Live chat lets you provide product answers that aren’t explicitly stated. No amount of market research, paid social, deep dive pamphlets, amazingly detailed copy, or intuitive product design can prepare you for the left-field questions customers will inevitably throw at you. Someone may not find the info they want and then leave—causing them to buy somewhere else/visit a brick-and-mortar to get the info they need. But this isn’t always your fault. You may have lost a sale because your site didn’t have copy referencing whether or not dogs like to chew on a type of cord you sale.
Situations like these are suited best for a live chat interaction. Phone calls and email can be too formal and can require too much effort on the customer’s part. By offering live chat, you can increase sales simply by having a convenient avenue for customers to ask you questions.
Advantages of Chat to Customers
Live Chat is not just for large companies’ support teams. It can be used as an incredibly effective sales tool. It’s convenient for both merchants and customers, it frequently allows a customer to ask questions that may be on a whim without leaving the webpage they’re on, and it is engaging without being intrusive.
Chat is convenient because if this were a brick-and-mortar situation, it’s the equivalent of asking a store clerk walking around the store a quick question. You may have a question that you’d ask a clerk walking past you, but you wouldn’t approach the counter to ask “Is it easy to uninstall this USB thumb drive?” Chat offers far greater benefits, but this is a good function of it.
Chat doesn’t require a lot of effort, it may require the customer to fill out a quick form before getting started, but they can continue browsing—unlike a phone call which requires you to give up one of your hands and requires you to speak or email which requires a less determinable amount of time to wait for a response.
Highest Customer Satisfaction
Live chat’s major advantage is that it gives people what they want. With a 92% customer satisfaction rating, the highest among all rate of all forms of communication, live chat lets you talk to customers the way they prefer.
Advantages to Businesses
Allows Multiple Conversations At Once
While you can only be on the phone with a single customer at a time, many chat services allow for multiple concurrent conversations at once. For the most part, this is unnoticeable to the end-consumer. Or if it is noticeable, it’s no big deal.
Control a conversation
Something that I have always found preferable about live chat is that it allows for a very controlled conversation. The questions may not always be “Is the shirt more grey or white?” They may become conversations, and staying in control is important.
While a customer may have a lot of questions about your products, you are the one in control and with the answers. A frequently used method for controlling a conversation is the “Answer 1, Ask 1 method.” This is a customer an open-ended question with each response to their questions, you are keeping the conversation on track and moving towards a conclusion. Avoiding asking questions where the answer is “yes” or “no” is key for keeping a conversation rolling. This allows you to establish an authority that can increase consumer confidence, perhaps even allowing you to offer a better solution to the customer that not only increases sales but also provides a customer with a complete package. Companies like Apple have perfected this sales tactic as a way to increase sales while not being pushy or “salesman-y”.
If you would like to learn more about chat etiquette, read our blog post on tips for making a better support team.
Popular Chat Programs
Facebook Messenger is a great, free way to try out chat for your business. If you’re not already using it, you should be. You can even embed the messenger link into your own app to open up the chat client. It’s not only for customers visiting your Facebook page!
Facebook Messenger is an incredibly convenient chat program. However, with a lack of native integrations to ticketing applications and specific to people logged into a unique Facebook account.
LiveChat is perhaps the most common option for live chat needs. It is easy to set up, create automatic messaging, and it’s easiest to use. If you plan on having a dedicated chat support for your company, the employee chatting will likely find LiveChat to be the easiest to use from a chatting perspective. It’s just much easier on the eyes.
The major advantage of LiveChat, and remember this if you ever chat with a company that uses it, is that you can see what customers are typing. Even if they don’t send the message, you can see it. Sure, this can lead to you seeing the unpleasant things someone says prior to using more restraint. However, from a sales perspective, this gives you additional insight when providing a solution to customers—something phone and email falls short on.
My major qualm with LiveChat is when having multiple chats, LiveChat will move the placement of the chats. So, if you have a chat on the left-hand side, and then a second chat comes in, the second chat will move to the first position if the customer responds. This can cause you to increase the likelihood of sending a customer the wrong information.
LiveChat pricing starts at $16 per month per user. For a full breakdown, click here.
Zendesk is a good choice for companies that already use Zendesk for ticketing. For larger companies that want to supervise agents’ chats in real time, Zendesk chat offers greater control over your agents.
Zendesk’s application is not as intuitive and engaging as LiveChat’s. It also does not allow you to see what customers are typing. This can also make it a better support chat.
ZenDesk Chat offers a free plan, with premium upgrades available.
As your business grows, consider incorporating live chat into your strategy. I have worked several jobs where I chatted while performing other tasks and many other businesses I spoke to do as well. As chat further cements itself as the highest-rated, preferred form of communication, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not doing it.