We recently put live chat on our website to test its effectiveness for capturing qualified leads. Now in the month or so it’s been running there hasn’t been a massive increase in sales but looking at the chat transcripts they offer a pretty interesting insight into what people want.

We’re all looking to make our websites easier for visitors and customers alike. The easier you can start a conversation with someone the = more likely you are to attracting them as a client or up selling more services.

Here’s one of the top ways you can engage with more people and create more conversion opportunities using live chat on your website.

Live chat is a great tool for your website, but only if you use it properly. Too many site owners just throw up a live chat plugin on their site and then sit back and twiddle their thumbs, waiting for the benefits to kick in.

Obviously it takes a lot more than that to make live chat work for your site, but if you’re willing to invest in it, you’ll reap great rewards.

Quicker Customer Service

Good customer service is the main point of live chat, so you need to make sure you’re willing to commit to it. That means knowing the hours your customers will be online and always having someone available to respond during those hours. If you can do that, your customers will be impressed by how easy it is to get the answers they’re looking for.

Live-Chat-melt-website

Speed is key here. No-one wants to phone through to customer service and then spend half their time on hold, and they don’t have the time to send emails back and forth with you. A lot of questions are quick and easy to answer by live chat, giving customers exactly what they need in just a few seconds.

Even better, if most of your customers are international, they’ll appreciate having someone to talk to quickly without incurring international phone charges. It’s vital to provide good customer service to your main customer base, and if they’re overseas you don’t have the option of offering them a good phone line.

You can eliminate the time wasters

Over half of all  the enquiries we captured saw a similar conversation to this.

I want a website like this (insert web address here) – How much? From experience this type of question normally comes from someone who’s just had an idea and they thought they’d have a quick google to do some research.

The other is from someone looking to get the best price.

Generally my advice would be to give them a ballpark figure there and then, I can guarantee that they won’t want to pay a fraction of what you charge – If they are serious they will stay on chat and you can try to develop a better understanding of what they want.

You don’t want anyone that’s concerned more by price than quality. These customers want a champagne service on an audi beer budget! They will drive you and your staff mad.

You also should be very careful not to indulge people with ideas too much. Suggest getting on a call with them ask some question to form a brief, give them some rough costings  and if they stick around they could become a serious customer.

Free User Experience Data

While you’re offering valuable customer service, your live chat is also collecting all sorts of valuable data – the sort you’d normally have to pay someone to be able to access. When answering customer queries, you get immediate feedback on:

  • How customers use your site;

  • Navigational difficulties;

  • Information you should have on your site;

  • Common customer queries;

  • Pain points.

That’s all incredibly useful information to have if you value your user experience, and you should. If half of your customer queries are having trouble finding some page or other, you know immediately that you need to fix it. If people keep asking for the same information, that’s information that you should put in your copy. You don’t have to guess what’s putting people off your site, because they’ll tell you immediately.

While you’re there, it’s also good to remember that you’re storing that information for later, for anything you might need. If you want to analyse it in full, it’s all there for you, and if you need proof of contact you’ve got that too. No need to record phone calls or argue about who said what because it’s all written down for you.

Presence

Sometimes, a customer just wants to know you’re there for them. Like a shop assistant, the presence of live chat helps the customer shop in peace, knowing that if they need help they can get it at any time. A confusing user experience can make customers leave your site without trying to resolve their problem, but when they know someone’s there to help them through it, they might be willing to give you a second chance. Remember that you can use that information to improve people’s experience in future as well, so your live chat is doing double duty.

It All Leads to Conversions

At the end of the day, it’s all about creating conversions, and that’s exactly what all this leads to.

Good customer service helps people resolve their difficulties and pushes them towards the point of conversion. Good customer service not only helps people resolve their problems but, once they’ve put the effort in to ask for help, they’re almost certain to finish off the journey.

Once you know what people are tripping over on your site, you know exactly what you can improve, creating a self-feeding user experience improvement system. The more people you help, the better your site becomes and the less people need customer service in future. I’ve talked before about the importance of user experience in creating conversions, and this is how you find out what you need to do better.

To Wrap Up

Giving your customers the ability to ask for help without wasting their time will make them feel appreciated, and more likely to use your service than spend time trying to figure out a different one. Time is valuable to your users, so using live chat to save their time makes your service valuable as well.

Having live chat on your site will improve customer service, user experience and conversion rates, and it takes hardly any investment. Just make sure you’re willing to commit to it, because live chat done badly will turn people away, and is far worse than not having it at all.

Take the time to invest in live chat, and your customers will invest in you.

What have we learnt from this?

Live chat can be a great tool.

Thanks, Matt