When there is an abundance of products and services within an arm’s reach, it becomes tricky to make a purchasing decision. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and paint the following picture. Would you go for that flashing offer that ends 23 hours or would you invest in a one-on-one course? Or, say, when shopping for a birthday present, which model of a beard trimmer would you settle on?
To avoid the ‘analysis paralysis’, a natural solution would be to find more details about that thing you laid your eyes on. What if, however, you are not in the mood to talk on the phone with the customer service representative? Or, worse, it’s 1 in the morning, and you need to make the purchase right at this moment.
The results of data collected by Forrester are astonishing – 53% of adults in the United States are anticipated to leave their shopping carts if their questions remain unanswered. This factor alone should prompt businesses to strive for continuously perfecting their customer service. By leveraging the latest technologies available, it is possible to increase the conversion rates and end up with a loyal customer base.
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Enter live chat.
What is Live Chat?
Imagine a digital space where your customers could get instant help with every single query they have. A simple tap on the bottom right-hand corner of the web page would open a pop-up window where they could expand on their question(s) and receive timely replies from a chat representative.
This feature exists, and it’s known as live chat. The name speaks for itself – the back-and-forth messaging tool allows users to engage with the customer service representative, who also doubles as a salesperson, in real-time. Whether they need help with navigating the website or with finding more information about a particular product or service, customers can obtain it in a matter of minutes.
The quick response propels visitors to complete the purchase and get immediate gratification. It was discovered that satisfaction levels associated with live chat reach the whopping 73% in comparison with other forms of communication like emails and phone calls, where they stay at 61% and 44% respectively.
The sense of assurance your customers receive encourages them to spread the word about your business, which makes out to be the easiest, and arguably the cheapest promotion strategy. It’s a win-win.
Benefits for Customers
Having live chat incorporated into your website makes interacting with your company just that much easier. Nowadays it’s almost like customers anticipate the live chat box to pop up whenever they access your brand’s landing page.
It’s not surprising – the users of today tend to keep up with the latest technological advancements. To succeed, your brand has to stay up to date too.
Take a look at some of the benefits the tool can provide your customers with:
Whenever you expand the operating hours of your business, expect to gain a bigger audience. The same applies to live chat. The ongoing support your customer service team provides to the visitors will inevitably lead to pleased customers. If customer questions that arise late at night are answered in time, what else is there to wish for?
Provided that you have an extensive knowledge base with detailed information that is available at any time of the day, your customer service team can sleep like babies with zero worries.
Since convenience is prioritized in this digital age, it is crucial for businesses to deliver it. With live chat, the execution is easy.
The convenience of having an agent to talk to while simultaneously shopping is highly valued by the customers. The elimination of the time-consuming exchange of emails combined with the possibility to make an instant connection with a real person proves to be worthwhile.
The opportunity to multitask makes it even more appealing for customers to choose you, the company with customer support representatives who are at the visitors’ disposal at all times.
Increased level of trust
When there is trust, there is loyalty. And this is precisely what live chat helps to achieve.
Through creating an emotional connection, your customers start perceiving you as a reliable company that can be trusted. As a result, they are more likely to return in the future.
Benefits for Your Business
With a fully-working live chat, chances are your business is bound to experience exponential growth. In addition to benefiting the customers, you as an entity providing services (or a product) can reap the benefits of this new-century tool too.
These are the main perks you get as a company:
Increased productivity of the customer service team
Customer support agents or live chat outsourcing team can handle more than one customer at a time when using the live chat tool. You heard it right – they are able to interact simultaneously with 2-5 users without experiencing decreased productivity levels.
When backed by the high-quality software that makes the workflow smooth and straightforward, the chat representatives can have a better focus that is evenly distributed among the customers.
Thanks to the low cost of integrating live chat and high engagement rates that result from it, the conversion rates are proven to increase in geometrical progression. Xylem Analytics, the manufacturing company specializing in designing premium laboratory analytical instrumentation, is a primary example of a business whose ROI skyrocketed to 6000% with the implementation of live chat.
Since most of the customers require some help when browsing your site, the likelihood of them making the purchase depends on the assistance they can get. And, when they do, you end up increasing your revenue.
Major competitive advantage
You would think that with such obvious advantages of live chat, every business should have already made use of the tool, yet this is not the case. It was found that out of over 1000 of the websites, merely 9% has integrated the tool into their platforms.
What does this mean for you? It means that you should jump on the opportunity before everyone else sees its potential. That’s how live chat will become your competitive advantage.
What to Look for in Live Chat Software?
For live chat to be your helping hand and not the burden that hinders your operational activity, you have to choose the right software. We recommend you to take notes of these features:
You want to personalize your live chat as much as possible (i.e. align colors, fonts, and layout with your brand’s design). For this reason, the chatbox you are planning on integrating into your website should be flexible enough to allow you to experiment with its features.
Remember that every detail of your site leaves an impression on a customer and impacts his willingness (or unwillingness) to come back, so make it count.
Even if your business has a 24/7 availability, the odds of your customer support team being able to respond to users at any given moment are slim. Here’s where live chat scheduling comes in handy.
It enables customers to still receive an answer despite the absence of the chat representative. And, when switched to an automated email form, live chat ensures you don’t miss out on potential leads.
It sure helps to measure the performance of your live chat agents. Not only do you get an idea of how productive they are, but you also get to analyze the communication strategies they use.
So, ensure the live chat software you are contemplating about incorporating into your site has built-in transcript recording with a storage option and metrics tracking features.
The rise of digital solutions resulted in customers reaching to their phones to make a purchase before they open up their laptops. With over 4.6 billion cellphones being currently in use, it’s only logical to expect that the number of online sales will continue to steadily increase.
This means that your business should be well optimized for mobile users. A live chat that is mobile-friendly is a must – it allows you to connect with customers from quite literally anywhere.
Live Chat Best Practices
Now that you are aware of the benefits live chat brings and the importance of choosing the right software, you need to make sure your customer support team is making the most of the tool.
Businesses who have seen success with live chat tend to follow these easy-to-implement rules:
1. Strategize the position of your live chat
To play by the rules of UX design, it is advisable to place your live chat on the bottom right corner of your website. The reason behind it is simple – customers are used to seeing the interactive circle at that exact spot. Following their natural instinct, they will most likely expect your live chat pop-up window to be placed there too.
The rule of thumb states that you should put the live chat button on every page with the potential of creating questions. This way, whenever a customer has a query about a particular product or service you provide, he or she can always receive an answer.
Although there is no universal guideline when it comes to determining what pages need a live chat, it is best to integrate it into every page with the exception of the blog. From there, you can experiment with the pages that bring the most traffic to the tool and remove live chat from those where it’s not used by the prospects.
2. Make use of AI-powered chatbots
Artificial Intelligence is the future. While not everything is automated just yet, you can already reap some of the benefits of AI in digital marketing and customer service.
Being a software tool, live chat is not a stranger to AI. If anything, it thrives on having a back-up that can make the day-to-day life of customer support agents easier.
With the technology embedded into artificial intelligence, chatbots are able to anticipate the needs of users, answer most frequently asked questions, generate leads, and even conduct accurate surveys.
What’s great about chatbots is that the AI technology they run on enables them to learn. This results in better performance over time and a much more efficient collection of customer data.
While chatbots are not wired to help with more complex issues, they definitely help with simple queries, thus enabling agents to focus on resolving more difficult tasks.
3. Create canned responses
Scripts can be annoying if they lack a human touch. Otherwise, they can be a real time-saver for customer support agents. Relying on the well-researched answers to the most common questions, live chat representatives can handle more queries in a much faster way.
The difference between boring scripts and canned responses lies in customization. This helps to tailor responses to each individual customer, which, in turn, leads to higher customer satisfaction.
It’s important to keep in mind that customer support representatives are humans with their own set of problems that can sometimes lead to mistakes. To avoid communication errors, give your staff the help they need in order to deliver better results.
4. Give training to your customer support team
Bad customer service can worsen your company’s reputation with a snap of the finger. We have all had at least one less-than-average experience with a customer support representative, and it didn’t leave a good aftertaste in our mouths. To not allow this to happen, you must train your staff.
Your customer support agents should:
- Stay positive and friendly no matter what (this goes a long way in establishing a good reputation);
- Make communication as personalized as possible (ex. use first names when addressing, ask leading questions for a response with a personal touch);
- Be proactive and not make customers wait (no one likes to be put on hold, especially via the internet);
- Redirect customers to FAQ page when needed (the adoption of self-help is beneficial for both of the parties);
- Help without forcing sales (pushing a sale on a client is never a good idea, and it more often than not results in a lost prospect);
- Ask for feedback (you can have the most talented people working for you, but the only way to find out whether they are putting their talent to practice is to have feedback from their customers).
When your staff treats customers as friends, your business experiences growth. By allowing the conversation to flow smoothly without too much formality and salesmen-like speeches, you obtain the sought-after trust that ultimately leads to a loyal customer base.
5. Integrate other channels
To convey a specific point to the customer, it is at times necessary to resort to more explicit forms of communication. This can include an exchange of files, a demo call, or even a virtual phone call.
It’s when you combine multiple channels for better serving your users, you receive the biggest output. So, go ahead and use the latest technologies that will encourage your customers to remain loyal to your business in the years to come.
Don’t Wait on Others to Jump on the Live Chat Bandwagon Before you Do
Live chat is predicted to only continue gaining popularity in the upcoming years. Given that it helps to acquire new leads and retain the old customers with minimum costs involved, it’s worth implementing the tool into your company’s website.
The current-day market is overflowing with products and services that are super similar to each other. The proven way to differentiate your business from others is to upgrade your customer service tactics. It’s not too late to get into the game just yet, but it will be in a couple of years if you wait for too long.