Issue #8 – Live Chat – Should My Website Feature Live Chat?
Sometimes there is simply nothing new under the sun. Over the past 8 years since opening our sister company, YellowTelescope, and growing SEOversite, we’ve found that information and valuable insight naturally ebbs and flows. While thirst from business owners and managers steadily increases, it has been our experience that big ideas come in spurts, like NBA championships, self-confidence, and maintaining a good diet, at least here at SEOversite headquarters. This year we are speaking at a half-dozen large events and each wants unique content and innovative ideas. We have good news – this year we see many trends, ideas, and services that are making a difference. While the basics that we call the “main things” remain the “main things” and there are years where our mantra is “you haven’t implemented the basics, and you should, plus there is really nothing new and amazing to suggest,” 2016 is clearly a year of getting ahead of your competitors in the online world. We have a lot of ideas – contact us for more (remember, our basic service is free, so why not schedule a time to speak? Is it our intimidatingly good looks?) – but here are our thoughts on one service you may consider to kick start your year:
- Live Chat – What is it? If you have visited a website and after a few seconds you recognize a box floating around the screen or delicately placed in a corner that asks if you need assistance, you are on a site that is paying for live chat. It is, quite simply, another way prospective clients can talk to your business and brand that is different than submitting a form by email or calling the phone number.
- How does live chat work?-First, as a disclaimer, there are hundreds of live chat companies and all have different models. Some focus on a particular business sector like legal, medical, small business, or e-commerce. Many are truly terrible, while others are superb. The better quality live chat firms work as follows, in return for a monthly fee based loosely on how many humans visit your site – indeed, if you have 100,000 visitors a month to your website you need more help than if you have 100 visitors a month:
- Real people sit there somewhere in the sky on a cloud awaiting a client to enter the site and type something into the live chat box
- That real person then replies with a warm introduction
- This chatter (we are unsure if that is their formal title) has a real name, is paid per lead/contact captures so they have the motivation to get phone numbers and emails, should be English speaking, college-educated and available as much as 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, though many businesses only pay for 9am-5pm or 8am-10pm service
- Each chatter is equipped with some answers to FAQs, has perused your site, and, if they are really good, knows your industry at least at a rudimentary level
- They then chat with the prospective client and encourage them to do what your business wants them to do (call the office, submit their information for a call/email back, purchase your products or services through the online portal, etc.).
- What are the limitations of live chat? -It is important to differentiate the role of a salesperson from that of a chatter. Your live chat representatives are not able to answer in-depth and detailed questions nor do you want for them to do so. It is not their job to know intricate details nor to replace the role of your sales staff. Early on they make minor mistakes and give incorrect information, but good live chat teams are coachable and ramp up into near-perfection as they learn.
- How do I determine if live chat is working for my business? -Like any marketing tool, live chat cannot work for every business in every market. Our estimate is that around 90% of clients see a return on investment and most of the rest are close to break even. We do not feel, if a business is fairly profitable, that there is great risk in a trial of, say, 3 to 6 months, to see how it works for most businesses. With that said, we recommend following the following process to track success:
- Take the total number of chat leads you receive over three months
- Add the number of calls and emails you’ve received over the same period
- Take that total and compare it to the same three-month period a year prior which would be the sum of the calls and emails you received a year back.
- If the number is up, you are getting more leads, most likely, from your live chat. Just one or two leads might pay the bill if your product is highly profitable with a high close ratio, while other businesses might need hundreds of extra leads to justify the small cost of having live chat.
Conclusions: Our team at SEOversite has vetted a large number of live chat options and have narrowed the field to teams we truly believe in. If you’d like to get a recommendation, simply email us at Guardian@SEOversite.com or call us at 305-455-0720. We can learn a touch about your goals and make the proper introduction. This is a free service and it truly is as simple as that. While not everybody will benefit, we do think the vast majority of businesses using live chat see a profit and stay a step ahead of their competition. By providing more choices to potential customers, a business can capture a larger percentage of the proverbial pie, as some people prefer phone calls, while others prefer email. As we have learned in 2016, still others love online chat.