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What is Live Chat and Why is it so Important for Your Website?

13 min

Think back to the last time you’ve had to contact customer support. There’s a good chance that you either sent off an email or called a customer support hotline. But there are some real downers to each of these methods.

With email, you likely had to wait days for a response. And phone calls to automated solutions or canned responses delivered by company representatives can be frustrating.

Fortunately, there is a solution to these issues that provides real-time service and promotes a positive customer experience.

It’s called live chat and may be the most underutilized tool businesses have at their disposal.

What is live chat?

Live chat support is an online communication tool that you–or your business–can use to instantly provide support to existing customers, boost customer satisfaction, and maximize customer retention.

Often live chat support will be found by a company’s website visitors as a chat box in lower right hand corner of their site. Live chat software is provided by many different organizations; however, good live chat software integrates seamlessly into the rest of your marketing platform such as the one provided by GetResponse.

But having a live chat support system is more than just a website chat between your customers and support team. You should consider your live chat as an integral part of your customer journey and marketing team strategy.

Sadly though, live chat support is often misused or integrated in a way that dilutes or even negates its effectiveness.

However, when used properly, live chat software can provide major benefits to your customers and overall increase conversions for your company.

Benefits to implementing live chat support on your website

By now, you’ve probably already determined that having a website for your business is a smart way to provide top-notch service to your customers. And as a GetResponse user, you’ll be privy to an Ai-driven website builder integrated with our entire online marketing suite to get the ball rolling.

But how exactly can our live chat support system specifically help you to generate revenue and maximize your customer experience?

Let’s take a look at 10 specific benefits for your website to offer live chat support.

1. Maximize customer satisfaction and retention

Happy customers tend to make for returning customers. One of the best ways to ensure that your clients stay happy is by providing a good quality product or service with stellar customer service.

Live chat provides an excellent avenue for quality service–especially for remote business or online service providers. It effectively makes your business available to your customers at the drop of a hat just through a simple on-page chat option.

And although a similar option can be produced through social media, it doesn’t carry the professional weight of having a chat widget on a dedicated business website.

2. Make collecting customer data easy

Gathering customer data is an essential part of any business. Whether it’s a collection of email addresses or phone numbers, customer profiles are instrumental in building a client base used for all types of other marketing strategies such as email newsletters and promotions.

And live chat can make collecting and recording this data easy. For instance, prior to every chat, perform a quick pre-chat survey. Your customer or lead will generally be more than willing to provide this information.

3. Capture leads otherwise left not gathered

Some of the most quality leads you’ll ever receive as a business are the ones that seek you out first. And if you get a potential customer on live chat inquiring about what your business can do for them…there’s little better than that.

Through live chat, you can start nurturing your leads as soon as you receive them and ask about exactly what it is your customer wants, needs, or desires. Normally, hot-button sales tactics are implemented through tactful inquiries and probing. But with live chat, you’re given a sales point straight away.

Also, live chat can provide another unique angle for gathering leads. Typically, your most interesting features or goods will generate the most buzz and thus the most clicks to your live chat. Using a tool such as Hotjar can provide a heat map on your webpage to determine which specific page gets the most clicks.

4. Provide a faster response time for customer support

If you’re looking to provide better service, there’s nothing more that customers love than an expedited response to their issues. Customers who experience a long wait time from a good or service provider are much more likely to be upset, cancel subscriptions, or even move on to a competing brand.

Thankfully, live chat can easily cut down on this by providing an almost near-immediate response time.

5. Maintain transcripts of each chat session

When performing a deep dive into customer problems, it can be quite difficult to keep track of every little detail–especially when explained remotely over the phone. Some customer issues can be quite complex and have a root cause that’s actually causing the problem. And just talking through an issue out loud makes it difficult to visualize an issue or see the message inside.

review chat transcripts

Fortunately with live chat, you can maintain transcripts of each chat with every individual customer. This will allow you to see in writing exactly what’s going on in real-time and then save them for later for future review.

These transcripts also make for great records if a customer has future issues. You’ll be able to see what actions were taken to correct the problem the first time around and if those actions were responsible for the follow-up issue.

6. Minimize the bounce rate of your website visitors

One of the biggest challenges any website owner will face is reducing bounce rate. It’s been proven that by lowering your bounce rate will increase your conversions simply by having a website visitor on page in front of your products or services.

Live chat software does just that. Potential or returning customers aren’t going to be leaving your website if they’re utilizing your chat tool and being inquisitive.

7. Get a leg up on the competition

Although there are tons of benefits to using a live chat solution, you’d be surprised as to how many businesses actually take advantage of them. Despite quantifiable data behind the effectiveness of live chat software, most companies tend not to use it.

But why?

There’s a common misconception that live chat is too expensive for their company’s needs. Or that social media is a proper replacement. However, studies have shown that live chat is much more effective in converting and assisting customers.That’s primarily due to the rate of response.

Most people don’t expect an immediate reply from social media; however, live chat users are able to be in touch with your company right away.

immediate Live Chat conversation

Another reason is that companies may believe that they’re just too small to warrant live chats. While this may be the case in some circumstances, a well-timed live chat work period integrated into your day and be instrumental in watching your sales grow.

8. Analyze business trends and customer actions

Your analytics dashboards aren’t the only places you can collect customer data. And your live chat transcripts can be a gold mine of information.

For example, you may start receiving many similar complaints or issues regarding specific core features or goods. And if you have too many people needing assistance with the same thing, there’s a good chance that the problem lies on the business side–not with the client.

Use these collected insights to make critical changes for better customer service and conversion rates.

9. Boost your ROI with the right live chat software

When choosing your live chat vendor, be sure to sync up with whichever fits your marketing strategy to maximize your ROI. And let’s face it…not all live chat software is built the same.

Most live chat software are standalone messaging apps that do one thing only. And single-use tools aren’t always the best option. Why pay for just live chat when you can get a bigger suite of leverage instead.

increasing ROI

That’s why I strongly recommend looking into an email marketing platform like GetResponse which provides a live chat feature as part of their marketing suite. Not only will you save money with integrating your marketing platforms, it’ll be much easier to manage your online marketing and make conversions.

10. Establish long term relationships with your customers

Live chat is more than just another communication channel. It’s a pivotal way for you to build up long-term trust-based relationships with your customers.

Customers will feel at simply knowing that at any point in time they need your help they can simply open up a live chat window and be connected to a specialist. And that’s saying something.

Head over to any review site and you’ll find that all visitor types–existing customers, potential leads, and even exiting clients–tend to focus on the relationship they build with the company. And being there for customers when they need it the most goes a long way.

Mistakes to avoid to maximize live chat effectiveness

As previously mentioned, live chat can be a wonderful avenue to generate leads, increase sales, and provide a second-to-none customer service experience. Unfortunately, many businesses squander these benefits by failing to follow live chat best practices.

business mistake

Not properly using live chat features and environments can quickly turn things sour in the customer service side of your business.

Let’s go over some of these mistakes in greater detail.

1. Overusing automated chat bots

The number one mistake businesses make when implementing live chat support is over-employing the use of automated responses and chat bots.

While canned responses can be a quick and easy solution for simple questions, many customers will see this as the lazy way out and probably won’t get too much value out of it for more complex questions.

Instead, choose between live chat service providers that are more than just a automated chat solution. Live chat should be just that–a dedicated channel where your customers or leads can connect with real members of your support or sales and marketing teams.

Also, selecting a live chat service with a mobile app like GetResponse can be crucial. Mobile apps can allow you to connect and provide live chat even when you’re on the go.

2. Failing to keep track of the conversation when transferring between team members

Another common blunder is forcing your customers to re-explain their issues to multiple team members. There will be instances where one of your team may not have the answer right away and needs to call in another company representative.

This action in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many customers will appreciate their issue being escalated to a higher level. The problem comes when having to ask your customer to repeat themselves.

Instead, be sure to internally communicate the ongoing chat history, so you can jump right into the issue or ask supplemental questions to resolve their problem.

3. Not providing live chat service during peak support hours

While 24/7 live chat service is ideal, it’s not always realistically feasible. Smaller businesses may have fewer support teams to provide around the clock service. And that’s ok.

But you’ll need to strategize when your live chat support team is available–even if this means working across multiple time zones.

You should be monitoring when you receive the most visitors to your website and when your live chat is being utilized the most. That’s when you’ll need to have your team available. Doing so will minimize negative feedback about your customer support both directly to you or other third-party review sites.

4. Sticking strictly to the script

Having a script handy for your live chat support team is a good practice. It helps newer team members to answer difficult questions and even stay on brand with how your company does business. However, strictly adhering to these pre-generated responses can have dire consequences.

Consider this: How do you chat with others over your instant messaging apps or Facebook messenger? Are you formal and rigid? Or do you tend to relax a bit and be more casual?

Chances are… it’s the latter.

That’s most likely how your customers are going to communicate with you in your live chats. And they will know if your support teams are regurgitating pre-conceived answers.

Instead, relax a bit and communicate with your customers on their level. Being too formal can sound very robotic and in some cases condescending. Holding chat training with your support reps can help to mitigate this issue.

5. Missing opportunities to assist or upsell in other areas

Think of your live chat with a customer as full-blown service experience. Sure, your customers may only have one question on their mind. But is it really the right question? Or is their a better solution to their issue than the standard answer they’re looking for.

Live chat support is more than just being there to answer questions. It’s about providing legitimate support. Take initiative and ask your customers follow-ups to provide the best service possible. Often you’ll find them grateful that you took the time to not only address their needs, but make their life a little easier.

Also, your company may be able to provide a better service with them through different upgrades or features. By giving your customers options, you have an increased chance for more sales while simultaneously boosting your brand reputation.

Imagine…all that from just a simple chat.

Choosing the right live chat software

So, I’ve gone over what is live chat and the benefits you’ll receive by implementing on your website… but how do you go about choosing the right software?

choosing the best live chat

Honestly, there are tons of different live chat software providers out there that offer cheap and effective services. But most are actually limited in their capabilities in the fact that they’re just a chat tool.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you’re actually trying to maximize your ROI, your existing resources could be better spent elsewhere–such as an all-in-one marketing platform.

Instead of building an online marketing platform piecemeal, save time and money by opting for a live chat tool that’s integrated with other pivotal e-marketing concepts.

With GetResponse, you’ll gain exclusive access not only to some of the most sophisticated tools–including live chat, email marketing, AI website creator, and much more–you’ll also save money by paying a single price for everything.

A price that is comparable to other singular use live chat tools.

Robert Bernal
Robert Bernal
As GetResponse’s United States Senior SEO Manager, Robert has a unique behind-the-scenes look into online marketing campaigns and leveraging company brands. If not digging through search engine results, Robert spends his time developing marketing strategies and creating content to help train others. But when the working day is done, you’ll find him spending quality time with his family and fighting monsters that live under the bed. Reach out to Robert and connect via LinkedIn.