Years back, customer-brand conversations were synonymous with one-way traffic. The brand would market, sell, give away discounts, sell more, and the customer wouldn’t think much about buying. The business landscape, since then, has been altered vastly by technology.
Amongst the various things that technology has enabled, Live Chat is right at the top. As a standalone addition, it’s meant to provide online brands with an immense advantage, on par with their offline counterparts, in keeping the customer engaged, providing quick service, and driving sales.
One fringe but an extremely useful benefit of Live Chat that perhaps didn’t cross your mind-the more time visitors spend on your website, the better is your website rank in search engines. When customers engage in Live Chat conversations on your website, they are naturally there for longer and pushing up your ranking! That said, it should not be the intent behind live chat.
That said, very few businesses have been able to take full advantage of it. In a world where customers want convenience, speed and quality – all at the same time – live chat is one of the few ways you get to interact with the customer in real-time, understand their immediate needs and provide quick solutions.
Isn’t that game-changing?!
But like with any technology, the way your company implements Live Chat makes all the difference.
So, how do you realize the true potential of live chat in your organization?
Staff your Live Chat. Make it human
In online environment, you are practically never ‘shut’. Global or local, your website visitors may choose to visit you anytime they wish and may have questions about your offering. There cannot be a bigger turn off than getting a message that ‘Live Chat is offline. Please leave us a message’ when you were expecting to talk to a live person! It’s supposed to be ‘live’ chat, remember? Do not turn your live chat into another e-mail.
Studies suggest that most visitors do not leave a message. What if one of these visitors was your potential customer? Are you willing to lose a sale?
If you want to be able to generate more sales and business opportunity leads, there’s no escaping the fact that you must answer your customers immediately when they have a question and there is no better way to do that than answering your live chat instantly. If you don’t get sufficient traffic to justify the cost of hiring an in-house 24×7 live chat agent, consider outsourcing it. Most outsourcing companies offer 24×7 shared and dedicated live chat answering and customer service solutions to meet varied business needs.
Train your Live Chat personnel
Agents who handle live chat can break or make your company’s reputation. It’s important to know how to start a conversation, engage with the customer and close the loop effectively.
The customer might want more information on a specific product or want to know where something can be found on the website, or even enquire about an order. Which is why live chat agents should be trained to handle multiple scenarios.
The best part is that well-equipped and well-trained live chat agents can eventually drive sales. According to Forrester Research, 44% of online customers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
Do no templatize conversations
There’s no bigger turnoff for a customer than getting templatized replies from a company on chat. If you find that live chat is not working for you, chances are that you are treating it as a bot or actually using one!
Look at it this way. In a world where hyper-personalization is the need of the hour, live chat presents an amazing opportunity for brands to capitalize on this trend and drive conversations. It’s completely fine to use FAQs and create basic templates but does not use them as such.
Make changes to it wherever possible so that you keep the tone conversational and semi-professional. Always remember, it’s a conversation! Not an FAQ portal!
Do not be Sales-driven always
Not every customer who chats with you is going to give you business. That’s not something you need to be alarmed about. Don’t misuse live chat to keep presenting offers to your customers one after another. If you are too pushy and blatantly focused on the sale, chances are that you will scare your customers away.
Brands that are able to use live chat as an effective tool to drive sales to know how and when to sell. They use live chat to engage and assist customers so that they can make educated decisions. When you win your customers’ trust, sales naturally follow.
Even if on the spot sale does not happen; you can still utilize live chat to collect leads that may convert later. For instance, if a customer isn’t looking to purchase something, see if you can get their contact information (email ID preferably), which can be used later to send them personalized offers. Sometimes, the conversation would be in a certain way (when a customer asks where a specific product is on the website) that it might not make sense to get their email ID. Again, that’s fine – as long as you give customers what they are looking for.
Start conversations proactively
While live chat is predominantly about instant customer service, it doesn’t necessarily have to stay that way. You can turn live chat into a more proactive customer interaction channel.
How do you do that?
Let’s say that a customer has been looking at shoes on your website for more than 5 minutes. You can configure a pop-up screen to appear where an agent asks him: “Hey, is there something I can help you within the shoe section? Or simply “ Hello. Let me know if you need anything, I am right here.” Again, think of it as a salesperson welcomes you when you walk into a store. Get creative with your greetings and see which ones succeed the most on your website.
Not every time will the customer actively seek out help. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they might move to the next brand. This is where live chat can be used intelligently to reach out to customers based on their behaviour on your site.
In addition to being a cost-effective channel, live chat is something that customers favour – it has a 92% customer satisfaction rating over voice, web forms and Facebook, according to Zendesk.
Analyze chats for the best customer and business insights
When your customers chat, there is plenty of information they give out. What they like, what they don’t like, who they compare you with etc. etc. Your chat transcripts are a goldmine of authentic customer insights that no number of surveys can fetch you. You should take advantage of this valuable data in every aspect of your business to improve your business offering, marketing efforts, customer service experience and of course, to gather more sales and leads.
Sifting through chat transcripts to dig out such information does demand considerable time, energy and serious motivation. Given how strained the resources are in-house, this task takes a back seat, just like answering live chat does. If you don’t have dedicated staff in-house to manage live chat, it is best that you outsource your live chat to a 24×7 Call Centre that specializes in managing live chat.
At LiveSalesman, we don’t only offer live chat answering service. Our 24×7 Multilingual Chat Support Solution helps you offer a customer experience that drives repeat business.