No matter the size of your company, one of the key reasons to have a website is to make it easy for your clients to get in touch with you. There’s the old tried and true method of creating a Contact page where a visitor can fill out a form to submit their questions. You might also list out your store locations and even your phone number. All of these are totally fine. But, are you missing out on another golden opportunity to provide customer service? Have you considered adding live chat to your website?
Earlier this summer when we launched the redesign for Maintainn.com, the ongoing website maintenance arm of WebDevStudios, we were really focused on making things less complicated for our clients. You can read on our Maintainn blog about some of the behind-the-scenes work we did to make the signup process for support services easier than ever. Next, we wanted to make contacting our team simpler, too. For us, the answer was live chat.
Live chat is a tricky business solution and isn’t something I would suggest jumping into without some careful consideration first. The most important aspect of any contact method is your ability to remain consistently reliable. For example, with a contact form, a response to a user’s question in one to two days is reasonable. With a phone call, picking up immediately or returning a voicemail hours later is perfectly acceptable. But with live chat, somebody must be available at the exact moment your visitors are visiting your website.
Many times when visitors use the live chat feature, it’s because they’re looking for information to help them make a decision. The ability to provide that visitor with the answer they need immediately could easily be the difference between closing the sale or watching them head over to your competitor’s website.
Live chat is also an opportunity for you to build confidence with your customers. I’ve had multiple people send a chat request simply to verify our authenticity.
“I just wanted to see if I’d be able to reach a real person,” they explain. When they see that they can, in fact, reach a real person, I know that I’ve captured their trust. I’m not a bot, but rather, someone on which they can rely.
One thing to note: you don’t have to keep your live chat available 24 hours, seven days a week. We don’t. The Maintainn live chat option is only available during our normal business hours. We have it automated to open and close at specific hours on specified days.
The part that I didn’t expect to encounter when we set up live chat was how much we would learn about our own website. When a visitor is asking a question, it likely means that the answer they are seeking isn’t easily found on your website. Or, if you find yourself thinking, “The answer is RIGHT THERE,” this may be a perfect opportunity to reevaluate how your business, service, and product information are displayed. Perhaps it isn’t as clear and obvious as you think it is. Take what you learn from your live chat customers and apply it toward improving your website.
While there are a number of live chat services available, finding one that fits your workflow is imperative. Some require you to be logged into their website where the chats take place in a web browser. Others offer mobile apps that allow you to answer chats even while you’re away from your desk.
There are also a number of WordPress plugins available for adding live chat to your website. Some of them are companion plugins associated with third-party services, while others are standalone.
As a distributed company, WebDevStudios (including the team at Maintainn) relies heavily on Slack for company communications and internal organization. So, as we searched for a live chat solution, we discovered Chatlio.
As the official live chat app fully integrated with Slack, Chatlio allows me to provide Maintainn website visitors with the customer service they seek without additional browser tabs open or software. Providing live chat support is just one of my job roles. I still need to be able to make sales calls, work on project proposals, and complete other tasks daily. Chatlio provides me with a way to multitask.
Chatlio may not be the answer for you. But if you invest the time in researching your options and trying a couple out, I’m sure you’ll find a live chat resource that fits your need.
Simply stated, live chat is another great opportunity to connect with your visitors and provide them with a way to get a hold of you. It’s a way for you to build trust while answering their questions on the spot. Plus, you will learn about ways to improve and strengthen your website.
It may seem a bit intimidating and as though it’s a big responsibility (it is), but live chat truly could be the edge you’re looking for to take your website and business to the next level of success.
Also published on Medium.