Consumers have a multitude of choices when it comes to buying products and services online. So when a customer lands on your website ready to buy, one lingering question or doubt about a product or service can be all it takes to kill a potential sale.
For better or for worse, people have little patience for waiting around for answers before buying a product. And you had better believe they will buy from the company that gives them that answer quickly and thoroughly.
This is why it’s important for companies to consider how to optimize customer support solutions in order to show potential clients who you are and what you stand for. Live chat is a great way to answer customer questions quickly and accurately - and to save money in the process.
Brands spend a lot of time and cash in building a strong social media presence. Engaging your audience with quality content centered around your product or service will pique interest in your company and increase brand loyalty, making it a crucial part of any company’s PR arsenal.
But, when it comes to customer service, social media messaging may not be the best solution. Many companies use things like Facebook messenger to answer client questions, but users who send a message via social media usually expect a response promptly. Particularly if you are a smaller company without a dedicated PR team, it may be difficult to offer such a quick turnaround.
In this respect, building a strong social media following could start to work against you. If prospective clients message you as they are ready to purchase your product and don’t receive an immediate response, their first impression of your brand could be disappointing.
Speedy responses are the key to enhancing sales and remaining competitive in a digital world, and live chat can be the answer to these customer service issues. It enables you to affordably enhance the efficiency of your customer service team in a way that still feels personal.
We’ll start with the number one benefit of live chat on your website - it increases sales of your product or service. According to the American Marketing Association, B2B companies who use live chat see an average of 20% more sales than those that do not.
Live chat is especially useful for gaining new customers. New visitors to your website are usually not familiar with your brand and may have questions. If they can conveniently access a customer support agent via live chat, the likelihood that they will complete a purchase increases.
Beyond capturing new customers, live chat can increase the average value of transactions on your website. Live chat can go beyond basic customer service and serve a similar function to a sales assistant at a brick and mortar store. Live agents can be trained and incentivized to recommend similar products and engage in up-selling and cross-selling.
With so many gimmicks and overblown claims out there, most consumers don’t trust just anything they see online. Being able to speak to a live sales representative during the buying process can help to build trust with your buyers, which is crucial in building long lasting relationships.
Offering live chat can also reassure your customers that your brand is tech-savvy enough for them to trust with their financial information. It goes without saying that it is important that your website offers high quality payment software to reassure customers that their credit card details are safe.
Consider using a live chat service that can integrate with your payment software or enabling live chats to accept payments via the chat thread. Make sure the software you choose provides crucial features such as accepting all major credit cards and instant invoicing so customers have a seamless experience. This greatly increases your chances of sealing the deal immediately, rather than letting the customer take their time in checking out - or perhaps forgetting to altogether.
By making it clear to prospective clients that your company is serious about customer service, you can increase your market share. Raising awareness of your brand and instilling trust in your customers by using live chat can give you a competitive edge. It can also serve as a great channel to nurture your online customers and convert one-time buyers into brand loyalists who publicize your products among their own networks.
Hiring employees from a call center can face scalability issues since each employee can only handle one call at a time. Your business would have to make the decision to hire enough employees to handle the volume, or force customers to wait on hold. This can potentially ruin the image of your brand.
In contrast, employees working via live chat can generally handle around four to five different chats a time, depending on how serious the issue is. It allows them to attend to other chats if they are put in a situation where they have to wait for a customer to get certain details needed to assist them, such as an order number.
Many companies have attempted to save money by moving their call centers abroad, but this can be a contentious issue for some customers who prefer to buy from companies that hire domestic workers. Live chat is less expensive than using a call center and can help your team connect to a more diverse customer base by using features such as text translation. In this way, live chat transcends language boundaries and allows people to communicate more easily.
Some companies also use chatbots for their website, a term for a chat service powered by artificial intelligence. The customer gets the feeling that they are talking to a real human, but of course, the conversation is with an AI bot.
There are numerous benefits of chatbots across many industries, and this can be an affordable option for brands that do not offer complex products or services. But keep in mind that if your company offers a wide variety of items, or sells products with complicated specifications, a live human agent might be better for your chat.
Because chat threads contain customer information such as names, home addresses, and payment details, you need to ensure your chat features are secure. Also, many live chat providers hire agents that work from home, so it’s important to ask whether there are cybersecurity procedures in place for the remote workers before you commit to a live chat software.
According to Toronto-based cybersecurity expert Ludovic Rembert from Privacy Canada, a simple trustworthy VPN is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting customer and company data.
“A VPN may sound complicated, but the idea is pretty simple,” says Rembert. “A VPN is a service that creates a virtual tunnel of encrypted data flowing between the user (that’s you) and the server (that’s the internet).The bottom line is a VPN hides your information from spies, hackers, snoops, and anyone else who might want to steal and monetize your information. Online privacy is a must and a VPN is the best way to incorporate privacy into your virtual world.”
Once you’ve ensured that both your employee systems and your customer data is safe, live chat can become an ideal way to capture information about customers and market more effectively. Some of the users on your website using the live chat feature will not buy right away. By engaging potential customers with further communication and targeted advertising, you can turn a lukewarm lead into a hot prospect.
Asking chat users for their information can help you identify whether that user is an existing customer or not, and how to plan accordingly. A new visitor should be prompted to sign up for your email newsletter or to opt in to alert services. In this way, when customer information is handled properly, live chat can serve as an incredible lead generation tool as well as a customer service resource.
Live chat can be a game-changer for companies that receive a lot of customer inquiries. Not only can it improve your customer service game, but it can save you money as well.
Live chat can even prove to be a source of juicy leads and valuable market intel so you never miss closing a sale due to poor followup or follow through. It’s one of the easier features to implement on your website, and it will help to build trust in your brand with each customer interaction.