Along with social media, live chat is the technology at the forefront of a communication revolution in the business world.

Increasingly, people want to be able to interact with companies in a way that is quick, effective, and lets them gather the information they need in the shortest time possible.

Right now, live chat is the best way for businesses to accommodate for this and still maintain a professional front with their customers.

Live chat success in ecommerce

Live chat is already being used very effectively in a lot of B2C interactions, particularly on ecommerce sites, and it is seeing great results.

When House of Fraser implemented live chat on their sites, they saw the average basket size increase by 20%, and conversions reach as high as 29%.

With impressive results such as these it’s no wonder lots of businesses are looking to use live chat as part of their customer journey.

However, while the use of live chat is now well established in B2C and ecommerce, in the corporate and B2B world it can still be an unknown quantity.

This is no reason to stay away from live chat though, as it can be easily and effectively used in any business.

The benefits of live chat for corporates

There are two primary ways that live chat can benefit organisations, and that is in customer service and in sales.

Live chat for customer service

In customer service, live chat works because it provides a channel for clients to quickly have their issues resolved.

Whatever a client’s issue is, their disappointment, anger and annoyance will only be amplified if they have to sit on the phone for an hour getting it fixed.

For example, if you’re an SaaS company and your service goes down, with live chat an enquiring client can quickly be informed “apologies, the service will be up again shortly”.

In a matter of seconds the client has the information they need, and though they may be disappointed, they know they’ll be able to use the service again soon.

Without live chat the client would be required to phone in, work their way through a complicated computerised switchboard, only to be put on hold while they wait for an operator.

During this time they become more and more aggravated wondering why the service they pay for isn’t working, and why they’re wasting their time being put on hold.

This turns a relatively small issue into a real grievance which customer service will then have to deal with.

Live chat can reduce staffing requirement

Another benefit of live chat is that it can significantly reduce the time spent dealing with enquiries.

As live chats are typically brief interactions, a customer service agent could handle several live chat enquiries in the time it takes to handle one protracted conversation over the phone.

This improved efficiency can be used to reduce staffing costs, or simply to allow staff to work more flexibly, switching between the phone and live chat for a less rigid work flow and greatly improved job satisfaction.

Live chat for sales

Much like customer service, one of the benefits of live chat for sales is how quickly it lets your salespeople interact with potential clients. Perhaps a lead lands on your site and is impressed, but they can’t find the one vital piece of information they need to make a decision. Normally, they’d drop out of the funnel at that point and go looking on a competitor’s website.

All good salespeople know that a fresh lead is a hot lead, and that it’s important to talk to new enquiries as quickly as possible. And it doesn’t get much quicker than talking to a potential client while they’re still on the website.

Live chat allows salespeople to talk to new enquiries while their buying intent is still at its highest.

Right there and then your salesperson can explain why you have the right product for them, and hopefully convert the lead.

This is the ideal scenario, and while it might not always go that way, live chat can still be used to stop potential clients dropping out the funnel by allowing them to ask a question and get the information they need then and there.

Simply put – live chat lets salespeople maximise the potential of every visitor to the site without anyone having to pick up the phone.

Proactive or reactive live chat?

When live chat first appeared on websites it would simply sit in the bottom corner of the page as another method for people browsing the website to get in touch. This is called reactive live chat.

One of the main developments in live chat software is the idea of proactive live chat. In its most basic form proactive live chat simply means the window pops open by itself with some holding text such as “anything we can help you with?” to try and encourage visitors to start a conversation.

More sophisticated websites will set up certain triggers based on different customer behaviour. For example, you could set up a trigger so the live chat window opens with a sales message if a user has been browsing the pricing page for a while.

You could set up another trigger that opens a window straight through to customer service if a user is looking at your complaints process.

Different live chat software will have different levels of automation available, but for organisations interested in maximising customer journeys, proactive live chat is something to be considered.

The challenges of live chat

While live chat can certainly provide a lot of benefits to corporate organisations, as with any new software there are some challenges that must be overcome.

For corporates, one of the main challenges of live chat is ensuring quality and tone of voice is maintained at all times.

Because live chat is so similar to modern online chatting apps like Facebook Messenger, it’s easy for operators to lose their professional tone of voice, particularly if they’re younger people.

The risk isn’t that they will become rude or unhelpful, but rather that they will slip back into habits used when chatting outside of a professional context. Examples of this would be using abbreviations and not writing in full sentences.

Bad habits such as these undermine the professional image corporate groups should project, so it’s important proper procedures and training are put in place to make sure they don’t occur.

Outsourced live chat from CALLCARE

At CALLCARE we assist organisations in providing live chat services on their websites. All our operators undergo extensive training to ensure that your high standards and corporate identity are maintained at all times.

Outsourcing your live chat to CALLCARE ensures that any visitors to your website can easily receive a high standard of advice from a real person, 24 hours a day.

This helps to provide a better customer journey and reduces the number of people who drop out of the sales funnel.

To find out more about how CALLCARE can assist you in providing live chat on your website visit our live chat services page.

Ross Barnes-Moore