5 Reasons Why Live Chat is The Latest "Must Have" for Your Business
Rather than watching potential customers click away from their e-commerce sites, many businesses have been adding live chat support. As it turns out, live chat has the ability to provide the convenient answers that customers want, while also adding significant benefits to the staff and bottom line of companies.
So how and why is it that live chat can improve your business and tips on how to maximise its effectiveness.
1. Live Chat is Convenient for Customers
A study called “Making Proactive Chat Work” that was conducted by Forrester Research found the following:
“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.”
An online chat system provides customers immediate access to help. Wait times are often much less than a call centre, and customers can easily multi-task while waiting. Additionally, the pain of having to dial a 1-800 number and navigate through a maze of numeric options is non-existent.
An ATG Global Consumer Trend study found that 90% of customers consider live chat helpful and an emarketer.com survey found that 63% were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. The report goes on to say:
“62% reported being more likely to purchase from the site again. A further38% of respondents said they had made their purchase due to the chat session itself. All these attitudes were even more prevalent among respondents who bought online at least weekly.”
2. Live Chat Cuts Down on Expenses
Live chat software has consistently demonstrated that it can save on both employee task time and phone expenses. Some of the most notable cost savings are:
- Live chat reduces overall contact centre costs by lowering average interaction costs.
- Increases efficiency by allowing live chat representatives to handle multiple chats simultaneously, thus reducing the need to hire more representatives.
With employees spending less time on the phone, they can multi-task during chat conversations and cut the waiting queue to a fraction of its former size when compared to a call centre. Not only is this a process improvement but it increases the chances of overall sales (which we’ll get into next!).
3. Live Chat Increases Sales
The general trend among users in marketing forums and on blogs is that live chat on a website can generally lead to improved sales numbers. Forbes magazine reported in a recent study:
“In 2008, Wells Fargo made a second attempt to leverage online chat to drive sales, and happily, this time the results have been crystal clear. High customer satisfaction scores and a double-digit increase in converted shoppers have shown the value once and for all of this technology.”
The key is that customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break a sale. This helps eliminate bounces away from retail websites and ensure that full shopping carts make it through check out.
Website designer Cory Miller of iThemes regularly uses Provide Support for his business, and he has noticed increased opportunities for upselling products. Once customers are engaged with an employee who can understand their needs, the employee is in a perfect position to recommend additional purchases that may be the perfect fit for that particular person.
4. Live Chat Gives You An Edge of Your Competition
A recent study by TELUS International found that many top retail businesses are not offering chat. If you want to gain an edge on the competition, live chat is a key feature that websites must have in order to be competitive and to hopefully rise to the top. In fact, live chat provides a simple way to connect with customers who spend a good deal of their money online. The report by E-Marketer found:
“Almost two in 10 live chat respondents did more than 75% of their holiday shopping online, compared with 14% of those who did not chat. A further 25% of chatters made 51% to 75% of their purchases on the Web, versus just 10% of those who did not participate in the chat service.”
If you aren’t convinced that live chat is for your business, check out this study conducted by Bold Chat. The cost savings and convenience for both staff and customers makes live chat not only a viable option for businesses today, but an essential tool for any company that thrives on providing excellent customer service.
5. Live Chat Taps into Customer Pain Points
A customer’s frustration or need that has yet to be filled is called a pain point, and marketing teams mine social media and message boards for these pain points. Marketers such as Markus Allen turn these pain points into profit: “Armed with these pain points, we can either write new content (for a blog or for an article) or create benefits/advantages for our advertising.” In addition, pain points can turn into sales opportunities with customers.
Live chat provides immediate access to customers’ pain points. When customers use live chat, they’ll try to ensure that a product will perform as advertised or that a promotion will provide the discount they want. In addition, as live chat representatives talk to customers, they can find out ways to improve a company’s products and services.
Tips on Making Live Chat go the Extra Mile for Your Business
Live chat can obviously increase your business potential, but only if it’s executed correctly. Here are some important tips to ensure you make the most out of live chat software:
- Train your team! Your live chat representatives have to be extremely knowledgeable about your inventory and website navigation. Provide cheat sheets and FAQs to improve their performance and to make it easier for them to answer your customer’s questions quickly.
- Be aware of your shopping hours. If you own an online soccer shop in California, there is a chance that most of your visitors are international. Use analytics to determine when most of your visitors are using your site. Don’t assume 9 to 5 chat hours will work. If you have a problem sourcing local employees to cover off hours, consider outsourcing help using services likeUpwork.
- Don’t be too robotic. The whole point of having live chat available is to provide warm, human help to a customer’s shopping experience. Having robotic greetings or responses can kill the effectiveness of live chat.
- Consider hiring people with sales experience. For the most effective use of live chat, consider using inside sales people and not just customer service representatives. People who have sales experience will more likely lead customers towards sales and increase the possibility of upselling.
- Don’t forget to boost your social. When your live chat representatives receive positive feedback from online visitors and customers, consider instructing your representatives (or sales people) to nicely remind your visitors to Like your Facebook page and leave a comment on it.
- Be prepared for surges in chat volume. Customers need to understand that they are in a queue and a representative will be with them shortly, if not immediately.
- Give your customers helpful chat features. Customers will also need to be able to modify the font size and to request a transcript of the chat.
Thankfully, all chat software websites provide live chat support, so you can test their products while you shop around.
Besides finding the right software, companies using live chat will need to provide specialised training for their employees. Live chat is different from a phone call, since all replies must be short sentences that get right to the point. Long paragraphs don’t work in live chat. There is an art to knowing when to ask a question and when to offer solutions or additional products.
Choosing the Right Live Chat Package for Your Business
If you want to get started on live chat today, be sure to scan this list of chat software reviews. There are plenty of great options when it comes to live chat software, so choose the program that offers the best interface and simplest integration into your website. Here’s a small list of some of the best live chat solutions out there:
- Bold Chat – Tends to focus on solutions for Ecommerce websites. Bold Chat serves 24 of the Internet Retailer Top 500 and 85 of the Second 500.
- Livezilla – Features include: Richtext Chats, Global Canned Messages, File Transfer, E-Mail Transcripts, (Automated) Proactive Chat Invites, Operator to Operator Chats and more.
- Live Person – Creates meaningful, real time customer connections that help businesses increase conversions and improve consumer experience.
- Kayako – Help desk software that lets you manage email, tickets, live chat, calls and remote support.
The Most Obvious Benefit
I decided to save the most obvious benefit for last and that is live chat (should) provide consumers with the ability to speak with… wait for it… a real, live person. Presumably.
I say that because a few big name brands have been caught using bots with hilarious results being shared in various social media platforms that have done incredible amounts of damage to a few careers as well. Don't be one of them, you will get caught.
But assuming the person on the other end of a live chat, chat – if you will is in fact a human being that is without question the biggest benefit. In our world of digital everything and yes, bots, and automation, engaging in a real, live discussion with a fellow human being is quite refreshing.
The importance of live chat cannot be overstated as witnessed by the results of a study by Zendesk, which revealed 92% customers feel satisfied when they use the live chat feature, compared to other communication options like voice (88%), email (85), web form (85%), and social media (Facebook 84%, Twitter 77%).
There are more benefits to live chat but you get the idea. At least you better because according to Gartner live chat will grow 400% as a preferred customer digital engagement channel from 2015 to 2018.
My thanks and gratitude to Jessie Eldar, Steve Olenski and Lior Levin, who in their own way made significant contributions to this article. Like myself they probably drink way too much coffee and know a thing or two about marketing.