ever there was a case of pushing on an open door, this is it. The popularity of Web Chat is staggering. Consumers adore it, whether they want that extra human assistance while buying clothes, booking a grocery delivery, or choosing holiday insurance.
79% of customers say they prefer Web Chat because of the immediacy it provides*, while 80% of companies will be making some sort of Web Chat available to their customers by 2018**.
But what's the appeal? In essence, it's about speed and convenience: 79% of customers say that they prefer Web Chat because of the immediacy it provides***.
So it's an obvious deduction that the addition of Web Chat payments will be a massive hit because it completes the journey for consumers, without them having to shift away from their favourite channel.
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