Due to its versatile uses, and its massive increase in engagement across demographics over the last few years, companies across all sectors are turning to live chat as a crucial aspect of improving their customer experience and sales process.
But to understand more deeply why these companies have chosen live chat, we need to understand how it works and what benefits it offers both the customer and the business.
What is Live Chat?
Simply put Live Chat is technology placed on websites, that provides a company’s web users with a way to engage with that company online in textual conversation. It is typically deployed on websites through code that is inserted on all or certain pages of a website.
Depending on how the company decides to set-up the live chat, a live chat conversation is normally started in two separate ways:
A web user has a particular question and will proactively click on the live chat window and ask a question to engage.
The company sets deployment rules to make the chat window pop-up and ask a specific question based on that users journey on their website to encourage interaction.
The transcripts of these conversations are then typically fed directly into CRM systems or emailed to the relevant company department for them to action as required.
WHAT ARE THE Benefits of Live Chat?
Whilst there are countless specific uses of live chat, broadly speaking the benefits of live chat being offered by a business falls into two categories:
Live chat for improved customer service
Live chat for improved sales performance
What is live chat FOR customer service?
The combination of the immediacy of conversation and its textual nature means live chat is increasingly becoming a preferred means of communicating for users across the world, and customer service teams are tapping into that.
As templated responses to FAQs can be provided, and an operator can in theory handle multiple chats at one time, it is increasingly seen as more efficient than offering a customer service via the traditional telephone route.
How does live chat improve sales performance?
For the same reasons as above, one of the major benefits of live chat is to start more conversations with potential customers that are visiting your website. It follows that if you offer a means of communication that is becoming increasingly desired by your customers, you will start more conversations.
It also follows, that if these conversations are handled effectively by sales representatives, it gives you a great opportunity to convert more sales opportunities from the same level of web traffic.
What companies have live chat?
High value B2C businesses such as Estate Agents, Private Healthcare, Legal, Removals & Self-Storage, Automotive, Financial Services etc. all are really good fits for live chat, particularly from a lead generation perspective.
Generally speaking, companies in these types of industries are dealing in highly competitive business to consumer markets, with high volumes of customers engaging online 24/7 for their provider of choice. 24/7 Live Chat, managed well, can give these businesses an edge, helping them stand out from the online crowd by engaging in conversations quickly and early with potential customers.
Almost any industry and business can utilise live chat for its other main benefit: Customer Service. All of the previously mentioned industries are fair use cases for live chat as a customer service tool.
Beyond the above, Dispute Resolution businesses or Local Government Authorities have been proven to effectively use Live Chat as a tool to not only offer customer service, but also qualify out inbound enquiries that would have otherwise taken up valuable internal resource to deal with.
Lastly, beyond pure lead generation, live chat is a really useful tool in helping drive an increase in direct paying customers online. If you are an E-commerce business, then by targeting live chat around the particular part of a user’s journey where they have put an item into their basket but are then looking to leave the website before paying, can be a really effective way of reducing basket abandonment.
What is live chat best practice?
Live Chat, as with any communication channel, is dependent on the resource that is allocated to it, to ensure effective, high quality delivery. The fundamental reason there is an opportunity for live chat – customers engaging online 24/7, expecting immediate information and increasingly preferring textual conversation – is also the reason you have to treat it seriously as a communication channel for it to have a positive impact on your business.
Some good general rules to follow are:
Be available 24/7
Your customers are online 24/7, so your Live Chat should be 24/7 too. You would be amazed at the amount of opportunity that is hitting your website outside of your standard working hours. Amaze your customers by being available when none of your competitors are.
Do not offer live chat to your customers, and then disappoint them by not being there. Ensure your resource is staffed to offer effective, immediate responses whenever your live chat is live. If you don’t, your customers will have a negative experience and often leave the site as a result.
Have staff that are well trained in delivering effective response on your behalf. Whether you are focusing on improving customer service or lead generation, be sure that your operators are following proactive scripts/guidelines to drive to an end goal on each chat where possible.
Consider outsourcing to 24/7 Managed Live Chat
Given the above requirements for best practice Live Chat, it would be very wise to consider outsourcing to Yomdel’s 24/7 managed live chat service. We can take all the stress away from you and handle everything on your behalf, including software, deployment rules, training our staff and handling customer service queries or generating you leads 24/7.
If you are interested in discussing any of the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch, we would be happy to chat.