Live chat: rescuing the disconnected user
Breathing live, one-on-one service into an increasingly disconnected user experience – and growing leads by 40% whilst you’re at it!
At the root of every search there is a question. A pain point of some sort.
And, as we recur to our favourite instant remedy and take a deep-dive into the ocean-size waters of the web, more often than not, instead of answers a hundred new questions arise with the pain pounding harder as we continue to dig and shovel through countless tabs and pages.
With web content multiplying and evolving so much faster than the filters delivering it, any ever so ephemeral quest can soon culminate into a disconnected drowning experience: ‘information overload’ generates over 3.5 million results in under 0.5 seconds..
Even with a reasonably devoted search stimulated by an unambiguous intent to invest or spend, tabs immediately start multiplying, virtually exploding in our browser windows. And with a lifetime only to live, abundant may soon become excessive and turn into a pressing, almost nostalgic desire to engage with a human professional, someone who naturally understands our individual needs and objectives and within minutes – at most – can point us in the right direction.
Where there’s disease, there’s opportunity
Have you ever found yourself on the brink of ‘internet rage’ stimulated by information overload? Don’t take it personal. It’s a widespread and expanding phenomenon. But where there’s disease, there’s opportunity and hand in hand with this growing frustration another trend is quickly surfacing, this one breathing instantaneous, real-time personalized service and answers into the disconnected silence of tab digging:
Have a question? Need help? Chat with us!
Yes, sir! No wonder, that according to recent studies professional live chat is gaining massive popularity online and increasing web convergence by 40% when deployed professionally (1).
Dedicated customer service chat applications have been around for a while, with the first launched as early as 1998 by LivePerson. Another 15 years though until e-commerce progressed into the multi-gazillion market space we now know and service or sales chats to become mainstream. Today, live chats come with a myriad of data collection and service tools all geared towards enhancing response efficiency, cutting customer service costs and easing the user experience into the sales funnel.
In spite of convincing benefits, many businesses are still hesitant to join the trend
Among the most commonly cited enterprise benefits of live chat services are an accelerated sales cycle, on the spot troubleshooting and answering to client inquiries, savings on customer care communication, enhanced positive and tangible brand impression, recovery of visitors before they leave a transaction, increase of up and cross-sell opportunities, room for multi-tasking while troubleshooting without compromising the customer experience.
However, a study recently conducted by TELUS International also shows that many businesses are still hesitant to join the trend. There is a perception that the operating costs of such systems are prohibitive and only viable for the big and mighty.
3 good reasons why SME’s and Startups have a good shot at succeeding with live chat applications
At PAGE ONE, we have specialized in the particular online marketing needs of a growing SME and Start-up market, and beg to differ with the widespread but unqualified perception above. We herewith give you 3 good reasons why smaller businesses and start-ups can take advantage of the convergence boosting benefits of live chat:
- Good chat software to get you started is not expensive, many applications are even free
There are is an abundance of affordable and professional solutions out there many costing less than 20 USD a month. Good free applications are also available. They are easy to install and operate without compromising on key features such as multiple session handling, canned (pre-written) responses, chat histories and send email transcript options. And what’s more, most of them are mobile friendly, allowing your staff to chat on the go and your clients to engage with your business at amply reduced costs.
- Who says you need to be available 24/7?
Contrary to many opinions 24/7 availability at your chat service desk is not a must. If there is one golden rule for successful customer service, it’s nourishing the endeavor to exceed the expectations of your clients – and not to raise false ones. With a clear indication of your availability schedule, you may restrict service hours without harvesting customer resentment. And, for all the night owls out there, most free applications come with a ‘leave a message while we’re gone’ option. Just be sure to answer those night owl requests without delay when opening shop the next day. A chat service available during business hours is not prohibitive to the exercise altogether and chances are you will capture a great majority of your convergence opportunities in this time frame. A lot more than if you had not availed the service to start with.
- Keeping your service promise comes naturally to SME’s and Start-Ups
A customer service chat is the promise of immediate help. While we know it’s important to not keep visitors waiting we here stress the help component, i.e. being able to respond to your visitors’ inquiries with professional advice here and now. If you’re an SME or start-up, it’s very likely that everyone in your business is up-to-date with your services and products and able to deliver that promise. You can elaborate chat shifts to alleviate pressure among your staff.
Invest into a preparatory training phase to get everyone on board and soon you’ll be ready to offer that extra service that will set you apart.
A few things to ponder before you hit the road:
Be prepared – understand the bottlenecks users face when dealing with your products and services. Compile your answers in a FAQ document readily available to both your chat agents and clients alike. FAQs are likely to be the questions arising on your chat window. Set up a routine for collecting and updating your FAQs regularly.
Learn your chat etiquette:
Be professional, brief, concise and most of all stay friendly – as you would naturally do when you handle your clients. Courtesy never goes out of style and a long way in building good relationships and communication. A few tips and tricks can make your sessions a fulfilling experience for both sides of the screen. Setup canned introductions and snippets for recurring interactions that match your brand experience. These snippets will help improve your response time while providing a pleasant flow to your client service experience – for your chat agents and clients. What goes around, comes around.
Training – test the acid:
Now that your chat etiquette is well branded and you’re reciting your FAQs in the depth of your dreams you are now ready to get started. But wait. Not live – go through a few test runs first. Get the devil’s advocate on board to make your chat experience bullet proof. Iron out the mishaps and then go live.
Getting better as you go:
Chat apps today provide you with ample data to help you learn from your experience. Use this opportunity regularly. Schedule regular reviews and a strategy to browse the information availed.
Get on track now –the time is right:
If you want to gain an edge on the competition, now is the time to get started. According to latest statistics, if you’re an SME or Start-Up chances are that your competition hasn’t picked up this valuable convergence asset yet. Capitalize on this competitive edge now before the gap closes. Chat is here to stay and in future will be a key must have feature in order to stay competitive!
Do you need the devil’s advocate?
Check out our Live Chat Rookie Workshop
PAGE ONE has developed an affordable 4-day live chat workshop especially designed for the needs of SME’s and Start-Ups. We understand your acrobatic skills and capacity to efficiently juggle multiple hats. Let us take the customer service one out of the air for you and get your chat help desk up and running in 4 days only.
Our Live Chat Rookie workshop includes everything you need to get started:
Website & brand evaluation, integration of free software to your website (ahead of workshop),
Establishment of your chat brand
Development of your FAQ inventory and update routine
Development of your canned responses, recurring interactions and chat etiquette (this is great team building exercise!)
Development of chat schedules
2 week testing with your dedicated chat agents
Test run evaluation with your staff – reporting
3 months support and scale up strategy
See details and pricing…
Not convinced yet? Chat with us!
Or dive into some facts & figures below on how live chat plugins can dramatically change the way people interact with your site and business.
Facts & Figures: Why live chat is key to your digital marketing strategy
77% percent of chat users agreed that the new interaction method positively influenced their attitude about the retailer; (3) and 38% stated they purchased from a website as a direct result of their chat session. (5)
While un-optimized sites – across all industries – convert at 2%-10% on average, availing live chat has shown to increase this average by 40% and more (1).
90% of those who have used chat consider it helpful (higher than any other form of customer support such as email, telephone, or social media) and a striking 67% percent continue to actively seek chat options after using chat for the first time; (3) Of those who consider chat helpful 79% appreciated the quick response time to their questions, 51% preferred to chat to other contact modalities because it’s less intrusive and allowed them to multi-task while getting support (4)