It’s a customer support system that can be integrated with a website to enable real-time communication with visitors and potential customers.
The chat window normally appears on the right hand bottom corner of websites and you may have already seen this if you have ever visited a business or e-commerce website.
Your customers bound to have certain questions that need to be answered before they are comfortable enough to make the purchase.
But at the same time, they don’t want to wait 24-48 hours just to get a reply from an email ticket or go through a complicated and time-consuming phone tree. They need quick answers.
Engaging with customers via an automated or manual message to kick-start the live chat session while they are viewing the products/services page enables the representative to clear all the doubts they have and get them to move on with the purchase.
As you can see, live chat is a very powerful marketing tool that you can use to increase sales of your business.
The live chat window is typically displayed on the right hand bottom corner of websites. Some websites tend to trigger the chat window with an automated message while visitors are browsing the products/services while others require customers to initialize the chat manually.
You are also able to place certain conditions for the live chat to be automatically triggered. For example, you can initialize the chat when a visitor spends more than X amount of seconds on the products/services page.
This is actually very practical example because if a person is browsing your products/services for a while it shows they are interested in purchasing from you. Such customers are more likely to make the purchase after the chat session.
Back in the day, the trend was to make the chat window stand out by using colors and fonts that were completely different from the other sections of the website.
It didn’t work out because people were under the impression that clicking or interacting with such windows would redirect them to some spammy link or site. So make sure that the colors and fonts used in the chat window blend in with your site’s theme.
According to a well-researched infographic created by websitebuilder.org, the percentage of customers who used live chat in 2009 is 38%. By the end of 2014 that number had escalated to 58% and since then, from 2015 to 2018, that number had grown by 400%.
Furthermore, reports have shown that live chat usage in the UK is growing by 24% each year starting from 2014. I know right, what a growth!
Customers are more likely to purchase products/services from a website with live chat, even if they don’t intend to use it. They seem to be more comfortable making the purchase knowing that they will be able to get in touch with a support representative promptly if something goes wrong.
Triggering the chat window with a friendly automated greeting while customers are browsing the products/services page will give you the opportunity to clear their doubts and answer their questions.
If the chat session goes well and customers are happy with the replies, they are likely to move forward with the purchase.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by emarketer.com, 33% of the people claimed to have purchased something based solely on the chat session at least once in their life.
The infographic from before stated that 92% of customers who used live chat were somewhat or extremely satisfied and at the end of the session they were willing to move forward with the purchase.
This leads to reduced bounce rates and abandoned shopping carts. And your representatives will have the chance of up-selling products as well.
Live chat gives customers immediate access to help with little to no wait time. Therefore, it’s a much more convenient solution that having to email or call.
Customers would have to wait a long time to get a reply if they chose to email the company, maybe even 48 hours.
Phoning the company will likely make them navigate through a complicated maze of options before allowing them to talk to a support representative.
In addition, customers can multi-task while waiting for a response since the chat window is placed in a corner. The chat will remain active as long as the website is opened in one of the browser tabs.
Nowadays, most live chat systems allow representatives to handle multiple chats simultaneously, thus minimizing the number of representatives required. This itself saves you a ton of money. Best of all, there are no expensive phone bills.
You could use live chat to obtain feedback or find flaws with your business. Your chat representatives are bound to come across a question or problem that’s new and unaccounted for. Those are the most important ones so instruct them to take notes of such questions and report back to the management team.
Also, a good rule of thumb is to ask for the customer’s feedback when the chat session ends. This will not only show how well or bad your representatives are handling customers but their opinions regarding your brand.
You may think integrating live chat to your website will be very expensive but it’s actually not. The pricing will differ from company to company depending on the number of agents they have, features they require, schedule of payment they prefer (monthly or annually) and etc.
But on average, pricing starts from as little as $19 per agent per month to all the way up to $149 per agent per month. Some live chat providers such as LiveChatInc have packages that allow unlimited agents to use the software.
Plans with advanced reporting features and unlimited chat history tend to be more expensive than others. However, it’s still cheaper than setting up and maintaining a calling center.
Customers are more likely to return and make purchases from websites with live chat.
Most entrepreneurs are concerned that they may not have the adequate staff to be able to respond to the chats as soon as they occur, especially during chat spikes. You may need at least 2 chat representatives around the clock to respond to chats.
Customers tend to leave live chats with a bad impression if the representative doesn’t reply within several seconds. Therefore, live chat may or may not work depending on the size of your staff.
One workaround is to make live chat available only at certain times of the day or to specific people depending on the number of times they visited the site, time spent on products/services page and etc.
After all, the more time a visitor spends on your website, the more likely they are to buy something.
Some customers get really annoyed when a chat window pops up out of no where on the screen and give you that little “beep” sound when the automated greeting is received.
Most customers won’t mind since the chat window isn’t interrupting or slowing down their work. It’s just sitting on a corner waiting to be used whenever you have a question or doubt.
Some customers may refuse or feel insure to enter their real name, email address and reason for contact since those information are most likely going to be recorded somewhere along with their IP address. They may feel this way especially if the website is brand new or nonfunctional.
There are many live chat software out there. Choose the one that’s the most affordable, has the best interface, easy to use, and contains all the features you need.
While most software will charge you depending on the number of agents you have, some will allow you to have unlimited agents for a very low price. So do your research well before finalizing your choice and don’t leave room for regrets.
Customers expect quick replies no matter how complicated their questions are so train your chat representatives to be fluent in everything, from general questions about products/services to the website’s terms of service.
Cheat sheets would help them find answers to questions quickly and easily, thus reducing the waiting time of customers.
It’s ok to automate greetings but don’t make them too generic or robotic. Greet customers with a nice and friendly message inviting them to chat if they have any worries.
The same goes for the representative’s replies as well. Customers want precise and detailed answers. One-word robotic answers would just annoy them even more and may force them to with a negative impression of your brand.
Also, add the representative’s name, title and photo in the chat window.
You may need to outsource chat representatives from Upwork or Freelancer to cover for the hours where your in-house representatives are off-duty. People tend to trust websites that offer 24/7 live chat more than others.
When hiring full/part-time chat representatives, make sure they at least have a basic experience in sales and marketing. That way they will know how to approach the customer’s questions in a way that produces the sale.
Instruct the representatives to remind happy customers to visit the company’s social profiles and engage. That’s the best way to slowly accrue popularity in social media. They will be more than happy to do it since all their questions have been answered.
Give customers some helpful features such as the ability to change the font size, window size and the option to download or email a transcript of the entire conversation once the session ends. This will give them more flexibility.
Give customers a reason to chat with your representatives. Maybe you could offer some coupons, discounts or some small services to the people who do so.
Make the live chat software ask for the visitor’s email address before letting them get in touch with a support representative. You could then use those emails as leads to send out promotions and other stuff.
Live chat is a very powerful marketing tool as it gives customers immediate access to help for the questions or doubts they may have. The majority of potential customers who participate in live chat end up moving forward with the purchase, thereby increasing sales.
Despite all the benefits that come with live chat, there are still some drawbacks such as the requirement of adequate staff but those can be avoided by choosing the right live chat software that allows your representatives to simultaneously chat with multiple customers.
Remember, the entire point of having a live chat system on your website is to provide almost instant replies and give a human touch so don’t try to be robotic. No one likes that.
So have you considered implementing live chat on your website? If so, which software would you use and why? Let me know in the comments section below.