The world of communication has shifted from snail-paced letters to cheetah-like-velocity chats. The number of people who are using chat and messaging has only gone up and will continue to do so in the future. These numbers from Statista clearly reflect that:
Remember the initial days of Instagram? Back when it was simply a space to post photos and the only way people could engage with you was through the comments? It was a one-to-many affair.
So much has changed since. Including the fact that it is the 2nd most engaged network after Facebook and that it has 1 billion active monthly users now.
Although its popularity is a culmination of many factors- filters, Stories, ease of use- one of the major factors is that it brought in a real-time chat feature.
Eventually, you could send your favorite dog pictures to your friends individually or in a group, DM your favorite influencer on the other side of the world, and give a human-centered and meaningful dimension to your business. All the while making plans for the evening with your bestie. A one-to-one affair in short.
Now, photographers, bloggers, consultants, Etsy sellers, coaches, publishing houses- everyone has a presence on Instagram.
The underlying reason
No matter how much people disappear behind screens, they are still searching for one universal thing- connection. That immediate back-and-forth of words and emotions that makes us feel connected to someone is a deep-seated need. And on our phones, that is fulfilled by real-time chats.
In response to this changing landscape, businesses have had to shift their modus operandi.
Only emails and messages simply don’t make the cut.** If you want users to be continuously engaged on your platform, you have to provide them with the option of real-time chat.**On the internet, that is the no. 1 way to form intimate, trustworthy bonds. And in some scenarios, it is imperative that you do it as soon as possible.
What are those scenarios? We list a few of them below while providing you with 4 straight-up benefits of integrating real-time chat in your business model:
More intimate community building
Above all, the internet is a place to find like-minded people and form a community with them. Online forums that are content and information-driven are prime examples of this.
However, at one point these forums and communities begin to disintegrate. Members begin to drift off to other platforms. Why does this happen?
Take the example of someone who is part of an online forum related to the tech industry. The forum is a hub for discussing the latest tech topics, the developments being made, the moralities of these developments- the entire gamut.
Now suppose someone is particularly interested in cloud technology, so, on the forum, they will find and engage with threads that cater to these interests. However, the coming of the bitcoin seemingly shifts the focus of the entire community to cryptocurrency and soon, fewer people discuss cloud technology and hence those interested in cloud technology no longer feel engaged or if the community is providing value to him.
Consequently, they leave and find another forum where someone wants to hang out on the Cloud with him.
Now imagine if for the users interested in cloud technology had been provided with the option of real-time chat so they could privately talk to a cloud enthusiast or a group of them, would they have left? Maybe they would have become less active on the public forum, but privately, they would have been very much present.
The principle in play here is: even under a single domain (like tech), there are sub-domains. And as communities become larger, people begin to find more like-minded people the better to form more intimate connections.
If content and information-driven businesses with a community aspect to them are to remain sustainable, they must provide the option of real-time chat to their users so that these users can themselves build the communities they need.
Increased customer engagement and retention
The increased interpersonal relations formed as a result of strong community building can lead to a lot of customer retention, loyalty, and continuous engagement with the platform. Statistics related to the usage of Slack are proof of this.
For the uninitiated, Slack is a team collaboration software directed at the professionalism and stands for ‘Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge’. It allows you to create channels where you and your team can converse and work together. These channels are organized by topic, location, or team.
The public channels are for conversations that are searchable and browsable by all members, except for guests to the workspace. This leads to more transparency in the workplace as claimed by 80% of users.
Private channels aren’t open to the workspace and you have to be invited to join one. Large teams can be broken down on the basis of the project they handling or their role in it. You can directly message those teammates & form a group for inter-departmental communication.
Now, these are statistics related to Slack:
- The retention rate for paid users is 98%.
- It has 3 million daily active users.
- Slack is used by 77% of Fortune 500 companies.
- Its estimated annual revenue is $64 million.
- More than half of Slack users are from outside the United States.
- It has 3 million paid accounts.
When it comes to workspace collaboration and communication, Slack is racking up huge points and is the King for now. Facebook has launched ‘Workplace’ for offices, but it will be hard to dethrone Slack anytime soon.
By providing better and more glued team building (which is community building really), Slack has increased its usage and user retention.
When you provide the same intimate community and collaboration that a real-time chat does, users keep returning and using your platform.
Receiving support and safeguarding privacy
Real-time chat can be truly invaluable in revolutionizing the healthcare ecosystem in the entire nation. If healthcare providers (governmental and non-governmental) integrate real-time chatting on their websites and apps, it can lead hospitals to provide and patients to receive top-notch medical assistance. Here is how:
- Directly connect with the concerned doctor and verified healthcare expert for booking a consultation with them.
- Opt for a virtual consultation through video calling.
- Be able to share diagnosis and test reports in real-time and understand what they mean for the patient.
- Opt to chat with their doctor or coach in case of bad network issues leading to video and audio calls that can’t be made.
- Connect with other patients who have a similar diagnosis and be a part of a community which understands.
- Receive reminders about taking medicines, visiting the doctor, or simply sleeping, through push notifications.
To get an idea about its implementation, think of Gryt Health’s Stupid Cancer app which connects people who are experiencing cancer in their lives-the patient, their family, their caregiver, etc.
Cancer, as we know, can disrupt lives. And there are moments when the affected person would just want to talk to someone who knows exactly what they are going through- the uncertainty, the fear, the financial worries, etc.
The real-time chat feature on this app which allows you to connect and talk with someone who fulfills a need in you can literally be life-saving. The emotional support received can spell the difference between being depressed and being hopeful.
Language learning is one area that cannot be complete without the use of audio aids. When you are learning a language like French where the pronunciation of ‘intelligent’ and ‘intelligente’ are crucial for differentiating whether you are talking about clever males or females, then audio teaching becomes a must-have.
This is where real-time chats come in to save the day.
CoachTheWorld is a global platform for connecting experts and learners immediately. The connection is made, not on the basis of geographic proximity, but the needs of the learner and which expert will be able to fulfill them instantly.
Here we can see the usefulness of real-time chat in action.
Supposing a few native English speakers are learning Spanish in school. As part of their final evaluation, they have to recite a poem. So they choose the peace poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ by the acclaimed Spanish poet Pablo Neruda. They find the translation online but to really nail the recitation want the help of a native speaker.
So, they log on to CoachTheWorld and find a Brazilian teacher to help them learn the manner, the tone, and the pronunciation for the poem. They connect through group audio and video chat and over the next two days, the Brazilian teacher helps the English students to recite and memorize the poem.
Now, if the real-time A/V chatting feature wouldn’t have been available, then the students would either have to hire a private tutor to teach them, or recite a second-rate version of it and consequently score low in the final evaluation. But, with the help of the A/V chat feature, it became easy to learn how to recite poetry in a completely new and foreign language.
Here, texts wouldn’t have helped. Even the internet could have provided that kind of help. What was needed was the expertise of a native along with the medium of sharing that it in real-time so knowledge could be efficiently transmitted.
The selling point of real-time chat is that it adds the human aspect to your communications. The back-and-forth messaging, the group chats, the video calls- are all mediums to stay connected and experience community.
So, if you run a business where user communications are absolutely central and would benefit from connecting with one another, then it is time to integrate real-time chat on your website and/ or app. Your users will thank you for it. And it will be evidenced by the numbers and raving reviews you get.