Why Live Chat is Important to Your Business
If you’ve been around the internet lately, you may have noticed that in the last six months, almost every popular business website has a new feature: live chat. If you haven’t noticed yet, go ahead and look around. Almost every lower-right-hand corner now features a friendly floating icon of some sort. These icons are ready to offer you an instant connection to a question-answering human. There’s no denying how useful this feature is. Customers no longer have to send an email and hope that there’s someone answering them quickly on the other end; no more automated phone trees or waiting on hold for half an hour. With live chat, you can quickly and efficiently become a part of any site visitor’s sales funnel and customer experience. This includes: answering questions to offering personal shopper services. It’s no wonder so many companies have incorporated live chat, from law firms to eCommerce platforms. The only question is how you’ll do the same.
Tips for Setting up Live Chat
1) Smooth UI Integration
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that while the majority of live chat UI ‘floats’ above page content so it can follow users from page to page, it must also blend well with your existing UI. Make sure that you use the same color scheme as you have for other prominent UI elements. This way, your chat box appears to naturally flow with the rest of the website.
Once you have a UI design you like for the live chat assets, check the positioning on every page design in your website. Simply following the norm won’t work if you traditionally have content in the lower-right-hand area of your screen. At no point do you want a customer unable to read or click something because you’ve added a floating feature. This is the most careful part of adding the live chat feature. If you need to, add a bottom-of-the-page buffer to ensure that scrolling down will allow customers to access all right-hand content.
2) Choosing Your Chat Agent Avatars
Among the thousands of companies who have recently integrated business chat, there is a lively debate as to the best way to handle chat agent avatars. Some websites with a pre-established theme of fun and cartoons like to use cute drawings of random things like squid or puppies, while others use cartoons of the chat agents themselves. Many companies swear by the value of a clearly smiling photo of a real human to assure users that they are not talking to a chatbot ’employee’. How you choose to handle the chat agent avatars should be based on your brand and how you feel your customers will react.
3) Fast, Casual, and Professional
Business chat is a new enough phenomenon that the etiquette for your chat agents is not yet set in stone. However, your goals for providing live chat services couldn’t be more clear. Whether you’re concierge shopping for your guests or simply answering questions and helping to finalize sales, it’s important to train your chat agents to be a combination of fast, casual, and professional. Quick responses show customers you care and is part of the appeal of live chat vs email in the first place. A casual and friendly tone of ‘speaking’ assures the customer that you’re on their side, and whatever you do, remember not to use chatspeak even if the customers do.
4) Handling Offline Availability
Finally, while your live chat feature may be up 24/7, most businesses can’t be expected to have a chat agent online at 3 AM and most customers will understand. While you don’t want to close down your super handy chat feature, you also can’t answer messages all day, every day. During evenings, weekends, holidays, and other times when your chat agents are out of the office, make sure you have a lead qualifying UI ready to take the place of the chat bubble. Ask clients to leave their name, question, and email address and be sure to get back to them first thing when the office opens again. The more promptly you answer offline messages, the more valuable your chat offline feature will be. If necessary, you can even use a virtual assistant!
Live chat for businesses is by far one of the best things to happen for company websites since parallax UI design. Whether you’re a small startup looking for the best bang for your customer-service buck or an established firm staying on the cutting edge, live chat can help you connect instantly to customers when they’re already on your site and ready to talk to a professional.
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