When I invited my friend to go camping with me last year, she had an interesting response. “I’m an indoor cat,” she stated. While this may be an obscure way to answer, it does get the point across.

We are all indoor cats right now, and that makes remote accessibility more important than ever.

Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, connecting with team members and clients via email, Web meetings, phone, and internal messaging systems. But as businesses scramble to unearth leads and maintain connections, too many are forgetting an important missing piece: website chat.

Studies have shown that the #1 most preferred contact channel is live chat, and yet, in a recent survey, only 14% of 433 surveyed companies were using it.

With so many other channels available to customers, it’s easy for an organization to overlook chat, but if you ask your customer, you might be surprised to learn just how impactful it really is.

In fact, 44% of online consumers cite the ability to have a question answered by a live person during an online purchase as one of the most important features a website can offer. Not only do they feel more secure in their purchase, but they also buy more. According to Forrester, there’s a 10% increase in the average order value from customers who use chat versus those who do not.

Let’s look at how chat influences lead conversion and customer experience. Then, we’ll lay out a few tips and best practices to consider.

Chat & Lead Conversion

We’ve already discussed a few compelling reasons why chat works for lead conversion, but what the heck! Here are a few more…

Just one reply through live chat can increase the likelihood of conversion by 50%. Reply once more and your visitor is 100% more likely to convert.

Live chat

I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too: We can’t use website chat because we don’t have a big enough team to monitor it. 

We’re both wrong, and here’s why: 70% of the businesses using live chat have less than 5,000 unique monthly website visitors, and, more than half of the businesses implementing chat on their websites only dedicate one team member as a representative.

See?! You don’t have to be a huge conglomerate or have a 24/7 availability to benefit from website chat.

While chatting with a live person is always preferred, a well configured Chatbot is an alternative that packs its own lead conversion punch. People understand that you can’t be available 24/7, and they’re willing to engage with a bot when necessary.

Chat Bot Statistics

As a small business ourselves, TAI utilizes both live chat and bots to engage our customers. Here’s how:

  1. We have three team members who monitor chat during business hours. Those team members include myself (marketing), our sales rep, and our customer success manager. We felt that between the three of us, our expertise could handle most of the incoming questions. So far, that has been the case. Depending on your business, your team may need to configure it differently. If you have a lot of technical questions coming in, maybe an IT person is a good candidate for the role.
  2. During off hours, a chatbot workflow is turned on to answer some of our most commonly received questions. We use if/then branches for each type of inquiry to help the bot understand the logical next steps for every type of interaction. In the morning, Chatbot conversations are reviewed, and any unresolved issues are followed-up on by us humans.

Chatbots are great for lead generation because:

  1. They collect crucial lead data like names and email addresses
  2. They encourage engagement to prevent visitors from leaving your site too soon
  3. They can refer qualified leads to live chat representatives for fast follow up

Chat & Customer Experience

Website chat is not only a great lead generation tool, but the data it collects is also fantastic for streamlining customer experience. Chatbots collect data such as the page the visitor entered on, referring links, number of visits, operating systems or devices being used, and the visitor’s time on the site.

If you notice that most of your live chats come in through the pricing page, maybe there’s a reason. Is there a common question you’re receiving over and over? Perhaps that page is confusing or unclear to the reader and it could benefit from a refresh. This is valuable feedback that can improve your conversion rates and customer experience all at the same time.

Tending to customers via website chat also saves you money. Research indicates that live chat is 15-33% cheaper for businesses than phone support. In addition, it improves annual customer care costs by 2.6x.

Tips & Best Practices for Website Chat

Now that I’ve blown your mind with this spectacular chat data I’ve discovered, it’s time to give you some actionable takeaways. An important key to improving lead generation and conversion with chat is knowing the right way to engage with audiences.

Just as social media has its best practices and etiquette, so does chat. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure it’s mobile optimized.
    These days, more than HALF of all Web traffic comes in via mobile devices. Make sure your chat solution is optimized for mobile to provide the best experience.
  2. Capture the data.
    If you use a CRM system, make sure your chat is integrated with that solution. The ability to refer back to and report on that data is invaluable to building better customer satisfaction and tracking lead generation activities.
  3. Put chat on every page.
    Many chat solutions will let you specify if you want the chat available on all pages or just select pages. Whenever possible, keep chat available on all pages so no matter where your lead lands, they can easily find it.
  4. Display on the bottom right side of the page.
    I know, this seems very specific, but it just has to do with the way our eyes scan a webpage. Your visitors will be more likely to notice your chat box if it’s on the bottom right. It’s just science!
  5. Don’t be afraid of emojis.
    This one surprised me. As it turns out, emojis are a great way to humanize your chat interactions. Emojis can convey emotion and tone easily and therefore act as a sort of “global language” for website chat. However, there are right and wrong ways to use emojis. This article offers some guidance.

I hope this article provided some useful food-for-thought on website chat. Technology Advisors doesn’t sell website chat solutions, but we do sell software systems that integrate with them. So, if you need help finding a chat solution that works with your CRM, want to integrate your chat with your existing solutions, or if you have questions about CRMs that include chat (like HubSpot, which we do sell), reach out! In fact, you should probably just chat us right now…

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