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The Importance of Live Chat for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

The Importance of Live Chat for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

 

We live in an era of unprecedented connectivity. From smartphones to wearable gadgets and IoT-enabled appliances, almost every new device is equipped to provide instant access and personalised services in any location. With these tools in hand, modern consumers feel empowered to control when and how they interact with different brands.  Today, any individual has the ability to seek out the products they need at the price points they desire. This steady rise in customer autonomy has changed the shape of the traditional buyer’s journey.

Firms that were once able to exploit a clear lack of market knowledge to maintain a stranglehold over their customers now have to face up to tech savvy audiences that can compare their offerings to a number of national and international competitors in the blink of an eye. Recent statistics show that up to 67% of the buying journey is done through digital channels. In fact, most customers only see fit to contact a sales representative after they’re more than halfway though their purchasing decision.

In order to keep up with these shifting trends, businesses must find some way to engage customers proactively across each digital touchpoint. But simple accessibility isn’t enough; your outreach efforts also have to be consistent with your overall brand and advertising so that customer’s can be assured of the same experience that they would get in person or via phone. In other words, you need to be ready to meet your customers through all possible sales and support channels at any time of the day.

If that seems like a tall order then don’t worry, a strong live chat presence can help you take your online customer experience to the next level.

Live Chat Support is the Next Step in Customer Service

In 2015, the total market for messaging apps surpassed the number of active users across all social media platforms put together. It just goes to show how ubiquitous instant messaging has become in our daily lives. While calls and meetings can be time-consuming and difficult to arrange, text communications allow you to interact with relevant people quickly and conveniently. For the estimated 32 million smartphone users across the UK, texting is by far the most popular communication medium available.

This popularity isn’t just restricted to personal interactions either; when it comes to business dealings more than 73% of customers indicate that live chat is their preferred medium of communication. Indeed, 77% of customers are not even willing to make a purchase unless a live chat option is available.

With 80% of UK customers now initiating product purchases through online platforms, these figures simply can’t be ignored.

Think of it this way, the bulk of your online budget is dedicated towards designing, developing and hosting your website. This is probably your most valuable digital asset. The rest of your digital marketing from social media to SEO is dedicated towards funneling traffic towards your website, with the ultimate aim of creating conversions and increasing interest in the business. Unfortunately, only 4% of website visitors are ready to make a purchase on their first visit. These prospects need to be nurtured and guided before they will be willing to spend their money on your products and services. With a live chat agent at the ready, you have a representative who is well-positioned to do just that.

Live Chat for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Unsurprisingly, smaller business owners can often struggle to establish a strong online presence. It’s not exactly surprising, when you’re dealing with limited budgets and stiff competition from far larger competitors it can be extremely difficult to cut through the noise and engage online visitors. In order to make the best of your resources, you need to find some way to set yourself apart from other businesses in the industry. A great customer experience can be this key differentiator.

Through live chat you can show prospective customers that your business is available to answer questions, concerns and complaints through any online channel. You will also be able to demonstrate your business expertise by providing customers with insights and recommendations for your products and services. If these factors are combined together on a consistent basis, then you can forge strong customer relationships that enable you to compete with even the biggest online competitors.

How Live Chat Benefits Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Forrester research shows that live chat services are 17-30% less expensive to manage and operate than call centres. Unlike call centres, live chat services do not require special facilities or a large team of operators. Most live chats can be initiated and run through a simple online interface that can be set up on any computer. While call centre agents can only deal with one customer at a time, live chat offers easy multitasking features that give agents the ability to assist multiple customers at the same time. Live chat software can also be made available through remote devices, so remote agents can handle pressing customer concerns from their smartphones and home computers.

Live Chat Enhances the Customer Experience

Live chat makes customer support easy. No matter where customers are in their buying journey, they always have the option of contacting one of your representatives with the simple click of a button on your website. Forty four percent of online consumers admit that getting their queries and concerns answered by an online representative improves their website experiences significantly. Live chat consistently reduces customer wait times and average concern handling times; they also allow customers to multi-task while getting urgent questions answered. All those benefits come without the frustration of difficult to locate customer contact numbers and interminable IVR menus.

Optimising Opportunities

Every live chat interaction produces a transcript. During monthly or quarterly review sessions these transcripts can be sampled and analyzed to determine the overall quality and effectiveness of your customer communications. Transcripts also provide key insights into common customer pain points. By sorting through chat histories for escalated customers you can begin to identify the biggest deficiencies in your manufacturing, delivery, marketing, and customer service functions.

With this information you can implement proactive measures to optimize these areas of your organization.  You can also integrate these records with your existing CRM systems in order to produce more detailed customer profiles that can be broken down on by keywords, issues and outcomes.

Live Chat Improves Efficiency

Once you’re able to identify the most commonly questions and concerns, you can start to develop prewritten responses that can help to address these scenarios more quickly. This is especially effective if you have a pre-existing knowledge base or FAQ section set up on your website. If your live chat agents have these resources available, they can simply direct customers towards relevant tutorials or articles that will help to resolve their issues.  Chat transcripts can also be used to develop additional material for key issues that have not been addressed through existing FAQ/knowledge base articles.

This saves your agents the effort of talking customers through the same steps over and over again. Instead, your live chat representative can function in an advisory capacity, ready to step in if the customer requires additional assistance. The time you save handling routine queries can be dedicated towards more complex support tickets, in this way you can ensure that all customers are supported in the most efficient manner.

Live Chat Improves Conversions and Revenues

An American Marketing Association study shows that live chat can improve overall conversion rates by 20%, while the overall ROI from a live chat implementation can be as high as 300%. That means that individual customers are more than three times more likely to make a purchase simply due to the availability of live chat agents on your website.

One of the biggest issues to overcome during any purchasing process is last-minute resistance, while a customer might be impressed by the price and quality of your offerings they may still be reluctant to buy for fear of missing out on a better deal elsewhere. Alternatively, the customer might have some key issues which they want answered before they will commit to a purchase. A live chat agent helps to bridge the gap between these concerns and a conversion. Your agent will be well-positioned to guide customers along the most critical parts of the buying process and bring a sale to completion. You can also use website analytics data to focus your communications on repeat visitors that are yet to commit to a purchase. By reaching out to these customers with specific information and targeted offers you can work to ensure that reluctant buyers turn into loyal customers.

Of course, live chat isn’t just effective for acquiring new customers. Your agents can also work to increase average order values by recommending additional products and services to customers at checkout. Virgin Airlines uses personalised live chat recommendations to increase their average order values by up to 15%.

Stand Out From the Competition

A recent TELUS International survey found that the vast majority of businesses still don’t offer live chat capabilities through their website. In an online environment that’s becoming increasingly resistant to disruption, live chat offers a clear competitive advantage for any business that’s looking to stand out from the competition. By implementing live chat on your website you can engage with each visitor and cease opportunities to build engagement. Ultimately, these strategies will make you more attractive to prospective customers.

Better SEO

If you want to increase your website’s visibility and draw more traffic towards your offerings, then you need to focus search engine optimization. A good SEO strategy is built around relevant niche keywords that can be embedded into your website content. When prospective customers enter these terms into search engines like Google, a strong SEO ranking will ensure that your website shows up amongst the first results. Almost 70% of Google traffic is drawn from these results, so a first page ranking can take your online presence to the next level.

By examining analyzing your chat transcripts in detail, you can start to identify the most common terms that customers are using for your products and services. You can use these insights to inform your digital marketing and SEO strategy by optimizing your website content to include these commonly referenced keywords. The more insights you gain, the better these keywords will become.

Reach More Customers

Different types of customers will purchase your products and services in different ways. Even if you traditionally don’t get a lot of interest through online channels, a live chat implementation can help you to widen your audience to include more digitally inclined customers that may be browsing through your website through mobile or tablet.

Remember, the key here is to be responsive, friendly and consistent with your messaging; if you’re able to deliver on these objectives then even the most uninitiated customer can be convinced to buy from your business.

Outsourced Live Chat Support

At TelephoneAnswering.Biz our live chat agents will help you monitor and manage your customer support, marketing, and sales processes like never before. With our live agents leading your online customer support; we can help you create an authentic, accessible digital business that delivers truly personalised customer experiences.  To find out more about our services and rates, contact us today.

 

 

 

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