Chat technology has becoming critical for bolstering customer experience while driving revenue and growth for the businesses.

This is among the findings of Clickatell’s new Chat Commerce Trends report, which reveals that 99% of customer service executives recognise these benefits.

Customer service teams are increasingly responsible for revenue, with 81% saying they are compensated based on performance and sales within their teams.

These executives are facing challenges in achieving results with 95% saying there are technology or process challenges in their departments hindering success. Notably, 43% said their customers find their payment technology hard to use, and 41% said reporting and analysis is disjointed.

“Revenue-generating responsibilities of customer service departments have significantly increased, while many of their technical capabilities have remained the same,” says Pieter de Villiers, co-founder and CEO of Clickatell. “With rising revenue expectations should also come the tools and investments that help customer service departments meet them.

“Chat Commerce, providing seamless and secure engagement and transactions, allows representatives to support customers along their entire path to purchase, while also encouraging the opportunity for increased sales.”

Overwhelmingly, (96%) of customer service teams in these revenue producing departments are responsible for taking payments from their customers, and yet, more than half still use antiquated processes, such as sending a bill or invoice (60%) or taking credit cards (53%).

Ninety-seven percent of leaders agree customer service teams would benefit by using chat-to-pay technology and nearly half (48%) of organisations that don’t currently accept chat payments plan to do so in the future.

In addition, 88% of leaders agree that using chat channels for payments will help meet revenue goals; 97% said that chat payment investments pay for themselves.

WhatsApp, Google Chat and Facebook Messenger are the chat apps most used by customer service teams:

* WhatsApp (47%);

* Google Chat (40%);

* Facebook Messenger (31%);

* Instagram Chat (30%);

* Apple Messages (23%);

* WeChat (23%);

* Telegram (21%);

* Discord (15%);

* Snapchat (15%);

* Line (6%);

* Viber (5%); and

* Signal (5%).

Ninety-nine percent of respondents find a significant number of benefits when using chat with customers, including:

* Faster response times;

* Simple and easy for customers;

* Improved customer satisfaction;

* Increased customer engagement;

* Convenience for customers;

* Reduced call centre costs;

* Stronger customer relationships;

* Improved agent efficiency;

* Continuation from existing or saved chat history; and

* Lower risk of fraud.

The survey findings also noted that email (30%) and chat apps (27%) are the most preferred channels for customer service agents, while phone calls (19%) are least preferred.