How well you communicate with your customers can mean the difference in life-long clients and people who bounce away to your competitors. Your live chat can make or break your brand’s goals, so putting a little extra emphasis on building a stellar process makes perfect sense. Spending a little extra time designing a system that matches your brand improves results.
In a recent Forrester survey of consumers, researchers found 42% of adults on the internet said they wanted live chat from retailers. The number grows every year as more people engage with brands via social media and their websites. Many would rather talk to a robot or faceless agent than on the telephone.
We live in a world filled with immediate gratification. Consumers expect an immediate response to their concerns and questions. Chat systems fill the gap where email and contact forms don’t. However, a poorly executed live chat can harm your brand more than help it.
Just what do you need to come up with a chat system representing your brand’s goals? Here are our top tips to help you overcome any challenges to utilizing live chat and keeping your reputation intact. Keep your image in mind as you apply each element.
Why Do You Need Live Chat?
Live chat offers customers another way to contact your brand. It adds a trust factor, so people know if they run into issues they can reach out online and get instant feedback. Live chat can help close a sale and improve your conversion rates.
#1. Use Internal Data
Understand the common reasons your customers contact you. For most businesses, there are some questions asked repeatedly. Perhaps you still have a few kinks to work out in your software as a service (SaaS) or your product development.
Spend time going through call logs and ascertaining the issues your users run into most often. How can you answer these questions and reduce the number of chat sessions? Add a FAQ or a video to your site to reduce the load on your live agents.
Know when people are most likely to have questions through the sales funnel. What point in the journey do users bounce from your site? How can a live chat feature prevent their leaving?
#2. Create Multiple Chatbots
A recent Gartner survey shows the majority of organizations have multiple chatbots. By deploying specific features across different channels and departments, companies can provide more personalized feedback related to the common questions for each area of operations.
Talk to your sales and support teams about the common issues they run into. How do they divide customers into categories? Can you do something similar within your chat system to direct people to the best responses for their scenario?
#3. Train Your Agents
Spend time thoroughly training your live chat agents across the different channels. They should be able to answer common questions without a pause. However, they must also come up with creative solutions for issues unheard of before.
Your agents will sometimes have to tell a customer no, so train them to do so with positive language. For example, instead of saying no, they can say they have a solution they can offer and explain what it is.
Your live chat workers will run into irate customers occasionally. Prepare them for the possibility. While you can’t please everyone, some situations turn around with the right language and solutions. Set some policies for dealing with abusive consumers that protect your employees while working to solve the issue.
#4. Choose First-Contact Resolution
Have you ever phoned a company three or four times without any change in the situation? People are busy and hate wasting their time. Seek to resolve issues on the first contact with the customer. Don’t put them off to another person in another department or force them to call back at another time.
Give your agents the freedom to step outside the box and find creative ways to help customers. They should be rewarded for coming up with solutions you might not have thought of.
#5. Save Money
Look for ways to be more efficient with your customer service. Chat bots are an excellent way to fix repetitive problems. You won’t have to pay a live agent to answer the same question 900 times. Instead, the bot can provide the answer and you can save live resources for unusual issues.
A study by IBM showed businesses spend around $1.3 trillion a year on solving customer service requests. Chatbots can save approximately 30% on overall customer contact costs.
Live chat can also be quicker than phone conversations. Much of the chit-chat of a voice generated call goes away. The agent can more easily steer the person to the point at hand, saving time and solving issues more efficiently.
#6. Make Live Chat Easy to Find
If one of your brand’s goals is to be a customer-centric company, you need to make your live chat easy to find. Many companies place an icon near the lower left corner of the page. If you make it sticky, it follows the person as they browse through pricing pages, product listings and information.
You want your customers to utilize live chat, so you might also want to use the words “live chat” alongside the icon. Make sure the link appears on every page of your site so users can find it easily.
#7. Test Functionality
A live chat that doesn’t pop up or is too big to see on a small device isn’t very helpful to your customers. You want your brand to be seen as one that cares about customers’ needs. Make sure they can utilize your chat system no matter what device they use or what operating system they’re on.
Try your live chat out on smartphones, desktops and via different browsers. Try typing fast, typing slow and pay attention to any timeouts or delays in conversation.
You must also hire live agents who type quickly and give the customer their full attention. You don’t want your faster and more convenient customer service option to turn into a frustrating event that drags on and on.
#8. Keep Your Customers
One of the best ways to build your brand is by keeping the customers you have. Not only will you sell more easily and often to people who are already happy with your services, but they’re more likely to tell family and friends and give you free word-of-mouth marketing.
Live chat can help you retain your current patrons. Studies show 63% of people who use live chat on a website are likely to return to the site in the future.
Although it isn’t 100% attainable, make it a goal for your brand to never lose a customer. Do everything possible to keep them in your corner. Your live chat is an opportunity to show them how customer-focused you are.
#9. Generate Leads 24/7
You may not be able to staff your live chat 24/7. The cost of paying agents around the clock is too prohibitive for most smaller companies. However, you can use chatbots to fill the gap and generate leads even while you sleep.
For example, think about the most common questions people have before they buy from you. What are their objections you must overcome? Once you have a list of these, it’s much easier to create a bot encouraging movement toward a conversion.
List out options in topics such as pricing, common objections and policies. Answer each and program them into your bot for rapid responses even when you aren’t available. At the end of the chat session, offer to have someone contact them within 24 hours for further details.
#10. Integrate Your Channels
Live chat is just one channel you can use to market to potential customers. However, people now expect companies to be fully integrated.
For example, if a user contacts you via live chat and explains their specific needs, they expect the next contact to have the information so they don’t have to repeat it. It’s best to ask for details such as an email so you can tie the notes to an individual. If they use live chat again, or contact your company in a different way, the sales agent can pull up the info and the customer doesn’t have to tell the story again.
A recent study by PWC showed 80% of companies invest in an omnichannel experience. Your live chat is one portion of your overall communication system.
#11. Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
What is your abandonment rate? One way you can reduce it is by offering live chat during the checkout process. Have a pop up that asks if the person has questions. Let them type directly into the pop up box and initiate a live chat.
If you can overcome their objections on the spot, you may just turn a bounce into a sale. You can even offer a discount by saying something like, “Wait! Would 10% off help you complete this order?” Or you could say, “How about free shipping on your first order?”
Start a Conversation
Seek opportunities to open up dialogue with your target audience. A high-functioning chat system taps into more than just your live chat software or a few bot programs. It reaches into the depths of your organization and continues the talk long after the live chat session ends.
With a little planning and some additional tweaking, you’ll come up with a chat system that represents your brand’s goals. Put your customers first, and the rest will fall into place.
About the Author!
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.