Live chat is an online service that allows businesses to have conversations with their website visitors and customers in real time. Originally companies used live chat as a customer support channel. But since the way people research and buy from companies has evolved, sales and marketing teams now use live chat to convert visitors into leads and to delight their current customers.
1:1 messaging has exploded in popularity. To meet their current and future customers’ expectations, more B2B marketing and sales teams are now putting live chat on their websites. It only makes sense that Millennials expect live chat service–they grew up using online chat and now want to get real-time answers on websites through messaging. But live chat isn’t just for Millennials–the technology improves online experiences for all consumers regardless of age.
Live chat allows you to start a conversation with your site visitors when it’s most convenient for them. One reason people prefer live chat is that it allows them to multitask–either with work or online shopping (no judgement).
Your future customers are real people, not just a checklist of MQL and SQL criteria. One of the key reasons you need live chat is to allow your site visitors to talk to a fellow human. Live chat helps you take a human-centric approach to sales.
If you’re looking for ways to better engage your customers and prospects, live chat might be the answer. Real-time conversations are your best option to create real connections with your visitors. Plus, when visitors know they hold control over the conversation they feel more comfortable engaging with your company. It’s a win-win.
“How does Tuesday or Thursday morning work for you?”
“I can’t do either. How about Friday at 1:00pm?”
16 emails later, maybe you’ll settle on a time. Fortunately, live chat can take away the annoying email back-and-forth when trying to book meetings. You can integrate your calendar with live chat so that people can book free slots directly in the chat window. Simply let leads choose from the times you have available.
Salespeople don’t want to waste their time with people who aren’t likely to buy. With live chat, you’re talking to people who reached out to you. Meaning they’re much more likely to convert into a deal. And you can qualify or disqualify them in mere seconds.
Today’s digital buyers want digital support. By giving your site visitors a fast, direct way to connect with actual people–instead of making them fill out long forms–you can dramatically cut the length of your sales cycle and hit your growth targets.
Another great thing about live chat is that it will help you make money and save money. It’s much less costly than traditional support channels, it’s quick and easy to set up, it shortens response times and it enables your team to be more efficient.
Before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear: Sometimes live chat on its own isn’t enough to support your business goals. Since humans are behind live chat, it comes with some barriers. It’s simply not scalable in the same way that chatbots are. If you want to scale your sales funnel, use live chat in combination with intelligent chatbots. Bots can take care of the tedious tasks that eat up all of your time so you can spend more time connecting with your potential customers human-to-human.
Employees can respond to incoming chats when they’re online. But when they’re away (eating, sleeping, or doing other human things) or when your chat volume gets too high, bots can step in to deliver fast response times and resolve issues at lightning speed. They can auto-assign incoming chats to the right department so your sales people can jump in through live chat only when needed.
Simply put, live chat enables you to offer real-time support to your current and future customers. To make 1:1 messaging work for you, put this expert advice into practice.
It sounds obvious, but hundreds of companies have installed live chat without actually having any employees to staff it. 🤦 Make sure you put the live in live chat by getting your real team members on the front lines. It’s also important to train your team members on how to direct the flow of conversations and better engage site your visitors.
Don’t overthink it: Reach out to leads who are live on your website with a simple “Hey!” and ask if they need any help. For people who’ve already given you their email address, you’ll get enriched data like their name, location and company information so you can personalize your greeting.
Don’t be too formal (or normal!) when chatting with prospects and customers. Let your personality shine through and try to get them talking. The beauty of live chat is getting to talk to real people. You don’t want to end up sounding more like a robot than your actual chatbot.
Putting a photo of your face on live chat is one of the easiest ways to show that you’re a living, breathing person. And if you can, create an employee profile to give visitors even more insight into who they’re talking to.
Even though it’s called live chat, that doesn’t mean you need to be available for people 24/7. Let your site visitors know when you’ll be offline and that you’ll get back to them as soon as you can. When someone clicks to start a conversation while you’re unavailable, they’ll be greeted with an away message with the opportunity to search for the answer themselves or to leave you a message for you to address when you’re available–and you’ll get an email with their message.
One person simply won’t be able to answer every question from your prospects or customers. If you’re staffing live chat and get a question that someone else on your team is better suited to answer, simply assign that person the conversation and pass it on.
Especially if you get lots of traffic, sales reps won’t want to chat with every single person who lands on your homepage. If that’s the case, target your high-intent pages like pricing and product features with live chat. Folks who land on these pages are serious about becoming customers–and sales reps will be seriously happy to talk to them.
To make sure no one slips through your fingers, you can put live chat everywhere on your site. And you can of course still target certain pages with customized messages. Think of it like putting a helpful employee in every corner of your store. If you do have significant web traffic, however, you’ll want to be more conservative with where you provide a live chat experience. You will want to provide live chat on your highest purchase intent pages first based on the chat volume your team is able to handle.
After running live chat on your website for a while, you’ll notice what questions keep coming up. Creating saved replies for these FAQs will help you avoid the tedious task of typing the same response over and over again.
Hopefully you’ve selected a live chat vendor that also provides you with the opportunity to build your own chatbots. Chatbots are helpful in automating responses to common questions and qualifying your leads to ensure your live chat representatives are maxing out the ROI on the time they spend on chat.
Customer support reps used to be the only people using live chat. But the times they are a-changin’. Recently, more and more sales and marketing teams are using live chat too.
Connect with people who are ready to buy now. The leads you get from live chat are different than the ones you get through traditional inbound leads because these people that reached out to you. They want immediate answers while they’re live on your site, and that’s exactly what you’re going to give them.
Not only can you target specific pages with live chat. You can also get your ABM on and instantly reach out to VIP leads with a personalized messages when they land on your site.
To ensure your visitors speak to the right person in your company, use an intelligent chatbot that can assign conversations to specific team members. This way, your sales reps won’t be stuck wasting their time with support questions. And since 51% of consumers think a business should be available 24/7, chatbots ensure your customers won’t get frustrated by slow response times. Your chatbot will drop quality leads right into your sales people’s laps so they can take the conversation from there.
How exactly are businesses using live chat on their website? Sneak a peek at a few of the best live chat examples.
Ready to set up live chat on your website? Sweet. Your step-by-step approach will vary according to what platform you use. But here’s an example of how easy the process is with Drift’s live chat software.
When it comes to live chat software, you’ve got options. To save yourself from analysis paralysis, ask your potential live chat vendors these questions:
By using live chat in combination with chatbots, your website will no longer feel like an empty store. Sales and marketing leaders around the world are already seeing measurable results from adding live chat to their websites. If you’re ready to match the way people want to connect with businesses today, try out Drift’s Live Chat for free and start talking to people on your site now.