Customer service forms the backbone of any business and plays a vital role in brand awareness as well as brand loyalty. A live chat feature on a website can help improve how customers experience a brand online. As it stands, customer experience can ultimately dictate the direction of brand image whether it’s positive or negative.
Today, live chat is one of the most important communication tools between brands and their customers. It offers real-time, prompt customer response while having the highest satisfaction level compared to email and phone. Let’s take a look at why it has become a necessity and how you can add it to your website.
Is Live Chat Similar To A Chatbot?
Contrary to what some may believe, live chat is not the same thing as a chatbot. If you recall one of our earlier posts on AI in Marketing Automation, we touched on Chatbots and Virtual Assistants. Remember, a chatbot is an automated bot that interacts with visitors on your website through natural language processing (NLP). It uses planned or AI-driven conversations whereas live chat takes place between a customer and an actual human representative from your company.
How To Use Live Chat And Chatbots
While live chat and chatbots can form part of your strategy, we recommend using software that can do both. In many success stories, they work in tandem as chatbots collect visitor information and send those leads to an agent to answer more specific questions. Many companies use live chat in a sales strategy to generate new leads as reps can answer questions quickly. The nature of it gives sales people more quality time to talk about deals further down the sales pipeline.
Step 1: Find The Right Software
With so many option available, do your due diligence and find the most suitable live chat software for your business. First on the list is deciding which features you need as the top software platforms offer a variation of the following:
- Templates (reusable text blocks that reps can save to answer FAQs)
- Customisable design so you can match it to your other online assets (website, blog etc.)
- Seamless CRM Integration
- Chat tags to easily search for conversations later
- Stored Chat History is vital especially if dealing with customers numerous times
- Automated greetings to encourage visitors to chat with your agent
- Reporting tools to identify visitor behaviour, chat frequency and new lead generation
Step 2: Install The Code Onto Your Website
When you find the right software, setting it up is usually very simple. Most often, the software comes with a snippet of code that you must include on the backend of your website. Many of the live chat software will actually give you step-by-step instructions which makes it super easy. Once installation is complete, you can now customise the look and feel of your ‘chatbox’ so it matches your existing online brand presence.
Step 3: Find The Best Web Pages To Place The Live Chat
Where you place the chat really depends on your business model and sales strategy. You could add it to every page on your website and even have custom greetings for each one. Alternatively, think about how your visitors browse your website and where your live chat could be maximised. Is it best to place it on the Contact Us page or what about the Product And Pricing page?
Just remember, the greetings in the live chat on the Product And Pricing page should be different than on the Contact Us page. Potential customers visiting your website are at different stages of the buyer’s journey and require a different message from your sales team.
Step 4: Integrating Live Chat With A CRM
As mentioned earlier, all the good software packages will have the ability to integrate with a CRM. It’s always best to integrate the two so that your sales people can capture all the necessary information viewable on the CRM. This way they know exactly who they’re talking to whether it’s a new prospect, returning or existing customer. Thanks to the integration, they will also have access to the entire chat history with the company.
Step 5: Assign Sales Reps To The Chat
Unlike chatbots, live chats require actual people so it’s important to add sales reps to the list. Once the software is installed and integrated with your CRM, it will automatically assign chats to sales reps. When your sales reps have been added, they need training on how to use the software and how to process leads through the funnel.
Step 6: Plan Conversations To Gather And Analyze Data
Speaking earlier about using chatbots and live chat together, here’s a great example. Use a chatbot at the beginning of the chat with the intent to collect information about the prospect. This data could qualify them for a specific territory or sales person designation. From there, the chat takes over and the sales person can have a personal conversation with the visitor to gather further information.
Once visitors have used your live chat, send your new contacts a follow-up survey. Ask whether they enjoyed using the chat feature and if it helped speed up their decision-making process. Live chat is the ideal vessel to collect and analyse date about your potential customers to give them the best possible service.
Benefits Of Using Live Chat On Your Website
There are several benefits of live chats and proof is in the numbers. According to research from 2018, 79% of consumers prefer live chat support as it allows for almost instant responses (Source: EConsultancy). Let’s have a look at a few of the major benefits.
- It offers customers convenience as they connect directly to a service agent
- No need to dial a number and press several buttons before talking to someone
- Conversations between customer and agent can be saved for review or training purposes
- Customer queries are answered instantly unlike unread, undelivered emails or missed calls
- Exceptionally cost-effective compared to a phone or email support system
- Saves time for everyone and improves productivity
- It can also help increase sales as a large number of people buy from websites with live support to answer their queries immediately
For a business to grow, long-term relationship with customers is essential and live chats can help. Good relationships can help companies stay ahead of the competition as satisfied customers are far less likely to switch even if they are paying slightly more.
Customer service and quality products are the key ingredients to business success regardless of the industry you’re in. Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times what they spent on their first purchase. It’s this that makes live chat a telling addition to your strategy.