The live chat market has been growing like nuts over the past years. Live chat is a tool employed by customer support teams, as well as by sales and marketing teams. So, we invited the folks at HelpCrunch to tell us about how live chat works, how to choose the right live chat software, and how to use live chat to boost online sales. And they know the drill because they’ve developed one of the best live chat tools out there, and have 10,000+ clients worldwide.
Customers want solutions, and they want them quickly. If you look at the latest customer service trends, you’ll see that immediate response, empathy, and channel variety are what customers most care about.
Buying trends have changed, too. Now, more people tend to buy online, prioritizing usability and comfortable delivery options. That means consumers also interact with technology more, and their expectations of getting the information have risen.
At the same time, businesses seem to fall behind on adapting to the trend. Thus, according to the Kayako survey, 42% of companies have phones as their main customer support tool. Meanwhile, almost the same number of consumers prefer live chat to get an immediate response rather than waiting in a queue.
It’s time to bridge the gap and give your customers what they want.
A quick overview of how live chat works
To a visitor, a live chat looks like a tiny pop-up usually located at the right bottom of a website page asking something like: “Hey, how can I help you?” If the user has trouble finding the searched information, they can engage within the chat.
From an agent’s side, they can see what page a specific user is on and usually have access to some data to come up with personalized service. When used with a CRM, agents can see the customer’s history with the brand, connect smoothly through different channels, and transfer a customer to the appropriate specialist.
If your website is run on WordPress, the process is even simpler. After you’ve chosen a quality live chat provider, just install their native plugin, and you’re good to go. Live chat plugins for WordPress vary in the number and type of features that you might need, so be sure to check them out before installing. Also, it’s a good idea to check if a plugin offers native integration with your website and integrates seamlessly with your favorite web apps.
Important features of good live chat software
The best thing about live chat software is that it’s flexible. All you have to do is decide on the preferred level of support your company will provide. Namely: text-only, live video and voices or all of the above plus a co-browsing option. The more sophisticated the tool is, the more personal and reliable connection with a customer you can create.
Next, you can customize your live chat according to your business goals. Of course, after this step, everyone’s live chat will be different. Yet, here are some features that can become a game-changer for any business:
Proactive chat. With this feature, your support agent can reach out to visitors and offer help without waiting for them to start a conversation. Use it along with smart triggers — automated messages sent when a visitor performs a certain action. This way, you can spot when a visitor might need assistance and come up with a pertinent suggestion.
Chat monitoring. Enables a support manager to supervise chats with customers in real-time and timely come up with advice. It is super helpful for internal training and assistance to novice support agents during their onboarding process.
Chat rating. Asks customers to rate their experience after the chat is over. This simple feedback can show you areas that need improvement.
Chat routing. Queries are automatically transferred to a free support agent. This feature saves waiting time enormously.
Canned responses. These are pre-written text pieces that answer the most frequently asked questions. Instead of typing a lengthy answer, an agent can just choose a relevant snippet from a premade ebook on customer communication.
Offline forms. Out of your office hours, you can offer visitors to fill in a simple form that will be transferred to a support agent as soon as they are at work.
Reports and analytics. This feature sorts out the information collected through a certain time period so that you can use it for creating effective strategies. The data may include chat histories, average time spent on chat, visitor details etc.
How to increase sales with live chat:
Be online when your customers are active
According to the infographic from MineWhat, 81% of customers research online before buying. They look for warranty information, detailed product descriptions, and payment policies. From here, we can conclude that most shoppers feel security concerns as they buy from an unfamiliar website.
Having a live chat sending proactive invitations can address this issue. A customer feels cared for and appreciates the possibility to be guided through the product choosing process and getting all their questions answered. Thus, providing customers with help when they need it is an important part of a sales plan that results in more sales.
As an eCommerce, you are expected to be available 24/7. So, if you don’t have someone monitoring chats all day round, find out your peak hours, which usually are between 8 and 10 AM, and ensure your agents are ready for work.
Live chat is an amazing opportunity to find out how customers feel about your product or service. You can check the most common questions that your support agents get asked — that most probably is a pain point to address. For example, if people keep asking how a product works, you might want to add more details to the description or make a video instruction.
Another benefit of live chat in terms of feedback gathering is that it allows for the level of clarification that static surveys can’t. Thus, an agent can encourage a customer to share thoughts that are difficult to bring to in a survey, but feels okay in a conversation with a human.
Send proactive messages
Not every customer will contact support if they have a question. Statistics show that only 58% of customers in 2020 have reached customer service for any reason. The rest just leave and satisfy their need elsewhere.
So, waiting for a customer to contact you does little good to your marketing efforts. All the more that modern live chat plugins provide a lot of data to use for personalized greetings that will eventually lead to a sale. For instance, you can set a trigger for a new or returning visitor and reach out to them with a relevant message. Another option is to run a popup after a visitor spends a certain amount of time on a page or website.
If your marketing platform supports location-based personalization, you can segment your audience and invite all visitors within the chosen location to a conversation. The reason can be a local sale or event that won’t be relevant for all of your customers.
Personalize your greetings
With live chat, you can base your greetings on recent customer behavior. This mostly relates to automated messages that you can set to appear on certain pages of your website. By providing a prospect with information that is relevant to what they are currently looking at, you meet your potential customer right where they are in the buyer’s journey. Feeling that there is always someone there to guide them through uneasy points, customers tend to build trust quicker, and you improve your chances of boosting sales.
For the B2B sector, there is a more sophisticated approach: use targeted chat invitations on dedicated landing pages to attract high-quality accounts. Then you can use account-based marketing (ABM) software to constantly delight your most profitable clients with highly personalized content across channels.
Be available at checkout
If you look at the cart abandonment rate, you’ll see that the number of customers that never made it to purchase fluctuates between 55 to 80%. It means the larger half of customers who reached the end of a sales funnel will never complete it.
Reasons may vary. As suggested by Statista, many shoppers get struck by unexpectedly high shipping costs or complicated checkout processes. A fair percentage was churned due to the lack of trust in the platform.
You can mitigate some of these concerns by placing a live chat button on your checkout page. This way, a customer can once again ask questions about shipping, delivery and returns, or let you know about payment issues.
However, a proactive live chat may serve as a distraction in such an important moment. So, to avoid being annoying to those customers who want to check out quickly, refrain from displaying any pop-ups. Just make your live chat button noticeable for customers who might need help.
Grow your sales with live chat
In a world of over-delivery, businesses go out of their way to fight for customers’ attention. As a result, customers get pickier and strongly gravitate towards convenience. This places customer experience at the center of marketing, since the better the experience, the higher the chance of the customer visiting again.
Using automated tools like live chat makes customer-business interaction quicker and simpler for everyone. Consumers develop a sense of security as they get their concerns addressed. And businesses can engage with prospects and convert them into clients using a personalized customer-centric approach.