If you’ve made it to this post you’ll likely already know that one of the biggest benefits of live chat is that it allows you to talk directly to your customers in real-time. Pretty much what it says on the tin.
However, we often put live chat in a box. We think of it as something that is specifically for customer service and consumer products. This is a huge underestimation of the uses and benefits of live chat. We believe there are many businesses who would see great returns on their investment in live chat software who aren’t yet utilising this simple and effective tool.
Live chat is quickly becoming an expectation for B2C brands and their customers. But for B2B businesses, there is still some resistance in adopting this growing channel.
This guide will help you determine the risk vs reward for your business. We based this on Bain’s B2B elements of value pyramid as a way to get a holistic view on the ROI of live chat for your business.
- Your sales and support teams will be more productive
- You’ll be more responsive to customers
- Your customers can access you more easily
- You’ll grow your business faster
- Your use of live chat signifies your culture and brand
- Deliver your team’s expertise directly to customers
- Live chat will help you improve the quality of your products
- Live chat helps you become more innovative
- Your organisation will be more transparent
- You can simplify your communications
- Reduced time to solve customer problems
- You can become more integrated
- You’ll be far more capable of scaling your support and sales
- You’ll be able to reduce your support costs
- You’ll be able to customise the look and feel of how customers interact with you
- Live chat helps with every aspect of growth
Your sales and support teams will be more productive
A common misconception of live chat is that it will take up a huge amount of time and that it will be complex to manage. The reality is that live chat is a flexible tool that you can use to suit your own needs. In most cases, teams end up saving time.
Live chat is a great way to speed up your sales process by allowing questions to be answered quickly and efficiently. It can help you to address customer concerns or queries in the moment and replace the endless back and forth of email chains. Furthermore, we are seeing our customers use live chat in more and more inventive ways. Live chat could improve your feedback process, your content distribution, maximise your email sign-ups, or boost webinar attendance.
In addition to this, most live chat solutions are easy to understand and quick to get to grips with. Many teams easily distribute the work amongst the team members already handling these tasks on other platforms, seeing it as an additional tool rather than an additional task. We see teams taking many different approaches to managing live chat. Sometimes this is through using tools to set their ‘opening hours’. Sometimes it’s through team organisation. We do all-hands live chat. Maybe that would work for you too.
You’ll be more responsive to customers
Agility is something that we all look for in our businesses. Being able to react quickly and change direction to better serve the team and boost the company’s growth is hugely important. Yet, we rarely talk about the importance of being agile and quick to respond in regards to our customers.
In this hyper-speed world, we know that 79% of people won’t return to a website again if it is too slow or is difficult to use. Not being able to find an answer to your question on a website is a common problem we’ve all experienced. Live chat provides a simple solution to that.
A great benefit of live chat is that it gives you the opportunity to be responsive to your prospects and customer’s pain points and questions the moment they occur. This speed and knowledge combine to help you become a more customer-centric company.
Real-time responses to problems aren’t the only example in which speed matters. There’s also a huge amount to be said for being available in real-time when selling to new customers.
Your customers can access you more easily
A big benefit of live chat is the direct and unfiltered access to your customers and prospects. By having the Live Chat widget in the corner of your webpage, or even by using live chat prompts to encourage conversations, you open up the door to your customers.
The feedback we receive over live chat is invaluable in developing our messaging and product offering. You get to hear the good and bad of your customer’s experiences. The good gives us all a nice boost during the day. And the bad allows us to be quick to respond and change according to our customer’s needs.
Secondly, having live chat on your site helps to account for the different ways your customers like to communicate. 42% of people report that live chat is their preferred method of communicating with a business. In some situations, there is no replacement for getting on the phone or meeting face to face. In fact, knowing when to move a conversation off live chat and onto another platform is part of applying best practice. However, you are likely to have many customers who don’t want to chat to someone on the phone, and who certainly don’t want to wait for an email response or send a letter in the post…
A key benefit of the live chat option is giving your customers an easy and quick way to get hold of you.
You’ll grow your business faster
Live chat has proven to benefit sales teams by reducing their lead to close times, helping them to better understand prospects, and capture leads from all corners of a website.
There are plenty of different live chat tools out there. All at different price points and with different features, including our own, the GoSquared Assistant. Plans for live chat software are often reasonably priced and are great value for money when you do the maths.
Especially when using live chat for sales you are able to calculate a direct return on the cost of your plan. Consider how much a single one of your customers is worth to you over the course of the year, and how much your live chat plan costs. Every business will be different as the exact ROI will depend on your chosen plan and on the price point of your product. To give a real-life example – Intuit added live chat to their site and soon after saw a 211% increase in sales.
Your use of live chat signifies your culture and brand
With ever-increasing choices our customers are becoming wiser to brand values than ever before. It might not seem like this is immediately relevant, but remember that every single thing you do is your brand.
A brand doesn’t exist in a vacuum where it has been planned and curated. It is your reputation at every single customer touchpoint. A customer-centric company needs to be listening to their customers. Live chat provides a platform for these interactions to happen. A platform that your customers want, and that is easy, and quick for you to implement.
With reports showing that 92% have a good experience with live chat, higher than any other form of communication, providing this option seems like an easy choice. If you are focused on great customer service and a culture that priorities customer happiness – this is a no brainer.
Deliver your team’s expertise directly to customers
In order to stand out in a competitive market, it’s important to demonstrate the expertise of your team.
Through live chat your team are able to send through links to useful resources and documents straight away. These resources that you likely already have become far more valuable when they can be handed to a customer at the perfect time. Live chat continues to act in the background (or corner) of whatever your customer is already doing enabling them to switch between looking at your advice and fixing their problem. This gives you the opportunity to be there with your customer as they solve these issues or find the answers to their questions.
Nothing gets missed and the problem definitely gets solved. Compare this to filling out a contact form and finding out that, after waiting 2 days for your reply, the question wasn’t fully answered.
With live chat you have the opportunity to stay in touch with the customer until you are sure their issue or question has been resolved. There is also the option for another team member to ‘jump on’ to the live chat system and help out a customer with a particularly tricky or technical problem. This immediate and expert assistance reassures your customers that your company is the right place for their business. Imagine the difference this can make in reducing your churn rates.
Live chat will help you improve the quality of your products
Often upgrading your product or service requires weeks of research, planning, executing, and evaluating. Adding live chat to your site is a quick way to upgrade your offering without much effort. One of the benefits of live chat is that in itself it’s a value add to your product.
You are able to promote the variety of ways customers can get in touch. You can promote how you are an always contactable team, and elevate the service you provide to your customers on a daily basis. These real-time responses are a standout point of difference to many of your competitors and help your customers get more value from your product.
Keep in mind that many live chat providers are plug-in-and-play. Many offerings these days integrate with multiple platforms so your customers won’t see any weird glitches in your service. You won’t have to take your site offline at any point to implement the changes.
Live chat helps you become more innovative
A crucial element of value for companies of every size is their ability to innovate. If they aren’t already, your customers will soon be asking why you don’t have live chat. IBM predicts that by 2020 85% of customer queries will be handled without any human interaction.
By proactively integrating a live chat option to your site now you’ll begin to benefit from the software sooner seeing lifts in your conversion rate, reduction in churn, and happier, more loyal customers. You might not be the first in your industry to adopt live chat but you certainly don’t want to be the last.
Additionally, there are plenty of ways your company can become industry leading in the use of this technology. We are always witnessing innovative and experimental ways that customers use our own software to boost their brand presence, close more deals, or better serve their customers.
Your organisation will be more transparent
With data security and transparency still at the forefront of all of our minds, this is a point not to be overlooked.
All chats are saved within the system. These records help you to personalise your service in real-time. But they also provide transparency to customer interactions. This secure environment is beneficial to your customer and your team.
A searchable and segmentable record of all the live chat conversations is a gold-mine for your sales, product, and customer service teams. Salespeople can learn from best practice of others, test out different approaches, and enjoy quick, efficient lead-to-close times. For customer service teams they get access to an easy to use platform for conversing with teams and are easily able to escalate issues and delegate problems to the most relevant person. Finally, our product teams can take advantage of all the customer insight coming out of live chat conversations. We use our live chat records to plan product upgrades by seeing what the most in-demand requests are.
As an added bonus you can tailor customer service and sales training by using real-life examples from your records in the syllabus.
You can simplify your communication
Efficiency and productivity used to be buzzwords reserved for manufacturing and production. Not anymore. It’s hard to get through the first 20 posts on a feed without seeing a promotion for the latest productivity hack.
Sometimes it’s just a quick question and your customer doesn’t want to be on the phone for ages making awkward small talk. Your customers and visitors are doing 10 other things at the same time.
Take down another barrier and allow them to easily get in touch with your team through live chat. By opening up this channel of quick communication you will save both your customer’s time and your own.
There are plenty of situations where a longer conversation or a face to face meeting is necessary. But for all those other times, make it is as simple as possible for your prospects and customers to get in and out and back to their day. They’ll thank you for it.
Reduced time to solve customer problems
As a back up to any alerts you have set up for product downtime, your customers will certainly tell you when there are any issues.
The ability to know about problems straight away means a quicker route to getting everything back on track. By reducing the solve time of issues you will gain respect from customers who know that you care about them and their experience of your service. One study reported that the average solve time over live chat was 43 seconds.
In addition, issues that for a customer seem to be with your service may, in fact, be unique problems related to their account. By having this direct line to the customer, in the context of your product or site, you can establish the scope of the issue and be made aware of any onboarding that might need to take place.
You can become more integrated
A key query from some of our B2B customers centres around the integration of live chat to their existing software.
Most live chat software has easy integrations that will not compromise any of your services or product functionality. For example, our live chat software integrates with Salesforce, Zendesk, Drift, and hundreds more tools.
Not only does live chat software integrate seamlessly into your product it integrates into your customer’s way of working. By allowing customers to integrate their communications with your team into their day-to-day in-product actions you are removing one more barrier between them and the value of your product.
You’ll be far more capable of scaling your support and sales
When your team are handling customer service interactions using live chat – as opposed to on the phone – they can multi-task. They can jump between multiple conversations with multiple customers at once, almost effortlessly. And it’s not just good for your team, 51% of those who chose live chat as their preferred way of communicating picked this option because it allows them to multitask!
Another benefit of live chat is easy access to customer information when dealing with a query. This helps your team to sell more effectively and to resolve issues faster.
In addition to your team being able to handle live chat cases in parallel, you may also be able to utilise chatbots to handle some of the more basic questions you receive from customers. Or automatically direct customers to helpful resources before a member of the customer service team needs to step in.
You’ll be able to reduce your customer service costs
If customer service currently involves lengthy email chains, or back-to-back phone conversations with customers, then live chat is guaranteed to help your business become more efficient. In turn, helping you to reduce your costs.
IBM found that businesses spend $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls each year. They estimate that 80% of these calls can be transferred to live chat at hugely reduced costs.
You’ll find you can handle more customer service cases faster, with fewer people dedicated to the most common queries. Allowing you to free up resources to focus on more effective, meaningful human-to-human interaction.
You’ll be able to customise the look and feel of how customers interact with you
Customisation is a powerful tool in creating a reliable environment for your customers. By personalising your interactions using live chat and data capture you build trust and loyalty.
You can use your live chat software in tandem with customer analytics or CRM tools (we have our own, the Customer Data Hub). This creates a full picture of each and every customer who visits your site and engages with you on live chat.
Having this rich understanding of each visitor allows you to make reliable, informed and customised recommendations. It enables your team to make pro-active interventions to help a customer get more out of your product or to predict when they might be running into trouble.
Live chat helps with every aspect of growth
Building on this rich picture of your customers, live chat brings forward the opportunity to engage in real-time sales and can significantly contribute to your business’ growth.
The more detailed a picture of your customer the better you are able to solve their problems and demonstrate how your product could work for them.
Histories created by live chat tools and customer analytics software means you can treat each individual customer differently. This might be through segmenting by customers at different stages in their journey or by demographic factors. The tools allow your sales team to speak to someone in the real-time context of their visit. Is it their 1st or 10th visit? Are they browsing your blog or your pricing page?
At GoSquared we look at this under the umbrella of Behavioural Qualified Leads. Check out what score you would get right now. What this means is that we can talk to our visitors like humans, just as if we were in a face-to-face meeting and we already had knowledge of their story and their reason for being on our site in the first place. It means we can avoid awkward moments like trying to sell to the wrong person or, perhaps worse, not engaging with someone who is a really great potential customer.
It’s time to chat
Having a live chat option on your site helps to simplify the customer’s experience. It allows your team to utilise a new avenue for conversation, sales, and customer support. Put simply, it serves as a direct line into the heart of your business: your customers.
The pilot cost of implementing live chat to your site is low, and the upsides are high. So whether you’re considering Live Chat for your own website, or you need to convince your management team that this is the right route to move forward with, you can reach out to us, via live chat of course, and see if we can help you out.