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Live Chat for Your Website… Is It Worth It?

 

In today’s world of online marketing, everyone knows that you need a website. Most know that you also need proper search engine optimization (SEO) to outrank competitors. While waiting for SEO to gain traction, many businesses choose to utilize pay per click (PPC) or paid social media advertising to bolster their contacts in the interim. But what about live chat? Is it worth adding this service to your online presence?

 

Considered by some to be a 2nd or 3rd tier marketing addition, live chat has its doubters. After all, most businesses would rather have a website visitor fill out a form or make a phone call to speak with their own staff. That is completely understandable. Not all visitors, however, are ready to make the leap from gathering information to handing over their email address or phone number. This is where live chat comes in.

 

A whopping 57% of website visitors, according to Hubspot, like having the option of live chat.  Simple math tells us that if we have 1,000 visitors to a website, at least 600 of those would consider chatting as they browse – quite a significant amount. Think about it: this allows visitors to have their questions answered without initially offering their personal information (aside from perhaps their name), which means no unwanted emails or phone calls.

 

In addition, live chat allows a business to begin building rapport and forming actual relationships immediately, something that’s overlooked all-too-often in today’s world of one-click Amazon purchases and businesses run without any service staff.  Forming this invisible bond with a visitor early in the sales process translates to real dollars and cents, as they are now more “tied in” with your business or practice, making them more likely to provide their information through the chat, contact you via other avenues, and ultimately make a purchase. Not surpisingly, recent statistics show 38% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers live chat.

 

Lastly, consumers are now expecting more from businesses than ever before which means customer service is of utmost importance. 82% of customers rate an immediate response (30 minutes or less) to their questions as important or very important. Most businesses aren’t open around the clock to help their customers, but trained and professional live chat agents can be available on your website 24/7. We often remind our clients with regular businesses open Monday through Friday that by definition their website is open 168 hours a week, but they are only open 40. Who is helping your customers the other 80% of the week?

 

There are 3 types of live chat options available to most businesses:

  1. Free Software: A simple installation you can add to your site that is manned by an employee. This isn’t viable for most businesses – it requires constant attention due to the importance of response time to a chatter. If you don’t respond within 10-15 seconds, the visitor is likely to move on to another provider. Free programs also have the potential of bringing unwanted trackers and viruses to your website, a risk no business should take. And last, unless you plan to have staff in-office around the clock, this doesn’t solve how to serve customers during off hours.
  2. Pay-Per-Lead Options: There are chat companies out there that only charge you if their operators capture the visitor’s information. This sounds like a great option on the surface as it tends to be less expensive than our 3rd option, but when put into practice it results in a high-pressure environment for the user. They may capture the information, but these leads are less likely to respond or purchase later as pressure is a turnoff for most.
  3. Pay-by-Visitor Count: Undoubtedly the priciest of the 3, but far and away the best option in our view to is hire companies that charge a monthly fee based on website traffic. The business is charged based on the number of visitors to the website each month, which allows the operators to meet the visitors’ needs first, then capture the information in a more welcoming environment. This results in a lead that is more responsive and engaged throughout the sales process.

 

So, is live chat worth it?  The short answer is a resounding “yes”. It’s proven to be effective in over 95% of markets, so at a minimum it’s worth a shot given the upside.  To learn more about the live chat companies we’ve vetted and endorse, contact us here or call (305) 455-0720.

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