7 Reasons Live Chat Should Be In Your Business Website NOW
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Customer service and engagement are now the competing edge for most businesses. Live chat is one of the almost-invisible tools that enable you to win against your competitors. It’s not blunt and charging like marketing campaigns and tools, but setting up live chat for your business has just as many benefits.
What’s Live Chat?
You’ve probably seen it on certain websites. It could be right there on the homepage, a discreet little tab on the side or the bottom, saying Contact Us or Live Chat. Or those buttons could only appear when you click the Support or Customer Service page.
Live chat is a messaging platform on the same or separate web server, depending on the setup you put in place. It connects your site visitors directly to your team for assistance, information, and support.
The difference between Live Chat and Messaging
But the similarity ends there.
- With live chat, your visitors/customers only chat with the team/staff you put in place as ‘operators’ of your site. In instant messaging, anyone can message anyone, as long as they have the same application, or are registered members of it (e.g., AIM, Skype, Facebook, Google+, etc.)
- There’s no need to open (or sign up for) external applications. Your visitors/clients don’t need to take an extra step to talk to you. They need only open the live chat window.
The Benefits of Live Chat
Source: Teleus International, Online Chat: What You Didn’t Know
1. Convenient for your customers.
“Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a web site can offer.” – Forrester
As mentioned above, live chat gives your customers an instant platform to ask a question, right there on your page. They don’t have to open another page, they don’t have to get up and call their spouse to consult them, “Do you suppose this will fit our unit?” “Do you think this is the real color?” “How do they pack it if we have it shipped?”
- Phone support: Time-consuming, having to wait for the correct menu, doing it again, and trying other menus if the exact one is not heard. Difficult accents from some operators.
- Emails: Everyone’s predisposed to not bother with email because many still think no one answers emails.
They can simply click Live Chat and ask you for an instant answer! There are no costs to the customer, whether they’re from down the street or another continent.
2. You discover and collect data on your customers: Your customer persona, market research, analytics
Your market research and analytics, (what sells, which type, to whom, and what age brackets) is tremendously supplied with data as well. Live chat systems often include many reports you can customize to check on several visitor metrics (number of visitors and chat requests) to partner with your marketing campaigns.
3. You discover and collect data on your business and what areas you need to improve.
What you discover from your live chat communication brings you insight into what needs improvement, not only on your website content but on the products/services you offer. Not to mention that you also get to watch and review how you use the live chat itself: the speed and quality of your response and resolution are all in log files, providing insight into how you and your team can utilize and innovate with this tool even better.
4. Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The stats below show the percentage of customer satisfaction from live chat, email response, and phone support. Live chat wins at 73%, while email and phone support lag behind at 61% and 44% respectively.
It’s not surprising: customers love websites that offer convenient and instant support. They prefer to shop there. They’re more confident because they know they’d have help when they need it. Which leads to increased sales!
Source: eDigital Customer Service Benchmark survey of 2000 consumers
5. Increased sales
If the infographic about sales from Teleus’s study doesn’t convince you, the above stats are from the AMA illuminating report, How B2B Marketers Are Leveraging Live Chat to Increase Sales.
6. Less expense to you.
Live chat has all the speed of phone support, faster and more satisfying to your customers in terms of service than email, but 50% cheaper. It saves you the setup and the personnel expense of so many employees manning phones.
One live chat operator can answer up to three customers at the same time. You help more people at less expense.
7. Faster response for problem-solving and customer queries (market reach)
- Content is king— and you should already have a blog in place to provide answers and guides your clients need. They give you authority and SEO scores. But when a client is already viewing a product, live chat gives you another edge: as you chat, you can answer their questions and lead the customer to those guides. Through live chat, you can provide attachments and links, and copy/paste-able complicated names and codes for searching.
- Compared with phone chat where staff needs scripts or skills to be able to give answers, your team can easily consult each other if they receive a tricky question. Each one doesn’t need to have all the answers.
- You also expand your market reach. Think of it this way: not everyone who goes into a store is confident to buy or place orders. That’s why store owners hire salespeople with friendly faces, don’t they? It’s the same with your website. No matter how inviting it is, someone from outside your local area will want to inquire first. Having live chat support in place not only answers their questions but can proactively sell them, to a helpful salesperson.
Proactive chat is another angle of live chat. Customers can start the chat at certain points of their visit– so can you and your team!
All 7 of these add up to a superior edge over your competitors, especially as, surprising as it is, many of the big fish do not offer live chat at all, according to Teleus International’s online chat study.
Now you still need to watch the rest of your game– your social media platform interactions (posts, comments, messages) and content all still add up to your customer support.
Live chat also has its downsides, as mentioned above in the Teleus Online Chat study where very few boomers and seniors use it. Match your audience’s needs.
- Are they computer-savvy? Not all customers are. Some may not see live chat or like it or know how to use it. Give them options for email and phone support.
- Make sure to have support options for mobile users. Live chat is not great on mobile platforms. Not everyone can type fast on those tiny QWERTY keyboards and not all mobile devices support live chat applications.
- Optimize your security, not just for malicious attacks but for “prank chats”. You should be able to block them if they happen too often, and have preventative pre-chat forms to confirm the legitimacy of the query.
- You must have a trained virtual staff and reserve (in case of interruptions to connections and power, servers, etc.) in place to reply to live chats promptly. Live chat is supposed to be live. A reply that comes 2 hours later is bad– the client has already left, and likely with resentment.
Kissmetrics has a guide on how to be great at live chat here. Remember that it’s as much a sales tool as your marketing campaigns, so put your best foot forward!
Now interested in live chat? Crazy Egg reviewed several here, and Business News Daily gathered 5 Live Chat Solutions For Small Businesses.
Talk to us and we can help you. Let us know about your thoughts and experiences in the comments.