We all know our methods of communication have been wildly altered by technology. Friends catch up through Facebook Messenger instead of over coffee, co-workers give updates through Slack, and international friends chat through WhatsApp to avoid hefty text messaging fees.
One of the reasons these channels are so popular is because they are instantaneous and accommodate every consumer’s deepest desire: they want what they want, and they want it NOW! Efficiency is key nowadays. If you can’t cater to your audience fast enough, someone else will. Smart businesses are quickly realizing this and relying on the power of live chat to connect and support prospects and customers.
Convenience Above All Else
Having a live chat feature on your website can greatly improve user experience. Essentially, you are providing an instant messaging platform for your website’s visitors, enabling them to ask questions or voice concerns as they are actively browsing your site. And live chat technology can benefit your company in ways far beyond website user experience. As your visitors get instant answers to their questions, you gain insights into commonly asked questions, misunderstandings, preferences and concerns.
Consumers love live chat because it’s quick, easy to use, and convenient for those on the go. Live chat allows potential leads to chat with a representative immediately, which is not only helpful, but gives those with questions a sense of importance. Harris Interactive reports that 53% of customers would rather receive assistance via live chat than over the phone. And while your visitors consider messaging the better customer support tool, it’s also more productive for your business. Employees can typically handle multiple chats at once as opposed to one phone call at a time.
Chatbots vs. Humans: Live Chat Showdown
There are many live chat platforms you can consider for your site. Some use artificial intelligence (AI) and automatically respond to visitors with pre-loaded responses. Others require a human being to be active online and ready to respond as soon as a message is submitted. Chatbots (those that use AI) are efficient, but lack personalization. They are great for generic questions and generating generic answers, but humans are necessary when it comes to specialized concerns or requests.
Most companies won’t invest in two systems, so you’ll need to make the decision on which is best for your site. Have your company start with one or two employees managing the chat to get a feel for what visitors are inquiring about. If many of their questions are met with the same answer time and time again, a chatbot could be the way to go. But if your products and services are a little more complex and unique, you might need to keep your staff involved in the process to ensure accuracy and a personal touch.
Should You Chat?
Wondering if live chat is right for your business? Here are a few things to consider before adding the feature to your website.
- Is your brand all about high touch? If yes, will a chat feature extend that brand or feel like a departure?
- Think about the nature of your business, as well as your audience. Would this interest your customers or annoy them?
- What types of phone calls or emails do you receive? Prospects or customers? Support issues? Product feature inquiries? Are those answers easy to convey in a chat format?
One of our clients, a medical supply distributor, has had great success since implementing live chat on their website. In their first month they facilitated over 300 chats! Not only were they able to quickly and efficiently address customers’ questions, but they discovered internal benefits too. Chats that were automatically saved in the system allowed the staff to go back and assess the customer experience, keep a record of inquiries and monitor how reps were addressing common issues. Talk about a win-win situation!
If you do decide to give live chat a try, think strategically about where and when to introduce it to your web visitors. Not every visitor will have a question or want to interact. We recommend not having the chat box pop up right away on your home page. Instead, think about where your customer might need more information or have questions as they browse. Product pages or your FAQ section are good places to start.
Live chat is not for every website. (We at ODEA do not have this feature, for example.) But if you’re considering it for yours, remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. And companies are seeing success with live chat platforms! Shopify, one of the largest e-commerce companies, saw a 90% increase in customer satisfaction after implementing live chat. If right for your website, live chat is a ‘win’ for all. Customers will appreciate the quick response to questions and concerns. And your company will reap the benefits of immediate feedback!
If you’re considering adding live chat to your website and have questions, ODEA would love to help you! If you’ve recently added live chat to your website and want to share your experience with the tool, tell us about it here.