Live chat isn’t a new deal in customer service.
In a 2009 article, eMarketer showed studies finding that live chat could contribute to 36% of online purchases, and fully 62% of those who chatted said they were more likely to buy from a site again.
Single Grain even emphasized that live chat will be a huge trend in 2021.
So, if you’re not already using live chat, you should get started right now!
But how do you know live chat can positively impact your revenue? How can you create a live chat for your business? How to make it actually work?
This tutorial will show you everything. You’ll learn what a live chat is, how it works, its benefits, and best practices to turn it into your sales machine.
Ready? Let’s get the ball rolling!
What is a live chat?
In plain words, live chat is a web-based form of communication that allows you and your website visitors to chat in real-time. Live chat tools like Gorgias help you deliver live chat on your website.
If you’ve ever visited a Shopify store or a SaaS website, you may already see a live chat widget often at the bottom-left corner of the site. Click the widget, and a chat box appears to greet you and ask if you need any help.
Here is an excellent example of a live chat on the Birddogs website.
With live chat, you can have back-and-forth conversations with visitors. They can even know if you already receive or read their questions. This is impossible when you use email support.
Note: Live chat isn’t the same as a chatbot. While a live chat allows your visitors to chat with a human agent (you) in real-time on your website, a chatbot is a computer program that simulates human interaction. You customize the chatbot to respond to specific questions from visitors via a chat window. That means when a visitor types a question into the chat box, a bot, not a live person, responds.
How does live chat work?
As said earlier, online chats take place inside a chat box that is part of the live chat software.
To show a chat box on your website, you need to install a live chat app, adjust some settings, and boom, a live chat button or widget on your site! Your visitors don’t need to install anything on their devices.
It’s worth noting that your visitors and you’ll have different views of the live chat. Here are how they look like:
This chat box appears when a visitor clicks the live chat button. The visitor can start chatting with you by typing text.
You or your live chat agent’s view:
This is the Chat section that you see. Here, you can type and send responses to chat. You can also access all tickets from other channels like emails, phone, and social media from this dashboard.
Why does live chat help drive revenue?
Using live chat is a great way to drive revenue. Done right, it can even boost your conversion rate up to 45%.
Here how live chat can help you achieve such a great result:
Live chat helps build trust with first-time visitors
Trust is always a big issue when shopping online. If you have any doubt about the product quality or the security of the transaction, you’ll leave the site immediately.
That’s why new online businesses often have to invest a lot of money and time to gain customer trust at the beginning.
Showing a live chat on your website can help you address this issue. You or your live chat agents can proactively start a conversation with first-time visitors, guide them through finding products they want, and answering all the questions they help.
This is especially important when it comes to problems during an online purchase. Customers need questions answered, and a sense of reassurance that can be provided only through live chat.
Live chat helps you provide timely support
Imagine you’re using a help desk tool and have a problem with launching the app. You email the customer support team asking for immediate help because you need to access the tool to answer orders’ inquiries right now.
After sending the email, you receive an automated response saying someone will support you within 2 business working days!
How frustrated is it, right?
Your customers are exactly the same as you. They want what they want now. They expect their problems to be solved quickly and thoroughly.
Don’t feel convinced? Here are some statistics from HubSpot’s study:
- Almost 2/3 of buyers expect a response within 10 minutes to any marketing, sales, or customer service inquiry.
- 82% of consumers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a marketing or sales question.
- 90% of consumers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question.
That means the sooner you interact with customers, the more likely you win them. And the best way to provide instant support is to use a live chat.
A live chat doesn’t require your visitors to leave their shopping experiences to get answers, and they don’t have to get on the phone or wait for someone to respond to an email.
With a live chat, you can address many common questions. For example:
- Where is my order?
- Can I pay by credit card?
- Where are you based?
- Can I return the product if it’s broken during delivery?
- Do you have any guarantee policy?
- When should I expect to get my order if I buy today?
- Do you have any special deal if I buy more than one item?
By doing that, you help customers keep shopping on your site confidently and trust you more.
Live chat helps deliver a superior customer experience
Gorgias allows you to seamlessly integrate a live chat into your website. The live chat button will show consistently on all pages of your site, both on mobile and desktop.
Your customers don’t need to hunt down a special contact page or dig up an email address. They always know exactly where to go when they need help.
Also, using live chat is useful to create a personalized, human-centric, accessible, and fast shopping experience. You can do so much more than answer questions or provide customer support (more on this later).
Live chat helps motivate buying decisions
Live chat allows you to provide customers with information about the products they’re looking for.
Once they understand how your products work and help solve their problems, they can easily decide if they should make a purchase.
Let’s say a customer spots beautiful shoes in your store but has the fear of choosing the wrong size, which stops them from buying. In this case, it’s great to have a live chat on the product page because you can assist them to pick up the right size. When they get the perfect shoes, the high chance is that they’ll buy.
Live chat helps increase qualified leads for your sales team
Gorgias allows you to add additional fields like an email to your chat box. That means your visitors have to type their email address to start chatting with you. It’s an effective way to capture new leads.
Not only live chat helps your lead generation strategy, but it’s also effective to qualify those leads.
For example, if a visitor is on your pricing page and asks you a pricing question via chat box, it’s more likely that they’re interested in your product and want to purchase. In this case, the visitor is a potential customer. You may just give them a discount to push them into the checkout page.
If a visitor is lingering on your homepage, you can send them a message via live chat to ask if they need help to find a product they’re looking for and discover more about their needs.
5 best practices to use live chat to boost sales
Live chat is great for communication. But it’s much more than just answering customer questions all day long—with the right strategy, it can become a finely tuned revenue-generating machine.
Here are some live chat strategies to increase your conversion rates.
1. Be available when your customers need it
This is where live chat shines. Customers can type their problem into the chat box and get answers from you in seconds, right in front of their eyes.
One way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is by showing your availability.
And by that, I don’t just mean during business hours, but also during nights and weekends.
Most live chats are only open during office hours.
But if you’re running an online store, you should know this: The peak hour for ecommerce occurs between 8pm and 9pm.
Another study on when people shop online by Workarea found that ecommerce conversions peaked Mondays from 8pm to 9pm, followed by Sundays from 7pm to 8pm.
What does that mean?
It means your live chat must be available when your potential customers are shopping, which could be at any time during the day. This is especially important if your customers are based in different places all over the world.
2. Collect customer insight with live chat
You can use live chat to collect insights into your customers. How happy or unhappy are they about your customer service? Did you help them solve their problem? Is there anything you can do better? A chat can reveal a lot of things about your customer satisfaction and service quality.
A live chat is also a good opportunity to discover customer pain points. For instance, if people keep asking about shipping methods, it might be because your product description is unclear.
Also, if they ask how a product works or where materials come from, it might prove beneficial to review your product description and add more details. You may even want to include a demonstration video to explain how your product helps ease their lives.
Then, use all the insights you’ve gained for your retargeting campaigns and improve your customer service. That data is so valuable that you might not get anywhere else.
3. Display time greetings based on customer behaviors
Today’s customers expect an exceptional personalized shopping experience. They want to be watched, heard, and recognized.
When it comes to personalization, timing and relevance is everything. By displaying the right message at the right time, you can do wonders for your conversion rate.
In Gorgias, you can use the chat campaign feature to customize your live chat boxes to appear on different pages. You can even customize the message depending on the page a live chat appears on.
Let’s take an example.
A visitor is browsing your product page with a cardigan sweater. You can assume this person is interested in cardigan sweaters and trigger your live chat box with an automated greeting asking if you assist them with anything.
You can even add emojis to humanize your message and enhance customer engagement.
Meet your prospects where they’re in the customer journey. If they’re browsing specific pages, they probably look for information relevant to those pages.
If they’re not, it’s good to ask so you can guide them to the right page or answer their questions in real-time. You don’t know when your customers will need you, so it’s better to be proactive.
This brings me to the next item on this list.
4. Remove objections on checkout pages
You took a lot of time optimizing your checkout process. Customers are making purchases, and you’re making money. You think it’ll always work well.
But if you look at the cart abandonment rate, you might be surprised: 70% of customers abandon their cart.
That means no matter how many customers have already completed checkout on your site, a larger percentage won’t. In other words, you need to continuously review and optimize your checkout page.
One of the things you should do now is to incorporate a live chat on your checkout pages. This gives your future customers a way to ask any question they might that could prevent them from completing their purchase. “Why is the total shipping fee so high?” “I can’t type my credit card number,” “Why is the discount rate lower than what you offered me?”—all of these questions can occur in the checkout process.
But why not many ecommerce websites show live chat on their checkout pages? Should I use it?
You’re right. If not used correctly, live chat can damage your conversion rate. That’s why just a few marketers have been using it on checkout pages.
The reason is simple: You don’t want to interrupt your customers in the most important stage of the customer journey. You want to remove all the distractions so they can focus on entering payment information and finish checkout.
Those who know exactly what they want to buy, where to find it, and how to check out should NEVER be interrupted.
So, here is the best way to use live chat on checkout pages: insert a live chat button in a visible spot on these pages and never let it pop up by default.
That way, shoppers who just want to check out quickly without interruptions can do so. Meanwhile, those who might need a little help can click the live chat button and get their questions answered.
If many people don’t do something, that always doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. You can take it strategically and test it if it brings the good results you want.
5. Continue chat conversations after live chat ends
You already know live chat is an excellent lead generation and qualification tool. So, don’t waste your opportunity to do some follow-ups after an ended live chat session.
The relationship between you and your customer just started.
When doing a follow-up, keep these in mind:
- Let potential customers know who you are and what you are contacting them about.
- Refer to your previous conversation. This will help your customers easily recognize you and also build trust with them.
- Let them know you’ll keep them updated with special offers, and if they have any further questions, they can reach out to you via email, phone, or any other way.
Turn your live chat into a sales machine
Live chat is a fantastic tool that will bring a massive impact on your revenue. It can help you close the gap in the journey from being a window shopper to a new customer.
Try the above tactics, and you’ve already made great headway towards increasing your online sales in 2021.
In case you don’t know how to get started, sign up for a Gorgias account and create your first live chat. Gorgias is the best live chat and help desk ticketing system for ecommerce, so it could be the tool you’re looking for.