Besides constantly hoping to wake up and have hair on my head, most of my day is spent trying to make our current and potential clients as happy as possible. You may think it’s cheesy, but having an employee dedicated to supporting your current and potential clients can help put out fires before they get out of control. As the digital world keeps expanding, the number of mediums you can use for sales leads and support inquires are staggering. One tool that our company has recently installed on all of our websites has been the live chat feature. At first, we were hesitant to use this tool. Live chatting can be dangerous because unlike in an email where everything can be planned right down to the perfect comma, in a live chat you’re having a regular conversation where mistakes can easily happen. The fear of a disgruntled chatter taking a screenshot and posting the conversation on a message board is a very real nightmare. But even with some scary outlooks, a live chat’s positives outweigh the negatives.
Venting made easier
Instead of searching the social media telescope for poor reviews about your company, a live chat allows a client to get a hold of you right in the moment of their frustration. This may not sound fun for you but you would much rather deal with the problem head on instead of trade tweets for the whole online world to see. We have all been there when a client is having issues and their world is “crumbling.” The chat allows you to be aware of the issue and resolve it in a swift manner.
Strike while the sale is hot
A large number of individuals typically think a live chat is solely for support purposes. Not so fast! When prospective clients come to your site and are interested in learning more about your service, what is the easiest way to get that information? You guessed it, the live chat. In only the few months I have managed our live chat, I have steadily seen an increase in sales leads come through. A live chat lowers the barriers of first contact for a client. Katie Meurin, who is the Marketing Director for ZCO Corporation, agreed by saying “I think people are intimidated to get on the phone with a sales rep and ask about pricing or process questions too early, because they don’t want to get hard-sold when they are just fact-finding.” No company will put the whole enchilada on their website for the world to see, so having a live chat keeps a potential lead on your website a little bit longer.
Our company uses Olark’s live chat system and we have been impressed so far. Olark’s system allows us to see who is surfing our pages and where they are located. This is vital information for support and sales questions. From a support perspective, being able to see what pages a client is looking at as they are chatting with me allows me to resolve their issues faster. From a sales perspective, it never hurts to see which pages are more popular than others. Being able to see where the client is navigating is a great Cliffs Notes before interacting with them.
Proof is in the chat
A recent study by research company Software Advice showed that 63% of millennials preferred to have their support questions answered through a live chat versus other channels. This isn’t that surprising. A client won’t be put on hold through a live chat. A record of the chat is important to some clients. One of the biggest reasons a live chat is preferred is that you can chat from anywhere with an internet connection. Instead of waiting to find a private place to make a call, a live chat allows the consumer to chat with a support or sales representative through their mobile device.
A live chat is different than being on the phone or emailing, but that does not mean you can be laissez-faire. Proper English and being cordial still apply through a live chat. Personally, I would never recommend automating your live chat. It’s insulting to the client and they could sit on the phone and listen to a robotic voice instead of hitting keys. It’s this simple: you want your company to be easily accessible to almost anyone. A live chat is a great way to open dialogue. The statistics are there but it naturally makes sense that if you get your questions answered faster, you’ll be more grateful!
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