Online chat is rapidly becoming the communication channel of choice for customers. Reports suggest there has been a 24% rise in chat usage in the past 3 years and that trend is set to continue. It is a marketing and sales channel that every business needs to be using. Read more about why your business needs chat here. This guide will help you understand how and what you need to do to ensure your website is using and optimising your online chat
The basics of online chat
Before optimising your chat, it is absolutely essential to get the basics right
Firstly, you need to ensure you are using a chat product that works on your website, is easily integrated, and is useful for your team. A chat product that is difficult for your visitors and team to use won’t be used and may lead to a poor customer experience and potentially lost opportunities.
Secondly, your chat needs to be useful. Automation and bots are cheap and practical solutions, however, it is essential to ensure these are programmed to actually be helpful. An alternative and more impactful solution is using a chat solution that is managed externally or by a member of your team. Read more about the benefits of managed chat here.
Thirdly, if you are going to implement a chat product, it is important to understand why you are implementing the solution and what your desired outcome is. Chat can be a great tool for customer service and is a great channel for supporting enquires, but the real benefits of chat are its ability to support a customer throughout their buyer’s journey.
Optimising your chat
Once the basics of your chat are in place, the next step is optimising your chat. As every business is different, there are countless ways in which you can optimise your chat. However, based on our experience, these are the key areas we most commonly advise businesses to improve on:
A fast response time
Ensure your first response time is super quick! It is critical that your visitor knows their enquiry has been received and someone is helping them. Once the customer is engaged, speed becomes less important but promptness is still essential.
Delivering relevant responses
Whether your chat is automated, managed by your team, or managed externally, it is essential to deliver relevant responses to your visitors. Acknowledging information, personalisation, and correct answers are imperative to ensuring your visitor feels understood and assisted.
Directing enquiries to the right place
Your chat is likely to receive a wide variety of enquires nd it is important to ensure these are directed to the appropriate departments of your business. As chat is your first point of contact, it is essential your chat prioritises and passes enquires to the right people through the right channel.
Qualify your visitors to identify new leads.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make with their chat is failing to properly qualify and follow up opportunities. Although chat is good for customer service, it is a brilliant sales tool and needs to be optimised to support sales. Visitor’s using your chat to enquire about your products and services are likely to be in ‘buying mode’. It is therefore critical that your chat qualifies and captures your visitor’s information, producing a qualified lead.
Tailor your chat to reflect your brand.
Having developed your brand, it is essential for you to extend its values to your chat. Ensure your logo, colours, and customer experience is applied to your chat. Failing to do so risks invalidating the trust you have carefully built with your customers, potentially alienating new leads and leading to churn. Ensuring brand consistency across communication channels is an essential part of your marketing strategy and needs to be carefully maintained.