2016-01

How Live Chat Converts Customers

by Matt Carracher
 | 
18 January 2016

Even more so than the phone, live chat gives customers the ability to interact with your business 24/7, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

In terms of brand perception, what you say on your website or in your emails has nowhere near the impact of a no­wait, real time interaction with a real human being.

Think about it. When the customer walks away from an actual conversation – be it good, or bad  – that’s what’s going to stick in their mind. And this makes chat one of your biggest branding opportunities.

But it’s important to get it right. Here are three antipatterns – things to avoid – that could be driving your customers away.

Hello? Anybody there?

Of those who prefer live chat, 79% said they did so because they get their questions answered quickly.

Worst thing ever when your customer has a simple question that needs answering right away? Clicking on a live chat button and having no one ready to help.

It’s realistic to assume that not all businesses have the resources to be ‘on’ 24/7, but if you have a live virtual chat option and no one is available to help, make it clear that’s the case, and send an automated FAQ email instead.

When your team is on­hand to help, make sure the chat conversation doesn’t open in a new window. Rather, keep your customer within their query context (on their current page) and make the interaction with your business feel legitimate, i.e the chat window looks the same as your site, not like it’s coming from a third party provider.

Live chat is a powerful customer touch point, ripe for conversion. But if you’re not committed to be across it constantly, it’s an opportunity that will be lost, potentially doing more harm than good.

Can’t talk right now...

66% of customers who use live chat say that approximate wait time is a key factor in encouraging them to chat with a customer service rep.

Let’s face it. It’s obvious when the person you are chatting with is also chatting to 10 other people at the same time! Rather than saving resources, overloading your agents will only result in your customers feeling ignored and unwanted. So don’t make your customers wait to engage with you.

Here’s a top shelf example from booking.js. Aside from being completely on­brand and enticing to use (funny cat pictures win again), booking.js uses chat to enforce excellent, immediate service – regardless of where the customer is in the funnel:

booking js

Why it works:

  • Visually-­enticing, on-­brand
  • Maximum of two fields required for ease of use
  • Customer service agent is easily identifiable and ready to help
  • Agent intro text is a quick bio, which positions them as a technical expert and builds trust

Help your customer service agents out by giving them the ability to focus on one customer at a time. It also doesn’t hurt to make chat fun! Not only will you have a happier, more engaged team, but the customer experience value will soar – customers will genuinely love interacting with your business.

Sharpen your tools

Did you know that live chat users are actually not that picky about the platform they use?

This multi­messaging behaviour is a great opportunity for businesses to experiment with a range of platforms to find what works best for their needs.

After all, messaging apps are the new social media – Slack, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp – any and all of these can be integrated into your chat service and CRM to leverage the patterns your customers already use and are familiar with to your benefit.

Likewise, your virtual chat experience is only as good as the tools and interface your give to your customer service team. How your customer service representatives respond and interact with customers is critical.

Find a tool that helps your team understand the customer’s context: where they’ve been, their product searches, past purchases and history. Your team should also have full access the entire suite of your products and appropriate links, automated scripts and FAQs, plus tone of voice and time management training.

Finally, when it comes to chat, don’t go cheap. If you’re going to do it, do it well. When you find the right tool, run a series of AB tests to see what works and how well chat is converting for you – get the data, and prove the effectiveness of chat for yourself.

Want more? Learn how live chat can make your customers happier today. Find out more how we can help you increas your conversions here or call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
Matt Carracher
General Manager - Marketing Solutions