If you’re looking to refine your business’ online presence and improve customer service, I suggest you consider adding “live chat” software to your website. While many consider chat software to fall under the “customer support” category, the benefits of directly engaging visitors can reap benefits that extend well beyond answering their basic FAQs. The human interaction of live chats also gives customers the sense that a company representative is assisting them personally, similar to a one-on-one consultation. On top of that consider these measurable benefits of adding live chat to your site:
1. Live chat software supports increases in conversion rate
Your website’s conversion rate likely corresponds to the number of visitors who actually make a purchase or leave contact information (through lead generation forms) before leaving the site. Industry experts have maintained that a good conversion rate is between 2.5 and 3 percent for purchases while for lead generation, conversion rate should hover between 10 to 15 percent. So how can you benefit your conversion rates through live chat?
According to Forrester Research, nearly 45% of those who regularly purchase online items want assistance from someone who is real, live and instantly available. Visitors wishing to buy something but encountering problems without access to immediate help will almost guarantee the loss of a conversion. Other studies investigating the benefits provided by live chat software include one conducted by eMarketer that found close to 65% of online shoppers were likely to visit websites incorporating live chat software than sites that only offered email support or "1-800" number assistance.
2. Stop customers from abandoning transactions due to emergent issues
Patience is not a virtue of most online shoppers. The modern online shopper expects an experience that is convenient, quick, and unobtrusive; all this with the expectation that, if they want, they can get answers to their questions and concerns. Consequently, if they hit obstacles that cannot be resolved quickly, it is likely that they will abandon their shopping cart and simply find another website that offers the product or service they want.
According to surveys examining the efficacy of live chat software, the same people who left a shopping cart full of merchandise on sites that had no real-time customer service representatives deliberately searched for sites that sold what they needed but with the added advantage of live chat support.
3. Live chat software can eliminate unnecessary overhead expenditures
You don't need to hire new staff to manage chat support on your website. Who knows your business better than those who are already developing and maintaining it? So use your current team to be on chat with your customers.
Owners of eCommerce sites using live chat software can cut back on expenses by having employees handle several chats simultaneously while also performing their necessary job functions. In fact, businesses opting to integrate live chat software into their website not only report having more money to allocate to monthly budgets but also say that it streamlines business operations involving customer and B2B relationships.
4. Conversion rates and referral sales skyrocket for websites with live chat software
The best live chat software benefits result in increases of conversion rates, relevant ROI gains, and the rapid growth of a loyal, satisfied client base. Live chat software also helps develop a company's reputation as an accommodating and personable site with which to do business while encouraging returning customers to share the site with their network of friends and family.
5. Websites with live chat have an edge on their competition
If your business can’t provide answers to relevant questions quickly, you are likely to miss out on big business. You may have a support phone number to call but that number is usually subject to business hours. Additionally, when customers try to call these 1-800 numbers, they are either put on hold or sent through a set of automated instructions that involves pushing "1" for this, "2" for that and an inflexible, inadaptable list of categories.
A company with the capability and flexibility to field direct and specific questions gains more than a box for customers to complain. You can provide answers where a customer may have found none previously, giving you a potentially unique value to this client. Through this interactive approach, rather than passively supporting customers through an FAQ page alone, live chat permits a 1 to 1, unmediated stream of sticking points, bugs, or areas for clarification. You may even get suggestions for improvement through these chats!
6. Live chat software is easy to use and comes with customizable features
Installation of a live chat software package is simple and requires your site admin to simply add a few bits of code to your web page. Features of the best chat software available include proactive chat capability, customizable interface and chat buttons, security enhancements and emailing of all chat transcripts. We will discuss more specific features in the section below.
At this point you should be sold on adding live chat to your current support system but in case you are looking for a specific feature, here is some of the best live chat software:
Choosing a live chat package for your business
Here is a list of 5 of the best live chat software options:
“Make Customers Happy, One Chat at a Time”
Pricing: $15 - $219 / Month paid annually - based on # of operators
- In-browser chat
- Targeted chat rules
- CRM & help desk integrations
With Olark, management of customer relationships is facilitated using Olark’s live chart plus CRM integrations such as Highrise, Zendesk, Salesforce or Desk.com. In addition, you will be able to see who is visiting your site, their location and what items they are searching on your site. Different themes are also available from which to choose with optional custom CSS. Opt for a pop-up widget or a click-to-chat icon depending on your preference.
“The Fastest Way to Reach Customers”
Pricing: $36 - $59 per seat (operator) / Month
- Customer monitoring
- Mobile Support
- Social Media Integrations
- Many more - full list here
One fairly unique benefit of using Live Chat software include receiving a chat "grade" following completion of a chat with customer to help improve quality of customer interaction. Additionally, the elimination of long wait times for customers prone to abandoning their shopping cart if inconvenienced and the ability to chat with customers on a mobile device, desktop computer or laptop and a 30-day free trial for first time chat software users make it a solid choice.
“We Humanize the Web”
Pricing: $64 - $473 / month – unlimited agents – pricing based on customer interactions
- Complete CRM Integration
- LiveEngage customer intelligence back-end
- Real-time reporting
- Many different ways to engage customers (banners, popups, etc)
Exceed your goals with LiveEngage; a unique, live chat software that provides your business with a complete intelligence and engagement solution. In addition LiveEngage has expert chat program managers to assist businesses at every stage of implementing and optimizing the LiveEngage chat software. Ask about LiveEngage's Pay-for-Performance managed services to find out why websites depending on LiveEngage experience increased conversion rates and significant visitor engagement.
“The Perfect Fit: Right Features, Right Price, for Any Sized Site”
Pricing: $599 per agent / year (other price plans available)
- Active browser sharing
- Searchable “canned” messages (pre-made)
- Many, many more: view list here.
Chose BoldChat Pro, BoldChat Premium and BoldChat Enterprise to accommodate deployment needs of your website and provide new and existing customers with an exceptional online live chat experience. BoldChat benefits include web-based chat reporting, SMS/Twitter/email management and active browser sharing with form fill. BoldChat also has an iPhone app as well as real-time visitor history, proactive invitation, post-chat surveys and dozens of other versatile, individual features.
Pricing: $29 - $97 for 2 operators / month + $10 - $30 per agent / month for extra agents
- Live site monitor
- Integrations and API
- Full branding capability
Fully hosted in real-time with click-to-call features facilitating personalized engagements with customers that naturally leads to more completed sales, Website Alive offers 24/7 phone and chat (Alive Concierge) services staffed by dedicated personnel who provide meaningful and informational conversation with your clients. Easy and fast to instill without the difficult learning curves associated with other live chat software, Website Alive provides a 60-day guarantee, a "pay for what you use" contract that allows site owners to upgrade or downgrade as needed and all the assistance you need to help your website thrive in the highly competitive world of eCommerce.
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