What is live chat?
Live chat is that little box that appears at the bottom of the screen – asking if you need any help or support. When you have a question to ask or you’re trying to find specific product information – this little feature is a blessing. At other times, when you’re not looking for information and you receive an automated greeting from a robot – it’s not the best experience.
Live chat is basically an instant messenger with a professional twist. It allows you as a business to have real-time conversations with the customers that visit your website… and so much more!
In the era of digital, live chat is an important service-channel to offer your customers. In addition to providing substantial customer data, it will help you to address any hurdles or issues in the conversion-path. While live chat can obviously improve your website visitors’ user experience, what can it do for your brand?
Why is it important for businesses and brands?
Live chat will improve your performance across sales assistance, customer service and information gathering, but even more importantly, your customers prefer it. While 73% of customers choose live chat as their preferred method for company communication, a staggering 92% of customers feel satisfied after using it! 
Compare this figure to the satisfaction rate for phone support (85%), email support (85%) and social media (77%) and you can start to see the true value. Live chat goes beyond the user experience; it’s a priceless tool for improving your customer relationships.
While customer satisfaction is obviously paramount, it’s also helping your bottom line. Studies have shown that customers who use live chat on average spend 60% more than the customers that don’t. With live chat, you’re not only creating loyal customers that are most likely to buy, you’re creating higher value customers that are spending more on each transaction – a huge benefit for your business’ website.
The specific reasons why your website needs live chat
1. Reduce your customer support costs
Firstly, live chat has a significantly lower up-front cost for setup and installation (relative to phone support systems). There are no extra charges and there’s virtually no additional equipment needed to operate it.
Going beyond the initial costs, it’s also considerably more affordable in the long-term. Firstly, you’re saving money on labour. With a phone service, your support staff can only talk to one customer at a time. With live chat, your team has the ability to address several queries simultaneously. In addition to the cost saving, live chat will enable you to cut queue times, interaction costs and the number of support staff you need.
2. Increase sales
Have you ever debated whether to actually click that ‘Checkout’ button? Perhaps it was because you didn’t quite have all the information you needed? Now imagine there’s someone patiently sitting there waiting for you to ask that question or provide their opinion.
Studies have time and time again proven the value that live chat has on increasing sales. The American Marketing Association found that companies that use live chat see, on average, a 20% increase in conversions. They also found that that customers who used live chat were 200% more likely to buy than the customers that didn’t! Now that’s a good reason to use live chat!
3. Improve your customer service
Live chat provides information quicker, solves problems faster and offers a more convenient customer experience. There’s no hold music while you wait, and you’re not likely to be transferred across different departments. Plus, because customers can begin their conversation with a specific query, you can connect the right support experts with the right customer problems – ensuring a more tailored and effective response for your customers!
4. Identify your customers’ pain points
Ever had a problem that couldn’t be fixed easily? Over the phone, you’re relying on the support staff accurately noting all the relevant information and passing it along. With live chat, all of this data is collected and logged. So not only do you have access to the specific case-notes of customers, you can trawl all of your conversations for highly valuable pain-point insights!
Collate your customer data and discover where your customers are struggling and with what. Is there crucial product information that hasn’t been included? Is there a button that isn’t quite big enough? Could you elaborate on one of your processes a little bit more? When you have all of your customer service data at your fingertips, these are the type of connections that you can begin to take advantage of.
5. Resolve customer issues faster
Ever tried describing a problem over the phone and not quite sure where to begin? With a decent live chat system, a complete log of the customer’s history on your website can be displayed alongside the chat. So you know exactly what the customer was looking at or searching for.
Even further, have you ever had to read a lengthy website URL over the phone? It can be an absolute nightmare. Now think about the possibility of having this discourse through live chat. The customer can simply copy and paste the relevant link into the chat. The support team could then immediately respond with a link to the relevant tutorial or information. It’s saving a substantial amount of time, while removing the reliance on a user later checking their email or getting that callback.
6. Provide customer convenience
There are just some companies that seem like they don’t want to talk to you. They hide their phone number, have extremely tight opening hours or bury their contact form somewhere deep in the website. Live chat is all about convenience. It demonstrates to customers that you care about their problems and you’re eager to do something about it.
Customers can have their questions answered immediately while they multi-task and browse your website. They can ask questions in scenarios where they would otherwise be unable to (e.g. phone support while at work). In addition, plain and simple, some people just don’t like talking on the phone!
7. Increase your business’ competitive advantage
A recent study of over a hundred websites found that only 9% contained live chat software. That’s a shockingly low figure when we consider the positive outcomes we’ve just covered. Just the mere act of including live chat functionality is going to put your website miles ahead of your competitors.
8. Expand your market reach
There’s a lot of dodgy websites out there, and they’re continuously getting better at hiding the fact. Think about it. If you were thinking about buying something online and the retailer was located on the other side of the world, you might have some reservations too. So what about if they had live chat software? They could address your reservations and help co-ordinate your product delivery. By using live chat you can further improve the accessibility of your website – removing any hurdles or roadblocks that new audiences could be facing.
9. Initiate the conversation
Through more advanced monitoring and tracking, live chat can allow your support staff to boost sales – even when the user doesn’t initiate the conversation! For example, when a customer visits the same product page without adding anything to their cart, you can notify your support team to initiate a conversation. This could be as simple as offering assistance or as tempting as an exclusive discount!
We know that live chat users are 200% more likely to purchase, so by skewing your conversations towards the customers with real value, you can improve your sales-support-efficiency. The best part – this first step can be completely automated – only connecting customers with support staff once the customer replies!
10. Gain valuable reporting insights
We live in an age where data is everything. The information you can get from live chat is from the most valuable sources there are – customers and potential customers. Who is visiting your website? How are they using it? Where are they getting stuck? Is my support adequate?
The data gathered will help you to improve not just your marketing efforts or product offering, but more importantly, your customer service. Look at the individual performance of team members for feedback and training opportunities to ensure an effective customer service delivery. The opportunities for service improvement with live chat are endless.
The importance of a positive live chat experience
In recent reports, 51% of consumers were found to be more likely to repeat a purchase from a company if they included live chat on their website. That’s great, but in the same report, they found that 47% in the past month experienced a negative live chat incident. Lets not forget that 92% of customers generally feel satisfaction after using live chat.
So while live chat functionality has the potential to create loyal customers and increase sales, roughly half of the customers using it aren’t having a good experience.
Just as you wouldn’t want your employees in a physical store to script responses and gloss over customer problems, you don’t want to do it on live chat. The research has been done. 38% of customers have specifically stated that they have made a purchase due to a positive live chat experience.
While the installation and setup of a live chat system will definitely improve your support capabilities – you’re only half way there. You need to ensure that the support you’re delivering over the system is convenient, tailored and valuable.
We’ve provided some of the main ways in which live chat software could help your business. If you’re looking to increase sales, lower your overheads and improve your customer service – talk to the team of experts at NOUS! Simply call (+617) 3003 0722 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.