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Live Chat for Small Business: Learn the importance of conversations, and how they are a large part of the future of your small business's growth and success.
As a small to medium company, there was a time when having a website was all that was needed to acquire new customers online and increase your sales and market share. Now, sadly, those days are basically over, and unless you adapt and evolve, your marketing strategy will be sorely lacking.
So where do we turn? What can we do to stay relevant and adapt to the drastic market shift over the last year and a half?
Competition has increased fiercely in almost every sector over the last 18 months, and the companies that have the ability to communicate directly with customers online are pulling ahead. As more people take to their phones, tablets, and computers to make their purchases, businesses that can speak to buyers directly while they are shopping are gaining market share.
In a recent study by TechJury, 44% of customers who shopped online said that it was their preference to have their questions answered by a live person when they were making a purchase. That’s only the beginning-- a staggering 75% of people surveyed stated that they prefer live chat over any other channel.
Customers are telling us that they want to have conversations with us. But will we answer, or leave them in silence?
Learn the importance of conversations, and how they are a large part of the future of your small business’s growth and success.
Whether you’re looking at data and reports from companies such as Hubspot, LiveChat, Emarketer, Finances Online, or countless others, the data all points to the same trend: live chat is the future.
It’s rare that a trend is so clear and weighted in one direction. Consider these metrics:
As a small business, you have to take notice of these numbers. Adding live chat to your existing sales and marketing strategies can be the key to the growth you’ve been looking for.
Have you been trying to find something tangible to pull ahead of the competition and secure more market share? That could be (and likely should be) implementing live chat.
Remember when social media was new, and the early adopters of it got ahead of the pack and were very successful? We’re still in the mid-to-late stages of the same sort of thing with live chat. Don’t wait until the market is saturated-- get your edge, and increase your revenue now.
You have an opportunity as a small business to stay ahead of the curve. By having a live chat solution for your company, you’ll not only give customers what they are coming to expect-- but also stay ahead of your competition.
It’s a myth that live chat options are complex or expensive, and only for larger companies. Now more than ever there are many turnkey, live chat options that are compatible with virtually any website. As a small business, you can have a direct, conversational connection with your customers like never before, and it can be simple and affordable.
In fact, being a smaller company is an advantage. You’ll be able to give your customers a white-glove, personalized experience on your chats that larger companies couldn’t even dream of. The larger a company, the more red-tape, and the more they have to “stay on brand”, and operate under constraints.
Additionally, many larger companies and corporations have to outsource their chat due to volume. For many websites, the chat agent has no meaningful connection to the company other than “being assigned to that account.” As a small business, you can be choosy with who talks to your customers, and you can ensure it’s someone who is passionate, with their mindset rooted in the company’s values. Show your company’s personality through conversations, and your customers won’t soon forget it.
As a small business, you can use your live chat solution the way it was intended: to have personal, meaningful conversations with your customers when it matters the most.
If you have a live chat option, your customers are more likely to use it. The “live chat experience” has permeated into most people’s personal lives through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and countless other apps. People are used to chatting, and they’re accustomed to a particular pace and rhythm. This means that you can have multiple live chats running at once relatively easily with different customers. That is not the case with phone calls and email-- it’s essentially impossible to work on two phone calls or emails at once. With live chat, multitasking and scalability is the norm, and a seasoned chat agent can typically handle several chats at once.
As a small business, you may only have one or two people who handle your chats. So what if you outgrow your chat agent’s capacity? You can add another chat agent to handle the overflow and can achieve far more interactions than if they were occurring by phone or email. As your chats grow, if you’re handling them correctly with a strategy, so will your sales.
By using live chat, you may not entirely replace your phone and email support, but you’ll see that it scales much better, and in almost every case shows a better return on investment (often more quickly).
Live chat isn’t just an amazing tool to increase revenue-- it’s also the king when it comes to customer support. If you’re not using a live chat solution to have conversations with your clients, you’re not giving them the customer service they’ve come to expect.
As a small business you can’t afford negative reviews or bad word of mouth. If your customer has an issue, they want it resolved as quickly as possible, and let’s face it: any support channel that isn't’ chat is slower than chat.
Live chat can help you solve an issue before it becomes a bad review online or a negative story customers share with family, friends, and co-workers.
Let’s take a look at some common customer journeys that people take when they are attempting to have an issue resolved. To truly empathise, let’s pretend that you’re the customer contacting support.
Journey 1 - You have an issue, so you go to a company’s website. You scroll around until you find the contact page. You fill out a form, and hit send. Now you wait, hoping your email got through. In your mind, you’re not that much closer to a solution, and are still dealing with an unresolved issue.
Journey 2 - You have an issue, so you go to a company’s website. You find their phone number and call. You’re greeted with a phone tree. You wade through a few menus, and then you wait on hold. Sometimes for a long time. You eventually speak to someone who helps you and (hopefully) resolves your issue. Not bad, but it definitely took some time. (If the issue isn’t resolved on the first call, it’s more waiting, and in your mind, you’re still dealing with an unresolved issue.)
Journey 3 - You have an issue, so you go to a company’s website. You’re greeted by a live chat window where an agent is asking if there’s anything they can do to help. You tell them your problem. They apologise, and immediately begin a conversation regarding your issue. Very quickly, you feel like you’re making progress. You can talk with them in real-time, at your own pace, until (hopefully) the chat leads to your problem being solved.
From the moment you arrived on the site, you were being heard, given attention, and your issue was being addressed. Even if the live chat doesn’t result in a solution in the first conversation, it often feels like more progress was achieved during a conversational exchange. (You’ll also typically have a transcript of your chat for easy reference.)
Which journey sounds more attractive to you if you were a customer?
They say the best time to invest was 20 years ago. They say the next best time to invest is today. As a small business, consider today the first day in your journey toward implementing live chat on your website, and focusing on the importance of conversation with your customers.
Your customers are trying to talk to you... are you ready to start talking back?
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