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Guest Post
Sam Makad is an experienced writer and marketing consultant. His expertise lies in marketing and advertising. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their business and overall ROI. Reach out to Sam Makad on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Live Chat has been one of the best innovations in customer support that can handle customer queries in real-time as they face them. But the actual benefits of the technology go far beyond point.

How? Simply because it is an effective way to boost your website conversions overnight, without going through the hassle of split-testing your landing page. It helps you build personal connections with your customers since they can directly reach out to you for a personalized response. 

Before live chat got adopted as a mainstream, phone and email were the only two ways to ever contact a company. Both of these were time-consuming procedures, failing to provide quick resolutions. Live Chat does not only ensure speed, but it also fits right into the daily digital habits of constant texting.

Why is it important to optimize your conversions? Because only 2% of website visitors convert into an inquiry or sale.

So, if you are struggling with conversions, it is more likely to be an optimization issue instead of a traffic issue. Here are some ways in which live chat can be leveraged in your conversion optimization efforts for increased sales:

1. Automated Live Chat Greetings

If the point of live chat is to initiate and handle one-on-one communications with customers, it is a sales activity at the end of the day. And any sales activities begin with greeting the customer.

But what happens when you do this with live chat? Your customer instantly knows that there is someone to tend to their queries, beginning their experience on a positive note. And through automation, you can ensure they show up at the precise moment when they might need help.

For instance, let’s say that through the analysis of the past data of website visitors, you arrive at the conclusion that customers usually look for support around the 2-minute mark of browsing through your website. With the right live chat software/tool, you can set up automated support to show up around this point for a maximum impact on conversions. In fact, visitors that are invited to chat are 6.3 times more likely to convert into customers than the ones who are not. And 61% of these can be converted within the first chat itself.

There are different ways to display these greetings depending on the type of minimized window you are using:

  • Greetings can be displayed as an open chat widget, also referred to as a bar type.

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  • Bubble chat windows show greetings with a picture of the agent and a message above it.

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Depending on your website’s design and functionality, you can accordingly choose the greeting type.

2. Personalized Customer Support

The goal of any customer support activity is to reduce the amount of email and phone tickets and resolve queries of customers within the shortest possible time frame. Live chat helps you achieve this since it is easy for support agents (or even chatbots) to add personalization to the mix. A live chat tool provides agents with all the basic details of the customers. This includes their name, email address, and geolocation. It also goes a step further to include the pages they were just browsing and information about their previous chats.

This has a direct impact on your conversions, and statistics back this up. A study by the American Marketing Association found that companies who use live chat witness a 20% increase in conversions as compared to companies who don’t. It’s also a great way to get positive reviews down the road.

Here’s how your agents can add personal touches during live chats:

  • Use a welcome back message to personalize the content and language for returning visitors.
  • Change the look of the chat window to a color that is in sync with your website.
  • Personalize greetings on different pages of the website to sync the conversation with the surfing session of website visitors.
  • Communicate at a personal and humane level. Instead of coming across as a corporate voice, agents should be able to drive natural conversations with website visitors.
  • Offer product recommendations based on their recent browsing history or past orders (45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a website that offers personalized recommendations).

3. Leveraging Chat Invitations

Chat invitations are a great way to initiate conversations with customers who might not even know that they need support. But how are they different from greetings? In the same manner that marketing is different from sales. While greetings are triggered on the basis of pre-defined criteria and past consumer data, chat invitations are triggered on the basis of consumer behaviors on the website.

Chat invitations are basically short messages that invite the customer to have a word. They are also a great feedback tool to understand why your customers might be abandoning their carts. If customers have already revealed an intent to buy by adding products to the cart, there is a high probability that they are being put off by some issue or another. Some instances when this can be used includes:

  • A customer is going back and forth between two similar products, being unable to make a buying decision.
  • A website visitor is spending a significant amount of time on the product page or FAQ page.
  • A visitor lands on a page with a high bounce rate. A chat invitation can be sent right before the critical drop-off point (the amount of time an average visitor spends on the page before dropping off).
  • A visitor showcases high-interest rate in your products/services by browsing through multiple website pages.

Ways to Optimize Chat Invitations

  • Constantly test and refine your triggers and invitation messages. The idea is to keep analyzing what is working and what isn’t.
  • Follow a consistent tone throughout the customer journey. This includes stages like:
    • Chat Invitation.
    • Chat commencement.
    • Follow-up correspondence.
  • Do not be so proactive that it is seen as annoying behavior. Respect the views of customers and do not bother them again if they have already turned down the chat once.

4. Post-Chat Surveys

Post chat surveys can tell you about the quality of your support efforts by:

  • Finding out what customers think about your company.
  • The pain-points that they usually encounter.
  • Quality of the support that is offered by your agents.

Using something as simple as a chat-rating system which will indicate the quality of your support team and validate your customer support activities. It can also provide you with valuable feedback that can be leveraged to proactively improve the quality of your products and/or services.

Here are some of the best tips and practices to consider:

  • Keep it short, concise, and actionable. The ideal length for a post-chat survey is 2 to 5 questions.
  • Keep survey questions simple and straightforward enough for visitors to easily understand your context.
  • Use a five-point scale that allows your visitors to quickly rate multiple areas of their customer experience on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • Have a good mix of required and optional responses to provide flexibility to survey takers.
  • Use a combination of closed and open-ended questions for an all-rounded survey.
    • Examples of close-ended questions include:
      • Did the agent solve your query?
      • Rate the support experience from 1-5
      • Would you refer us to your friends and relatives?
    • Examples of open-ended questions include:
      • Do you have additional comments or feedback?
      • Did we exceed your expectations today?
      • When are you planning to go on your trip?

And instead of sending customers an email with a link to the survey, you can even directly ask them the questions through an automated chat itself.

5. Powerful Analytics

The best live chat software will include intelligent analytics that can point to the pages that your website visitors are visiting, how they got to them, and the amount of time that they are spending there.

This provides agents with the best possible opportunity to initiate live chat sessions. For instance, take the example of a major e-commerce store that deals with appliances and furniture. With such high priced items, visitors often take a lot of time to make decisions. They might even come to the website several times before finally making the purchase.

The analytical capabilities of a reliable live chat software will provide your agents with crucial insights about customers who have been comparing different brands. Sales agents can accordingly leverage such information to provide answers, help them reach the right decisions, and close more sales along the way.

At the same time, it can also be leveraged to upsell and cross-sell customers new products based on their specific buying behavior and patterns. For instance, Virgin Airlines uses live chat to upsell to customers who are already buying air tickets. And also only on their help docs section (but that starts as a bot, not live chat). This has resulted in an additional order value of about 15% for them.

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Conclusion

The popularity trends of live chat show no sign of slowing down. It remains as one of the best strategies today both to provide proactive customer support and boost website conversion rates. If users take a data-driven approach and create benchmarks, they are bound to realize immediate results through the techniques mentioned above.

When leveraged strategically, live chat has the potential to be a holistic channel that builds loyalty among customers, gets them talking, and convinces them to take action. How has your experience been with live chat? Share your views in the comments section below.

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