When it comes to customer communication, the question is, are you responding on all possible levels? Perhaps you are, and that’s great, but perhaps there’s room to take your customer service to the next level. Of course, instore service and regular training is key, but this month’s blog focusses on the online element, which is proving to be just as key when acquiring customers.
Have a quick think about what your business does in this arena. And I call it an arena due to the sheer scale of opportunities and platforms there are to enhance your online communication skills. We’re going to focus on Live Chat.
In the first part of a two-month live chat deep-dive, we’ll be exploring why this feature is worth investing in and an insight into a good option to start your journey. If you already implement a live chat function on your website, brilliant! But even so, and if not, this blog may help answer a few of the live chat questions.
So, what is Live Chat?
Before answering this question, it’s worth noting that when searching a number of the national furniture retailers to see if a live chat function is in operation, the results were in favour of the feature. Some differ to others in terms of when they come live or if they are a staple on the site, while some notable names didn’t have one at all. So, for independent retailers, where customer service is so crucial, taking advantage of implementing a live chat could be worthwhile. In a nutshell, live chat allows you to give quick answers to questions about your products and/or services, problem solve faster and assure your customers that you’re there when they need you – in real time.
Live chat is an online tool that connects you to customers through a real person answering their queries as they pop up. It helps customers get answers to questions fast and can be a great tool if used and implemented correctly. A similar concept to the ‘chatbot’, with the real difference is, a customer is talking to you and not a bot. You can, however, action certain automated commands with live chat too, which lets the customer know you are there. A chatbot may be a useful opening to the support conversation with customers and then escalating to live chat with human support if needed.
What are the key benefits to Live Chat?
Now you have a brief idea of what live chat is all about, here’s five key benefits as to why a live chat function, as part of your wider communication offer to customers, is an important tool to use in the digital-age.
1 – Improving the customer experience and acquisition
The main reason to go live is to improve the customer journey and overall experience. Using live chat, customers can ask questions in real time and can expect a quick response, which could ultimately lead to a sale. According to global market research company Forrester, customers who use chat are 2.8 times more likely to convert than those who don’t, while 44 % of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live agent while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. Furthermore, this enhances your reputation, showing that you act fast to customer queries and you are there for them. It can even be used as a great tool for after sales services too. If customers have any issues, live chat can remedy these quickly. With careful scheduling, live chat support can be made available 24/7 — if that would be beneficial to your business — or any other selection of hours you prefer.
2 – Bond building and time saving
Utilising a live chat feature in the right way saves time for you and the customer. Setting up the system to give you the best chance of answering any query as fast as possible is a great place to start. Think about what your customers might ask and also reflect on what has been asked in the past. Then when a customer pop ups with a live message, you can immediately identify a solution, saving time in the process without keeping the customer hanging on those three dots… Adding to this, it gives a chance for you to get to know your customer and build a bond. In a usual sense, talking to customers in store or even over the phone, you can build a rapport. Now, with live chat you can do the same thing in a different way, which can go a long way in customer trust.
3 – Standing out and saving money
As mentioned earlier, the majority of national furniture retailers offer a live chat function on their website. It’s worth searching around your area to see what your competition are doing in this space. If they are operating a live chat, test it out and see how they respond and perform. Think about what you can do to make your service stand out better. If you notice that no one is doing it, then act and implement your live chat strategy. You may ask if it is even relevant for your business. Well, it does not matter if you are a small, medium-sized, or a corporate. Live chat can give you an edge over competition in any industry and with customers shopping more online, a live chat offer could be more preferred to over the phone support. Live chat can be extremely cost effective too. There are platforms out there that have fees attached to them but there are some solid free-to-use solutions. And once you’ve invested the time in setting it all up correctly, it will save time and money with every future use. One particular tool I’ve had experience with and recommend is tawkto, but more on this later (and in part two next month!).
4 – Increased customer service productivity
As highlighted already, live chat allows you to respond efficiently, especially when all scenarios are catered for. As an example, you may get a lot of questions about how sustainable a product is or your business is. Ready made responses boost customer service efficiency, as well as productivity. You can even juggle a number of conversations at once, answering many customer queries in one hit. This means customers are not waiting around and you can help provide solutions to more customers at a faster rate. For the more complex issues, a ticket can be raised or assigned to another member of staff who can help. A customer won’t mind waiting in this instance as you’ve already made the initial contact and shown you are there for them.
5 – It’s all in the data
A big benefit of using a live chat tool is the data you’re able to capture. Depending on which tool you opt to use, you should be able to see plenty of data from chats that you can organise in topics to analyse further. This can be crucial in learning particular customer behaviours, what products are having more engagement than others or even gaining an understanding of how users navigate across your website. You can also identify low performers in your online chat customer service and provide the necessary guidance or training. Continuous monitoring can help your customer support or service.
If you’re new to the live chat arena, there are plenty of tools out there. As mentioned earlier, we’ll be exploring one of these tools in more detail, tawkto, next month. But if you want to get ahead and take a look early, the tool is free and comes packed with benefits. These include monitoring and chatting with the visitors on your website, responding to support tickets, organising contacts and being able to create a help centre to empower customers to help themselves. You can see which pages your visitors are on in real time, know how often they visit your site and view their entire customer journey. We’ll continue the deep-dive and explore more about tawkto in May.
As a final thought, a crucial element to consider is best practice and strategy. The worse thing you can do is pick a tool without really understanding how it works or making the most of it. You don’t want a live chat option that is vacant. Before you hit the live button, you need a strategy in place. This includes both when the chat is online and offline, who in your team is responsible to answering, the ready-made solutions and regular monitoring. Again, we’ll cover more on this in next month’s blog. For now, happy chatting!
Link to tawkto – https://www.tawk.to/