If your business’ website is your digital shop window, then live chat is like a helpful concierge, guiding users around and quickly providing them with information.

It doesn’t matter if they’re a new or returning customer.

Are looking for a new shirt for a Saturday night, or are looking for information on your B2B enterprise software.

Or if they’re just looking for some quick out-of-hours customer service support.

Having live chat on your website can get them where they need to be fast, keep them happy, and improve the chances of them turning into a paying customer.

You’ve probably seen live chat.

You may have even used it.

When it works the way you want, it’s a great tool.

But there is some work that goes into the background to make live chat effective.

And it’s not a set it and leave it kind of tool.

It’s something that will need to evolve over time based on your customer preferences and the information they’re asking about.

But, while there is some work that goes into live chat, it’s not as complicated to get right as you might think.

Here we look at the simple steps you can take to set up the best live chat experience on your site to help your customers.

Setting up your greeting

Your live chat’s greeting is simply the opening message to users that appears in the pop-up box the first time your chat appears.

But this sets the tone for the rest of your live chat experience.

It should obviously be welcoming. But you should also use data to figure out how to greet your customers.

If, for example, they’re a new website visitor. you can use your greeting to find out some basic information about them and what they’re looking for.

Not only can you then direct them to what they need, you’ll have gathered some much needed intelligence that you can use later on.

If they’re a returning user, your greeting can show a different message, either recommending other products or information based on their last visit, or simply welcoming them back and starting the chat sequence over again.

When do you want the message to trigger?

Another important thing to think about with live chat, is when you want your greeting to appear.

There’s a couple of options available here.

Chances are you’ve already seen most of them in action.

One of the most common is for the live chat icon to appear immediately as a pop-up in the bottom right corner of the screen.

This is a simple greeting that instantly engages your users and encourages them to use the chat.

The thing to consider here is that immediately putting live chat in front of a user could seem intrusive if it’s the first time they’ve visited your site.

Alternatively, you could have the live chat trigger after a certain period of time, or once a user has scrolled past a certain point on a page.

This is less intrusive than an immediate pop-up, but does obviously rely on a user either staying on the web page for the designated time period, or engaging with your web page by scrolling.

Finally, the other most common trigger for live chat is for it to take over the full screen, again either immediately or after a certain time period.

While this can be the most effective way of putting live chat directly in front of your user, it’s also the most intrusive and can put some users off.

The best way to find out what works best for your site is to run some tests with different triggers and greetings to see what gets the best results.

Use ‘customer journey’ templates to build chats

When you first start using live chat, it can be difficult to know how to set it up to move customers along to converting on your site.

The reason is, how can you know what they’ll use the chat for and what information they’ll want to find when using it.

The easy way to do this, is to use your FAQs to understand the most common questions your customers have, and build these as templates in your live chat tool.

If you don’t have FAQs, talk to your sales team about the most common questions or objections they get.

You can set up a couple of templates based on what actions you want users to take.

For example, you can use your greeting to figure out what kind of information your user wants to know.

Are they looking to make an immediate purchase or are they looking for some more information first etc.

Then you can use your template questions and responses to guide them towards what they’re looking for.

Over time, as you start to get more questions through the chat, you can build your journey templates out with additional information so your chat’s responses become more personal and specific.

Use your search intent information to guide chat

Another way to guide your initial live chat engagements, is to work out the user’s search intent based on the page they’ve landed on.

For example, a user who lands on a homepage could be looking either to make a purchase, or is just after some additional information.

Someone who lands on a blog post is probably just looking for information, so it wouldn’t work to push a product on them using your live chat.

However, someone who lands on a category or product page is much more likely to be open to a sales message or product recommendation, and you can use your live chat to put offers, deals or selected products in front of them.

Understanding this search intent and the purpose of the page you’re putting the live chat on can help you get the most out of its functions and drive more online conversions for your business.

Be proactive getting people moving

You should never forget that the purpose of live chat is to move people quicker towards a goal or action.

Which means you need to be proactive with your chat function to always move them along to take an action.

From the first greeting to the final conversion, everything should be to keep them engaged.

Before you put your chat function live, use your templates and map out the ‘ideal’ customer journey based on what you want your customers to do.

Once you’ve mapped this out you’ll have a much better idea how to set up your chat to get results.

Always be testing and changing

Investing in live chat can bring you instant results and better conversion rates for your website, but it should also be viewed as a long-term investment.

That’s because as a tool, it can evolve and get better overtime as you get more data about how customers are engaging with it and the kinds of questions they’re asking.

The best way to get faster results and a better ROI from live chat, is to constantly experiment with your messages, greetings and triggers until you start to get a reliable picture of what’s working and what might be putting users off.

Without this experimenting you’ll never know how you can improve your live chat and, while you might have some decent results, you’ll never get the full benefits for your business.

Ready to get started with live chat?

If you run an online business and want to start getting more conversions, get in touch with us today and one of your experts can work with you to figure out the best plan of action and get you set up.

Get in touch with us today.