Marketing managers in today’s business world may find themselves wondering whether integrating a live chat option into their website is a good move. While the wrong approach can make you come off as pushy (and maybe a little outdated), creating an educated plan of attack regarding implementation could serve to elevate your business considerably.
There are upsides and downsides to live chat; not every business will be able to take advantage of every positive aspect, and not every business will be able to evade every negative one. However, with proper preparation and knowledge on your side, you’ll be well-poised to make informed decisions about how to leverage the technology to your benefit.
The Pros and Cons of Live Chat Software
Pros for Your Customers
This leads to a sense of instant gratification for website visitors. Oftentimes, potential customers find themselves frustrated or confused about the content of a website and give up on trying to make sense of their issues. Having a live chat app in place can do wonders to prevent this. While questions may not be answered right away, they can be asked immediately, and that’s what counts.
Live chat also helps contribute to the greater culture and experience that leads and clients encounter as they interact with your business. Always having somebody (or something) around to greet page visitors and address questions helps you appear knowledgeable and attentive.
Pros for Your Company
You’ll be able to acquire customer information and enquiries 24/7/365 with live chat software in place. Even when nobody from your business is online or available, leads can leave contact information for future follow-ups or questions to be answered at a later date.
Implementation and deployment tend to be easy. This is especially true for businesses who have support contracts with their agency, who can then provide immediate support or integration options. Numerous live chat apps and software services offer extremely affordable and incremental pricing; depending on how many customers you interact with, it may be next to free for you.
If your company finds itself facing growing mountains of voicemails to listen to, emails to read over, or other forms of communication to respond to, live chat can help alleviate some of that stress and disperse traffic. Customers will be able to ask smaller, simpler questions through the chat and leave other avenues of communication open for more urgent or complex problems.
Cons for Your Business
Not every client or lead who visits your website will understand how to use the live chat to the best of their knowledge. Countless live chats become inundated with meaningless, irrelevant, and nonsensical questions on a daily basis. This can make working through enquiries a chore.
Depending on the time and resources that your business can expend on its live chat, the feature has the potential to command an unfair ratio of those things from your company. If you can add more than one team member to chat duty, you can cut down on the amount of work another employee needs to handle– but then you’ve used up two people to do the job of one.
In some cases, live chats can turn into free-for-alls. Just like customers in person or over the phone, clients who elect to use live chat can be angry– and nobody wants to put their team through hell with a customer who’s determined to cause some damage. Your live chat team members will need to have thick skin and be ready to deal with people who may be looking to pick fights.
Cons for Your Customers
The upsides of live chat mentioned above are great reasons to consider implementation, but some are double-sided. For example, most live chats offer customers and leads the option to offer info or ask questions to be addressed at a later date. This is better than no information and a quick click out of the page, but some customers still may be unhappy with the prospect of delayed responses. Some clients may even jump ship because of it.
Some older audiences or those inexperienced with the internet may feel alienated by live chat; if they struggled to make it onto your site in the first place, chances are they won’t see much success when they attempt to utilise specialised software features. You can typically alleviate these issues by making other ways to contact you abundantly clear.
Which Live Chat Solution is Right for You
There are numerous ways to acquire and implement live chat technology for your business’ website. Because of this, understanding which option suits you best can be a little bit of a chore. We’ve compiled a brief outline of some of the most popular ways live chat is offered and who’s likely to be best served by what:
Customer Service Suites
Some live chat services, like those offered by Zendesk, are part of larger customer service suites, that include knowledge libraries and customer support systems.
- This is a more costly option, since live chat can come with a slew of other features and benefits – althoguh you can purchase the chat system independently
- Your business will likely have access to a good deal of support; the larger or more expansive the tool/feature, the more likely a company is to provide assistance for it
- Ideal for companies who are interested in or need other marketing tools and assistance i.e. The support system (Impact use this for our WordPress support tickets)
AI & Chat Bots
Other live chat services like LivePerson are AI-based and offer chat bots
- If you continuously receive the same few questions that can be answered with simple, predictable replies, implementing an AI live chat bot could save you considerable time and manpower
- These do take some time to program; if you’re unsure of your skills in this department, you may need to outsource work or lean heavily on the provider for support
- Ideal for companies with repetitive questions and those who can’t afford to always have a live agent available; also well-suited to organizations without time or internal resources to funnel towards live chat
Standalone Chat Solutions
Many live chat offerings are standalone, like LiveChat
- Depending on which one you choose, this could impact the support you receive from the provider either way; some companies may be able to offer very specialised help because they offer a very specialised product– others may not be of much assistance because the scope of their work is rather small
- Ideal for businesses who already have other successful marketing and advertising procedures in place
- Some even offer manned chat services for companies who lack the staff resources to run their own chat room
- Facebook offers Facebook Messenger chat, which allows users who are already logged into Facebook to send messages quickly without inputting email
- WhatsApp also provides a similar solution which can be embedded on your website for immediate conversations to start direct from WhatsApp.
Regardless of your industry, your company stands to gain a lot when you leverage a live chat software– not only will consumer confidence in your brand increase, but you’ll be able to free up staff and resources to address other aspects of doing business. The Impact Media team can help integrate a chat solution into your website; but no matter where you source your software and how you deploy it, it’s your own understanding of live chat that will ultimately decide whether the venture is a success.
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