Being successful on the internet has always been about timing. How fast you are found, how memorable your brand is at first glance, how quickly you respond to engagement.
This is why real-time content such as live blogging is a great part of a marketing strategy today. But how about its connection with sales? How about using live interaction to guide your customer all the way to conversion?
In this complete guide, we want to talk about a great solution to kickstart in 2021: live chat.
Let’s see how it works, how it benefits your company, and how you can use it to improve marketing and sales. You’ll see the following topics:
- What a live chat is
- What are the benefits of a live chat
- How live chats can help business growth
- 6 tips to leverage your live chat strategy
What a live chat is
Before the internet was a thing, there were some ways a customer could contact a company when they wanted to solve a question or complain about a product.
They could send a letter, make a phone call or go there in person. The first one could take a lot of time. The other two would probably involve talking to a lot of different personnel to finally reach the right ears.
At first, the internet had the same problems. Customer service was handled via email, contact forms, and sometimes even a call.
The problem with these strategies is the same as before: too much time and too much effort — things we don’t usually want to spare.
A badly-designed CRM can leave questions hanging for hours, maybe days before they are addressed.
If this was bad for pre-internet businesses, it is fatal nowadays. The main difference is that customers have options now.
They expect quick answers and can even make the same questions for two or three companies, and favor the one that reaches them first.
So, while still investing in those more traditional contact channels, your company needs to be more present, more accessible, and quicker to interact with each client.
That is what live chat can do for you.
Live chat is a tool embedded in your company’s website and/or attached to social media that allows visitors to send questions and be answered in real-time, talking to a real person.
It can be a widget, a plugin, or a page. The front-end is flexible, but in the back-end, you need a structure to receive, analyze, and respond as quickly as possible to any interaction.
As you will see along with this guide, live chat is a great way to be closer to your audience and create opportunities.
It is the complete rupture with traditional ways of customer service, finally bringing a new era of customer-brand relationships.
What are the benefits of a live chat
To understand better why live chat is becoming the norm on the internet, we can explore what benefits it brings to a business.
We made a list of the most important of them: from both marketing and sales standpoints. Take a look!
Making the whole communication process easier
If there is a significant difference between customer habits on and off the internet, it is their tolerance for barriers.
One thing doesn’t go as they expected, and they are already skipping to the next search result.
That is why companies invest so much in optimization, performance, and automation. They need to reach each lead fast and do it right.
No other contact channel can do this as a live chat does. It is a hassle-free, instant form of communication.
That way, you can immediately grab someone’s attention and keep them engaged on your website or social media.
Giving more personality to customer service
Live chat is way more personalized than other kinds of text-based interactions. Emails are, by nature, too formal, with contact forms too standardized.
With a well-structured live chat tool, the marketing team can implement the brand persona and its voice when answering questions and giving information.
It ties marketing and sales strategy into a single effort — something all businesses need to do when trying to stand out on the internet.
Turning complaints and doubts into sales
Talking more about the close relationship between marketing and sales, we can see live chat as an opportunity to improve conversion and loyalty numbers even further.
Live chat is a channel for solving doubts and complaints. People go there expecting some kind of resolution. Surpassing their expectations at this moment is a powerful way of bringing them to your side.
People behind that desk need to be a bridge between the two departments.
They need knowledge marketing has about the buyer persona, and the sales pitch department has to convince them.
Most of all, live chat shows your audience you care enough to be always available to them — the kind of relationship that sticks for a long time.
Using live chat as a marketing data source
The big difference using specialized tools is that they are designed to make the most of a specific strategy.
In the case of live chat, it means having the resources to make it possible and to analyze numbers and interpret them.
Live chat can be used for surveys such as a Net Promoter Score or to ask some subjective and useful opinions about products and services.
The raw numbers it generates are a great indicator too. Your team can cross-reference interactions and their nature to the improvement of other KPIs, like conversion rates and LTV.
It will show the return your company is getting from the effort.
How live chats can help business growth
KPIs are the perfect hook for our next topic in this guide. The benefits above show you what it can do as a positive impact on your company, but one question is still here: how to do it?
There are a lot of ways you can use live chat and help the business grow.
We will show some examples and how they will improve marketing and sales strategies!
Use it for attraction and engagement
One cold truth about generating traffic on a website is that the vast majority of visitors will leave without actioning anything.
No engagement, no research, no consideration.
Live chat is a great tool for changing that. Automated platforms can instantly grab some users’ attention by popping up and inviting them for a conversation.
Here is where the marketing team comes in. That contact is an opportunity to not only engage a lead but also to gather info about them — an email address or a phone number. Anything extra you get from live chat will enrich your database.
Use it for convincing pitches
It is always great to have a salesperson ready to chat too. Someone who knows the product well and the points to use when convincing someone.
The thing is a lot of buyers have last-minute doubts. Live chat will be right there with them — a quick and easy way of solving questions and explaining additional arguments.
How it helps your company? By improving conversion rates at the finish line.
Optimizing this KPI is one of the most ROI-centered strategies for both marketing and sales.
Use it for customer support
What do you want when you need help from customer support? Probably the same thing as everyone: to see your problem being addressed as soon as possible.
Easier access to support channels is a huge selling point for companies as it makes an impact on the customer’s life. And there is no easier, more instant channel for that than live chat.
With the right tools, a business can quickly identify and resolve any issue. A streamlined CS is cheap for the company and attractive for the client.
How attractive? If you remember it, at the beginning of the guide, we talked about a barrier-adverse audience. In this context, the brands that are more direct to connect with people have a huge advantage in the market.
When you combine an optimized marketing strategy grabbing leads’ attention, a great sales pitch that convinces them, and efficient support, you sell more and for longer.
With conversion and loyalty rates improving, success is right around the corner.
6 tips to leverage your live chat strategy
Now that you know why and where to apply live chat solutions, it is time for some valuable tips.
We will pinpoint the 6 main actions you have to keep in mind when planning and executing this strategy.
1. Be as immediate as possible
When you offer live chat on the business website, it has to be truly live. People expect their questions answered as soon as possible.
And we are not talking about a fast hello. The clock is ticking for resolution. That is why a great live chat plan involves a robust platform that can redirect, assess, and respond as soon as possible. The golden and obvious rule is always to have an agent available.
2. Be as humane as possible
A business live chat is still a chat. So it demands a certain connection and attention to the lead’s humane side on the other end.
So pick the right agents for the task — those more prone to be positive and assertive in the way they talk. Of course, always respecting the voice of your brand persona.
3. Use chatbots wisely
Chatbots are software that automates the first stages of a live chat. It can be used to grab attention, call the visitor, or ask initial info about the matter.
They can definitely help you but don’t rely exclusively on them. If the user notices they are talking to a bot, and there is no human face addressing their problem, you will end with a frustrated lead.
4. Don’t live chat without integration
As we said, live chat can produce great data and be connected with other areas of the company — marketing, sales, CRM.
So try and find some integrated solutions that bring more than just the chat itself. It will be a huge help in your daily routine.
5. Don’t focus only on your solutions
A lot of companies tend to be pushy on live chats. Offering solutions when it is not relevant to the user’s doubts will give an impression of coldness and distance.
You need to listen and ask further questions about the matter. You need to show you are interested and engaged.
6. Follow up live chat interactions
Live chat is an opportunity during the interaction but also after it. You can use the moment to ask for contact info while solving a question or issue.
Then you ask for feedback later and follow up on each lead’s journey. First, it is a way of analyzing and tweaking your live chat strategy. But it is also a loyalty-building chance.
You can use a pleasing experience as a new selling point. People tend to stick with the brands they feel comfortable with. When you remind them of that, they always come back.
Now it is time to bring your leads closer, surpass their expectations, and sell more!
Do you want to know more about real-time interactions that engage and convert? Check out our guide on what is and how to run a successful Q&A!