Website Live Chats: Get the Facts (& More Leads If You Have One)
Marketing is a rapidly evolving field and businesses and marketers must work quickly to keep up with trends, or they risk being left behind while their competition takes the lead. How you communicate with your customer is no exception.
At the onset of the pandemic, marketers and businesses saw some interesting trends around how customers expect to communicate with businesses. Customers have come to expect communications that offer rapid responses, personalized service, and convenience, making live chat one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends.
If you’ve been considering a live chat feature but aren’t sure if it is worth it, or which option is best, keep reading to learn more about some of the live chat options out there and how this feature has become a necessity for companies to invest in if they have a product or service to sell.
Watch the Replay
What Exactly Is Live Chat?
Live chat consists of human-to-human communications through a desktop or mobile platform. Pre-pandemic, chatbots had been the industry norm over the last several years, which is human interaction with a chat software, but companies are now finding that live chat can significantly increase customer satisfaction and conversions rates in a way that chatbots cannot.
Installing a live chat feature on your website is a way for consumers to communicate directly with your business without leaving your website and can provide users with a response to their question or inquiry within 10-30 seconds that texting, calling, emailing, or filling out a form often cannot.
Why Has Chat Become the New Norm?
Think about this in your own life and the last time you communicated with a company online. How did you reach out? Did you try calling and had to sit in a queue waiting for an agent? Perhaps you emailed and had to wait for a response? Maybe you connected with a chatbot but the software couldn’t answer your specific questions. Would that experience have been better if you connected with a live person to help with your concern or answer your questions? Many consumers would say yes.
According to a study conducted by Forrester Research on behalf of Google, since the onset of the pandemic:
- 34% of consumers say they complete more transactions online than ever before.
- 68% of respondents said they are more likely to buy from a business that offers convenient communications.
- Over half of consumers have increased their use of third-party messaging and chat through a business’s mobile application this year.
- About one in 10 consumers tried mobile chat for the first time.
So if your business isn’t offering your customers an online chat option and your competition is, you risk them connecting with the competition first and losing that business.
Benefits of Live Chat
Now that we’ve seen the data. Let’s discuss in more detail the benefits of offering live chat. With live chat, businesses are able to:
- Answer questions in real-time and hopefully before your competitors
- Create a better user experience that builds trust with prospective customers
- Engages the user while they are already interested and on your website
- Allows you to manage multiple chats at once to increase efficiency
- Use chat transcripts to analyze conversations and identify common threads that lead to a conversion
Most importantly, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.
Several of our clients are using live chat and here is what they have to say about it:
“Live chat is a great way to nurture and engage with leads. We receive approximately 20 new leads per month and 10 re-inquiries.”
“A couple of benefits of the chat feature is it is helping to filter out some of the “bad” leads (i.e. international students, students that don’t meet the admissions requirements, etc.) as well as providing our admissions reps with further information about the lead that we don’t necessarily capture through the form.”
Types of Live Chat
When it comes to choosing the right live chat for your business, there are several options to consider, each with pros and cons, which are outlined below.
Any organization with a Google My Business (GMB) profile has the ability to turn on a chat function to communicate with customers.
- Allows users to message directly from your business profile
- Allows for templated responses to be sent in response to inquiries
- Easy to set up
- Free to use
- Available on desktop and mobile
- Someone from the business needs to be online to monitor and respond to chats
- You could get chats that are unrelated to acquiring new customers
Call Tracking Metrics Platform
If your business invests in Call Tracking Metrics, chat is built into the software and works seamlessly with call tracking so you can accurately track leads by source.
- If you are also using call tracking, it keeps all data on a single platform
- Transcripts are available for chats
- Auto responses can be set up for the start of the chat while waiting for an agent to join
- Chats can be assigned to specific agents based on the inquiry
- There is an option to set a ‘no agent available’ message after hours, or the widget can be turned off completely when no one is available
- Can be a more costly option
- There must be a live operator available to answer chats
- Requires familiarity with the call tracking system
- The setup is complicated
Outsourced Chat Representatives
The chat option that we’ve recommended for several of our clients due to its cost effectiveness, 24-hour support, and ease of set-up is School Chat Live.
- 24/7 support
- Simple to set up
- Performance-based payment plan so you only pay for real leads
- Users communicate with a real person
- Transcripts are available after each chat
- Leads can be entered directly into your CRM
- Offers a 2-week free trial so you can try before you buy it
- Agents may not be able to answer all questions because they are not authorized to provide certain information, or do not have the information
Chats Using Marketing Automation
If live chat doesn’t seem like the best fit for your business, there are still options available using marketing automation. While not as powerful as live chat, marketing automation allows you to free up time by automatically answering common customer questions.
There is compelling data around why chatbots could be a good option for some businesses.
- 63% of companies using marketing automation outperformed competitors
- Chatbots can save up to 30% of customer care costs
- Available 24/7 to answer FAQs
- It may not feel as personalized
- Some users dislike not connecting with a real person
- Set up often requires a lot of effort and is very limited in the types of questions they can answer
Automated Video Chat
Automated video chat is a fairly new technology that is a simple yet effective way to interact with your website visitors. Using a platform called Tolstoy, you can simply record a few short videos and use the video builder to put together an interactive experience for website visitors.
- Free for basic subscription
- Visually engaging
- Allows the user to engage and make selections within the chat to guide the rest of the conversation
- Requires some video equipment and production
- Doesn’t answer all questions
- Requires complex set-up
Addressing Common Concerns
Now that we’ve covered various live chat options, we’ll touch on some of the most common concerns we’ve heard.
Problem: Live chat is misleading because it isn’t really the business responding.
- Be transparent, if you are outsourcing chat or using chatbots, it’s ok to have something written into the script that lets users know the agent is a bot or an extension of the team.
Problem: Some chat options do not allow for 24/7 access.
- Set the expectation that if using a chat that won’t be monitored 24/7, the user can still submit their question via a form and will receive a response within 24 hours.
- Some chat features allow you to switch the chat feature off and on so it only appears when the business is online.
Problem: A bad user experience can hurt your brand and trust with prospective customers.
- Make sure you think about how your users will engage with your chat, will you be able to improve the customer experience through chat.
- Work with a team familiar with setting up a chat.
- Test and test again.
Getting Set-Up on Live Chat
If you’re ready to give live chat a try, here are the first steps to get started:
- Create a script including a list of the most commonly asked questions and answers
- Create a form to collect user data
- Add the chat code to your site
- Integrate the chat form with your CRM
- Test and ensure everything is working
Of course, we understand you are busy running your business, which is why Oozle Media can take care of the logistics for you. If you’re ready to start your 2-week free trial of School Chat Live, reach out to us today!