Offering customer service via live chat is critical, allowing your company to connect with customers and respond to their needs right away. But with a live chat feature, customer service agents can do more than just resolve customer issues - they can also drive qualified leads and sales. Customer service agents on can convert casual website visitors to customers/qualified leads, chatting with customers live in real time via a chat widget when they are considering making a purchase. And great live chat shows potential buyers that you offer great customer service - often a key ingredient in a customer’s purchasing decision.
According to Forrester, website visitors who use chat are nearly three times as likely to convert - and they’ll spend 60 percent more. In fact, 44 percent of consumers say the ability to get questions answered by it is one of the most important features of a website.
Whether you’re a e-commerce company looking to convert clicks into customers/qualified leads, or a software company trying to promote new features to users, you can drive sales with live chat in a few key ways. We’ll outline the do’s and don’ts of using live chat so you can attract new customers and turn those website chats into sales.
1. DO respond immediately to queries.
When you use it, responding quickly and professionally is key. Customers expect accurate answers right away in live chat, and it’s up to you to meet their expectations. Implementing the right live chat software is important in being able to answer customers in real time. Having a chat widget present throughout your site is important as well.
If you don’t respond immediately, or leave the chat idle, you’re inviting your customers to open a new tab and explore your competitor’s websites for other options, and potentially better customer service with a live chat feature. Ideally, we recommend responding to live chat conversations in 30 seconds or less.
2. DON’T focus on making a hard sell.
It isn’t about making a hard sell - it’s about providing incredible customer service. Look at it as a way to connect directly to customers in real time and build positive relationship that could lead to sales down the line.
A study by the Temkin Group found that customers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that they perceive as providing excellent customer service. Using it to create a great experience for users can help you drive sales in a way that feels natural and organic, rather than forced.
3. DON’T replace humans with chatbots.
Chatbots, also known as automated bots, may help you save on labor costs, but they’re a poor substitute for a real person. Chatbots, even those that claim to use artificial intelligence, are not good enough yet to answer most customer queries.
At best, they’ll send customers’ links to relevant knowledge base articles. But chances are, the customer already searched your knowledge base or used Google to try to answer their own question. These days, anyone contacting customer support probably has a complex question that can’t be answered by a bot.
If you decide to use a chatbot, make sure it the live chat software offers the option to transfer immediately to a human agent for live chat conversations. For example, you may have a chatbot that responds to a chat query with a simple, clear welcome message and then transfers the customer to an agent so they can get a more specific, personal answer. Customers respond best to the human touch of chatting to a real person who can answer their questions in real time.
4. DO use your chatbox to drive sales even when your team is offline.
You don’t have to offer 24/7 chat support to customers, especially if you know customers are going to be online during specific times of day. But even if your team is offline, it can still provide you with an opportunity to make a sale and qualify leads.
Create an offline message in your live chat software that appears whenever a customer is online and your team isn’t. The message should tell customers your team office hours to answer questions right and provide links to key content on your site to drive traffic. You can also offer customers the opportunity to email you, or customer service, directly in the chatbox and give customers the option of signing up for your newsletter so they stay in the loop. You can establish a ticketing system internally as well that will ensure all those chat questions after hours are answered in a timely manner.
This approach ensures your customers still get value out of the chatbox and receive excellent customer service, even when you’re operating offline.
Used correctly, live chat can be an amazing tool for companies to engage new website visitors and maintain their existing customer base. By responding immediately to chat queries, using live chat for more than just qualified leads, and approaching chatbots with caution, you can reap the benefits, not just for serving your existing customers but also for driving sales.
If you want to learn more about scaling customer support, download our e-book "Scaling Customer Support for Your Growing Business".
Illustration by Rhea Avanceña