Have you recently been browsing a website when suddenly a Live Chat box pops out, saying hello and offering to help? This is a major new trend in Digital Marketing and customer service. More and more companies are using live chat features to provide immediate support to the customers who are on their websites.
As customers do more shopping, research and problem solving online, it only makes sense that this is where they expect to get support from the companies they are interacting with.
Now, instead of telephoning the bank or trawling through the pharmacy shelves, many customers visit the company’s website first.
This is where the live chat function comes in. If a person is shopping, but needs to ask a question before making a decision, as they might in a store, they can use the live chat function. Or, if they are trying to contact a company to resolve an issue, let’s say about a bill, they can speak to a customer representative through the live chat tool.
Rise of Live Chat
Research shows that customers do appreciate the live chat function and that it pays off for companies in terms of customer satisfaction and sales. Here are some figures to back up the claims:
- 44% of customers said being able to ask questions during online shopping was the best function a website could offer
- 63% of internet users are more likely to return to a website with live chat
- 73% of customers report satisfaction from live chat
- 38% of customers said they have made a purchase due to a helpful live chat
- Over half of website visitors have used a live chat feature if it is there
Given that this is a relatively new trend in sales and customer support, and website visitors are still getting to grips with the live chat tool, these are very promising numbers.
Proactive or Reactive
There are two types of live chat approaches that you can take, proactive and reactive. You can imagine this as being in a shop and a sales associate coming to ask you if you need help (proactive) or a sales associate being visible and available to customers who have questions to ask (reactive).
The type of live chat you choose depends on the type of company and website you have. For a company involved in sales, a proactive approach may work best. Proactive chatters are six times more likely to buy a product than an average website visitor.
Proactive chat is more a more popular option for companies who want to be out in front of customer questions and complaints. However, the capacity (staff time or outsourcing budget) of companies to do this will depend on size, budget and need.
Pros and Cons of Live Chat
Apart from improving sales and customer satisfaction rates, Live Chat has even more to offer.
- Efficiency: One of the main selling points of Live Chat is something every company likes to hear – it cuts down on staff time and expenses
- Added Value: Websites that have a Live Chat function show that they are modern and proactive when it comes to serving customers, giving an edge over the competition
- Multi-tasking staff: Those tasked with Live Chats should be able to multi-task, managing multiple chats and other tasks at the same time
- Outsourcing: Companies can outsource Live Chat to international companies who offer competitive pricing, without sacrificing quality of support (e.g. bad phone lines or difficulty understanding different accents)
- Analytics: Managers can have easy access to analysis tools, as well as monitor quality of response by reviewing log files
There are, of course, some things to be aware of before you make a decision about Live Chat for your website.
- Capacity: Customers using the Live Chat facility on your website will expect a quick response. There are a few options for you here:
- If you are a one man band, turn off the chat facility when you are not available
- If possible, you can assign a staff member to the task, but they should be trained in customer service and/or sales
- You can outsource the Live Chat feature and work with an external company on how to answer questions
- Some people don’t like it/don‘t know how to use it: As mentioned, this is a relatively new feature on websites. People may ignore or quickly shut down Live Chat tools because: they do not know what they are; they do not know how to use them; they are slow typers; they find them a nuisance. You can get around this by ensuring that you also supplement your sales and customer service facilities with email, telephone and other forms of contact.
- Time wasters: Just like your Spam folder, you will find that there are some jokers out there who like to waste time through the Live Chat facility.
Test It Out
If you are not convinced that investing time and money into a Live Chat function on your website, the good news is, you can always test it out. As briefly mentioned above, analyzing the impact of Live Chat on your website is easy.
Aside from monitoring how many people use the Live Chat feature, one example of useful analytics is tracking codes to see how many buyers who have used the Live Chat feature then go on to buy a product or use a service on your website. Another option is doing pre and post chat surveys to monitor satisfaction. ZenDesk have some useful benchmark indicators here.
For more information on adding a Live Chat function to your website, please contact us! Give us a call on 01 9059303, drop us a line at email@example.com, or fill out the form below. We are also available to help more generally with your Social Media Marketing, and we have favourable plans to suit all budgets.