Why should you use live chat? We are here to tell you that there is one obvious reason and nine surprising ones…
#1 – The easy one…better results from people who don’t want to talk on the phone
This is kind of the obvious one. This one kind of has its own brochure. Ask people you know and pay attention to their age, “If you have a question about something online… Would you call?”
The common responses are:
- “No… I don’t want to wait.”
- “No… I’m at the office and can’t talk privately”
- “No… I just don’t want to talk to anybody right now, I’m only browsing.”
- “No… I just have a quick question and don’t want to get wrapped up in a sales pitch.”
If you follow up with the question, “Would you email?”
- “No… I don’t have time for that, I want to know now.”
- “No… My email is already full and I don’t want to accidentally subscribe to some list.”
- “No… I don’t want to go look for the contact form and give them my private information.”
Finally, “Would you chat?”
- “Yes… It’s easy, immediate, on my terms, with no commitment.”
#2 – More sales…from people who don’t want to chat
We rolled out live chat for an ecommerce company specializing in aftermarket automotive parts. The existing sales team was already using phone and email and doing a good job. As an established company with its roots in catalog business, customer service is truly an important part of this operation and not simply a necessary evil. The company takes pride in this. After some initial reluctance about live chat, we rolled out a trial.
An unexpected result showed up. One of the sales team members – who performs very well on the phone – had elected to initiate chats with customers collectively. This is a feature called proactive chat that was deliberately left enabled. This particular individual used the feature so much, in fact, that he essentially was a spike on the graphics, individually responsible for the vast majority of chats.
We wondered and worried… Was he annoying customers?
Looking at the data, he was driving up conversion rate dramatically. On balance, we knew this was a good thing in the short-term, overall. But what about the people that were “pinged” that did not respond? Was that subset annoyed?
On the contrary we found that people who were invited into a chat, but decided not to, were still markedly more likely to convert than those that were left alone.
People like to know that there is somebody on the other end. This is a real company, with real humans.
#3 – Improving internal processes
Rolling out live chat for an expensive B2B service was a tough sell. These people are phone-oriented, older, and spending a lot of money. These were not “consumers” in the typical sense. While the rollout paid for itself in direct terms (increased business well over cost to roll out), it is the unexpected results here that are most interesting.
The existing team answering the phones were in several categories, technical support, sales, and general. The technical support people are true engineers and migrating to a platform where recorded communication highlighted some deficiencies in customer handling that were probably going under the radar on the phone (or to be fair were not happening on the phone). We did an audit of the content of live chat conversations and made some direct operational suggestions about protocols for the team that improved customer handling and customer follow-up (don’t abandon your customers).
#4 – Saving money, totally unrelated to sales
For a B2B client, the chat teams include technical support, customer service, and sales. Engineers are expensive and those are the people who are staffing technical support. When they are on the phone, they are supporting exactly one customer from the time they pick up the phone until the time they hang up the phone, including pleasantries and “add-on” questions that the customer may have. When they answer the same questions via chat, communication is asynchronous and they may be able to do other things in the intervening moments or support multiple inquiries at once. Also, transferring from one team member or team to another is much easier. This is all money saved.
#5 – Blog and content topics
Content is king. A lot of clients know the business well but don’t know what to write about or even how to write about it. There’s a big difference between knowing your business and knowing how to talk about your business in print. One of the ways we have consistently been able to mine live chat to develop value is to review the questions that customers ask and turn them into blog posts, social media posts, and even pages for the site if it is important enough.
#6 – Website is broken / not quite right / messaging is off
The following three sections could arguably be considered one – feedback. However, since we have experienced all three of these independently, we wanted to present them independently. Have you had any of these issues?
#7 – Website issues
If people come across an issue with the website, what are they to do? Often times they just leave. Occasionally, if you’re very lucky, they will send you a note and tell you about it. They almost certainly won’t bother to phone you just to do you the favor of letting you know something is wrong. However, live chat is different. The barrier is low. People that don’t want to talk or email will often still be willing to do a quick chat. Getting feedback about something broken on a website much sooner is direct value.
#8 – Website conversion improvements
When it comes to the more subtle situation of something that isn’t broken but also isn’t working very well, you could go a long time without knowing something is off. (Unless you happen to be testing exactly that thing and your test is set up and monitored.) Or someone may send you a chat and let you know. But “letting you know” does not have to be an explicit fix this message but may also simply take the form of uncertainty or question that a minor website design can fix.
#9 – Messaging/language
You offer services. But what if the customer doesn’t see the service that they need? Or what if they simply use different words to describe it? Again, with live chat the barrier is low and they may simply ask. Opportunity salvaged.
#10 – PPC
Savvy readers may extrapolate this last point from the one above but here are some specific ways that we have been able to improve clients PPC based on live chat:
- Explicitly adding ad copy and site links that indicate live chat support is available
- Editing ad copy and keywords based on learnings from live chat conversations
In one case study, LiveChat users made up 8.24% of sessions but made up 60.73% of checkouts. 5.69% of LiveChat users converted vs 0.83% of non-users. Serious shoppers are more likely to respond to chat, which may skew the data favorably. However, only 40 chats were started by customers in this time frame and 237 were proactively initiated by customer service agents. It is very likely that a large portion of LiveChat user conversions were customer service agent initiated.
Check out our expert profile on LiveChat!