Live chat for business is still seen as a customer support vs. customer nurturing tool. But what most businesses don’t realize is that it has also evolved to become a tool to help you move customers from the awareness stage of the customer journey to become eventual advocates.
With live chat, you don’t have to be reactive and wait for customers to reach out with a question to engage them. You can reach out first and encourage them to convert and buy.
We’ve identified three ways to bring more cohesion to live chat for business conversations that can improve conversion rates:
- Shorten first response time
- Remove team silos
- Customize messaging
Let’s discuss each of these in detail.
Shorten first response time and set expectations
A recent study shows that 42% of people prefer live chat because they don’t have to wait on hold.
Imagine a customer walking up to a salesperson in a store, asking a question and then waiting several minutes in awkward silence for an answer. Chances are, the customer will go and find someone else to help them, or worse, leave the store and take their business elsewhere.
This is what’s wrong with companies that don’t realize the importance of maintaining a quick first response time. Customers are forced to wait several minutes to get an answer, which often results in drop-offs. To convert as many people as possible, it’s critical that your response time is as quick as possible and meets customer expectations.Setting the right expectation for response builds trust and makes it more likely for customers to go through the entire purchase cycle. Click To Tweet
The expectation of an immediate response poses one major problem though: some questions can be answered quicker than others. But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise with longer response time. Stick to keeping short response time consistent by acknowledging customers for queries that might take a longer turnaround time. You can configure a message in your live chat widget which says something like “We normally respond within 30 minutes.”
Thirty minutes might seem like a long time to wait but surprisingly, customers are willing to wait—as long as they know what to expect and they’re getting personalized service.
By setting a response time expectation, the customer isn’t sitting around waiting for an answer. Their expectation switches from a few seconds to a few minutes because they know that they’re guaranteed an answer to their problem. Having this kind of acknowledgment builds trust and makes it more likely for customers to go through the entire purchase cycle once they have more information.
Remove live chat silos to improve customer experience
The customer journey flows from awareness to advocacy. Along each step of the journey, you’re learning more about your audience and using that information to convert leads to customers.
When it comes to the traditional live chat for business, the problem is that it acts as a silo that operates separately from other parts of the company. Leads have to enter their names and email addresses before submitting a question every time. None of the data you’ve been collecting as you nurture each new lead is reflected in the chat conversation. This experience is broken, riddled with blind spots, and inconvenient even on the business side.
But a modern live chat for business has changed things around. Throughout the customer journey, it employs a more intuitive way to capture visitors’ information and display the chat history every time the customers comes back to your websites. So the next time the customers comes back with a new query, the chat agents have a substantial information on the customer’s personal details, purchase history, past preference, etc. It doesn’t look at live chat just as a way to start conversations, but as a tool to gather and record customer information in an explicit yet engaging way.
For example, you can deploy a chatbot with a friendly personality to kick in before a prospect gets around to talk to a human agent. The chatbot can engage with first-time visitors, gather their email addresses, invite them to join an upcoming product webinar, or share a product overview video within the chat widget. You can also trigger contextual messages based on certain events or the user behavior on your website:
You can automate the email addresses to your CRM tool and prospect your leads after the chat has ended. Or, you can kickstart a drip campaign to ensure the customer needs are still being met, share product updates and additional resources, or to offer timely help during the nurturing period.
For people who spend a lot of time on your product pages, offer a demo call with a sales rep. For people even further along in the customer journey—like in the advocacy stage—use live chat to invite them to read your blog or to download your latest e-book. You can even introduce special offers or upsell as a way to retain this group.
Learnmetrics, a data platform for education professionals, offers pre-configured Message Channels to help customers navigate to the right support team. This also helps Learnmetrics segment their customers and track them in the customer journey. For example, users can choose to ask for help with general information, careers at Learnmetrics, specific support questions, or demo requests.
Customizing your live chat welcome message to show that you recognize your customers helps you reinforce that they’ve made the right decision to buy your product. This, in turn, keeps them moving further along the customer journey.
Remember that the point is to keep communication ongoing and dynamic to accommodate where people are in the customer journey.
Use customized messages to engage your audience
When people first land on a web page with live chat, the first thing they see is a pop-up with a generic question like, “How can we help?” Customers already know that there’s always someone available to help so instead, use the chat message as an opportunity to better engage customers and move them further along the customer journey.Customizing your live chat welcome message to show that you recognize your customers helps you reinforce that they've made the right decision to buy your product. Click To Tweet
One way to do this is to personalize the messages people see when they visit your website. For example, Freshchat integrates with Clearbit Reveal to fetch user data so that you can see their name, contact information, work profile, social handles, and so on.
You can use this information to customize messages based on a visitor’s profile. For example, if you are a B2B company, mention a user’s company name in the message to make it relatable. If you are an e-commerce company, address them by their first name or invite them to follow you on the social media they are active in. Adbeat, an advertising research tool, does something similar to enrich customer experience. When users log on to their website, they greet their prospects by their first name. Not only does Adbeat use customer names in their live chat, but they also allow customers to see previous chats.
Another approach is to greet users based on what they’ve done in the past. For example, if you’re an e-commerce retailer, use your customers’ purchase history data to engage with them so as to ease their customer journey.
For your part, use previous chats to spot trends in the types of questions customers ask, then proactively share relevant information with them. For instance, if customers are confused about how a new feature works, send them an email with an explainer video attached. This will help you improve the customer experience because the information is timely and useful.
To figure out what custom messages to use in your live chat, work closely with your marketing team. If there’s a special offer that’s relevant to a segment of your audience—based on what Clearbit shows you—use chat as an opportunity to entice customers who are closer to purchasing your products.
Another option is to check to see where the majority of traffic spends time on your site. If that’s your product page, then change the live chat message to highlight a key product feature or benefit. The better you know your audience, the higher your chances of finding aspects of your product to showcase in live chat. Catering to specific needs and interests helps encourage people to buy and tell other people about you.
Live chat for business is a game changer
As we move further into the digital age, the way we interact with and market to customers continues to evolve. Everything is dynamic, personalized, and contextual—and there is no reason why live chat for business should be any different. By managing first response time, removing silos, and customizing communication, there are more options for your business to convert more leads into being your customers and build lasting relationships with them.
The good news is—customers prefer live chat than any other form of support channels. Forty-four percent of online shoppers consider live chat as a must-have feature for e-commerce. They like the convenience of getting information right when they need it without having to leave the site.Manage first response time, remove silos, and customize your live chat conversations to convert more leads into customers and to build lasting relationships with them. Click To Tweet
Learn about your audience and use live chat for business to not only support customers but also engage more meaningfully with them as they make their way through the customer journey.
Cover illustration by Karthikeyan Ganesh