How to use real-time chat for your customer support

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Real-time chat can provide your business with a whole new pipeline of potential customers. This guide describes what real-time chat is and how to put it to work for your small business.

Imagine that every time someone visits your website, you can walk up to them and strike up a conversation as if you were a salesperson in a showroom. Well, now you can, thanks to real-time chat software – and it’s changing the way online businesses do business.

A recent study reported that 79% of businesses found that implementing live chat resulted in an increase not only in sales and revenue, but also in customer loyalty. It’s so simple to implement in your business and it has a profound positive impact almost immediately.

Here’s how to use real-time chat software to increase sales, increase customer retention, and improve the overall customer experience.

Overview: What is real-time chat?

Real-time chat is software that allows you to interact directly with customers who visit your website. This creates a pipeline of leads that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to, as customers would have walked by, snooped around, and then left.

A chat box automatically appears on your website shortly after a visitor arrives, asking if they need help finding something. If the visitor types a question in the box, your team is alerted, allowing one of your sales representatives to respond to the customer in real time.

Chat platforms are a new technology that gives website-based businesses a huge advantage that was unavailable to businesses even 10 years ago, and it offers them a chance to develop new leads at from standard website traffic.

Although there is no obligation to respond immediately to customer inquiries via real-time chat, it is wise to respond immediately because the more time passes, the more likely you are to lose that potential customer.

4 benefits of using real-time chat for customer service

Real-time chat offers four key benefits for small businesses looking to increase their lead generation.

1. Access to more customers

Most website visitors arrive, take a look, and then leave, never thinking about your business again. But live chat gives you the ability to capture some of those leads.

If a visitor asks a question in the chat box, you have the opportunity to immediately connect with that person on a personal level and answer the questions. This interaction can lead directly to a sale, or simply provide a lead you can connect with later. In any case, it gives you the opportunity to expand your customer base.

2. Super-targeted leads

Lead generation can be tricky because you need to figure out which people are likely to buy from your business. But your website visitors have already shown an interest in your business and products, so lead generation is for you.

As a result, every lead you can get through live chat is a super-targeted lead who is far more likely to buy from you than most others.

3. Wires are already hot

The problem with turning prospects into customers is that they have no idea who you are. As a result, you’re stuck with cold calls, which have a success rate of only 2% compared to hot calls, which convert at rates of 30% or more.

When customers connect with you via live chat, they’re now a warm prospect who knows your business, cares about your products, and has connected with your customer service team in a way that builds trust and most likely translates into a future. purchase.

4. Better relationships with existing customers

Don’t just use real-time chat to find new customers; use it to provide a better customer service experience. If your customers have a problem, they’ll probably visit your website before they pick up the phone or send an email.

By opening a chat window, you provide an immediate channel for the customer to resolve their issue before frustration builds. This improves customer satisfaction and therefore increases the likelihood that you will retain them.

3 Best Customer Service Software Options With Live Chat Features

Many customer service software platforms will help you serve your customer base better, but only some of them offer live chat options that allow you to connect directly with your website visitors. Here are three of the best platforms for this purpose.

1. Live Chat

LiveChat, which was launched in 2002, is one of the biggest names in customer service chat software. The company produces a customizable chat widget which is installed throughout the website. The dashboard is simple to use, with a navigation menu on the left and a text message-style display for chatting with customers.

LiveChat offers additional specialized products such as HelpDesk (for ticket management), ChatBot (automated chatbots using artificial intelligence) and KnowledgeBase (a help center for customers).

Unsurprisingly, LiveChat offers top-notch customer support, and it’s relatively affordable at $19/month per user for the most basic plan.

A screenshot of the LiveChat dashboard showing ongoing chat exchanges with customers.

The LiveChat dashboard makes it easy to manage conversations with customers through the chat box. Image source: author

2. Live Agent

LiveAgent lets you choose a predefined chat window from four styling options. The software alerts your customer service team when someone makes a request through the chat box.

LiveAgent also offers extensive issue tracking features so you can monitor correspondence between your team and your customers and ensure nothing gets by the wayside.

The dashboard is simple and easy to use, which is essential for effective communication between your sales team and your customers. Navigating the software is intuitive and the list of features is impressive.

LiveAgent provides good customer support, ranging from phone and email to video tutorials and onboarding guides.

Unlike most customer service solutions, LiveAgent offers a free version that limits you to one email address and a seven-day ticket history. Its paid options are reasonably priced, starting at $15/month per agent.

A screenshot of LiveAgent's inside sales team chat dashboard.

LiveAgent’s dashboard allows your sales team to see incoming chats and respond accordingly. Image source: author

3. Help the Scout

Help Scout aims to streamline customer support operations with an email-like interface that uses shared mailboxes instead of a typical ticket system to help your team manage multiple products and customer requests.

Help Scout also offers its Beacon feature, which includes a live chat server, if you opt for the mid-priced Standard plan.

In addition to live chat, Beacon suggests a relevant help contact and shows customers their support history, all from your website. It has a simple interface and navigation is simple.

Unfortunately, Help Scout does not offer phone support, although it does have 24/6 email and chat. Pricing starts at $15/month per user but, as mentioned above, you’ll need to pay for the Standard plan ($25/month per user) to get the beacon with live chat functionality.

A screenshot of the mobile version of Help Scout's Beacon live chat feature.

Help Scout’s Beacon feature allows customers to see relevant help topics while also giving them the ability to chat directly with your support team. Image source: author

Real-time chat can take your business to the next level

Real-time communication with prospects and current customers using chat apps is a critical way to improve the health of your business and lay the foundation for future expansion.

By signing up for a chat client and establishing a chat system with your sales and customer service teams, you will increase your sales and improve customer retention.

If you aren’t using chat apps to improve customer service and lead generation, now is the time to start. Try a few options and choose the one that best suits your business.

Joseph P. Harris