'Live Chat' for business

Posted on 03 Jan 2017
Reader Question:

Dear Doctor Digital, you know those little pop ups that say ‘live chat with me now’ how can having one on my website help me?

Doctor Digital Says:

I do know those little pop ups. And I’ve also noticed an increase in the frequency of businesses reaching out to their customers for additional customer service with them. The trouble with online shopping is that many customers are disconnected from someone who can answer their questions in real time with precision. As it turns out, live chat has the ability to provide the convenient answers that customers want, while also adding significant benefits to the staff and bottom line of companies. While chat might seem like yet another complicated tool to install and manage, in reality there a stack of options in the marketplace that are easy to implement.

An online chat system provides customers immediate access to help. Wait times are often much less than a call center, and customers can easily multi-task while waiting – this is a surprisingly significant feature. Additionally, the pain of having to dial a 1800 number and navigate through a maze of numeric options is non-existent. What makes people want to engage in live chat is customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break a sale.

This instant access helps eliminate bounces away from websites and ensures that full shopping carts make it through check out. It’s personal impersonal, with enough of a connection to deepen the commitment of shoppers. So how does it work?  Live chat software lets you interact with your website's visitor via an instant messaging system. You can use this software on a desktop, smartphone or tablet.  In addition to customer support options, chat support helps you track your interactions with your customers and gain valuable insights. Most live chat software provides you with visitor monitoring and traffic analysis. Some software provides even more in-depth tracking, but you can expect certain features to be standard across the board in live chat software.

Pricing for chat software usually depends on how many agents you have operating the software per month.  Typically, software providers charge you per month, per customer service agent. If you pay on an annual basis, the fee is often lower. However, you will be locked into a contract and lack the flexibility to find a new software without losing the contract price. If you pursue the month-to-month option, you have the flexibility to leave a service when you find it no longer works for you, though you will often pay a higher monthly price. The difference is typically about ten dollars per month. Most services offer either a 15 or 30 day free trial, so you can view and use the software before committing to it.

There are plenty of great options when it comes to live chat software, so check out what’s available online and choose the program that offers the best interface and simplest integration into your website. Besides finding the right software, if you use live chat in your business you will need to provide specialised training for your employees. Live chat relies on short sentences that get to the point without being rude. There is an art to knowing how to respond and when to offer solutions or additional products.

The best live chat software enables your company and your customer to text in real time by computer, smart phone and tablet. Your staff can answer questions, suggest appropriate purchases and build stronger brand loyalty. Your business can also retrieve statistical data that benefits your marketing and customer engagement strategies. Few endeavors provide improved customer experience and a business data goldmine. Live chat software does both.