Live chat has been around for quite a while and is a feature of many successful websites. However, there are still many businesses yet to take advantage of its wide range of benefits. If you have not considered offering live chat before, this post will explain some of the ways it can improve your online operations.
- Live chat can increase your sales
One of the barriers to selling online is that potential customer may have questions about a product that are not answered in the product description or specification. When they cannot find those answers, they are unlikely to buy. Your live chat operator, however, can take on the role of a traditional sales assistant, answering the customer’s questions in real time and, thus, helping them be confident about making the purchase whilst they are still interested in buying from you.
This way of using live chat is highly effective. According to the American Marketing Association, live chat can increase conversion rates by over 20%. It also says that visitors who use live chat are thrice as likely to make a purchase than those who do not.
- Improve your customer service
The more communication channels you open up, the more customers you can reach and this can help you deliver a far better customer service. Live chat is a highly popular communication channel for customers because it is free, easy, anonymous and doesn’t require face or voice time. It lacks all the things that make phone calls annoying: long waits, monotonous background music and lots of keypad pressing; and it’s also faster and more conversational than email support, enabling you to resolve issues and answer questions whilst the customer is still visiting your website.
In a recent survey of online customers, live chat proved more popular than both email and phone support. This is why sites that use live chat find customers stay loyal; it’s because they know customer service is quick and easy to get hold of. However, you do need to make sure that the advice you give is of good quality.
- Discover and fix your customers’ problems
The texts from all your live chat conversations can be saved as a chat history. This can be analysed to see what issues or problems your customers are contacting you about. If there are issues that keep recurring, you’ll easily be able to discover what they are and rectify them. In this way, you’ll be able to provide an even better service and reduce the number of customers who have to contact you.
- Resolve issues quicker
Linking your live chat with FAQs, knowledge bases, product manuals and pre-prepared answers enables your company to provide detailed and instant resources for your customers. When they ask a question that requires a detailed answer, you can send them a link that takes them directly to the resource they need without you having to spend ages typing out the answer. As a result, workload is reduced for your operators and customers’ issues are resolved much quicker and with increased satisfaction.
- Live chat gives you the edge over your competitors
Although live chat is becoming more common, surprisingly, there are still many companies which do not use it on their websites. Those that do, gain a distinct advantage over those that don’t. They’ll attract new customers, increase sales, improve customer service and boost customer satisfaction. And those new customers and sales are likely to be gained at the expense of competitors whose websites don’t offer live chat functionality.
If your competitors are already using live chat and you are not, launching a live chat service can remove the disadvantage and put your website back on a level playing field.
- Use live chat to be proactive
One of the advantages of live chat is that your customer service team can use it to initiate dialogue with your visitors: there is no need to wait for them to contact you. When a visitor arrives at your site, the live chat program can tell you what page they are looking at, where else they have been on your site and a range of other useful information. This can give you an informed understanding of their intentions so that when you initiate a conversation, you can do so in a helpful and meaningful way.
By being proactive, you give visitors the confidence that they are being looked after whilst on your site and, by letting them know you’re ready and waiting to answer any questions, they are more likely to engage with you, which increases the likelihood of a sale.
- Live chat can save you money
While most live chat services aren’t free, investing in them can reduce overall costs. This is because the majority of customers and website visitors would prefer to use a live chat facility rather than speaking directly on the phone. Depending on the phone service you use, shifting communications online can produce large savings, especially for those offering 0800 freephone calls to their customers.
At the same time, live chat can reduce the number of staff needed to deal with customer enquiries as they can take care of several customers at once and use prewritten ‘canned responses’ to respond to frequently asked questions – something you can’t do yet with spoken communication.
- Live chat provides excellent analytics data
Live chat software logs a great deal of relevant data. It enables you to see traffic and chat request volumes and discover how well your customer service team deal with requests. For example, you can evaluate staff performance, monitor chat quality and log customer satisfaction. It is even possible to link some chat software with your Google Analytics so that you can see the impact of your live chat on the performance of your site.
Using this data, you can monitor how effective your live chat service is operating and make any necessary improvements where required.
Live chat is the most popular way that customers like to communicate with companies when visiting a website. It’s easy, quick and doesn’t involve any face or voice time. From a business’ point of view, it provides you with the ability to offer great customer service, improve sales, develop customer loyalty and even reduce costs.
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