The Ultimate Guide to
Live Chat Software and Support

Your website may have left you without the cornerstone to great customer experience.

Humanity.

Let’s talk about Online Live Chat.

Chapter 1. The Customer of the New Economy

By this moment in the age of the internet we are all keenly aware, and collectively responsible, for the ‘I-need-it-now’ customer of the new economy. Good. Life has never been more convenient, but in this age of radical convenience we, as businesses, need to answer some simple questions regarding the quality of the experience we provide.

 

A Generational Change

Do you ever put a customer on hold? LiveChat Inc estimates that 50 percent of customers put on hold hang up, and 34 percent never call again. Does your business provide great customer support? Forbes found that while 80% of companies believe they provide excellent customer service, only 8% of customers agree.

Who is at the center of your business, you or the customer?

Before you answer these questions, let’s take a look back.

The Silent Generation
Placing a priority on convenience and customer service isn’t a new idea. Take a look back to the times before self-service gas stations and big-box retailers. What is a gas station attendant if not convenient? What is the warm personal greeting at the locally owned grocery if not exceptional customer service?

Those in the silent generation put a lot of value in personalization and individualized care. Believe it or not, millennials actually align more with this generation than any other. Both generations want to feel like the customer experience is human and tailored for their specific needs, but they also still desire privacy online.

Many consider this generation to be technologically inept, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The silent generation were late adopters. However, they have adopted, and browse the internet just like the rest of us. They just want it to be delivered differently.

Instead of trying to navigate through giant complex menus and pages linking to other pages, they’d rather just speak with someone. Instead of scrolling through blog articles trying to find a solution for their problem, they’d rather just ask somebody.

After reading through this, you may find yourself asking, “isn’t that exactly how it should be though?”

Yes, yes it should.

Baby Boomer Business
Business owners from this generation took the small business models established by previous generations and grew them. They replicated successful ideas and processes, allowing businesses to add new locations. They invented new technologies expanding access to business through the internet.

As companies grew bigger, life became easier. Retail exploded and stores started to carry all types of things. Malls opened up and the suburbs began to expand. Our quality of life was improving, but we were starting to lose touch with each other.

somewhere along the way personal touch and human connection became disconnected. Process took precedence over people.

We thought we had traded customer service for lower prices and more choices, but there was never a need for a trade. Later generations would prove this.

An X and Y Thing
Growing up in the age of mass-market advertising and constant information overload makes for a group of young people numb to slick tag-lines and catchy jingles. So, just who is this cynical bunch?

Enter generation X and Y

These generations are unwilling to be ‘wheeled-and-dealed.’ The products and services they choose are real decisions that affect their lives and they want the process of choosing which product or service they need to be a positive experience. Beyond that, they want it to be a human one. While, they often find themselves saying, “Why can’t every purchase be as easy as (insert brand name here)?” they also find themselves thinking, “Why can’t every place be as welcoming as the hip little coffee shops uptown?” or “Why can’t every business be as friendly as my hairstylist or barber?”

It’s time for business to do more. Words no longer build trust, empathy does. Promotions no longer sell, convenience does.

The Path to the Future
When looking forward to a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs redefining the market yet again, it becomes apparent that convenience and human connection will become less of a differentiator, and more of an expectation.

In fact, 89% of Gen Z said they will advocate for a brand that provides a positive experience. Additionally, 60% of Gen Z said their ideal brand makes it easy to contact them when experiencing a problem. These numbers shouldn’t just represent an opportunity in the present, but should instead serve as a notice of what’s to come.

Starting with millenials we began to see a decline in brand loyalty amongst young people, and Gen Z doesn’t stray from this path. If the quality, value, and service a brand provides isn’t up to snuff, they aren’t up to stick around.

Don’t think that quality is determined solely by the product or service you sell. Like previous generations, experience is increasingly more important to this generation. Quality is important, as 81% of Gen Z would be willing to switch from a favorite brand if another provided a higher quality.

Having grown up in a society in which innovation has become synonymous with this kind of exceptional customer care, there’s no doubt that these ideas will become principles, and these principles will become the cornerstone upon which the future of our economy is built.

Live Chat is along for the Ride
Live chat brings back the kind of human connection to business that existed before the dawn of the internet. In fact, many of our clients find that their customers become familiar with our chat specialists, begin to recognize them, and even request them specifically.

Beyond providing a personal touch, chat specialists help people solve problems and overcome objections. That combination of personal service and customer care is the exact experience people want.

New Economy Customers Demand Radical Convenience

The Harvard Business Review says “Delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.” We call this radical convenience.

A company that embraces the philosophy of radical convenience is a company that puts the needs of the customer first. These companies are active in their pursuit to reduce the effort needed to solve their customer’s problems.

This starts by understanding the relationship we have with the web, and how that relationship can either serve as a barrier or a bridge to the solution we need.

A Powerful Connection
In the new economy, many of the purchasing decisions we make, and the experiences that lead to those decisions happen entirely in the digital space. So does this mean that we have lost the need for the relationships we used to have when shopping in the physical world?

Nope.

Turns out, it’s just as important as ever. Now that customers browse and research independently and anonymously, it’s even more important to make sure that the platform they use to do that, is easier to use than ever.

To do this, we use an ideology and a set of principles called design thinking.

The Father of Design Thinking
Don Norman is the director of The Design Lab at The University of California, San Diego. He is an author and innovator in design, usability, and an expert in cognitive science.

Don Norman is best known for his book “The Design of Everyday Things.” This book is widely regarded as required reading for anyone interested in experience design. Customer experience (CX), and user experience (UX) are two schools of thought that have emerged from the preachings of Don Norman. These are commonly used to create the kinds of exceptional experiences customers are coming to expect.

Through design thinking, customer service and experiences can be transformed to create radical convenience. However, this great design is still just half the battle. A gap still exists between a well-designed website and human connection.

Minding the Gap: The Live Chat Experience
Utilizing live chat as part of your website can turn great experience design into tangible business. Think of it like this, experience design is what we use to draw people in because it makes the brand and the products and/or services that brand provides comprehendible in an effortless way.

It’s designed to be generic to the targeted demographic, but at the moment the user decides to trust the brand and begins to have more individualized questions, live chat is there to build an even stronger relationship and transition the brand relationship into a real conversation.

This type of connection between a brand and the customer is what creates and nurtures brand advocates.

These brand advocates, they can change the trajectory of your business.

Customers Can Build or Destroy Your Brand

Customers will either build or destroy your brand. In fact, 4 out of every 6 customers who receive support resolutions will share their experience (American Express), while 95% who don’t receive the same quality of support will also let others know (White House Office of Consumer Affairs).

But don’t let this scare you.

Cultivating Experience
We know that when a great experience is paired with the positive relationship customers have with live chat, quality customer support is achieved at a much higher rate. We also know that the relationships built through live chat support turn into warmer leads for a sales team.

By using these tools, brands can begin to cultivate a positive experience. This process lays the foundation for the creation of brand advocates. The transition from web visitor to chat specialist is typically a seamless one. However, the next transition in the buying cycle is even more critical.

Intrusion Alert
Up to this point, we have discussed the positive impact the handshake between experience design and live chat can have on your brand, but what happens after? Transitioning a relationship from a live chat conversation to a real one can be a challenge both for the customer, and the sales representative.

For the customer, there is a comfort in the veil of anonymity that exists online. Moving a conversation out of that space can be difficult. It’s important that live chat helps make that transition an easy one. It can also be difficult to start a new relationship with a salesperson after having already established trust with a chat specialist. This is where consistency is important.

Sales teams can sometimes view live chat as an intrusion upon the sales cycle and their own personal sales relationships. However, when done properly, live chat can actually expedite the sales process and allow the sales team to spend more time focusing on closing deals rather than qualifying leads.

By developing and implementing a repeatable process for lead qualification into the live chat specialist’s workflow, the leads generated for sales are actually warmer and convert at a higher rate. This kind of increase in success motivates sales teams which leads to an increase in performance.

An increase in success creates a more positive culture and attitude towards work. A domino effect takes place, in which morale increases, the customer is embraced as more valuable across the entire organization, the customer’s experience gets better, and brand advocates are created. Pretty cool right?

Fan of the Brand
Brand advocacy is the key to business growth in the new economy and the numbers prove it.

Brand advocacy is all about word of mouth recommendations. 92% of people say they trust these recommendations according to Nielsen. Beyond that, 76% of people say they are more likely to trust content shared by people expressing their personal opinion than content shared by brands, and 82% proactively seek these referrals when making a decision.

The return on investment isn’t hard to calculate either as advocacy marketing has been shown to improve marketing efforts by upwards of 50%.

When asking yourself the question how DO we provide both radical convenience and exceptional customer support in this new economy

it turns out; the answer is low hanging fruit.

Chapter 2. The Goldmine in Plain Sight

The number one preferred form of customer support communication in the U.S. and most of the world isn’t email, phone, or even face to face. It’s live chat messaging. However, even with the overwhelming popularity of live chat, only 14% of companies are using live chat software.

Jaw drop.

Ok maybe not, but here’s why live chat makes a lot of sense.

 

It’s Low Hanging Fruit

Back in the Day
As previously discussed, there’s a fondness associated with the small business community focused economy of the past prior to the dawn of the internet. Live chat helps us reconnect to the kind of relationships we had with the people we bought things from then.

These relationships never lost value with the customer, they were just lost in plain sight during a period of change. The desire for these relationships still exists and we can, and have, proven that.

The New Salesperson
With the advent of the internet, we have also seen an increase in e-commerce driving the need for traditional sales relationships down as many customers choose to complete the buying cycle online.

They value independence and are comforted by the anonymous relationship they have with a website. However, this doesn’t mean that customers don’t have the same obstacles or value personal connection and conversation. They just want it delivered differently.

Live chat is that different method of delivery.

People, People
Ultimately, we are people people. We like having meaningful conversations. We need a “hi, hello there” and beautifully designed screens simply are not enough. Live chat is able to help customers through problems and overcome objections, but as much as it is successful in driving forward the sales cycle, it’s also incredibly powerful at creating trust.

When customers see your brand as a real person on the other end of a chat, hesitancy tends to dissolve and the real questions begin to emerge. Having the opportunity to reveal and answer those questions is powerful.

The New Opportunity
Every new chat session is a new opportunity to connect and build trust that would have existed in the physical world, but very rarely does online. The ability to break through that barrier is not only an incredible benefit for your business, but also an elevated experience for the customer.

Many argue that we do already have meaningful communication online without the use of live chat. However, it turns out that the customer actually prefers live chat to other forms of digital communication, and it doesn’t stop online.

People Prefer Online Live Chat to Other Communication Channels

It doesn’t matter whether it’s email, phone, or even face-to-face, chat dominates as the most popular form of communication for customers.

Chat Vs. E-Mail
E-mail is great for mass communication, but when used for relationship building, it’s simply too slow. It just takes too long for email conversations to form, and in the meantime, customers choose to research, speak with competitors, or watch cat videos on YouTube.

Additionally, email service providers act as a kind digital barrier between us. This creates a disconnect that does not occur in real conversations. We unconsciously are aware of this and allow it to block us from having a real connection.

Emails also don’t provide anonymity and require information to be given by the customer in order to start a conversation. This again isn’t natural and just adds another step to the buying cycle.

Live chat software allows us to speak online with the same kind of immediate response we get in real life. It also allows the customer to maintain their anonymity and gives us the ability to start the conversation without requiring any additional information or form submissions.

People want to speak to your brand, they just don’t need it to be a black tie affair.

Chat Vs. Phone
Phone calls provide the kind of immediate natural conversation customers desire, unlike email. However, phone calls perform at an even lower rate. This happens for two reasons.

First, phone calls provide the customer with almost no anonymity. This is a big deal to customers who value the independence of the online shopping experience. We associate voice too much with personal connection and that imbalance creates tension.

Second, phone calls again require the customer to submit information. Adding this additional step disrupts the experience and is perceived as an inconvenience.

Live chat software again does not require the submission of information and integrates directly into the page the customer is already viewing. This allows for conversation to be started without the need to disrupt the experience.

Chat Vs. Face to Face
Face to face communication is the most intimate and human form of communication. Obviously, face to face communication is more natural and at the pace people identify as human because it is. In addition, body language and facial expressions are a unique benefit no other form of communication can replicate.

However, this is way too personal for the online shopper. Face to face conversation would require an in-person appointment at a physical location completely disconnected from the digital domain.

This provides no anonymity and requires too much trust for customers at most stages of the online buying cycle. Online live chat can solve for this.

Live chat software is able to find a balance between conversation and personal connection while maintaining an anonymous feel.

The People’s Choice
Live chat provides the balance between the immediate gratification we get from phone calls or face to face conversations, while still providing the anonymity of web-based communication. That anonymity provides customers with a real freedom to express their concerns in a way not found in other forms of communication.

Seriously, this anonymity is kind of a big deal.

The reasons live chat support continue to outperform other methods of communication will only continue to be amplified in the future.

You Can Create Exceptional Customer Experiences 24/7

Live chat gives customers a great customer experience through immediate support, even after hours. Over 80% of customers expect a response within an hour and that expectation doesn’t stop after 5 pm. Live chat provides immediate support 24/7 and our live chat specialists have an average response time of 45 seconds

Time is on Your Side
Lead generation’s greatest nemesis may be time itself. Customers continue to expect more businesses to provide round-the-clock support. In the future, it is likely that most businesses will be expected to provide customer support 24/7.

This isn’t bad news. In fact, it’s pretty much the best news. With more time, we can do so much more for our customers.

It’s that whole domino effect again.

The more we can do, the more problems we can solve, the better the experience becomes, and so on and so forth.

Live chat gives you the ability to be available 24/7. When time isn’t an issue, neither is creating a great customer experience.

Do More with Less
For most companies, providing 24/7 live chat support means hiring more people. If only it were that easy right? Increasing headcount is complicated. Hiring can take weeks if not longer and there are multiple obstacles to overcome in HR. Even if you put aside onboarding time, and HR complications, there is still a giant elephant in the room.

New people require pay, but also additional resources and space. On top of that more middle management is required to handle the influx of employees. It becomes pretty obvious how much this can alter the structure of a business and create additional problems. We’ll stop stating the obvious now.

Our live chat service is able to provide your company with additional support without all of the additional headaches. Chat specialists are also trained by experts in your individualized field making them capable of handling the types of qualifying questions necessary to generate warm leads.

Always Be Closing
By handling the qualifying stage of lead generation, live chat specialists set up the rest of your team for success, but this isn’t the only benefit of adding live chat software to your website.

Chat specialists are also proven to generate more leads than other lead generation tools and strategies. These leads would otherwise have not been created.

This combination of both a greater quantity of leads and a greater quality of lead makes for an effective solution. When this can also happen 24/7, live chat can truly transform your business.

As if that wasn’t enough, in addition to qualifying leads, chat specialists are also trained to overcome common objections in your industry.

Overcome Objections in Real Time

As communication has shifted from a face to face interaction to a digital one, we have lost the opportunity to overcome common objections. 35% of salespeople say overcoming price objections is one of the biggest challenges to any customer relationship. Live chat gives you the chance to address these concerns where most websites have to rely on their existing content.

Objections Still Exist
Sales relationships have changed with the age of the internet, but that doesn’t mean objections have gone away. Most customers have different combinations of objections. It’s difficult to overcome a series of objection simply through the copy or content of a webpage.

Chat specialists are trained to handle some of the most common objections, and because the customer tends to unconsciously identify the relationship with a chat specialist as more of a customer service conversation, they tend to be more trusting when an objection is overcome.

Chat specialists are also provided with guidance on how to overcome specific objections. This is done to maintain consistency in each response. So if a customer speaks with multiple chat specialists and has the same questions the questions will be answered correctly and consistently.

Hot Leads
Through the use of live chat, not only are more leads generated, and not only are those leads qualified, but those leads have also already had many of their problems answered. This means leads come in with an understanding of the value your business provides and not the cost of your service.

Your Competitors Forms are Old School

Live chat support eliminates the reliance on old-school web-to-lead forms and shapes lead generation in a more conversational model. In a recent study by Drift, a conversational marketing platform, Drift found that conversations drove 50% of their business and added 15% more leads to their sales funnel after replacing forms.

Low Odds
Forms convert at an incredibly low rate. In fact, you’ll probably find better odds at a Las Vegas craps table. There’s no reason to accept this level of inefficiency especially when there are better options available.

Every form is essentially just a series of requests that all require the user to fill in information. They’re not human and require unnecessary time and effort. This flies in the wind against everything that great user experience design stands for.

A Better Option
Live chat specialists are able to form a relationship with customers before information is even requested. Because of this, live chat tends to not only gather information at an improved rate over forms, but actually gathers more detailed information.

Chat specialists can be given more specific information to gather and can ask more complex questions than can be requested through a form submission. Specialists also have the ability to answer questions throughout the process and clarify any misunderstandings that may occur along the way.

Live chat just makes a lot of sense.

It’s low hanging fruit. Most companies are unaware of the benefits live chat provides. Live Chat is the preferred method of brand communication for most customers. Live chat allows businesses to provide a great customer experience anytime day or night. Chat specialists are able to overcome common objections providing customers increased confidence when making a decision. Lastly, Live chat outperforms forms while gathering more information along the way.

*Bonus Tip: Chat is also super-simple to implement on your website, especially when using live chat on WordPress, or other CMS platforms.

Hopefully, by now you’ve come over from the dark side and have seen the powerful addition live chat can be to your website’s customer experience. And if you were never on the dark side, hey, kudos to you!

But before you get too excited, there is something else you should know. There is another dark side of online live chat.

Chapter 3. When Live Chat Isn’t Live

Not all live chat is equal. Many of the benefits of live chat are only beneficial when there is a real human being on the other end. Below are some different types of live chat, what works, and ultimately what does not.

That’s Not AI

Most live chat claims to be driven by artificial intelligence (AI), and while AI has many problems of its own when used in live chat, most of what claims to be AI isn’t even that.

Glorified Forms
Most of what is called AI live chat is actually just a series of predetermined questions which end up functioning more like a long form than an actual conversation. These can sometimes be dependent on specific pages or responses but usually end up sounding pretty robotic.

We’ve already shown the ineffectiveness of forms and the associated problems don’t change just because they are presented within a chat box. The completion rates remain low and the customer ultimately feels tricked into filling out a standard form.

Asking Too Much
This type of chat is simply asking too much of the customer. Forms already have proven to be too much of an ask for most customers, form style AI tends to be an even worse offender.

Consecutive information requests come off as a hassle to most customers and end up leaving people frustrated more than satisfied. This type of AI fails to provide the type of conversation and human connection critical to creating the positive customer experience necessary.

Oh, They Know
People know when they are not speaking with other people. Especially if the thing they are speaking to use just replying with generic automated responses not specific enough to the questions the customer has. This actually creates distrust.

Cutting corners when trying to create relationships is actually more harmful than helping. Live chat thrives because it fills the gap between experience design and human connection. Without the human element there is no connection, just another disconnect.

That is AI, but…

Of the chats described as AI that actually use artificial intelligence, there are still problems.

They Still Know
AI is still not human enough to trick the most of us, and this has consequences when trying to develop relationships and provide great experiences. When people recognize something is not human, they immediately perceive the interaction as an obstacle rather than a solution.

When AI Fails
The numbers prove it, AI chat simply does not provide the kinds of results that make live chat such a huge opportunity. In fact, it tends to create more problems than it solves. AI is just not to the point where it can recreate the kind of emotional connection chatting with another human being can.

The Problem with Outsourcing

Outsourcing chat is a common practice as it reduces the cost of hiring U.S. labor while still overcoming a lot of the hurdles presented when trying to create AI based chat. However, even with its perceived benefits, outsourced chats has its own set of shortcomings.

Loss of Quality
Outsourcing is usually handled by countries that do not speak English as a first language. This may not seem like a big deal, but with this comes a lack of understanding of colloquial phrasing, sarcasm, and other small details that are critical when building relationships.

These details are the kinds of details that win people over and build trust around your brand. Without them not only are relationships harder to build, but the experience is weakened. People are used to dealing with overseas live chat support agents online and offline. Your customers will know and will ultimately devalue your brand because of it.

Off Brand
When live chat is outsourced there is an opportunity for brand inconsistency. It’s difficult to effectively communicate the nuances of brand identity and how it translates to the conversations we have with our customers to chat specialists located thousands of miles away.

When outsourced live chat creates brand inconsistency people notice, and that inconsistency makes people feel disconnected from communicating with your actual company even though they are chatting with a chat specialist. This again creates a sense of distrust and weakens the customer experience.

Too Slow
Often outsourced customer service is too slow to respond to customer’s questions. This is a result of two problems.

First, these companies service too many accounts and don’t have the representatives to handle the workload. It’s often true that outsourced live chat support centers handle multiple clients at one time. This means they may actually represent multiple different chat services. This creates a workload problem that often results in errors and slow responses.

Second, the language barrier can sometimes cause a lag due to a lack of comprehension. Sometime outsourced chat specialist may have to stop responding just to fill in the gaps of their understanding of the English language. This is obviously frustrating as it breaks up natural language and further creates distrust.

Real Human Connection

In the end, there is only one truly effective way to make live chat into the experience improving, lead generation powerhouse it has the capability to be. That’s through real human interaction from the kinds of people you interact with every day.

Natural Language
Real people speak like, well, real people. Slang, shorthand, even minor grammatical mistakes are all human characteristics. Natural language also has a conversational pace and rhythm as we react to each other. Live chat with local representatives is able to achieve this type of language because it’s the real deal, there is no robot, and there is no language barrier to break through.

This is the kind of thing that builds trust. When people feel like they are speaking with a friend or family member they immediately draw a personal connection even if they don’t mean to. This is part of the reason why live chat is so effective.

Service Psychology
Conversations that happen between customers and live chat support specialists function differently than those that happen between the same customers and salespeople.

People trust customer service more than they do sales. This isn’t really the fault of your sales team, it’s just a matter of perception.

Use it to your benefit.

Chat specialists, because they are positioned more in the customer service realm, tend to be able to gain trust easier than a salesperson. That is, as long as the chat specialist is considered trustworthy by the customer. This is why it is so critical to use live chat with U.S. based support.

Chapter 4. Five Strategies to Improve Live Chat Software Effectiveness

Online live chat is pretty effective as is, but by implementing just a few strategies you can optimize live chat to work the best it can for your business.

1. Remove Pre-Chat Forms

Pre-chat forms may seem like a good idea, but they actually end up functioning as a barrier. Of course, the information you want to gather is important, but how you gather that information is just as important.

Chat specialists are able to gather this information throughout the context of a conversation, and in many cases, chat specialists are able to gather more information than a form.

Most customers see forms as another step in their shopping experience. Pre-chat forms are no different, and actually garner the same low completion rates as traditional web-to-lead forms do.

In addition, pre-chat forms may not be able to gather the necessary amount of information needed due to the limit in space. At this point a chat specialist is needed anyway, therefore eliminating the necessity of a pre-chat form.

2. Customize the Live Chat Software Aesthetics

Your chat box should be easy to find and aesthetically pleasing without clashing against the rest of your site. Read a great guide on chat box design here.

Color Inside the Lines
When designing a chat box for your website it’s important to maintain consistency. Visual consistency strengthens your brand. Because of this, you’ll want to stay within the selected colors associated with your brand. Use a color that will pop and attract attention in the area it is placed, but won’t detract from the main message of the page.

Try to avoid using colors that are too bright or obnoxious. This also includes patterns that could be out of place. Make sure the chat window doesn’t obstruct any call to action buttons (CTAs) or any other pop-up windows associated with other functionality like your shopping cart.

Put a Brand on It
Aside from maintaining brand consistency across the website, including a brand on the chat box assures the customer that they are speaking with a representative from your company.

It’s important to remember that the customer on the other end of the chat is revealing what they might consider to be personal, or even sensitive, information. It’s important that when experiencing live chat with your brand they feel confident that their information is being delivered to the correct person.

Furthermore, by maintain a consistent brand look and feel many customers will perceive your company as one of high quality that they can trust with their important information. All of this together makes for a better customer experience.

Keep It Clean
Remember that live chat is not the sole purpose of your website, but instead an additional tool to help customers who are ready to be converted into leads. Therefore, it is important when designing your chat box to not make it the prominent message on the page, but instead a helpful hand visible, but not intruding.

This can be done by creating an area clear of any other messaging in a location not central to your page. The bottom right-hand corner is a popular location for many of our clients. Leave some space around the edge of the chat box so it doesn’t get lost on the eyes, and make sure it is a color that will stand out without being an eyesore.

3. Create Page Specific Greetings

Different people visit your website for a variety of different reasons. Most businesses find that their most popular page is not their home page, but instead a landing page or even a piece of content. If this is the case, those customers are probably not looking for a standard greeting and general information about your business. Instead, they may have specific questions or objections already formulated.

This isn’t a bad thing. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. You have an opportunity to create radical convenience in these scenarios. By using page specific greetings, you can cut right to the chase and answer their question or overcome their objection faster. People have come to expect every conversation with a business to be a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By just answering their questions, you can actually accelerate trust building and create relationships quickly.

All of the Greetings

Beyond creating unique greetings for specific pages, try creating a variety of greetings for each page.

Does this sound like overkill? Let us explain.

Page specific greetings serve as a personal touch. Repeat visitors will appreciate different greetings upon returning to the same page. This helps add that human element to your website. It all comes back to the idea of creating a great customer experience. People like it when the world feels like it’s tailored to their needs and unique to their experience. Unique greetings help achieve this.

Even single pages may have multiple messages or may be viewed for different reasons. Not every tool does just one job. So sometimes different greetings may reveal different problems or garner different responses. This can both help you figure out why people are landing on your specific pages, and at the same time, help you optimize your communication through testing.

Your Not So Final Exam
When developing a variety of different responses it’s a good idea to do some testing. This can help you improve your response rate in order to get the most out of live chat.

You can start by running some split testing. A split test is done by creating multiple different greetings and seeing which ones perform the best over time. It can take some time to collect enough data needed to properly compare the different variations, so begin with just a few and work on more over time. You’ll begin to understand what numbers successful greetings produce and you’ll be able to set benchmarks.

Once you have a few split test variations you feel comfortable with you can try a/b testing. An a/b test is done by taking a single greeting and changing just one word or phrase. Use this method to truly optimize each greeting you create. Over time this can actually help you better understand exactly what language and tone connect with your audience. You can use this to influence all of your communication efforts.

4. Be Live 24/7

We’re going to make this really easy for you. You won’t even need to read the next few paragraphs after reading this statistic. Okay, here we go.

51% of customers want businesses to be available around the clock. Need we say more?

But just in case we do, here are a few reasons you may want to consider being available to your customers around the clock.

Let’s Get Practical
Your customers may not all have the capability to reach out during your regular hours of operation. This could be due to scheduling conflicts, work, kids, or whatever else. Time zone differences are a common reason many people may not be able to reach out.

These gaps in availability can prove to be incredibly frustrating. This can be especially true with customers who have simple questions or maybe just need to schedule a simple appointment.

Use live chat to fill in these gaps and provide support to those who may not even expect it. This is just another way to create an exceptional customer experience by providing exceptional customer service all done through online live chat.

WOW
If you provide a service to solve a problem which could arise at any time of day 24/7 live chat support may be especially beneficial to your customers. This is especially true for industries like home services. If your service helps solve an emergency situation for your customer, they need you when they need you and that may not happen between 9am and 5pm.

At this point, 24/7 live chat support becomes less about customer service and more about experience design. Having the capability to reach someone at 2am in the morning then becomes a key feature and benefit and less of an added perk.

Our Service Never Stops
Our live chat support specialists are available around the clock, ready to answer questions and qualify leads for your business at any time of the day. It doesn’t matter the business or the need. Things happen and we understand the importance of availability when they do.

24/7 live chat support is a real benefit and is an important part of providing radical convenience.

5. Improve Google Ad Effectiveness by Customizing Landing Page Greetings

For those unfamiliar with Google AdWords here is a brief overview. When you search for almost any product in Google you get a page full of results. We call this a search engine results page, or SERP, for short.

As part of these results, you get a number of results found at the top and bottom of the results page that have a little “ad” icon next to them. These are called AdWords and they are one of the most popular forms of paid for advertising on the web today.

These ads have to be paid for but getting to be the top-ranked AdWords result isn’t as easy as just paying the most amount of money. There are a lot of different strategies around how to get the highest possible listing while paying the least amount of money. Custom landing page greetings inside of the chat box are one of them.

How it Works
The idea is pretty simple. When people click through your AdWords ad and they arrive on your landing page a chat box should immediately populate with a message references the specific product or service mentioned in the ad.

Beyond that, the message should be consistent with the language used. So, say for instance that the search was, “Best Live Chat Software” and your ad said something like, “experience the #1 online live chat service,” then the message in the chat box should speak to being the best in online live chat.

Why it Works
This provides the customer with consistency which increases the value of the brand by providing confidence. At the same time engaging a customer in chat after they click on an AdWords campaign can increase the average amount of time people spend on that page. It can lead them to other pages, and hopefully, convert them into a lead.

Google likes all of these things and will continue to rank pages that perform this higher than competitor pages, plus they’ll give you a better deal when paying for future ads in that campaign. Ultimately, Google just wants to help its users find the right solutions to their problems. If you can prove to be that right solution, you’ll reap the benefits.

Chapter 5. Online Live Chat Agent Best Practices

We understand the value live chat can bring to a business. We understand how that value translates into great customer experience and human connection. Finally, we understand how all of that comes together in order to provide radical convenience to the customer.

Let’s finish with a few pieces of advice to best optimize live chat within the context of your business. Here are some best practices to get the most out of live chat.

Respond Quickly

This may sound simple, but there is some serious data to back it up. We live in a ‘I-need-it-now’ society, and being able to actually service that mentality is part of this whole idea of radical convenience and customer experience. So, frankly, it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about adaptation.

The Human Reason
Before we dive headfirst into the numbers let’s talk about the human reason we like quick responses. Every time we receive a response in chat quickly we get a release of endorphins in our brain. This makes us feel good.

We like to know that our questions are heard and that our needs are being, or at least in the process, of being met. By responding quickly we provide the customer with a boost of confidence. This is an incredibly effective and highly efficient way to create trust and build relationships quickly.

The Proof
Responding fast to chat inquiries doesn’t just increase the number of leads you are able to generate. It can dramatically increase these numbers, and there’s data to prove it.

In a study of 433 sales teams, Drift found exactly how fast salespeople were responding to inquiries, and exactly how the time taken to respond affected their business.

The numbers they found are astounding.

Inquiry responses made after just 5 minutes see a 10x decrease in the odds of connecting with the lead. Responding in 10 minutes versus responding in 5 decreased the potential to qualify a lead by 400%. After 15 minutes, the potential of making a connection practically vanishes.

On top of that, Drift found that 55% of companies took 5+ days to respond (yes, you read that right), or simply didn’t respond at all.

What’s even more mind-blowing is that only 7% of companies responded within 5 minutes of an inquiry.

Even Faster
Our chat specialists respond to every chat. That’s right, every single one. We don’t do it in 10 minutes, we don’t do it in 5 minutes, we do it in an average time of just 45 seconds.

Live chat is all about immediate response. That’s what creates real conversations and real human connection. Immediate responses are what people want and help build the trust that is important for your business.

By having chat specialists available immediately to your customers at all times, you can always be the best solution.

But just because we’re the fastest doesn’t mean our customers need to be.

Give Customers Time to Respond

While the expectation on our end is to deliver almost immediate response times, there is no expectation on the other end. People have lives. People have other things happening around them. Your business may not be their top priority and that is okay. Just make sure to be theirs.

Giving the customer time to respond can both prevent you from missing vital information, but also communicates to the customer just how much we value their business.

If you disconnect too soon the customer may not be able to provide you with those last minute thoughts that can sometimes provide vital details. When we’re there for those last second “oh, by the way” moments, we strengthen the relationship and provide a better experience.

Going the Extra Mile
When we wait to close the chat it may not seem like much, but it’s an easy opportunity to show the customer that we go the extra mile.

These small opportunities add up and are the small details that separate average customer experiences into exceptional ones.

One Way Street
It’s critical that we continue to understand the perspective of the customer. Great customer service is a one-way street. We go above and beyond to provide customers with a level of experience that makes life not better, but easier.

Customer experience is at its best when it goes unnoticed. When the service we provide allows our customer to continue about their day without breaking a stride, that’s when we’re doing the best we can.

Use Empathy and Active Listening Skills

Customer service is all about listening intently and answering customers questions with both comprehension and understanding. We want people to feel heard and understood, but real empathy is a bit more.

Wearing Other People’s Shoes
Empathy is a lot like wearing someone else’s shoes. In the metaphorical sense, that is. True empathy is an action, not a passive observation. Empathy is about forcing ourselves into other perspectives and understanding life in their train of thought. This is different than thinking about how we would react to the problem they’re facing. It’s about thinking like they would think to really comprehend the problem from their perspective.

When we do this, it creates an impact. When we are able to actively empathize, we create trust almost instantaneously.

Empathy also makes conversation obvious. When our chat specialists work to understand how the customer truly feels, it makes responding to them natural. The language becomes progressively easier and easier to predict. This only continues to create better relationships with customers and allows to really connect with them.

Relationship Psychology
Our brains are split into two different sides. The left side of the brain is more practical and is used for more logical functions like math and science. The right side of the brain is more emotional and is used for creating art and music. What’s interesting is that the left side of the brain is responsible for language.

This is interesting because expressing emotions is such a large part of human communication, yet language and emotion happen on opposite sides of the brain.

This is why it’s often difficult to provide specific details about why we feel a certain way. It’s also why we have created words for different emotions. Because without words, it would be much more difficult to explain these feelings. Empathy helps us understand the emotion behind the language. This in turn leads to quicker relationship building.

Connecting the Two
Our live chat specialists understand how to use empathy as a tool to bridge emotion and language. This helps clients build real relationships with customers over the short period of time available in a chat.

This ultimately helps create much warmer leads. This makes handing off those leads easier because, through empathy, the relationship with the customer becomes more of a relationship with your brand, not just a single person.

Create Live Conversation Landing Pages

Conversational landing pages can do two things to improve the customer experience.

First, these landing pages can begin to engage with web visitors who may be hesitant to chat. Once warmed up these visitors may be more inclined to chat.

Second, when a customer simply does not want to chat, conversational landing pages can still provide a conversational experience.

Engage Customers When and Where They Want

Live chat is really all about finding the balance between the freedom in anonymity the web provides, great experience design, and real human connection. By understanding the relationship between all three of these we can better understand how to reach the customer where and when they want to be reached.

Sometimes that means delaying the chat greeting on a specific page to give the visitor time to absorb the information. Sometimes it means crafting communication specifically for a landing page. Finally, it sometimes means understanding that not every visitor wants to chat and that other options like conversational landing pages may still provide the desired solution.

Chapter 6. Where We Fit In

At ProfessionalChats we’re constantly optimizing our processes to find the perfect balance between experience design and human connection. If you’re looking for the best in live chat software and support, well, we believe you’ve found it.

Ok, maybe that was a bit much, more than a bit, but we really do believe in what we do and here are a few reasons you might as well.

Reasons to Believe

Aside from our wealth of knowledge of online chat and power of great customer experience, we have a few tricks up our sleeve that we believe to pretty impactful for the businesses we serve.

We’re Here When You’re Not There
We don’t expect you to be in business all day every day, but a few of your customers might. We have that covered. Our chat specialists are available to your customers any time day or night.

There’s no need to break a stride as we handle all aspects of service implementation and management. Keep doing what you’re doing, we’ll make sure to keep you growing.

Never an Unread Message
When a customer asks a question they expect a response. We’re there to deliver. Simple, right? It gets even better when those response times average just 45 seconds.

Customers don’t like to wait for exceptional service, and we don’t like making them have to. Not to mention, the numbers surrounding the effectiveness of live chat response times are pretty telling.

Hot N’ Fresh Leads
We do the qualifying, you do the closing. It’s a match made in heaven. We tend to find that customers view us as an extension of customer service. Because of this, they tend to not put up as high of a wall when it comes to building trust.

This makes it easier for us to qualify and gather information. But don’t worry, we still need your team’s sales prowess. We’ll just make sure the customer gets to you a little warmer than before.

The Neighborly Advantage
We’re real people. We could even be your neighbors, and that’s an advantage. We chat like people because we are people. We’re not an aggregation of automated responses, lifeless robots, or off-brand outsourced and overworked representatives.

We are empathetic. We are understanding. We are service oriented and we’re industry trained, but most importantly, we’re here. We’re here for you and we’re here for your customer.

Always Learning
We’re nice people, but we also know a thing or two. We’re not the expert you are, and because of that, we know your time is valuable. So, we train all of our specialists to ask and answer the customer qualifying questions for you.

We don’t stop there. Continual development and training are a part of our job, so we’re always learning more.

What Separates Us

You have a lot of different solutions to choose from in the live chat marketplace. It can sometimes be difficult to understand what makes us, us. We’d like to be the solution for you, so here are some of the ways we are different from our competition.

ProfessionalChats or ZenDesk?
ZenDesk is a UK based live chat and support software. ZenDesk gives companies the ability to manage multiple customer interactions in one platform. This makes it easy to provide consistently great customer experience.

ProfessionalChats does the same. We’re also based here in the US and we provide the live chat specialists to support the software. This means that your business can receive all of the same benefits without having to hire a team of chat specialists.

ProfessionalChats or Broadly?
Broadly is primarily a tool to help businesses collect more online reviews. They also provide a live chat tool. The live chat tool allows businesses to be accessible to their customers. It allows businesses to collect customer information and communicate across multiple channels.

ProfessionalChats does all of this too, but we do it for you. Live chat is great, but implementing it can be hard if you don’t have the time and resources available to handle the increase in customer communication. Don’t find yourself with a great new tool, only to discover you don’t have the time to use it. With us, you get the best of both worlds.

ProfessionalChats or Podium?
Podium gives businesses the ability to text customers instead of using specifically web-based chat. This allows them to communicate with customers on-the-go via their mobile phone. This is great, as more and more customers prefer mobile communication over desktop.

ProfessionalChats uses mobile technology too like Google and Facebook message. This makes it easy to reach customers when and where they prefer. We also have a team of chat specialists ready to handle this for you. In addition, we still communicate over the computer as well as giving your customers the ability to choose their own method of communication.

ProfessionalChats or LivePerson?
LivePerson is an AI-powered chat service. With LivePerson, businesses can communicate directly with customers through a variety of channels. Businesses don’t have to hire additional people to service additional customers because LivePerson uses artificial intelligence.

Two of the most critical components for exceptional live chat are availability and effective implementation. While AI based chat solves for both of these, they miss the most important component, human connection. ProfessionalChats does all three.

ProfessionalChats or Bold360?
Bold360 is another AI-powered live chat platform. They provide a number of solutions to help businesses communicate to customers without the need to hire additional help. This makes it an easy and effective solution for most business to implement.

Unfortunately, as we have discussed previously, AI just isn’t human enough. The responses don’t read tone very well and are unable to actively empathize. This is what makes live chat so powerful, and without these elements businesses just can’t reach their full potential. ProfessionalChats help businesses reach their full potential by providing live chat, and real people to support it.

ProfessionalChats or ApexChat?
ApexChat is a live chat platform supported by real people. This is critical to excellent customer service. People just want to communicate with people and tend to view AI and auto-generated communication as more of an obstacle than actual customer service.

ProfessionalChats takes this one step further. Our chat specialists are industry trained and don’t heavily rely on scripted messaging. They are trained to be not only knowledgeable in the multiple industries they serve, but they are also trained to be empathetic. This means that when a customer approaches your business they are greeted with someone who works to truly understand their problems.

ProfessionalChats or LTVplus?
LTVplus provides 24/7 online live chat support to help businesses increase sales and conversions. Agents are real people based in the US and are industry trained to handle common questions. LTVplus is priced with a limit on billable hours. This means, if your combined chats exceed 160 hours a month, the price goes up.

ProfessionalChats also provides 24/7 online support with US-based chat support. With ProfessionalChats there is no limit on time. Serving your customers doesn’t come with a time limit.

ProfessionalChats or OrthoEngagement?
Ortho Engagement had a very similar start to us. Serving the orthodontics industry through 24/7 live chat, Ortho Engagement is able to help practices increase their revenue by acquiring more patients.

ProfessionalChats still services Orthodontic practices as well as a number of other industries. Our chat specialists also go through specialized empathy training which allows them to create relationships faster making our live chat even more powerful for your business or practice.