A massive 69 percent of U.S. shoppers prefer live chat, with 73 percent saying it is the most satisfactory form of brand communication.
Because of this, live chat is coming of age. Small businesses are joining the party, pushing the global market to an estimated $987.3 million in 2023. Everyone wants to get involved.
However, if you are still on the live chat fence, this post should help. We discuss how it can help your small business achieve its objectives.
Boost Customer Engagement
Live chat’s most significant benefit is the boost it gives customer engagement. Users love being able to talk to company reps immediately via text.
For example, live chat responses are significantly faster than conventional phone conversations. Agents typically respond within 40 seconds, with waits above 5 minutes being unusual. Compare that to the average call center wait time of approximately 12 minutes.
Live chat is faster because each agent can converse with multiple customers simultaneously. While a phone agent must dedicate all their cognitive resources to a single caller, skilled agents can chat with several individuals concurrently.
The industry benchmark is two live chats at a time, but skilled individuals may be able to conduct three conversations or more. Some companies train their reps to deal with as many as six at a time!
Increase Sales Conversions
Live chat also has a significant impact on sales conversions. Customers are likelier to buy from companies fielding communication tools that overcome their pain points.
Several companies are already demonstrating the effect that live chat can have on sales. For example, Virgin Airlines recently deployed a chat solution on its website to provide customers with answers to questions and encourage them to buy. Conversions rose by 23 percent, with customers who live-chatted over 3.5 times as likely to buy a ticket than their non-chatting counterparts.
Accounting company Intuit experienced even more impressive benefits. The developer’s conversion rate rocketed by an astounding 190% after using live chat, with sales growing 211 percent and checkout order values rising 43 percent.
Finally, Rescue Spa, a leisure company in Philadelphia offering health and beauty services, saw its revenue explode by 286 percent after implementing live chat solutions. During the following years, revenue grew by an average of 175 percent. Overall, customers who use live chat spend around 60 percent more per purchase than those who don’t.
But why does live chat increase sales so much? Possible answers include its ability to:
- Build trust and credibility with customers, fielding agents who can foster a positive brand perception.
- Generate data-driven insights that help companies learn more about their customers and needs.
- Reducing abandonment rates by interrupting customers as they consider clicking out of the website to search for a rival’s site.
- Provide guidance and assistance to customers who aren’t sure which product to buy or are confused by the layout.
Enhance Website User Experience
Live chat solutions can also help small businesses improve website user experience. The software lets companies offer real-time support to visitors struggling to navigate to the proper products or services they need. Users no longer need to spend hours clicking through various menus – agents can provide direct guidance.
However, live chat enhances users’ website experience in ways that don’t end there. Adding chat features to home and product pages generates multiple additional benefits that aren’t as obvious.
For example, live chat is convenient. Users can remain on the website and don’t need to change interfaces to communicate with the company in question.
Firms can also personalize live chat for customer experience purposes. Tools let agents show additional information or material in a pop-out window next to the live chat box, such as website navigation directions or product demos.
Live chat also adds a human touch to the online shopping experience. Users love the fact they are talking to a person who can empathize with them, not a robot. It feels like being in a conventional brick-and-mortar store.
Finally, live chat facilitates better problem-understanding than email. Users can go back and forth with agents rapidly to better explain their situation and get help.
A note of caution: avoid canned messages in live chat. While optimizing customer communication might sound beneficial, most shoppers prefer the human touch. Therefore, celebrate the uniqueness your agents bring to the job, even if you use AI systems.
Improve Customer Support Efficiency
As indicated above, live chat can improve efficiency significantly by getting agents to handle multiple customer tickets simultaneously. However, the benefits don’t end there.
For example, American global satellite positioning firm Magellan GPS reported switching to text chat reduced the costs associated with its call center by 55.8 percent. That translated to more than $660,000 in savings in just one year.
Studies of the whole call center industry found that the average phone conversation costs companies $12, while a web chat is just $5. That represents a drop of 50 to 65 percent across most firms.
Improving efficiency also brings qualitative benefits to firms. For instance, better live chat tools can boost worker morale. Colleagues who promptly deal with customer issues are more likely to enjoy their work.
It also gives firms more bandwidth to personalize and customize their customer conversations. Agents have the space to address customers personally, which could boost loyalty and overall satisfaction with the service.
AI-powered live chat solutions also let firms provide customers with support services twenty-four-seven. GPT-powered software trained on company data and rules can deliver helpful advice like a human agent. Research suggests these systems can handle 50 percent of conversations automatically, with no requirement for a human agent to intervene.
Drive Repeat Business
Proper live chat implementation may also drive repeat business. Research by Hubspot suggests that 93 percent of customers will return to a brand if it provides excellent customer service, and 63 percent will repeat purchases if agents answer their queries rapidly.
Live chat may drive repeat business for several reasons. These include:
1. Reduction In Abandoned Carts
Agents can help users overcome their pain points in real time and guide them through the checkout process.
2. Rapid Problem Resolution
Reps can quickly deal with issues, improving trust and brand perception and encouraging users to return in the future.
Agents can listen to customer feedback and enter it into CRMs. Then, firms can act on this information to improve service quality.
Reps can conduct personalized conversations with customers, potentially upselling or cross-selling. Agents can remind customers that they might derive additional value from your firm’s products or services by choosing complementary items, accessories, or bolt-ons.
5. Improved Convenience
Agents can record everything in chat for both parties to view. Customers can use this information to make future purchasing decisions and overcome any doubts.
6. Relationship Building
Finally, live chat drives repeat business by enabling agents to build stronger customer relationships. Skilled reps use rapport to encourage customers to return in the future.
Streamline Communication Processes
Live chat can also streamline communication processes for small businesses. Tools consolidate various communication channels, enabling reps to conduct cross-platform conversations from a single hub.
For example, suppose a customer wants to chat with you via their preferred messaging platform. Consolidated tools let you accept messages from these locations. Reps can answer queries via your website, Messenger, WhatsApp, and other popular supported platforms.
Live chat also reduces the need for expensive phone line build-outs. Teams of agents can conduct a nearly infinite number of conversations without needing engineers to increase capacity. Most small businesses' internet bandwidth will suffice.
Finally, integration with CRM systems is another potential streamlining benefit of these systems. Instead of chatting to customers on separate platforms and manually importing data to customer relationship management solutions, integrated software does this automatically. Companies can manage customer queries more efficiently without resorting to manual tasks.
Enhance Small Business Credibility
Enhancing your small business’s credibility is another way live chat can serve your business. Tools can make firms appear more legitimate by providing direct human contact from the outset. Customers can enjoy personalized interactions with reps from the get-go that build rapport and trust.
Problems also get resolved in real time. Customers can benefit from immediate answers to their queries, enhancing their perception of your firm. Dealing with matters promptly gives users confidence your brand can solve other problems, encouraging them to return.
Live chat is also a way of collecting testimonials and reviews from customers. Agents can screenshot live chat interactions and use them as social proof to prove you offer a fantastic service. This approach can work wonders if your company doesn’t have reviews on conventional review sites like Google or Trustpilot.
Another way live chat builds credibility is by letting you provide more detailed and accurate information on your service offering. Customers and learn more about what you do and why they should use your services compared to conventional marketing copy alone.
Finally, you can use live chat to provide personal privacy assurance to users. Agents can explain the security measures your firm takes to keep customer transactions private and confidential.
This support may be particularly critical for companies selling taboo items. Live chat can reassure customers that you won’t pass their information on to third parties.
Maximize Lead Generation
Finally, live chat helps businesses to maximize lead generation. Tools enable firms to delve more deeply into who is visiting their platforms and ask probing questions.
Zoho Research’s findings back up this idea. The agency found that 43 percent of businesses noticeably improved client understanding after implementing live chat solutions. Firms could learn more about their customers’ needs and requirements using these tools than other communication methods.
Live chat maximizes lead generation for numerous reasons. As discussed above, it facilitates immediate interactions, allowing consumers to gratify their desires faster.
It also facilitates personalized engagement. Agents have the time and space to interact with customers individually, not just numbers to tick off a list.
Other reasons live chat may maximize lead generation include:
- Reduced communication frictions. Instead of having to fire up an email client or dial a phone, live chat is instantaneous and almost barrier-free. Customers don’t need to wait for a phone agent to become available and can chat to AIs in the interim in many cases.
- Lead qualification. Agents can chat with website visitors to learn more about their requirements through targeted questions. Integration with CRM tools lets reps categorize leads by prospective value.
- Proactive chat. Reps can reach out to customers based on the website actions they take or pages they view. Firms can adjust sales text to reflect the customer’s immediate interests.
- 24/7 availability. AI-powered live chat is available all day, every day, providing more opportunities to touch base with users. Systems can capture leads even when staff are away from the office when set up properly.
- Lead nurturing. Firms can use chat facilities as sales funnels to drive customers to conversion. Reps can direct users toward specific products or services that might assist them.
Now You Know How Live Chat Can Boost Your Small Business
Having read this article, you should now have a better understanding of how live chat can boost your small business. The tool is not just an evolution of conventional call centers but something qualitatively different.
Live chat is a communication method that most people prefer. It eliminates the need to switch between platforms.
The tool also drives efficiency. Firms can operate more effectively and better meet the needs of their customers at the same time.
It even has sales benefits. Companies can probe their customers, record user information, and use it to drive lead value.
Fuse‘s AI-powered chatbots let you take your live chat to the next level. GPT-powered agents can provide customers with 24/7 service, enabling you to provide around-the-clock assistance, regardless of the size of your firm. Plus, you don’t need to do any setup or training. It works straight from the box.