Customers are important to the success of your business. How you get them, manage them, and sell to them goes a long way to determine how successful your business will be. Customer engagement is therefore a way for business owners to manage their customers as well as potential customers. When done right, it will lead to massive sales. Live chat is one of the different ways in which customer engagement can be done. In this post, I am going to be exploring how live chat can impact your business.

Customers while going through your landing page, their dashboard, or basically anywhere on your website can feel the need to talk to you concerning some of their concerns. A good way to fulfill this need is to have live chat on your website.

What is Live Chat?

Live chat is basically real-time communication between you (website owner/service representatives) and your website visitors. This is made possible through messaging software (apps) installed on your website. Live chat can be implemented in a number of ways, from being a popup window to a floating window on your site. Also some live chat applications have the feature to initiate conversations by sending a programmed message that attracts the attention of the visitor.

Essentially, live chat breaks away from the traditional forms of communication with your visitors such as email and phone calls. It also holds multiple advantages that will be examined later on. Live chat provides an instant line of communication to your visitors and creates an avenue to answer any questions they might have.

An alternative to live chat that is also popular and often used together with live chat are chat bots.

How Live Chat Works

The Visitor

As mentioned earlier, live chat is installed on your website and does not require the visitor to download or install any other thing to use. Thus making it straightforward and easy to adopt by the visitor.

Some live chat software will show up on the frontend as a widget that appears on every page (or restricted based on preferences) or is implemented as a link or button that can be clicked available only on certain pages or the menu. The widget is usually placed in the lower right or left corner of the site.

Some live chat software also have badges that indicate that it is active or a message hovering over the widget altogether with a notification sound.

Once the visitor opens the live chat, they can be prompted to provide details such as name, email, and reason for initiating contact. After this they are presented with a window that allows them to chat just like any other chat app. They can send text, attach images, documents, and emojis within the window. Different live chat software vary in how they handle the window with some showing message time stamps, read receipts, etc. while others don’t.

At the end of the chat, most live chat applications allow the visitor to request a transcript of the chat while some also have feedback integrated that asks the visitor to rate their experience.

The Agent

Live chat works differently for the agent or operator. The operator at the backend usually has access to more information than the visitor in the frontend of the site. Below are some things you and your operators have access to:

  • Ability to create and use pre-saved responses
  • Ability to see what the visitor is typing
  • Ability to track your visitors actions on site
  • Chat history of the specific visitor and that of others
  • Respond to chats via an integrated mobile app
  • View chat analytics and dashboard
  • Respond to multiple visitors simultaneously
  • Ability to assign and re-assign operators to specific chats.

Uses of Live Chat

Live chat is essentially a tool for communicating with your site visitors. These visitors may be new – visiting your site for the first time, or existing customers. As such, live chat is applicable in a number of ways.

Customer acquisition

You can use live chat to get more customers for your business. Potential customers while browsing your site may have doubts and questions about the value of your product or service. By providing an avenue for them to contact you directly, you create an opportunity to allay their doubts and fears to close the sale.

Using live chat for customer acquisition generally takes two forms: reactive and proactive.

Reactive Approach

The reactive approach just as the name suggests waits for the customer to initiate the exchange. It functions as a fallback if the information provided on your website is not enough for the customer and they are willing to ask questions.

While this is good as it allows you to answer the questions of your visitors, the downside is that not all visitors who have questions will choose to engage you via live chat. Some may choose to get their answers somewhere else thus patronizing another business.

Proactive Approach

The proactive approach takes care of the downside to the reactive approach as you now initiate the exchange. With this approach you can offer assistance and let your visitors know that you are willing to help. When you initiate the exchange, you make it obvious that you are available and it is possible to communicate with you via live chat, thus, your visitors are more likely to respond and ask for any clarifications they need about your products or services.

The best thing is that both approaches can be combined. You can have the proactive approach enabled on pages of interest such as specific product and service pages or pricing pages. A visitor spending time on these pages most likely has the intention of buying, so you can initiate contact. You can simply have the reactive approach enabled the other pages of your website.

Customer support

Live chat is also very useful when it comes to customer support. Most live chat software allow the exchange of text, links, images, and files making it easy for your customers to present their issues.

For the operators, the chats can also be transferred between departments depending on the type of support needed.

Collect feedback

Feedback is important when it comes to improving customer service. You can also use live chat to collect feedback about user experience on your site and with your operators.

Benefits of Live Chat

Live chat holds immense direct and indirect benefits for your business if implemented. These benefits include:

  • Better customer engagement
  • Increased trust
  • Faster customer support
  • Stronger customer relationship
  • Lead generation
  • Cost savings

Better Customer Engagement

Live chat makes it easier for your customers to connect with your business and vice versa. This leads to an increase in customer engagement that can result in lower bounce rates, higher conversions, and increased sales.

Increased Trust

In a world where sites are dominant and bots are prevalent, being able to speak with an agent via live chat does increase the trust in the business with the customers. This is because of the tangible human connection. Care must be taken however, because if live chat is handled badly, it can also result in a lack of trust in the business.

Faster Customer Support

It is possible to render customer support in a more timely manner through live chat than through email or a ticketing system. Also, important to note that all these channels are not mutually exclusive and can be used together to improve the quality of customer service.

Stronger Customer Relationship

Consequent upon better customer engagement and increased trust through high quality tangible human connection, live chat enables the building of a stronger relationship between the business and customers.

Lead Generation

Before the chat is initiated the name, email, and other details of the visitor can be collected thus generating leads for the business.

Cost Savings

For a business that connects with customers primarily through phone calls, using live chat will lead to cost savings as it is more efficient. An operator cannot speak with more than one customer at the same time while on the phone, while it is possible for one operator to handle multiple chats with different customers simultaneously.

Some of the benefits of live chat for businesses are made possible by the benefits for customers which include:

  • Ease of use: no other channel have to be involved. Contact can be established right there on the site without leaving in two to three clicks.
  • Quick response and
  • Personalized service.

How Live Chat Can Impact Your Business

  • Higher conversion rates
  • Increased sales
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased revenue
  • Higher ROI

Higher Conversion Rates

The first way live chat can impact your business is in increased conversion rates. Because you can now engage your visitors, answer their questions, increase their trust in your business, and also collect feedback to improve your business, you will be able to improve your conversion rates.

Increased Sales

Higher conversion rates ultimately leads to increased sales. The definition of a conversion can vary depending on the goal e.g. generating a lead, but ultimately increasing conversion will lead to an increase in sales.

In a lot of cases, the correlation is direct. Increasing conversion on a product or service landing page is equals to an increase in sales.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Using the feedback collected with live chat to improve customer service will lead to improved customer satisfaction.
Providing quick and effective customer support through live chat will also improve customer satisfaction.

Higher ROI

Increased profit margins is also one of the ways live chat can impact your business. The cost savings from implementing live chat coupled with the higher conversion rates and increased sales will result in a higher return on investment for your business.

How To Implement Live Chat

Now that you have realized the benefits and positive impact live chat can have on your business, the next step is to take action by implementing it.

In order to implement live chat on your website and start reaping the benefits, here are the things you need to do:

  • Define your requirements.
  • Pick a live chat provider. You can view a list of live chat providers here.
  • Setup the infrasturcture.
  • Go live.

Define Your Requirements

The first step in implementing live chat on your website is to define what you need in a live chat software and what your business requires. Examples of requirements include integration with other software that you already use like CRMs, support for your website platform, your budget, support for mobile, and others.

You should also discuss with your sales and marketing teams to identify some necessary requirements.

Pick A Provider

After you have articulated what your needs are as regards live chat, the next step is to find a provider that offers such features. There are numerous live chat solutions in the market with varying features and capabilities so you will need to do some research to find the right provider.

Picking the right provider from the onset is beneficial because it will save you the hassle of having to migrate to another provider when you hit the limitations of your first choice. Also one of the reasons why it is important to define your requirements.

Setup The Infrastructure

The major infrastructure needed to implement live chat apart from the website and live chat software itself is the team. You need to setup and know who will be in-charge of managing and responding to visitors via the live chat.

Make sure you follow response times closely and have enough agents to make sure your visitors do not have to wait too long before they get a response.

Go Live

Once you have your requirements met in your live chat provider of choice and you have your operators ready to go, the final step is to install the live chat software on your site and go live.

Depending on your website platform and provider, this can involve installing a plugin or adding a script to your site.

If you need help getting live chat on your website or questions, you can contact us and we will be happy to help you harness this strategy to drive more sales for your business.

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