I always emphasise the importance of having a website. You cannot really be serious about being a trailblazing business or startup in this day and age without a website. In fact, more and more people are gauging your authenticity by whether or not you have a functional website. Thus you must not take this lightly; even a one-pager website can make a substantial difference. Anyways, when it comes to having a website there are numerous we can talk about. One of them is the live chat function, which is a must-have. There is more though. In this article, I look at things you must consider when offering a live chat function for your business.

What Is Live Chat?

It is vital to understand what live chat is all about. Live chat simply refers to a feature or framework through which customers can contact a business or startup directly. The crux will be to get in touch with customer service representatives in real-time. No wonder there is the ‘live’ element – it implies real-time.

Just by looking at that definition, you can already see that live chat can be in various ways. However, it is of course essential to know that live chat is usually in light of the website. If you have ever visited websites you will have noticed those pop-up dialogue boxes asking if you need any assistance. That is what is commonly referred to when talking about live chat.

Live chat can also have variations in terms of how it is set up. For example, you can have live chat that is built on the use of instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp. In other scenarios, you can have it built on dedicated software for that function. Live chat can also be incorporated into mobile apps as well.

The Importance Of Live Chat

Live Chat Most Preferred

Typically customers contact businesses or startups via calls, emails and the like. Unfortunately, most do not respond in time and this is abhorred by customers. Live chat seeks to significantly streamline customer engagement. Several studies have even shown that as high as 80 per cent of customers now opt for live chat other than other communication frameworks. So if your business or startup does not have live chat you might be compromising yourself.

Boost Your Returns On Investment (ROIs)

Live chat goes a long way in increasing your average response times. This will feed into a couple of things crucial for your business or startup. Increased response rates culminate in increased order values. They also culminate in increased conversion rates. It has been found out that live chat can result in over 300 per cent returns on investment.

Source Of Invaluable Data

All the interaction you will ever get through live chat will provide a platform for collecting priceless data. Do not see live chat as just some feature you must have. You will have to take all the interactions, curate and theme the data to actually understand your customers more. This will all help you in crafting well-informed strategies for growth and profitability.

Important Considerations

Make Your Live Chat Feature Visible And Immediate

There is no point in having a live chat that is not immediately visible. The moment someone visits your website they must not wonder where the live chat is. I have noticed most websites do adhere to this but they miss it moving forward. Once someone leaves the homepage you will usually see the live chat box disappearing. That might be counter-productive; so make sure it appears despite the web page is on. However, make sure it is not annoyingly intrusive. I have seen cases where the live chat box ends up obscuring parts of the website you will be trying to read or access. The typical position should be the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

Engage Naturally In A Relatable Manner

Some businesses or startups use chatbots for live chat features. That is not necessarily bad so long it is done in moderation. There are scenarios where a chatbot can effectively handle a customer request or engagement. In other cases, chatbots can just handle the preliminary parts whilst buying time to get an actual person to chip in. This is all instrumental to ensuring a human experience in the live chat feature. It can be a huge turnoff for people to notice they are chatting with a robot.

Furthermore, the language and tone you use in engaging through live chat matters. Desist from sounding too scripted and rigid. As much as the customer service reps can have guidelines they must sound natural and relatable. There must also be flexible to adjust to a user’s language preference. For instance, you can notice that someone is using Shona more, kindly adjust to Shona as well. Let the interactions be fun, lively, and informative. Incorporate the use of emojis to guard against misinterpretation of certain messages.

Stipulate Response Times

Of course, live chat is meant to be real-time but that might not be strictly possible. Thus it is expedient for you to layout what customers can expect. This can be highlighted when the live chat feature is open – essentially the operating hours. Then you must also include exactly how long people can expect to wait till they are responded to. The whole idea here is to make people’s expectations realistic and aligned to what you can deliver. You will have to ensure you deliver as highlighted to avoid disappointments. Rule of thumb – responding within a minute is what most customers expect; it is live chat remember.

Draft Quick Replies

These will be responses that are tailored based on commonly asked questions. You will notice such questions or queries over time; tailor responses for them. Thus you will draft pre-written (and even automated) responses to common queries or questions. This will help boost your responses rates as you will not have to type the same things over and over again.

Avoid Redirects

Your live chat box must not redirect someone once they start typing. Ideally, a user would want to live chat whilst they are on the page they are or whilst they navigate the site. The live chat box must essentially float on the screen and not disruptively redirect the user.

There you have it folks, these are some of the core aspects to consider. They will help you in coming up with an efficient live chat feature for your business. The live chat feature plays a crucial role in customer relationship management. Do not just set up it for optics; it must be effective in facilitating customer handling. Customers want to be able to contact your business or startup at any time. The live chat function is essential to all that.