LIVE CHAT AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT MARKETING TOOL
Many business websites, regardless of their industry, are beginning to use “live chat,” which often pops up in a window after several seconds on a particular site. This relatively new form of contact with visitors to a website can offer a unique form of interaction that can entice both potential and returning customers and clients. In fact, studies have shown that live chat conversions by 20 percent.
This lead generation tool can qualify leads and shorten the pipeline for sales, particularly when used strategically, as TLG Marketing does. Depending upon how businesses choose to utilize the tool, it can even support customers when they are making decisions regarding purchasing or even after purchase. B2B live chat services lend a personal touch to customers’ interaction and can help ensure repeat business.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT LIVE CHAT CAN DO
Although live chat can benefit nearly any business, not every business will use the tool in the same way. However, there are a few common methods that companies utilize live chat on their websites.
Often, live chat appears as a box on the screen that asks visitors if they need any help or offer a brief introduction and attempt to strike up a conversation. The chat may appear immediately after someone visits a site, or it may appear only if a visitor has lingered on a particular page for a lengthy period, indicating they may have questions or be uncertain.
Other businesses forego the pop-up window and, instead, place an icon on the screen indicating that live chat is available. Usually, this icon floats at the bottom-right of the screen.
When a visitor types into the chat box, they will be connected with an agent who can respond to the visitor’s questions in real time. The software provides helpful notice to the customer to let them know the name of the agent who is being connected, when the agent is typing and other options, like how to get a log of the chat.
HOW LIVE CHAT WORKS
As noted above, live chat provides would-be and current customers an opportunity to chat in real time with a customer service representative or agent of a business. Rather than requiring a phone call or waiting for an emailed response, the chat is instantaneous, not unlike instant messenger services, and unlike a phone call, customers can request a transcript of the conversation.
For many visitors, it is appealing to have the opportunity to immediately contact a representative. The effect is similar to a telephone call or texting, but with less effort on the visitor’s side. It is very convenient to visitors, as they do not need to search through countless menus, provide personal information, or even leave their computer, as the chat box can remain open in a new tab or window.
For businesses, it has the benefit of providing an instant solution to customers’ problem and instant answers to their questions. It prevents a business from losing a customer to a business who can make contact with the customer faster.
THE PERKS FOR BUSINESSES
As noted above, live chat helps avoid the problem of another company getting to a customer first. However, there are other benefits to using B2B live chat services. It provides customers with other options for making contact, which also frees up phone lines. Live chat also generates useful data that can be used to improve the website, better target products and services, and streamline other processes.
Visitors also, generally, like the service because it is free for them to use, which can encourage them to chat rather than expend the possible cost for a phone call. Live chat is flexible; not everyone who visits a business’s website will be able to or want to make a phone call.
Live chat can also be a cost saving measure for some businesses. Agents can conduct more than one live chat at a given time, which is not possible for agents in a call center.
USE IT WELL
Merely putting live chat on a website does not guarantee it will be useful. Any business making use of this tool must do so effectively. That means having an agent who is available to respond quickly to queries, and who can do so effectively.
If the agent cannot immediately respond to queries, customers are likely to give up on the chat and, possibly, the business as well. If the agent cannot answer questions or gives incorrect information, that will reflect badly on the quality of the company.
WHO USES LIVE CHAT?
Although live chat is commonly associated with websites that reach out to the general public, it is a useful B2B tool, as well. A number of businesses are finding ways to incorporate live chat for their interaction with other client businesses, as it has nearly identical benefits for interactions with other businesses as it does for the average consumer.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
If you are planning to implement a live chat tool on your website, you need to consider the price of the software, what options you have to customize your and your clients’ experience, what automation is possible, how easy it is to use the interface, price to scale up the service, and how easy the interface is for you and your clients to use.
Before making any purchases or signing any contracts, it is a good idea to read the reviews on software providers’ websites and even ask for recommendations from peers who use a live chat on their own websites.
A few tools you may consider are LiveChat, LifeGuide,, PureChat, LiveAgent, and Life Help Now.
There are a few ways that that businesses can get the most out of live chat:
Don’t chat with everyone. Identifying certain customer behavior, like lingering on a particular page or going to the help section of the website can ensure that live chat targets the customers most likely to engage with the business.
Consider your audience. Companies should tailor their live chat and the agents behind it to their customer base. If they do business with people who do not speak English, the chat should have options for those languages.
Is chat sufficient? Not all client problems may be resolvable through a chat session. If not, companies should identify when customer might need a phone call or in-person visit and direct them away from chat in those situations.
Be secure. Businesses should check reviews and the specifications of the software to ensure they are secure, to protect both the company’s information as well as its client’s
CRM. Companies with CRM may consider integrating the chat within that technology.
Trained agents. Although a script can help agents give standard answers to common questions, training is one of the most important tools to ensure that customers get the best and most consistent possible experience from live chat. This also helps agents go off script, but not off message, reassuring customers that they are talking to a human and not a bot.
As live chat technology improves and clients grow more accustomed to its use, it is time for companies to incorporate this useful tool into their websites, and to do so effectively.
If you are interested in adding B2B live chat to your business to support your online marketing initiatives reach out and connect with TLG Marketing for a free consultation. TLG Marketing has assisted dozens of top-performing companies with online chat optimization and can do the same for you. Book an appointment with TLG Marketing or give a call at 562-537-6936 today.