When people are browsing your website, they might have questions they want to ask without having to call or email someone at your firm. Live chat can help bridge that gap, offering quick, convenient and direct responses that help to convert your users into leads.
It’s also a great way for users to learn about your service so they feel ready to take their next step in the buying process.
According to a survey by Invesp, 73% of customers feel that live chat is the most satisfying way to communicate with a business, and adding it to a website typically results in a 20% increase in conversion rates.
Our own live chat partners, Moneypenny, have found that 41% of chats through their platform result in a new enquiry.
But what is live chat, how does it work, and how can you make the most of it?
How does live chat work?
You’ve probably encountered a live chat tool before – the little pop-up on the bottom right corner of your screen when you visit a new website. It usually asks a question, like “how can I help you today?”.
These tools can usually be embedded as a widget on your website, which you can customise to match your brand. Once a user clicks on the chat widget and enters their query, they’ll be connected with an agent who can respond to them in real-time.
Live chat is different to a chatbot, which mimics human conversations using automated responses. With live chat, your users can speak directly to a human representative of your company, who can answer their questions and offer support. (Sometimes, a chat tool will use automated responses to establish the nature of the query before directing users to a real person for more information.)
These representatives might be in-house staff at your firm, or they could be external agents provided via a managed live chat service. You can give those agents a script to follow, and monitor their conversations with users through a dashboard.
Benefits of live chat
The human touch
People trust advice and guidance from other people – and that hasn’t changed in the era of digital marketing.
Even though AI-powered chatbots can offer a quick response to common questions, users with more complex requirements will generally appreciate being able to speak to a human.
Speaking to a real person can, therefore, help to build users’ trust in your brand, and over time encourage them to buy your service.
“Live chat can significantly strengthen the communications toolkit and transform accountants’ relationships with both prospects and clients,”
says Louise Walpole, head of the finance sector at Moneypenny.
“The technology improves website engagement by 600% and helps to stimulate conversations that turn web visitors into potential clients. It also performs as a helpful website concierge to cut out the noise of a busy, content-heavy site and direct visitors directly to the pages they need. This saves visitors time and reduces the risk of them getting frustrated if they can’t find what they want and taking valuable potential business elsewhere.”
These days, we’re all used to instant communication with our friends and family through online messaging. Many people expect the same immediacy from the businesses they interact with.
“Part of the value of live chat is that it can stimulate engagement from people who wouldn’t ordinarily pick up the phone – be that because they haven’t got time, they’re not committed to that level of engagement, or they simply prefer other more text-based and immediate channels,”
“The ability to ask questions and engage with a person in real time delivers immense value as it makes a practice’s commitment to client care and accessibility demonstrable. Vitally, the technology also affords the brands the ability to be available outside of the traditional 9-5 – 37% of our chats occur outside traditional working hours.”
Through live chat, your users will receive a quick response and can follow up right away – no tedious back-and-forth over email or waiting on the phone.
Again, this makes their experience smoother, making it more likely they will progress to the next stage of the buying process.
Track behaviour and shape your content
As well as making things easier for your users, live chat offers you the benefit of insights into your audience’s behaviour.
You can track the page a user was on when they selected the live chat option, for instance, giving you a better picture of how someone might move through your website and when they have questions.
Then, based on the queries you get through live chat, you might be able to identify any gaps in your content and fix them. That might mean adding extra information to an existing page, rephrasing information to make it clearer, or building a brand new page to address your users’ questions.
Tips for using live chat
Like any tool on your website, it’s important to make sure you’re using live chat the right way and applying best practices to make the most of it.
- Make sure you have enough traffic. Live chat works best if you have enough website visitors to make hosting it worthwhile; we’d recommend at least 1,500 visitors per month.
- Customise the script to match your tone of voice. The client experience of your brand should feel seamless. If you’re using a managed service with external agents responding to queries, make sure to create a script that sounds the same as the rest of your brand.
- Adjust the script over time. Based on what you find by tracking and monitoring live chat conversations on your site, you can continue to update the script. This can help you to continually improve the chat service while making sure it stays accurate to your business.
- Use it alongside other communication channels. Live chat is a useful tool, but it’s not enough on its own to serve all your client communication needs. Offer website users multiple ways to get in touch with your team, and aim to build a consistent multi-channel experience.