In the arena of digital marketing, business owners focus their efforts on increasing a handful of conversions. Sales, email signups, AD clicks, and video views are among the most sought after.
But actually, any action you want a visitor to take can be treated as a conversion. Conversion is the process of turning a curious visitor to a committed participant, whether the commitment consists of making a purchase or consuming your content.
According to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, making live chat available on your site can boost your conversions by up to 45%, and he shares data and strategies to back it up. Patel notes the average conversion rate is about 2.35%.
A chat study released by ApexChat revealed that live chat can increase online leads by 40%. Patel was able to engineer a 45% increase for one of his clients, but he says anyone can do it.
He calls live chat “instant customer service,” but Patel notes that few businesses use live chat correctly because they don’t know how. If you’re committed to boosting conversions, this article will help you incorporate live chat into your website in a way that will be effective.
Live chat is a customer service tool
Live chat is the preferred form of customer service in terms of satisfaction. eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark surveyed 2,000 consumers to find out which customer service channel pleased them the most.
It turned out that live chat has the highest satisfaction levels, at 73%, followed by email (61%), and phone (44%). Emails can seem to take forever to garner a reply. Phone support users are frustrated by long wait times, being put on hold, and automated answering systems.
Live chat is instant, and it should meet the requirements of any other customer service format you provide. For example, live chat should:
- Ensure customer satisfaction by answering pre-purchase questions, help a customer place an order, or provide support for making a return
- Support an ongoing, positive customer relationship
- Create an empathic and courteous interaction
- Be powered by knowledgeable representatives
- Offer prompt solutions to complaints
- Fully resolve issues or escalate the problem to the right team
- Satisfy the customer’s needs without making them feel the need to call headquarters to speak to the CEO
Most important, live chat should be … live.
Live chat shouldn’t be powered by a bot
Many businesses sense the potential power of offering live chat, but they compromise with software that provides automated responses, otherwise known as a bot. It’s okay when the bot’s job is to gather information to route a customer to the right human representative. It’s just not a good strategy for helping the person.
Chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) would change everything, but despite what’s been reported, AI bots don’t exist. AI is a misunderstood technology. The term “Artificial Intelligence” is being erroneously applied to any computer program that uses machine learning to increase its capacity to respond, but that’s not AI.
Until a chatbot can process incoming information autonomously and identify and respond to nuance, customers will know they’re talking to a machine.
Your customers want live interactions
Live chat is attractive to consumers not because they can type into a magic box on the screen, but because they sense the person at the other end is real. Customers are disappointed when they receive automated replies that don’t address the nuances of their question.
Even the most sophisticated chatbot can only answer questions it’s been programmed to answer. And it’s safe to say, even if a bot could answer questions exactly like a human, the experience would be ruined if customers ever found out they were talking to a robot.
Nicolas Cole from Inc.com interviewed a representative from live chat software company Tagove — a firm whose well-known clients include Citibank and Upwork, among others. “Live chat adds that human touch that can’t be replicated elsewhere,” the company rep said.
“Even though much of the industry is moving toward automation, us included, everyone is hyper-aware of maintaining the human element. Chat software is what builds confidence in a user’s web experience.”
Bots can’t identify or respond to nuance, nor can they read human emotion to deescalate a complaint or deliver above-and-beyond customer service. They can answer simple questions, and a smart bot can hold a longer conversation, but none of them can provide authentic customer service.
If you’re going to use bot-powered software, don’t call it live chat. Doing so will frustrate, confuse, and anger some customers when they realize what’s happening.
Live chat gives customers instant gratification
Immediately available, live customer service reps are essential. In today’s IoT-connected world, consumers expect companies to be available around the clock. A large number of consumers prefer live chat because they don’t want to be put on hold for even a minute.
A chat box should never disrupt the visitor’s experience
Live chat should be noticeable, yet unobtrusive, to visitors. There’s no need to present a live chat box as a popup in a modal window upon a visitor’s arrival.
Not only does this prevent your visitors from seeing your call-to-action, but popups are an intrusion in the digital environment. If a visitor has to close a chat box to get to your content, that increases the likelihood that he or she won’t come back.
Skip the chat box pop up. Place your chat box strategically in the lower right corner of the screen. Remember to allow visitors to minimize the chat box and don’t force it to stay open and cover your content.
Chat agents should be available at all times
Once you’ve committed to making live chat available on your website, you need to manage the availability of chat agents. You may have to outsource to an outside company for the hours your firm is closed, or totally outsource your live chat. That’s up to you.
Make sure the live chat software you choose lets you designate hours of availability so people know when a live chat agent isn’t available.
Live chat should be accessible via mobile devices
There’s no way to avoid the mobile environment we now inhabit. You should have a mobile-friendly website already, but that’s not enough.
Since a majority of people use mobile devices to browse the Internet, it makes sense that 62% of shoppers expect access to live chat from their mobile devices. If you’ve had a live chat feature for a while, you might need to replace it with mobile-compatible software.
Does your web host support live chat?
If you’re unable to install live chat software due to an incompatible hosting environment, contact us to find out how we can help. We offer boutique hosting plans that are tailored to meet the needs of every company. Reach out to discuss how we can accommodate your needs.