There aren’t many customers these days who haven’t had an experience with a live chat feature on a website. The fact you’re on this website means you have had experience because we use a live chat feature on our own website (bottom right).
Putting live chat on a website isn’t just great for customer service by allowing you to talk directly with customers at the exact moment they’re interested in your products and services, it can actually help you convert more website visitors into paying customers.
As a provider of outsourced live chat services (forgive the shameless plug) we’ve helped hundreds of companies roll this feature out on their own websites and helped them continually improve it to help customer service agents and also to improve website leads.
In this blog we’ll give you a few tips from our experience on how you can get the most out of live chat (and hopefully convince you it’s worth starting a 7-day free trial of our service)
How to use Live Chat effectively for customer service and lead generation
Make sure you respond quickly
One of the main reasons customers like live chat is that they can get answers to questions immediately. Customers expect almost instantaneous responses when using a live chat function, so it’s not going to do you any good making them wait.
Even a short holding statement can be enough until you’re able to give them information.
You should also make your responses personalised by using the customer’s name (we’d recommend using manned live chat rather than using AI to make this more possible).
If it’s the first time a customer has used the live chat and you have no record of them, you can ask them to provide their name and contact details before you start a chat with them.
We do this ourselves and it also makes sure we have their details in case the chat is disconnected unexpectedly and also means we can send customers a transcript of the chat once it’s finished for their records.
Offer out of hours live chats
This is something else we can help you with and is something our customers find valuable.
It can often be the case that your customers can’t use your website during the normal 9-5 hours (because they’re also at work) and they might not want to spend their lunch break browsing your website for information.
By using an out of hours live chat function (whether you outsource it or run it inhouse) you’ll be able to extend how long you can answer customer questions via your website and increase the chances of closing more leads over a longer period.
Make the chat proactive
Anyone using live chat basically has two options:
- Use a passive live chat (which requires the user the click the chat function to ‘activate’ it)
- Use a proactive live chat (which has the chat feature pop up automatically – this is what ours does)
In our experience, proactive live chat functions tend to get more engagement because you’re the one initiating the conversation with the customer and asking them if you can help.
Where on the page the live chat engages can be determined by experimenting (it can be immediately, after a certain time, or when the user gets to a certain point on the page; or even when it looks like they’re about to leave your site).
There’s no one way of working for everyone so test how it works best for you.
Create knowledgeable agents
We’d recommend using a manned live chat rather than an AI chat function (which means having real people behind the scenes answering questions directly using the chat function).
But to make the function work effectively you’ll need to put training into your employees so they know how to use your live chat and help you get the most of it – assuming you’re managing it in-house.
It can be a better option to outsource live chat because it can be more cost effective than running it in-house.
You won’t, for example, need to invest in salaries for agents to use live chat, or pull your employees away from their main jobs in order to deal with live chat.
By outsourcing (you could always try us for 7-days for free) you’ll have experienced live chat agents behind the scenes of your website and, if you use us, we’ll build an extensive knowledge base about your business so we can confidently deal with all your chats effectively.
Build live chat into the rest of your business
Although live chat sits on your website it shouldn’t operate in a silo just on your site.
Instead, you should integrate your live chat into your sales and marketing and especially into your CRM and customer service systems.
Integrating live chat into your phone and customer service systems along with your CRM allows your sales and service teams to access key customer information and previous chat history in order to personalise how they deal with customers in the future.
Limit the use of ‘canned’ responses
Canned responses are more common in live chat functions that use AI and automated systems, rather than having real people behind the scenes.
Rather than reading the customer enquiry and answering it directly, canned responses take the enquiry and provide a response by taking a ‘best guest’ from a list of predetermined responses that the system thinks will help.
The downside of this is that your live chat can’t deal with specific customer questions and will direct them to call you instead (which defies the point of using live chat in the first place).
On the other hand, if you simply want a simple live chat to answer frequent questions and direct users to contact you for more specific or sensitive enquiries, then canned responses can work.
Monitor the interactions of live chat
Live chat isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ feature.
Ongoing reviews and improvements are instrumental in finding areas for improvements and how your live chat can best help customers.
This could involve reviewing the questions your receiving (along with the responses) to ensure your live chat agents have the information they need to provide accurate and fast responses to customers, and also how interactions are being dealt with.
Having the constant review of your managed live chat will ensure continued success in the long term and help you improve customer service and online conversions more consistently.
Find a balance between the human touch and automated live chat
As we’ve said, we believe that ‘manned’ live chat is much more effective for your online customer service because you always have a real person behind the scenes who can handle enquiries in a personal way.
Although automated live chat can be good for directing users around your website or answering frequently asked questions, they are limited when it comes to the personalised service customers want.
If you are planning to use an automated live chat, the only advice we’d give you is to limit the amount of automation and find a solution that puts more emphasis on the human touch and personalised responses.
Want to see what all the live chat fuss is about?
Live chat can be a powerful tool both for customer service and lead generation.
By using proactive and personalised responses you can create an effective resource that can engage customers and prospects right when your company is in the front of their mind.
Providing this engaging level of customer service online can help drive better customer service and lead generation through your website.
If you want to see whether live chat would benefit your website, why not get started with a 7-day free trial of Face For Business’ managed live chat?
We’ll get everything set up and build the extensive FAQ and knowledge base we would for every client and get to work engaging your website visitors and showing you the value of having live chat as a main part of your online customer service and lead generation efforts.
09th February, 2024
Posted by Face For Business