Before live chat existed, people would have to call the company they were looking to get in touch with and hope they would quickly get connected with an agent and solve their problem. However, this wasn't always the case, as people would have to wait for five, ten minutes or even an hour before they could get in touch with someone. What's worse is that if the call dropped, people would have to call back and play the waiting game all over again.
Today, more companies are using email to reach out to the businesses they are looking to contact, but people expect to get an instant response because of the internet, right? Email support can take days to respond to and most emails go unanswered.
Live chat is the quickest method of customer service where people talk to live chat with agents and get the answers they need right away. Plus, according to a report by Econsultancy, 73% of customers would prefer live chat over email (61%) and phone support (44%).
When well implemented, live chats can be a powerful tool for your website. Take for example the case of customers or website visitors who can’t immediately find the answers they need. Historically, they likely would have been quick to move on to the next website. Because you only have 10 to 20 seconds to make a great impression for general website visitors, adding a live chat can buy you some time and help you grow your customer base, while becoming an indispensable tool for upselling.
As a matter of fact, one of the benefits of live chat is that it can boost conversions by up to 45% and customers that use live chat are more likely to make a purchase. Live chat also gives your customers higher satisfaction levels as their questions are answered instantly.
Improve customer service and customer experience
The benefits of responding quickly should be obvious to anyone who is active online. Let’s face it, we’ve lost faith in contact forms and we’re already wary that calling a toll-free number will connect us with either an answering service or someone who can’t answer our questions. Live chat, however, has been a better experience for most of us.
The information available from live chat logs is pure gold. Customers use live chat for everything from product support and purchase inquiries to complaints, all of which are extremely valuable. Obviously you can assist customers through live chat, but the information you get from live chat can be used to build a better mousetrap or to fix what you currently sell, and that is invaluable. Feedback provides an opportunity to make things right with the customer.
When customers calls for support they need answers. This is the primary reason that the satisfaction levels of customers improve after live chat as it gets their questions answered immediately. Delays in providing customer support result in lost customers, and slow response times are one of the many reasons customers leave. When you use live chat, you can easily respond to customers within seconds rather than minutes or hours. Moreover, a live chat agent can handle 5-6 live chat sessions at a time, beating phone support by a mile.
- Set expectations: Setting the right expectations will help your customer make a more informed decision. This means that when your customers come through live chat, they know what kind of support they will get.
- Set the time for live chat availability: When your chat support is offline, it’s best to hide that widget in your website. This makes sure that customers won't expect a response when your chat support team isn't available. Clearly state the hours when your chat support team will be available.
- Answer to help get rid of fears and doubts: Thanks to the speed and simplicity of live chat, you can easily help people get to the right page or product. Add live chat to pages that your customer often visits. A great recommendation would be to add live chat to the product page of your site so they can instantly ask questions about the pricing details of your products or ask for shirt size availability.
- Make the chat tab clearly visible on your website: Use messages that will attract attention and use contrasting colors on your site to make it stand out.
Reduce support and sales expenses or increase ROI
Implementing live chat does not mean you can toss your phone system just yet, but it does mean your support staff can work more efficiently. A customer using live chat is less likely to share their life story as can happen on phone calls. This makes the conversation more targeted, more productive, and often much shorter because it’s focused on your customer’s immediate need – a need for which you have a solution.
Phone support was the only option for customer support for a long time. Although useful, it is very costly to operate. Live chats don’t cost much. In fact, Forrester research concluded that live chat support is up to 30% cheaper than a phone call.
This is due to the fact that phone support is associated with a costly ongoing maintenance cost, including the cost of toll-free numbers. Toll-free numbers allow customers to make long-distance calls without paying long distance fees. Companies who implement such a service, on the other hand, are charged with costly long distance charges. Not only do you have to pay for the monthly expenses to keep the number active, but also for the per minute charges of each call. Live chat support doesn’t have these expenses.
- Train your support reps to be able to handle as many as three chats at once, which simply can’t be replicated with phone support.
- Answer the most common questions in the form of a FAQ section. For example, if a customer asks a question that is often asked have the live chat automatically respond with a link to an FAQ.Give them the option to either help themselves via the FAQ or to chat directly with a live support agent. Regardless of whether they choose talk to an agent or solve the issue themselves using the FAQ, they will get the answer that they are looking for, resulting in a great customer experience.
Increase sales conversions
Time is everything online, and responding fast to customer questions will get you more leads (and you’ll be able to qualify more of those leads) with live chat. Customers know they can just hit the back button and find ten other companies that offer a similar product or service, but by implementing live chat you are able to have conversations with your customers and close more sales.
Every salesperson knows that an objection is an unanswered question. Live chat allows you to find out what those questions are and provide the answers that stand between you and the sale. And of course, live chat gives you the chance to ask for the order, something a static web page can’t do in real time.
A study by the American Marketing Association shows that live chat can increase conversions by up to 20%. This is due to the fact that customers are happy with their experience in live chat.
Upsell more effectively
When done respectfully, live chat can be a great way to upsell as well. As with all selling, timing and relevance are crucial, and live chat allows you to establish trust and demonstrate your knowledgeability, both of which you’ll need if you want to upsell a customer to a higher-tier solution. Add-on sales work the same way.
Live chat allows businesses to approach prospects in real time and can help boost online sales - but only if used strategically. Here are ways on how to upsell effectively:
- Don't be aggressive or forceful. This will only make customers feel annoyed and leave your website entirely. If a customer rejects your offer, respect the decision and don't push your luck. Give them the option to minimize or close the chat invitation.
- Don't be shy in giving recommendations as long as you have something to offer that would benefit them. For example, customers would love to buy a package with a better price. Use live chat to upsell or cross-sell products to your customers to increase sales, but make sure it’s perfect for their needs.
- Do not stalk. The benefits of having a live chat software is that you can easily watch customer activities and track their product preferences. Use this to upsell but don’t come across as creepy. An example of a creepy upsell would be to recommend a product or service that would go along with a purchase the moment they add the item to their card. This will look as if you are watching your customer’s every move.
- Use live chat primarily for support. Don't sell before you’ve fulfilled your responsibility to help. Wait for your customers to be happy that they have solved their problem before you offer a recommendation.
Live chat is preferred by customers
Not only is live chat the best support solution for your customers, it’s also the method your customers prefer to use. If most of your customers preferred to use a certain type of credit card, you’d probably take that type of credit card so that they’d continue to shop at your business.
According to the recently released Zendesk Benchmark report, customers who talk to a live chat agent are likely to be more satisfied in the support that they receive compared to those who make a call, send an email, or even those that use social media. It’s also worth noting that 51%of consumers say that a business needs to be available 24/7 - one of the key benefits of live chat. Additionally, 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use the live chat feature.
- Live chat allows customers to instantly connect with a customer support agent. What they like is that they don't need to wait for minutes or hours to talk to an agent.
- Live chat allows them to multitask. Around 51% of customers love live chat because it lets them multitask. Even if they have to wait a couple of minutes, they don't mind because they can still continue what they are doing before instead of staring blankly at the screen.
- Customers can make purchase-related inquiries right away. Having the ability to talk to the agent while in the middle of making a purchase is what customers appreciate the most at it helps them make the right decisions when buying.