Live chat. Chances are, you’ve seen it before. If you haven’t, you’re about to see it. Take a look at the bottom right corner of your screen. You’ll see a chat bubble. After a few seconds, an image of a stunning handsome man will appear greeting you with a welcome message. If you click on his face, a chat box will appear and a conversation will begin.
In its simplest form, live chat gives you the ability to hold real-time conversations via chat on your website.
“Does live chat really work?” That’s a question we’ve been swamped with over the last 90 days. Some business owners are chomping at the bit to test it out while others think it’s annoying and downright corny. I’m here to tell you, Bell Media and our clients have experienced a tremendous amount of success with live chat and we highly recommend it. Below are a few reasons why.
Humans don’t like talking to each other.
As silly as it sounds, you know it’s true. In today’s world, voice conversation is on the decline and the majority of communication is now done through texting, chatting, posting, liking, sharing, gramming, snapping and swiping right. Some of you even communicate solely using emojis (what has become of us?). To take it one step further, many of you ignore phone calls from your friends and send them a fake “can’t talk, what’s up” text just so you can avoid talking to them. Clearly, we’re drifting away from the in-person/voice conversations and going more towards conversations that involve mashing letters and numbers on a keyboard.
So, if there’s proof that communication through our digital devices is now the preferred method in which we interact with each other, then it only makes sense that we implement a communication option like live chat on our website.
It’s a Lead Generator
Having live chat on your website is a fantastic way to capture lead information. You can set your chat system up so that a prospect is required to submit their contact information before the chat can begin. This is an easy way to acquire the user’s name, email, phone, business name, etc. The prospect’s information can then be uploaded to your CRM or marketing automation platform to be served a series of lead nurturing emails.
It Makes Prospects Feel Comfortable
All of us can agree that dealing with an overwhelming salesman is a miserable experience. So much, that it’s converted many brick and mortar shoppers to online shoppers. When interacting on the phone or in-person with a salesman, we rarely feel like we have any control of the conversation. Most of us feel pressured and find it difficult to say no to them. In fact, some of you reading this article have made purchases solely due to the fact that you couldn’t build up the courage to say NO.
Live chat provides a more comfortable environment for the prospect because it gives them more control over the conversation. Unlike a phone/in-person conversation with a salesman, the prospect determines the flow of the dialogue. The convo starts and stops at their convenience. They get to ask the questions they want and have adequate time to think of responses to questions asked to them. Not to mention, they can achieve all of this while lying on the couch in their pajamas. The more comfortable the prospect, the more productive the conversation will be.
It’s A Qualifier
Marketers, sales reps and business owners are constantly searching for ways to distinguish the qualified prospects from the unqualified ones. Live chat can certainly assist you with this.
As mentioned above, live chat brings more comfort to the prospect, making them more willing to ask and answer questions. You can ask qualification questions during your chat sessions to determine if the prospect is a legit lead or needs to be flushed out. A few examples of qualifier questions:
Tell me about your company?
What are your challenges?
What are your desired outcomes?
What’s your monthly budget?
What’s your timeframe
How did you hear about us?
Of course, every business will have different qualification questions, but if they can answer a few of the questions above, you should have a strong sense of whether they are qualified or unqualified. If they are indeed qualified, then you can ask to schedule an in-person meeting with them during the chat. Since a healthy dialogue has already taken place, they should be comfortable enough to say “yes” and finally meet in person!
It’s A Deal Saver
For those of you with ecommerce websites, listen up. You know that nothing is more frustrating for you guys than an abandoned cart. Thinking about all of that dinero that could have been yours gives you nightmares. Was the shopper confused on how to check out or did they want additional information on a product? If you have live chat installed on your website, you give the shopper the ability to ask for help and solve their problems. The result is a decrease in abandoned carts and an increase of successful transactions. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
Its Features Are Freakin’ Awesome
Here’s a quick overview of some of the main features of a live chat service.
Mobile & Desktop Apps
Most of the live chat services have both desktop and mobile apps that allow you to field chats from anywhere. I chatted with a prospect during half time of last year’s Iron Bowl game and they closed 3 weeks later. No joke.
Let’s say someone has a question that could be better answered by another employee at your company. Live chat programs allow you to transfer or route prospects to other employees in your company with a click of a button
This feature allows you to send the entire chat transcript to an employee that best suits the subject of the chat. Here’s a Bell Media example:
If a business from Birmingham uses live chat to inquire about a website, we forward the transcript to our Birmingham digital consultant. If a business from Montgomery inquires about social media advertising, we then forward it to our Montgomery digital consultant. This feature will save you time from writing chat summaries and eliminates user error of sending it to the wrong employee.
Don’t want to deal with chats after 5pm or on weekends? No problem. All you have to do is set auto-responders where prospects can leave their contact info and a message so you can follow up with them when you get back into work.
This is my FAVORITE part about live chat. Predictive text allows you to see what the prospect is typing before they hit the send button. This gives you more time to prepare your response. Just make sure they send their message before you reply. Sending a response before they submit their message makes you look like a mind reader and is the quickest way to freak a prospect out.
Live Chat Conclusion
We strongly believe that live chat is an excellent service to add to your website. To recap, it can be used as a lead generator and qualifier. It can help decrease abandoned carts and increase transactions. Most importantly, in a world where the majority of us are uncomfortable dealing with in-person or phone interactions with salesmen, live chat brings a sense of comfort to the prospect.
Thanks for reading and say hey to me via chat!
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