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James Carr

When it comes to customer service, the most important part of the process is interaction. Live chat is the perfect way to interact directly with your customers online. It’s a fast and easy way to get customer feedback, answer questions, and get to know your customers needs, expectations and frustrations.

Despite the benefits of live chat, some websites owners are hesitant about adding live chat functionality to their site. In this article, we’ll talk about why all websites should use live chat, dispel a few myths, and offer a few recommendations for live chat best practice.

Why Your Website Needs Live Chat

Let’s talk about what live chat offers. While a live chat service is useful for many different reasons, the most important reason for introducing live chat is improving your customer experience.

When customer experience is lacking, customer acquisition is difficult. When customer acquisition is difficult, retention is likely to be difficult too. The success of any company hinges on the ability to attract and retain customers, so introducing a well-managed live chat solution can be a great way to make a fantastic first impression or to help existing customers get the help they need.

If you need any further encouragement around the benefits of using live chat, look no further than our suggestions:

Deliver great customer service and Increase Your Sales

If years of Google Analytics data has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes customers take a long time to convert. Even when they do choose to convert, the smallest of barriers can potentially prevent them from completing conversion and send them into the waiting arms of your competitors instead.

Live chat gives you an opportunity to speak to customers directly, allowing you to answer any questions they may have on the spot, as well as being available to help them out with any barriers they come up against.

Keep Your Customers Satisfied & Make it easier for them to contact you

Unfortunately, customers aren’t always going to be satisfied with your product or service and will need to get in contact with you in search of some form of resolution to their problem. You could direct them to a telephone number (which they might have to ring on their lunchbreak), where they’ll sit in a queue and have an opportunity to listen to rage-inducing hold music before they’re able to speak to a representative.

Or you could offer them a way to talk to you directly, during their workday, and get immediate assistance. Even if a representative isn’t available, automated chat bots can be a great way of solving common issues quickly or making sure that your customer is connected to the right person as soon as possible.

Enhance Your Brand’s Image

All that work you’ve put into your branding; the strapline you agonised over, the tone of voice you spent hours working on, the beautiful design elements that portray your brand values? In isolation, it’s not always enough to secure a conversion.

However, live chat gives you another opportunity to show off the values behind those carefully crafted brand attributes and remind visitors why they ended up on your site in the first place. If everything aligns with your visitor’s expectations, you’ll have strengthened the trust they have in your brand and possibly encouraged future sales.

Live Chat Best Practice

Let’s be honest, most of us have used live chat with varying degrees of success. The frustrations we have with the service probably align with the frustrations we would have had with a traditional telephone support line. So, what should you be looking out for when integrating live chat into your site? Take a look at our suggestions below:

Think about your website

There are hundreds of live chat solutions available, some good, some bad, so it can be easy to pick something cheap (or free) and think that’s enough. However, there are some key factors that you need to think about before committing to a chat solution.

Many of the free options (especially on WordPress) are either powered entirely by a plugin (which may slow the loading of your site down) or store chat logs on your website server (which may also slow the loading of your site down). Choosing these solutions can therefore affect user experience and possibly cause a drop in organic rankings.

Try to choose a solution that demonstrates great load times and stores chat logs on an external server. They may be slightly more expensive, but keeping your website working efficiently is well worth the investment.

Make it trackable

All marketers love data, and website owners are no different. If you want to prove how effective your site is in selling products or services, and make improvements, then data is your friend. Why leave your live chat out of the loop?

By choosing a solution that allows you to accurate track usage (including the channels and landing pages that visitors entered by), you can get valuable insight into how all of your campaigns could be improved or any gaps in your customer journey that need to be plugged.

Make it “Live”

If you choose to have a live chat, make sure that it’s “live”. Remember earlier when we mentioned being stuck in the queue for telephone support? A visitor sending you a message and then having to wait ten minutes for a reply is no different, except that (in the case of the web) your competitor’s site is lurking a single search away.

Why risk losing a sale by having a slow response time when you could be directing visitors to the next step in your sales funnel or support service? It’s easy to think that the only way to achieve this is to hire an entire team of chat operators, but there is another way…

Embrace automated chat

Sometimes, a chat operator isn’t available, which makes it difficult to provide an instant response. However, by embracing automated chat options, you can ensure that visitors remain engaged with your site and get great customer service.

Investing time and effort into setting up automated chat responses and channels is a great way of solving common issues for visitors and may help you to identify issues that you can address earlier in the customer journey. What’s more, these automations can be set up to redirect visitors to the appropriate operator, so you know that your best person is on the case.

Finally, even if your chat can only be manned during opening hours or if all of your operators are busy, why not set up an automation that offers to call the visitor when someone is available? That way, they can get on with their life knowing that you’re on the case!

Conclusion

Adding live chat to your website is a no-brainer, whatever way you look at it. It allows you to connect with customers and get instant feedback on any of your service, products, or website features, while (when done well!) offering customers the best possible experience of your brand.

While there are a few pitfalls, most of these can be avoided by planning ahead and understanding exactly what value live chat will add for your customers and therefore your business.

If you would like to find out more about how live chat could be used to enhance your business’ online presence, why not get in touch with one of our friendly specialists on 0845 450 2086 who will be more than happy to help.

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