What is live chat?
Live customer chat empowers businesses to deliver frontline customer service to website visitors on a one-to-one basis. It allows website visitors to get answers to their pre and post-purchase questions, increasing the likelihood of a successful conversion.
For small, growing businesses, live chat is one area where the playing field can be leveled against much larger companies. In this article, we discuss a few solutions to help you implement live chat and provide the real-time customer support your visitors are seeking.
Customer service benefits of great live chat
The most obvious benefit of a well-organized approach for live chat is providing an outlet for visitor questions and issues during their time on your website. This one-to-one conversation allows you to present highly-specific information to someone who may be on the verge of purchasing/signing-up.
In this way, live chat can remove barriers to purchase unlike almost anything else you do online. And, a live chat widget that includes chat transcript records will help you spot trends, allowing for faster and more intentional optimization.
A great first step towards optimizing live chat is picking 3-5 reasons why a customer might use your chat, and then making a tally next to each time that category is used. Even this simple insight will help you start to remove these barriers by taking actions like offering a free return or removing validation steps during account creation.
Live chat can also support customer education efforts. Having a list of your top 10 knowledge base articles handy when operating chat will allow you to redirect visitors to answers you’ve already documented. Not only does this increase your efficiency, but it also provides a consistent (and optimized) answer.
If a customer must provide personal information (PHI or PII) to fix the issue or speak with a more experienced member of the team, having a documented handoff or escalation path will greatly benefit your growing business. With Lucky Orange’s chat tool, operators are able to chat between themselves privately, allowing for efficient decision making. Customers that feel like they’re being handed around blindly is very poor user experience, especially if they enter the situation already frustrated.
Aim for maximum communication clarity, even when issues arise. This will increase the chances of earning or keeping that customer’s business and, more importantly, their trust.
Common live chat issues and solutions
Even with all the potential benefits in mind, some growing businesses have live chat programs that fall flat or are detrimental to their business. In most cases, this is completely avoidable with a bit of planning and communication.
Issue: Live chat is turned on but nobody’s home
Always have an immediate autoresponse to chats. If your chat solution allows, have different responses ready for when live chat agents are available and during off-hours. After your business hours, ensure you set clear customer expectations and communication paths. Since the visitor likely will be gone from your site the next day, offering an away form to still capture their message is a great option.
Issue: Not using proactive chats
Not every site visitor who has an issue or question is going to initiate a chat session. Depending on the amount of time you have to field more chat sessions, consider setting up auto-invite rules. This could include someone being on your checkout page for longer than 30 seconds, reading more than two knowledge base articles or anything that may indicate a stalled attempt at purchasing your product.
With an auto-invite rule, a user who meets your criteria will receive a message such as, “it looks like you’re trying to check out. How can we help?” Be careful with both your trigger rules and language to avoid coming off as invasive or creepy. This is a great place to A/B test copy variations.
Issue: Providing inconsistent answers
If you’ve ever engaged in a conversation with someone from a major brand more than once, you’ll likely notice the repetition of phrases throughout the entirety of the interaction. This is all part of providing a consistent customer experience. Even writing out a few standard copy pieces can increase the quality of your interactions:
- Greeting: “Thanks for your message, let me take a look.”
- Conclusion: “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” “Have a wonderful day.”
- Escalation: “To best assist you, we recommend you call our customer support at XXX-XXX-XXXX”.
- Help docs link: “Here’s a related article that may assist you: …”
A simple way to set this up is through Lucky Orange’s canned responses feature.
Doing this will help you scale your operation as needed, provide return customers with confidence in your brand and guide new customers through your funnel in a more predictable manner. Looking through chat transcripts will help you spot areas where conversations become inconsistent.
Issue: Not calculating ROI for your chat efforts
Calculating return on investment (ROI) for marketing efforts can often prove difficult. To measure the ROI of your live chat program, we recommend using a combination of objective and subjective data.
Using Lucky Orange’s custom data API, you can measure the conversion rate for sessions that used chat. Also, you can see visitor recordings for sessions automatically tagged as having used chat. This will allow you to see what happens before and after a chat session.
Live chat can be a highly effective way to break down roadblocks for your visitors both reactively and proactively. Using this direct customer interaction wisely can help you learn more about your visitors, their struggles and changes you can make to improve their experience.