Live Chat is becoming more and more popular. You’re probably familiar with the little box that appears on a website, usually the bottom right hand corner, where you can pose a question and in theory, get a quick answer.

Live Chat is not to be confused with Messenger, which you find on Facebook or LinkedIn, where you can send messages and ‘chat’ to your friends and contacts.

Live Chat is a nice facility to add to your website, but how useful is it?

The PROS of Live Chat:

  1. Live Chat can be a great way to improve customer service. It allows a website visitor with a query to instantly ask a question and have it answered immediately. No more looking for email addresses or telephone numbers and waiting for replies.
  2. A visitor to your website may not be ready to purchase. Live Chat can help to begin to build the relationship. The prospect may not be ready to speak to you, but is comfortable communicating via Live Chat. It’s a gentle way to create a rapport.
  3. Live Chat increases sales. If your website visitor is ready to buy, they’ll want to make the transaction there and then. One quick reply to a question via Live Chat can mean the difference between a sale or leaving the website, possibly to find a competitor.
  4. Live Chat allows you to deal with two or three queries at any one time, which isn’t possible over the phone. This means that your staff is more efficient, and it can prolong the time before you need to recruit more people to the support team.
  5. Support staff engaging in a conversation via Live Chat can point customers to relevant content on the website, which they may not have been able to find. Or they can direct them to FAQs or help pages that explain the solution to the problem. If this had been a telephone conversation your support staff would have been tied up much longer.
  6. Live Chat is flexible. For a small company, it may not be practical to have Live Chat constantly displayed on your website. The software allows you to switch it on and off according to when you have the staff to monitor it.

The CONS of Live Chat:

  1. People love doing business with people. There will be some customers who want the human touch and feel that Live Chat is too impersonal.
  2. The flips side to Live Chat improving the levels of customer service is that, if it’s not monitored properly and there is a failure to respond quickly, it will result in inferior customer service, which is damaging to the business.
  3. Non-tech savvy website visitors may not understand what Live Chat is or find it difficult and frustrating to use.
  4. All websites these days should be mobile responsive, however, Live Chat doesn’t always work properly for mobile users.
  5. A bit like spam to your inbox or unsolicited phone calls, there are people who take pleasure in messing around and that includes prank Live Chat conversations. Live Chat software does allow you to block these people.

Is Live Chat right for your website?

Actually, we feel this is the wrong question and that there are two strategic questions to ask instead.

Firstly, is Live Chat right for our customers?

This will depend on who they are, millennials will embrace it whilst those at the other end of the age scale may hate it.

If your website is intended to be a truly useful tool for your customers, because of the products or services you provide, then Live Chat is likely to enhance the user’s experience.

Secondly, is Live Chat right for my business?

There could be significant cost reductions to be enjoyed as well as increased sales, but operationally Live Chat must be managed effectively to gain these benefits.

If your competitors are not yet using Live Chat, then perhaps now’s a good time for you to add this clever feature to your website.

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