Give live chat a second chance with these tips

Live chat can be an important addition to your communication strategy, can save you a lot of money and even generate money for you. Sadly, not all companies have only success stories to share about live chat. There are companies that tried live chat in the past, but which did not achieve the desired results. There are various reasons why this might be the case. Have you ever tried to employ live chat in the past, but with limited success? Read what might have been the cause below, why you should give live chat a second chance and how you can make it into a success this time around. 

The problem: nobody uses the chat function

In all cases, a deeper, underlying problem can always be pointed towards the fact that live chat is not used enough. Why this is the case differs per situation. It could be that visitors are unaware that you were offering live chat, or maybe your live chat button isn’t visible enough on your website. Perhaps visitors have had negative experience chatting with your company.

A frequent promise is that someone will be there to talk to within a minute, while in actuality, this promise cannot be kept. In such cases, and if you’re lucky, visitors may simply pick up the phone after five minutes waiting for someone to arrive in the chat. The chat session not meeting the customers’ expectations could also be a problem. Good news! All these problems are straightforward to solve.

Greet visitors in the right way

There is one aspect that is immediately relevant after the chat window has opened; the way in which customers are greeted. If you make use of proactive chat, you can configure the chat window to open if visitors have spent a specified time on the site. This allows you to send an automated message to the visitor.

It could be the case that your configured greeting messages are too standard, and therefore don’t appeal to or invite customers to engage in conversation; a greeting message like “Good day. Welcome to our site. I look forward to being of assistance”, for example. To optimise the greeting message, it is important to experiment with it. Try out different greetings and try to adapt to your visitors and their behaviour as much as possible.

This could be by looking at which pages your customers are viewing, or looking at their search queries and configuring specific questions related to particular search queries. You could consider greeting visitors personally if they have an account and are logged in. By making greeting messages as personal and specific as possible, you can increase the response level to your proactive chats. Try out different greetings and find out which works best for your website.

Optimise your staffing

It might also be the case that the staffing of your live chat is not optimally organised. What should you do if this is the case? First, look at your visitor numbers. At what times is your website most frequently visited? If you have a team on standby during office hours, but most people visit your site after seven o’clock in the evening, your live chat is bound to experience limited success. Consider employing an evening team for those hours that your website attracts most visitors and shrink your team working during the day.

Outsource your staffing

It might also be the case that you’re not able to quickly adapt to absence caused by illness or employee holidays. This is a problem that many (smaller-sized) companies struggle with. The result is understaffing, which results in people waiting, people not being assisted and unsatisfied customers; something your company undoubtedly wants to avoid at all costs.

A good solution for this is to wholly or partially outsource your live chat. A specialised live-chat provider has a large and flexible team on standby and can quickly switch gears. Outsourcing live chat is also a good idea if you are unable to employ sufficient people to work during your website’s peak hours, as described in the point above.

Be organised and motivated

Nothing is more annoying than an organisation that does not keep its promises. Did you promise to send your customer additional information via email or to call back? You should keep this promise. The customer will notice soon enough if there is a problem with the communication channel. If they even decide to want to continue doing business with you, they’ll pick up the phone next time. For you as a company, live chat is more efficient than talking to customers on the phone or via email, which is why you should make sure that customers (continue to) use live chat.

The solution to this problem is simple: keep your promises. How? Maybe the problem is that your chat operators aren’t very well organised and simply forget to keep their promises. Make sure you have a method in place (such as a CRM system, or, if need be, pen and paper) that can be used to track these types of things. Your employees might also lack motivation. Therefore, always make sure you have a motivated and competent team that you can rely on.

Display your chat button 

Does your website attract many visitors, but do people always pick up the phone? Perhaps it isn’t entirely clear to visitors that chatting is an option. Maybe your chat button isn’t visible enough, or maybe you haven’t mentioned that visitors can also chat on your contact page. We always advise companies to place the chat button on all pages and make sure it is properly visible.

Do you have a small button “somewhere” at the edge of your website? You could do better! Find a good place to position your chat window, such as in the bottom right corner, and make sure it is highly visible. Configure the window to pop up after a few minutes to ask customers if there’s something you can be of assistance with.

But don’t forget to also add an extra box to your contact page or to include the information with your telephone number and email address (preferably, above them). And make sure to promote your live chat channel on all your social media channels, and even include it in your signature in the emails you send. You might even consider sending an email newsletter to all your loyal customers informing them of your live-chat option.

Personalize your chat button 

Finally, it is also important to personalise your chat button. In this way, you can make it more noticeable and you will come across as more reliable. By adapting the chat window, you can align it with the look and feel of your website. Some people aren’t yet familiar with chatting with companies, and might find it a little scary at first.

Therefore, adapt the colours of the window, display your logo, and, optionally, add a picture of the person with whom the person is chatting after opening a chat. Make sure that your visitors aren’t afraid of this “new” communication technology and feel confident enough to chat with you. And most importantly, invite them to open the conversation.

Would you like your second experience with live chat to become a resounding success? Please read our tips about what you should and shouldn’t do with live chat and get to work!