Chat marketing is gaining momentum as the new era of marketing, and there’s a reason why. Online brands using Messenger and website chatbots are able to have many simultaneous conversations, providing faster & better service to their customers. The latest tech is helping brand reduce support costs while at the same time increasing store conversion. After all, the reason for having an online site is to enable a transaction to take place between the brand and their ideal customer.
Website chatbots are not new. In fact, you’ve probably interacted with live chat on a website without even realising its powered by a bot. However, the new era of tech is making it easier than ever for brands to deliver exceptional live chat experiences. Instant filtering to human sales agents together with customer re-engagement across multiple channels is now available inside a single chat ecosystem.
So, what’s the big deal and why should brands be paying close attention?
LIVE CHAT when done well converts and builds relationships. Every website store needs to get this right.
In this article, we’re going to discuss
- What is Live Chat?
- How does a live chat work?
- What are the benefits?
- Is live chat a real person?
- How to get results with Live chat
What is Live Chat?
Live chat is customer service software that provides the ability to respond to a customer when they visit your online store. Well executed live chat experiences leverage a chatbot to handle frequent questions and basic enquiries. It then instantly connects a human sales agent when the customer needs additional help. The combination of programmed and live conversations help move the customer towards the next action, increasing site conversion and customer satisfaction.
How does Live Chat Work?
Live chat software offered in a SaaS business model is by no means new. Since 2002, early live chat implementations were often associated with big brands where people expected only top-level service, such as global banks and insurance companies. Nowadays its available in dozens of languages and a common tool on eCommerce sites.
Traditionally, Live Chat has two separate interfaces, one for the customer and another for the sales agent. Customers typically experience it as a chat box widget at the bottom right corner of a website. The brand’s team members see a separate interface on a web portal or mobile app showing the active conversations and current chat thread.
The application traditionally allows pre-programmed, or ‘canned’ responses, allowing one-to-many conversations to take place at the same time. Unfortunately, customer’s experience of chat widgets can prove to be a letdown. Most of us have experienced the frankly woeful response “We’re sorry, nobody is available right now to assist you, BrandXYZ usually responds within 24 hours and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can.”
Worse they tell you to call them when they are open. Sigh!
The magic starts where well-trained staff can jump in as soon as the customer has a query. This is what’s changed with customer expectations and live chat tools.
What are the Benefits?
Today’s consumers expect instantaneous information thanks to the development of mobile. As frequently quoted by global ecommerce expert Ezra Firestone, mobile shoppers are growing at a massive rate, 69% of all online sales are made on mobile.
Brands should anticipate that mobile consumers shop on the move and brands therefore need to be responsive. People shop while they walk, commute, party, get fit, relax and work. Whether we like to admit it or not, as consumers we have short attention spans and seek instant gratification. We are also easily distracted from our online activities by Ads, app alerts and real-world interruptions. Studies show if a person meets any friction while visiting an online store, they are likely to leave and never return. Nobody has time to wait.
It is therefore critical for brand owners to provide a frictionless online experience, as well as tactful way to re-engage customers who have been lured away before being able to complete a transaction.
This is where Live chat kicks in, handling standard enquiries such as, stock queries, sizes, shipping, pricing and passing to a human where necessary. Whether connected to a bot or a human, if the customer can’t get the information they need in real-time, it is deemed a bad experience. Conversely when done well, live chat can significant increase store conversion.
When properly executed, live chat results in:
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Higher conversions on your online store
- Word of mouth sales through referrals
- Opportunity to collect valuable customer data to grow relationships
- Opportunities to offer cross sells and upsells
- A well-educated customer more likely to purchase
Is live chat a real person?
The question really to ask here is does the customer feel your LIVE CHAT response is serving their needs? A litmus test is when the customer naturally transcends to the obvious next point in the conversation without doubting who is on the other end. Whether it be an automated, pre-programmed bot message or a human, the engagement is remembered by the user as a good experience and naturally progresses to the next step.
However, it’s vital a real person is available for that moment when a customer has a query which cannot be answered instantly by the pre-planned conversation chatbot. This is when good training and product knowledge really makes a competitive difference too! When someone is well trained, they can close out the conversation and help instantly. Web stores are open 24/7, which means a brand expert should be available 24/7 to answer customer enquiries.
Having a real person available to chat closes the gap of physical and virtual shopping. Brands who offer an engaging experience are trusted, remembered and shared more by their customers. After all, people want to buy from real people too.
The evidence is clear consumers see chatbot as a way to get answers fast. Digital marketer, Neil Patel shared on stage at Conversations 2019 that Chat is responsible for 28% of his own sales.
So yes, if you’ve got live chat widget on your site a person needs to be available to respond.
How to get results with Live chat
Well executed chat marketing strategy, call it Live Chat, should begin with a chatbot to handle frequently asked questions (FAQs) and predictable enquiries. This enables instant service for the customer while at the same time mitigating ticket load on trivial enquiries.
When selling high-ticket items, the bot should be engaged to ask qualifying questions designed to funnel real potential customers directly to a human sales agent. Sales agents need to be trained to quickly understand the chat thread, seamlessly picking up from where the bot left off. Chatbots are now a key component of your sales force. Just like any sales person, language, tone and brand voice matter. Messenger offers a more personalised approach to continue the conversation. It’s worth noting the list below of key points to do and not to do to get optimal results from Live Chat.
In addition, to deliver great results in Live Chat you need a good platform. There are many widgets and SaaS products but by far our favourite tool for Live chat is ManyChat. ManyChat allows tighter integration as a CS tool, offering brands insights to deliver personalised service or offers. Customers will enjoy a seamless experience. It’s the ecosystem for chat, it’s more than Messenger Marketing. At Conversations 2019 one of the many updates was the iOS app is now available enabling live chat for iPhone users, coming soon to Android too. At Beyond Points, we’ve had great success using ManyChat live chat across our customer’s accounts to build brand trust and grow revenue.
The average response time by online chat is 90 seconds. Beat this and you’re ahead of your competition. Compare average response times on other channels below.
Customer service agents are assigned a chat with a tracking to ensure the query has been handled. In the latest updates, the service agent is now able to re-engage the customer into a bot flow wherever relevant. Bot-to-human interactions like this provide rapid, helpful service & build trust with the customer ahead of a potential purchase.
Do not be overlook the importance of properly implementing a well thought out live chat strategy. Alarmingly, Simplr recently conducted a study that shows 93% of brands have poorly implemented live chat. For the majority of brands, poorly implemented chat services are bleeding the brand in lost sales and may even be doing long term brand damage through poor service.
The Live Chat To Do’s list.
- Respond in 90 seconds or less.
- Send omni-channel push notifications to your live agent
- Allow site visitors to engage with a human
- Transition ‘service’ staff to sales agents and ensure they are well trained on your product or service
- Ensure coverage is 24/7, and your peak demand shopping times are well covered to not delay responsiveness
- Use smart responses to re-engage – people get distracted. Come back to the conversation and offer more value!
- Be the guide by providing alternative solutions if you can’t help with their particular need
- Be human! Engage like a real person 🙂
Live Chat What NOT to do.
- Don’t send an automated reply saying ‘sorry nobody is there right now to help, we’ll be back in 24 hours’
- Don’t make the customer repeat themselves between the bot and the live agent
- Don’t be impersonal
- Don’t make the customer wait while you deal with another customer at the same time
- Don’t keep the responses long between your chat – hence why this is LIVE chat.
- Don’t take longer than 5 minutes to transition to a human
- Don’t force people to email or ‘call the office during working hours’
Live chat is the cream of customer service and can be leveraged by every brand.
According to Forrester, data reveals site visitors leveraging Live Chat are 2.8x more likely to convert than those that don’t. Further, Intercom revealed that one reply makes visitors 50% more likely to convert, 2 replies makes them 150% more likely to convert, and 6 or more messages with a prospect or customer can increase conversion rate by 250%.
Incase that’s not convincing enough as to why every online store should pay attention, the latest global statistics show that 87% of smart phone users are using messaging apps, with 3 billion people predicted to be using messaging apps every day by 2022. Live chat enables your brand to service this growing user base 24/7, facilitating cost-effective Human to human (H2H) marketing. Serviced well, Live chat will be a major differentiator for successful brands in 2020.
It’s time for your brand to beat the competition and become one of the 7% of online stores successfully implementing live chat to grow sales. 👉 Contact Beyond Points today if you would like help to implement a winning live chat strategy.