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What can live chat be used for? Customer support, lead generation & sales

TLDR: Live chat can be used for customer support, lead generation or sales enablement. We look at the benefits in-depth here.

What can live chat be used for? 

Live chat isn’t just about installing a widget and seeing what happens, it works best with a well thought out strategy and specific goals in mind. If you stick live chat on your website without a solid aim, you won’t see the results you want. But how do you decide what to use live chat for?

Whatever your needs, live chat can be a perfect fit. Customer service, lead generation and driving sales, or a combination to suit your business.

Customer support

The most common reason for both installing and using live chat is with customer support in mind. It’s always a good idea to make sure your website is kitted out with a great FAQ section and some self serve support options, but sometimes the customer has such a unique query or simply may lack the skill to find the answer themselves.

If they can’t find the answer on your site, they could send an email, but that has a long response time, or they could call, but you won’t be available 24/7 and some people don’t like to call. PWC, 1st Financial Training found that 91% of consumers said they would never come back after being dissatisfied with bad customer service, so focusing on customer support will certainly be worth it in the future.

waitress serving a customer

Benefits of live chat for customer service:

  • Handling a range of queries – simple questions such as order status, information changes and updates, right through to complex technical issues. 
  • Customer satisfaction – having someone on chat to be able to speak to can make the world of difference when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention,
  • Out of hours support –  outsourcing chat can also give you out of hours support, so you can assist customers while your in-house team sleeps.
  • Collecting customer feedback – in chat or through post-chat surveys

Find out more about using chat for customer support queries.

Human chat or chatbot?

Human chat agents are always a top choice for customer support, as they can handle in-depth technical queries and know how to handle customers who may be upset or struggling, unlike a bot. 

However, if your customer support team are bogged down with tons of repetitive, simple enquiries, a chatbot could be a good option for you. Handling simple enquiries at speed, AI can reduce your time and cost to serve.

Read more here if you can’t decide whether to opt for human live chat or a chatbot.

Lead generation

To get more leads you need fewer fields, to get quality leads you need more of them. That’s the problem with using traditional lead generation methods on your site. Live chat can bridge the gap, appearing to customers when they need it most, qualifying the leads and sending them over to your sales team. 

If your conversion isn’t matching up with your traffic, or the leads you are getting through are not the quality they could be, using live chat for lead generation would be a great way to boost this. With our live chat outsourcing, we see on average, 1 in every 3 conversations turning into a sales opportunity. 

statistics and graphs on a laptop screen

Benefits of live chat for lead generation:

  • Able to gather more information than simply through a form
  • Agents are able to guide visitors who would have usually left your site, turning them into leads through conversational skills
  • Makes the most of your website traffic. Instead of letting so many browsers leave, live chat works on engaging with those who need it more
  • Hot leads are pre-qualified and vetted by a team before reaching you – no more spammy, cold leads through website forms
  • Human, personal conversation can break down trust barriers and forge a personal connection with customers

Read more about using live chat for lead generation.

Human chat or chatbot?

Human chat agents are definitely most favoured when it comes to lead generation, as they can use conversational skills and a human touch to build trust and take details with personality and ease.

A chatbot could be used effectively for lead generation if you kept things simple. For example, if you are taking details for viewings, free trials or to get more information. Without a human presence, it is definitely possible to take a good amount of leads, but the number of questions the customer will answer may be reduced. 

Read more here if you can’t decide whether to opt for human live chat or a chatbot.

Sales enablement

Did you know that according to Intercom live chat conversion numbers, people who refer to live chat on a website are 85% more likely to become customers than those who don’t? By targeting the right people at the right time, your chat agents can speak to people who are in the decision-making stage and assist them without being pushy.

Forrester research found that 57% of consumers abandon their purchase if they can’t get their question answered quickly enough, so if you don’t have easy access to answers to their queries then you could be missing out on sales. You may think you’ve included all the essential information, but there will always be things missing. Having live chat as an option means you don’t have to lose those visitors.

woman online shopping with credit card

Benefits of live chat for sales:

  • Reduces basket abandonment by targeting those at the checkout stage and chatting with them before they leave
  • Live agents can answer any last-minute questions and turn unsure visitors into customers
  • Agents can offer personalised product recommendations and upsell
  • Speaking with a real person can create trust and understanding, meaning a site visitor is more likely to turn into a paying customer
  • Live chat leads to higher customer satisfaction rating, meaning retention and loyalty in future

Find out more about using chat for sales enablement.

Human chats or chatbots?

One of the key uses of chatbots is for product recommendations. They can have instant access to a database of products, and use information about them to offer tailored recommendations.

However when it comes to personalised selling, humans often come out top. They are able to build trust and break down barriers with the chatter, resulting in a real, meaningful conversation that results in a sale.

Read more here if you can’t decide whether to opt for human live chat or a chatbot.

Final thoughts

You don’t only need to choose one of these, if you want your chat to handle primarily lead generation chats, you can also add a customer support element and vice versa. Combining the uses of live chat can work well for your website. 

If you’re struggling to figure out just exactly what you need to do and you’d like to hear the advice of an expert – get in touch with us.

Read more about live chat

What is proactive and reactive live chat?

Free vs paid live chat – pros and cons

Outsourced vs in house live chat – pros and cons