What Is Live Chat?
Technically speaking, live chat is a software application that sits in the corner of your business website. You use it to communicate with website visitors in real time, via text messages.
However, live chat is so much more than just a communication tool for providing technical support. This article will teach you that live chat is perfect for generating business leads and increasing online sales.
Live chat is a tool for salespeople.
Your customers want to research and evaluate your solutions without revealing their identity to you. They want to stay anonymous for as long as they can.
However, customers do want the easy, quick answers only your sales team can provide.
Answering questions via live chat is a way of letting everyone eat their cake and having it, too:
- Your customers get the answers they need without feeling pressured to buy.
- Your sales team now has another channel open where they can talk to high quality leads.
Why Live Chat in 2020? Why in B2B?
In 2020, you can’t count on customers’ willingness to “contact your sales” anymore.
Remember, when they’re buying as businesses, customers are increasingly behaving as if they were buying as consumers. They expect instant answers and honest and timely information. Live chat is one way of providing them with what they want. It’s futile to resist this trend.
Here are 8 reasons why you should get live chat now.
Avoid Losing Sales Online.
More than 98% of all website visitors will NOT convert to paying customers.
People give up their purchase for various reasons you cannot control.
But what about the reasons you CAN control and CAN help customers with? Things like:
- Technical problems with your website
- Product questions (“Can I have it in blue?”)
- Customer support questions (shipping, returns, refunds, pricing…)
One unanswered question is all it takes for the customer to leave. Why not make yourself available to answer questions via live chat?
Convert Leads Right Here, Right Now.
Being in the right place in the right time - that’s what having a live chat means for your business.
Sometimes it takes just one chat to attract a new client who will stay loyal to you for years.
In 2020, visitors are increasingly unlikely to reveal their email addresses to download your marketing materials. People expect you to be on your worst behavior: they expect your salespeople will call and pester them.
But being able to ask a simple question over chat, without identifying themselves or being harrassed or pressured into anything - that’s an opportunity for your customers to receive answers to their questions, and an opportunity for you to show you’re worthy of their trust.
Make Custom Orders / Custom Quotes Possible.
Opening a new channel of communication, such as live chat, empowers your potential customers to quickly research and evaluate your solutions without investing too much time or money.
For example, a customer may wonder if your service can be used in their specific environment or situation. One quick conversation over live chat with you should be enough to make them order from you, and not from your competitor.
It’s impossible to predict every need a customer might have. This is why the company with the most flexibility wins. Be as flexible as you can about the ways you empower your customers to communicate with you.
Uncover Problems You Never Noticed You Had.
Websites break all the time without telling you they’re broken. Sometimes a problem with your website is so cunning that you could go for days, even weeks without noticing. Who knows how many leads and sales you could lose!
When visitors encounter a problem, they will not tell you. They will simply leave. Unless…
...Unless you make it trivially easy for them to talk to you about it.
A live chat is a frictionless, low-effort way for your website visitors to contact you. It’s also low-risk, because they’re not required to identify themselves via phone or email.
If just one person contacts you, it’s worth it.
Delight Visitors With a Novel Way of Communicating.
Customers are increasingly getting used to having chats and instant messengers available to them when they interact with businesses online.
Even when they buy as businesses (B2B), customers expect that their experience will be similar to what they experienced as consumers (B2C).
Despite that fact, most business websites still don’t use live chat.
They’re missing out, of course.
You can do better. Why don’t you seize that opportunity to open a new communication channel, while your competitors still insist that their customers should call or email them?
Create Loyal Customers by Providing Superb Support.
Having a live chat sets positive expectations.
Just the fact that live chat exists on your website tells your website visitors what level of customer support they can expect if they decide to become your customer.
Having a live chat communicates that:
- You’re open for business, now
- You’re eager to help
- You’re interested in dealing with customer issues quickly
Having a live chat is a competitive advantage.
Collect Business Insights You’d Never Get Otherwise.
Sometimes, the best business ideas and insights come from prospects with innovative ways of using your solutions, in ways you never thought of before.
A great way to expose yourself to new ideas is to make it trivially easy for complete strangers to talk to you without risking anything. A live chat is one such way.
For example, a prospect might wonder if they could use your solution in a way that it wasn’t designed for - but technically, it could work. You just might uncover an entire market of customers with a huge problem and unmet needs. Now, that’s what we call a business opportunity!
Prevent Bad Online Reviews and Angry Customers.
Sometimes when people don’t get an immediate solution to their problem or at least an answer, they tend to vent online. This could create a lasting damage to your brand.
These angry customers will not call you or email you because they don’t want to come into personal contact with you or reveal their identity.
However, they might choose an anonymous, impersonal, instant communication channel such as your own live chat. If and when they do so, you have a unique opportunity to save your face and maybe turn an angry customer into a loyal ambassador (it does happen).
Which Businesses Should Get Live Chat?
An online store without a chat is like a physical store without a sales clerk.
You simply cannot afford to leave your online store unattended. Live, instant help from a human is what is required in order for some online transactions to happen at all.
Here’s how live chat helps you close sales:
- You will remove technical obstacles
- You can help people who are lost on your website
- Answer product questions your website fails to answer well
- Assist customers in every way a human sales clerk would assist in a physical store
Businesses That Offer Complex Products or Services
The more complex you solution, the harder it is for your customers to research, evaluate, and buy it from you or from anyone.
It’s impossible to anticipate and answer with content every question a customer might have about your products and services. It’s also very hard to set up a bot or a machine to answer complex questions that require human reasoning.
Why not be there for your customers while they’re actively browsing your website and researching whether or not you should be included on their short list of vendors? What if you’re an ideal fit for them, and your website fails to convince them of that?
Providers of High-Value / High-Consideration Solutions
Just because customers are buying high-value products (for example: enterprise software) or high-consideration items (for example: a house), it does not mean that they will tolerate lack of information on your website.
It all boils down to one single moment: who will the customer decide to call first, you or your competitor?
Converting just one high-value transaction customer over live chat means immediate return on your investment and instant profit.
Travel Industry Websites
People shopping for their next holiday or trip can be completely unpredictable. Some buy on impulse, and others spend months planning their next perfect trip.
Either way, why leave any of these sales to chance? A random bit of information can make or break a sale.
If you’re a small travel website competing with the likes of Airbnb and Booking.com, a live chat is one great competitive advantage you can have over them. Where these giants zig, you zag (while you still can). Sometimes, booking certain trips requires a human touch and local expertise only you can provide.
B2B Companies That Invest in Paid Advertising
Advertising via Google Ads and Facebook Ads is getting more expensive. Live chat drives the cost of advertising down by maximizing the likelihood that some of that paid traffic will convert to leads and sales.
Landing pages that the ads link to sometimes confuse or irritate your visitors. When this happens, visitors react by leaving (and wasting your advertising money).
You can help those people out by standing by with answers via live chat. You can even proactively reach out to them and offer help and answers.
Just one lead more can make a difference, especially if you’re selling high-value, high-consideration solutions.
Common Concerns About Having Live Chat
Don't worry, it's really not hard to start.
'I don’t have the time to supervise live chat.'
That’s like saying I don’t have the time to supervise the telephone. What does it matter in which channel customers are asking the questions, as long as they are asking them?
Don’t worry, you don’t personally have to sit on the live chat app. Alternatives:
- Chat support outsourcing is an option. There are companies out there who provide this service.
- Hire a virtual assistant.
- Let interns / juniors listen to chat. You could use the live chat as an onboarding activity to quickly train newly hired people.
'I don’t want to receive chats in the middle of the night.'
Don’t worry, you’re not required to be online 24/7. Not all industries are expected to do so.
You can configure most chat apps to show the ‘we’re online” status only during your business hours.
Outside business hours, the live chat app will show “we’re offline - leave a message” status and collect email addresses for you to respond later. It’s perfectly normal.
'I’m not on my computer / in the office all the time.'
Don’t worry: even if you decide to listen to the chat yourself, you can get notified about incoming chats on your mobile phone.
Most web chat apps have mobile applications you are constantly logged into for when you’re out of office.
Naturally, you can mark yourself offline for when you’re on the go and don’t want to be disturbed. In that case, someone else in your office can listen to the chat.
You Could Be Up and Running, Tomorrow
It’s easy and quick to start. So quick, in fact, that you could be chatting with your website visitors tomorrow.
You can hire us for a private, 1-on-1 workshop online where we'll do the following:
- Choose which live chat app you want to use. Some of them are free, some are quite affordable (ranging from $10 month).
- Have the live chat code installed on your website. You’ll need your website developers for that (it’s a copy&paste activity that only takes several minutes).
- Configure the live chat app according to your needs.
- Learn how to use live chat, its best practices, and how to maximize results.
Intrigued by what you could do with a live chat app? Ask about your private online workshop - it's only $84 (one time payment).