Should You Use Live Chat On Your Site?

November 3, 2014
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Most content on your website or blog is static, and prospects often need something more before they are ready to complete a purchase. For many companies the solution has been live chat. Live chat allows customers to send instant messages to your customer support team at any time to receive all the information they want before completing a purchase. Although there is a long list of benefits of live chat, there are also a number of disadvantages that are equally important. To help you decide whether or not you should include live chat on your website, we have compiled a list of the most significant pros and cons.

Pros

Instant Communication

In this age of technology, people increasingly expect immediate gratification to their wants and needs. Live chat is a faster way of communicating than email, which often takes several messages sent back and forth until both parties come to an understanding. This is a big risk: 45 percent of customers abandon transactions when companies take too long to respond to their queries, found a Nielsen-McKinsey study. Live chat also reduces the chance that a customer decides to email you later with a query and then forgets (or worse, finds that one of your competitors does have live chat and can solve the problem faster).

Personal Conversations

Real-time conversations are inherently more personal than email. Not only will your prospects will appreciate the care and attention you dedicate to their problems through live chat and remember you in a good light in the future, they will also receive better support, as instant messages give them the chance to clarify and express exactly what they need. Although you can have the same quality of communication on the phone, remember that many customers, particularly the younger generation, are more comfortable with Internet chat.

Increased Sales

If you want more customers, you need more people to visit your website. In 2013, 45 percent of companies that installed live chat software on their website saw an increase in traffic, according to CRM Magazine. In addition, 63 percent of respondents in a sample by eMarketer said that they would be very likely to visit a website due to its live chat feature and 38 percent reported making a purchase as a result of a live chat interaction.

Cons

Communication Problems

As instant chat messages tend to lack emotion, customers can easily misinterpret meaning unless customer service reps are adept at phrasing words. Furthermore, live chat is often based around conveying messages in as few words as possible. Firstly, this can be confusing for issues that require a great amount of detail to understand, and secondly, such communication can feel inhuman.

Staffing Live Chat

Live chat gives customers the impression that you are able to solve their problems at any hour of the day or night. The question is: are you able to operate live chat all the time, including outside normal business hours? Prospects may be disappointed if they find your live chat is unavailable. Plus, the staff member working your live chat must drop everything as soon as a message comes in, which can be very disruptive to other work.

Functionality

The number of mobile users is constantly increasing. Unless you are able to adapt your live chat to work on a range of devices, much of your target market will be unable to use the feature. Additionally, you should remember that live chat is yet another plugin, and like all plugins, it may slow down your website. If your site takes too long to load, users may give up and go elsewhere.

Live chat can be a great solution for improving customer service. When used well, the software enables you to solve problems faster, improve relationships with your customers and prospects, and increase your sales. However, it is essential that you have the time, manpower, and capabilities necessary for your instant chat to be successful. If not, the feature could even be detrimental to your business.

We’ve successfully implemented live chat for a number of our clients, and we’d love to help you do the same. Feel free to give us a call at (508) 755-6797 to discuss your particular situation.

 

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