Improve Sales and Customer Service with Live Chat

Written by John Sharkey

A seasoned website digital marketing expert, John has developed custom websites and digital marketing strategies for numerous businesses of varying sizes. Having an MBA, his expertise is rooted in meeting business needs through a customer-centred approach. He is especially enthusiastic in helping those trying to make a positive change in the world.

18 August, 2015

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One of the easiest and affordable ways for a small business looking to get more leads or sales out of their website is live chat.

What is live chat?

You have likely already used live chat. Perhaps the last time you went into your bank account online, couldn’t find the information you were looking for, and didn’t want to call customer support line and be stuck in voicemail. So you clicked on a “chat with us now” link floating on the page. This opens up a support window where you can immediately talk to someone from the company.

Generating leads with live chat

Its really an easy way to capture more leads from your website. Many websites designed to capture leads (rather than directly selling products online) only have a 2-5% conversion rate, meaning most visitors to the website do not contact you or sign up for your newsletter. They typically have questions though, and in many cases do not find what they are looking for on your website. Live chat provides you an opportunity to reach out to the 98% of website visitors who don’t contact you by offering live assistance, which can help establish a relationship and lead to more business.

How does live chat work?

The software has two pieces: a click-to-chat code that is placed on your website, and an operator console. You are likely familiar with the click-to-chat code, which is visible through “chat now” buttons and pop-up chat windows.

The operator console is software that you (as a customer support rep) use to accept or initiate chat invites with those browsing your website. It allows you to see real-time information about visitors on your website, such as their location, ISP, web browser, how they came to your website, and what pages they are viewing. The software can be in the form of a web browser, client software to install on Windows or a Mac, and sometimes even a mobile app.

Types of live chat features

Live chat software typically comes with the following key features:

  • Presence aware – Your custom “chat now” image only displays if you are ready to receive chats, which you control through a web-based console (with no extra software to download). 
  • Audio and visual notifications if someone is browsing your website or wants to chat.
  • Chat “invites” – ask a visitor if they need assistance before they leave, by starting the chat session.
  • Secure conversations with chat history transcripts – All communication can be secure using SSL (secure sockets layer), with transcripts of the chat available to review in the operator console. This is helpful to track what was said, and even to monitor those you may assign to communicate with customers.
  • Monitor your website(s) live with one or more operators or agents. See information about visitors such a how they arrived (search engines, blog, website, etc) and see the path or footprint they have taken through your site, all in real time.
  • Create quick chat responses, so you can quickly offer help.
  • Mobile app – Not at your desk? Some services include the ability to accept chat requests using mobile apps.
  • Visitor message center – When your are offline or too busy to receive chats, visitors can have the option to “leave a message” which alerts you via email and is easily viewed in the operator console.
  • Co-browse capability – Follow visitors along as they go through your site, to see what they are interested in.

Many other features exist, and are configurable depending on your needs.

Have more questions about using live chat software? We offer a live chat solution designed for small businesses, which we integrate with your website, and make sure you are fully supported. If we are online now, you can chat with us, or please feel free to contact us for more information.


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