Why Live Chat is Important for Sales and Customer Service
October 15th 2019 | By Steve Grant
One of the best marketing strategies you can employ for your business is to create a fantastic customer experience. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” So we’re looking for ways to improve the customer experience, and there is something that should absolutely not be missed: live chat. Let’s take a look at why live chat is important for customer support, and marketing in general.
Research reveals that most people will spend more with brands that deliver superior customer service, and a lot of that is about being available when customers need you.
In this digital age, customers expect to be able to make contact in a number of ways. Some prefer social messaging, others like the formality of email. But when it comes down to it, live chat is fast becoming one of the most in-demand methods of contact, especially amongst millennials.
Live chat offers a platform for customers to communicate in real time. Compared to other communication channels, it generates higher satisfaction levels, and more than half of all customers prefer to chat with someone in real time and online rather than call a company for support.
And while we’re looking at statistics, here’s another interesting fact. Live chat is expected to grow by as much as 87 per cent in the next 12-18 months.
Why do consumers use live chat?
There are various reasons why consumers turn to live chat. These reasons vary depending on where they are in the buying process.
Here are some of the most popular reasons potential customers use live chat:
- They want to ask a technical question or check something mid-purchase
- They are having trouble finding a product or the information they need
- They want to compare products and ask which is best suited to their needs
And then you have customers who have already made a purchase. Here’s why they use live chat:
- They want to find out the status of their order
- They want to resolve a problem
- They want to learn about the returns policy
Why do consumers prefer live chat?
Today’s digital savvy consumer expects answers on demand. They haven’t got the time or the patience for a frustrating automated telephone answering system, neither do they want to wait for an email response.
Live chat is attractive to the consumers of today because:
- It gives them the instant response and / or solution they hanker after
- They can use it on any device wherever they are
- They can carry on multi-tasking whilst they wait for their answers
- It’s easier to read instructions or information than to listen to it, process it and take notes
- The conversation can be saved as ‘evidence’ or to review later
Why live chat is important for your business
It’s clear to see the advantages that consumers enjoy when it comes to the availability of live chat. But what benefits does it offer on a commercial level? Let’s take a look at why live chat is important and why every business should consider offering it to their customers.
1. Increase sales
A study by FurstPerson has revealed that 77 per cent of customers will refuse to make a purchase on a website unless live chat is available. In addition, research by Emarketer shows that 63 per cent of customers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
What’s more, Forrester has reported that there was a 10 per cent increase in the order value once a customer had engaged in live chat, compared to those who hadn’t.
So, you are more likely to command higher levels of sales, increased repeat orders and greater order values if you offer live chat.
2. Save money
Implementing and managing live chat is known to be more cost effective than a telephone or email based support service.
With customer service being provided in real time, and the opportunity to address a number of queries and even multiple customers simultaneously, businesses can enjoy greater efficiency, which leads to bottom line savings.
3. Gain competitive advantage
If there is something that can get you standing out amongst a sea of competitors, then it just has to make sense to adopt it. Live chat is one of those things.
Even though it has been widely adopted by big name brands, there are still not so many smaller businesses using it. In fact, research shows that only 9 per cent of companies use live chat on their websites. So why not stand out in the crowd, and offer something it has been proven consumers really want?
4. Build relationships
Relationship building in business is of vital importance. Happy customers tend to become long term customers, which are less likely to switch to a competitor. They also tend to make more regular purchases, and are less costly to maintain.
Customers appreciate being acknowledged for their loyalty and if they can feel that their voice is being heard via live chat, then the connection between them and your business will gain strength and longevity.
Live chat best practice tips
Once you decide to implement live chat, you’ll need to ensure it’s managed and monitored effectively. Here are a few best practice tips to help you get the most out of your new live chat feature:
- Availability – always ensure there is minimum one operator available for the duration of the working day. It can be off-putting for customers to see a ‘currently offline’ notice, especially during the day.
- Invest in training – make certain your operators are primed with sufficient knowledge to answer the questions that your customers will typically be asking. As well as technical training, also provide some sales training to help boost conversion rates and increase sales.
- Be human – always use a human to answer your customer queries on live chat. Chatbots are fine for suggesting products, presenting offers and referring enquiries, but people want to speak to people, and a robot-based response could well have the opposite effect to the one you are looking to achieve.
- Cut the jargon – make sure you train your operators to communicate in plain English. It is important to avoid jargon so as not to alienate, confuse or frustrate customers.
- Analyse – live chat has the ability to present you with highly useful business intelligence. Be sure to use it to your advantage by tracking the most common issues faced, and doing something about them.
- Appraise – track the performance of your operators too. Some live chat software will allow you to directly track whether a purchase was made following a chat, as well as monitoring how many chats were answered and how long they took to resolve an issue, etc. This is very useful to highlight areas for improvement and additional training.
- Invite – a non-invasive, pop-up on-screen message inviting customers to ask a question is the ideal way to engage and start a conversation.
Ready to offer live chat to your customers?
Live chat is important. Here at Figment, we actively recommend the use of live chat as an effective customer engagement and retention tool. If you are thinking about a website re-design, or already have a website with Figment, and would like to explore the advantages of adding live chat, please get in touch!