What is Live Chat Support?
You’ve probably already come across some form of live chat on a website. But if not, live chat is a piece of software that enables a company to connect with users on their website to instantly answer any questions they might have.
A live chat function is usually found in the form of a small pop-up box somewhere on right of the screen, like this example from Natwest:
Clicking the ‘Chat Now’ button takes the user to a quick form, which provides the Natwest team member answering your live chat with some basic details:
Once you’ve filled this form, you reach a familiar instant messenger window and receive a welcome message, informing you of your number in the queue:
Having used the Natwest live chat function myself several times, I can say that it is a good example of how to do this right, and that it works! Every time I’ve used it, they were able to help with my question and responded promptly.
Live chat support can be useful for both e-commerce and service based websites, but they’re more commonly found on e-commerce sites. For example, online fashion store Very use a small call-to-action box on their site offering users assistance:
By clicking ‘Chat Now’ you reach a very similar form and instant messenger window to that on the Natwest site.
But apart from being able to connect with your customers at the exact moment they are browsing your website, what are the other potential benefits of live chat to your business?
Five Business Benefits of Live Chat Support
1) It’s convenient for your customers
Many people don’t have time to make personal calls during business hours, so having a live chat on your website is one way to make it as easy as possible for them to contact you.
2) It can remove obstacles from sales
If a customer has a question while entering their payment information, or wants to know more about a product before they buy it, you can address this straight away and avoid losing them to another site.
3) You could be one step ahead of the competition
Do your competitors use live chat? If not, now could be a great time for you to implement it! Ensure your brand stands out from the crowd for the right reasons.
4) Keep your customers coming back
Live chat could help you to retain loyal customers by providing useful information on things such as the status of an order, returns policy, and handling complaints.
5) It could save you money
Your customer service team can handle multiple tasks at once, improving efficiency as well as waiting times for your customers.
The statistics surrounding the use of live chat support speak for themselves…
- 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer (Kissmetrics)
- According to a survey of American online consumers, 68% engage in live chat and 63% prefer getting back to a website with live chat for repeat purchase (ladesk.com)
- According to eDigital’s customer service benchmark, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone (fact and image from EConsultancy)
Things to Consider
Given this information, it may seem like a no-brainer to add a live chat function to your website. However, like most things, it’s only worth having if it works properly. The last thing you want to do is frustrate your customers by providing an unresponsive, unhelpful live chat function.
Here are some key points to consider before getting started:
Make sure the person (or people) answering live chat requests is able to provide an effective service. Do they have answers to the most common questions? What should they do if they’re struggling to help? Prepare a script for consistency if more than one person will be responding.
Will you use live chat solely to answer queries about your products? Or will you handle complaints and cross-sell as well? Be clear on this from the outset and prepare appropriate responses.
Use your Analytics data to determine when most people are on your website – this is when your live chat support should be active.
Live chat can be a great way to build relationships with your customers and keep them coming back by being warm and friendly. Most people resort to using live chat support because they want to speak to a human, so be human.
Boost customer trust by providing a transcript of the chat, and set expectations by explaining if there is a queue.
There are many live chat software providers out there, and most of them offer a free trial period, so you could try it out and see if it works for your business!