Over the past year or so, live chat has become an increasingly popular technology to implement on websites. The goal is that someone who has a question will see the chat box appearing on every page, click it and ask their question so that you can easily lock them in.
Why use live chat?
As I alluded in the beginning, live chats do generally increase conversion rates as you are able to quickly and personally field questions from visitors while they are in a “hot” state. That is, if they do decide to contact you via a form, they don’t have the same passionate interest in the service that they might have had when they initially were browsing the page.
Opinions are split whether it has clear effects on conversion, but most agree that in the perspective of a complete sales funnel, it helps drive the velocity.
Make sure it is staffed
Having a live chat only makes sense if you and your company are able to properly staff a lot. The key to the live chat is that you are available and respond quickly, otherwise a contact form would be just as effective. The visitor expects quick but still great and friendly responses.
Don’t expect to see results from your live chat if you aren’t around a lot or talk a lot with your prospective customers. That’s the only way it is going to work.
Make your chat unobtrusive
You need to test different ways of having your chat there. Some implementations force a chat on a user after a while and that may well work for some scenarios. Being able to automatically try and initiate a chat with a visitor that goes through some kind of flow on your site is a great feature and could work wonders.
Doing it too much or too soon however will come across as pushy and decrease the visitors browsing experience and in turn your reputation with the visitor.
Be friendly and knowledgable
Your chat is only as good as the worst operator. Make sure you are always friendly, extra friendly even. Written communication is always harder than face to face and in a chat context perhaps even more so than in an email context. Go out of your way for the visitor and you’ll see the effects of a chat quickly.
Use it for the right service and site
Some sites and services really aren’t a good fit for a live chat. If you sell some kind of standardized product or service and appeal to a general audience, then absolutely, a live chat will probably be great for you. On the other hand, if you sell more niche solutions or expensive services, then this is perhaps not the customer acquisition flow for you. It’s simply not the way you purchase things in some sectors and that’s important to be aware of.
What are some live chat tools to try?
One of the most popular ones is Olark, which we are experimenting on a few of our subsidiaries’ websites. It’s a well made system with many integrations and features at a fair price point. Definitely check it out.
Overall, Tawk.to really impressed me with its system and the way it handles multiple sites under one account. Even if it weren’t free (which it is, and is absolutely awesome) it would still have been a nice contender to Olark, were it not for the loading times on the site, which sadly add quite a bit. It’s still worth checking out though. With loading times, your milage may vary depending on your general audience proximity to the servers.