Design Method

Should you add live chat on your website

Technology has transformed customer expectations almost overnight. It wasn’t too long ago that most business websites were relatively static. If a website visitor or potential customer wanted more information, their options were limited. You could send an email, fill out a contact form, or face navigating the infuriating automated menus in a phone call.

Now, live chat options seem to be everywhere. Many websites seem to be actively inviting customers and visitors to join a virtual chat. Advances in AI technology are also making live chat options easier to manage. Often without knowing it, our conversation begins with a bot that turns us over to a human at the appropriate time.

Chatbots are frequently used to engage potential customers and lure them into a sales funnel or as a path towards quicker customer service. Live chat has bean integral part of the web experience. Until recently live chat was exclusively in the domain of large organizations with funding to create their own or purchase expensive software to host their live chat.

However, it has now moved to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, becoming available to businesses and organizations of all sizes. However, just because it is accessible to more businesses doesn’t mean that everyone should be running to get their live chat box online. There are some things to think about when deciding whether you should add live chat on your website.

Question 1: What Need are You Trying to Fill?

It may be tempting to have a live chat simply because other businesses are adding them. However, it is essential to think about what you are hoping to accomplish. For instance, are you trying to generate more leads by engaging with potential customers on your site? Or are you trying to close more sales by having someone standing by to answer questions?

Equally, do you think that having someone available may increase the opportunity to upsell and increase revenue? Will live chat be a more efficient way to deal with the number of inquiries you usually receive by phone or email?

Alternatively, do you believe that the live chat will demonstrate a higher level of customer service? And could it provide potential customers with more confidence in your product or service? These are all possible scenarios where live chat might help you make the right decision for your business.

Gaining clarity around the purpose of adding a chatbot will help you make a better decision and rushing in to implement the wrong solution. It will also help with the decisions as you move forward.

Question 2: Who Will Respond to the Live Chat?

AI in chatbots can answer simple questions and collect customer information. But live chat is really about connecting your real people to the real people using your website. For some organizations, this may be a question of human resources. Do you have the personnel to respond to customer questions quickly?

Consumers expect a quick response to live chat inquiries. Will you or your team be able to live up to the expectations once your chat is live? If it is not a matter of having enough personnel, it may be a question of choosing the right staff.

How will you determine the team members who will be able to handle customer questions best and what type of training might they need. These are just a few questions you should be debating with your team.

Question 3: When Will Live Chat Be Live?

It is important to consider upfront when your live chat will actually be live. Especially for smaller businesses, it is okay to set hours for which your live chat is available. Those hours should be clearly posted. The live chatbot can still be present in off hours as long as it indicates that no one will respond until the posted hours.

If your business has standard business hours, it might be tempting to offer chat during those hours. However, it is essential to ensure you can provide continuous coverage to avoid disappointing potential customers. You may also find that it is worthwhile to offer chat at different hours if that is when you find your website traffic is the highest.

Question 4: Where Should Live Chat Appear?

A live chat option can be available on one, several or all of the pages of your website. You should spend some time considering where it should appear. This goes back to the first question. It is tempting to put a chatbot on the homepage since much of your traffic funnels through there. However, depending on what you are trying to achieve, it may be better suited to be available further into the site.

For example, it may be more useful in places closer to the point of purchase or even within your customer service options. Live chat can offer a more user-friendly and convenient method of contact for your customers.

A recent report suggested that 66% of customers now expect an immediate response or resolution when using a live interaction for support. This study highlights the importance of investing the right amount of time and resources into ensuring it delights rather than frustrates your customers.