Do I Need Live Chat Software for my Website?

By Erin DeLong

6 min read

In the digital age, consumers have become more impatient than ever before. When searching online and interacting with a brand, users want answers to their questions, and they want them now. Queue live chat software. Live chat is an easy way to quickly answer customer questions before they have the chance to leave your website or become frustrated. That’s why more and more clients are asking our team, “Do I need live chat software for my website?” The answer to that question is maybe.

What is Live Chat?

Live chat software enables your customer support team or sales team to communicate with website visitors in real-time. Unlike chatbots, which answer messages using an automated machine, live chat connects website visitors with a real living and breathing chat agent.

Historically, live chat software was usually seen on e-commerce websites to manage product complaints, returns, and shipping issues. However, more recently, businesses are using it to capture leads and get users through their sales funnels.

3 Must-Ask Questions Before You Set Up Live Messaging on Your Website

In recent years, live chat support has become the most favorited support channel, with 41% of consumers preferring live messaging. While live chat tools can be an excellent way to streamline customer communication and satisfy a user’s need for immediate attention, chat software isn’t for every brand. Determine whether your brand should set up live website chat software by asking yourself these three questions.

1. How will your live website chat be used?

First, it’s worth considering the types of users visiting your website to determine how your live chat tool would be beneficial.

B2C Brands: If you sell a physical product online to consumers, you should get a live chat tool. Your live chat tool will become a critical part of customer support and engagement between product inquiries, shipping questions, returns, and customer complaints. If you are a B2C service company, you can use live chat to schedule appointments, manage complaints, answer questions, and cancel service.

B2B Brands: If you’re a B2B brand, live chat software is used differently from a B2C brand. Your existing customers often have a direct contact or account manager at your company who they’ll reach out to for assistance. In these instances, live chat is more of a sales tool than customer support. By offering immediate pricing, appointment scheduling, or answers regarding products and services, you can help a user make a quicker decision about your brand. Plus, if used correctly, it can become a phenomenal lead generation tool.

2. Does your brand have someone that can answer chats throughout the day?

By far, the most critical question to ask yourself is, “Who will answer my brand’s live chat throughout the day?” For live chat to be useful, you must have a dedicated team member readily available to answer chats throughout the day. If messages received through chat aren’t answered within minutes, users will become frustrated and leave the website.

If your brand doesn’t have an entire customer support team to man the live chat 24/7, you may need to set the tool offline after hours. If a website visitor were to message you via chat after business hours, their message would be treated as a form entry, and someone from the brand would follow up with the user the following business day.

3. Does your company use any internal communication tools?

Usually, the most successful companies with live chat solutions are the ones that integrate the tool into their existing workflow. If you use an internal communication tool, CRM, or helpdesk, ask your provider if they offer live chat software. Many providers, including Salesforce, Zoho, Slack, Hubspot, Olark, Zendesk, and HelpScout, have created their own live chat solutions that tie into their respective products. These live chat tools can help your team streamline communication and are free if you have a paid plan with the above subscribers.

Is Live Chat Right for Your Business?

If you answered “yes” to questions 2 and 3, live chat software could be a great addition to your website. Once set up, be sure to analyze metrics each month to ensure that your employees are using chat features effectively and answering messages promptly.

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If you’re looking for a way to test the waters of live messaging without committing to live chat software, try enabling Facebook Messenger on your brand’s Facebook page. Social media messaging is very similar to live chat; however, your brand’s representatives aren’t necessarily “live.” On Facebook Messenger, users don’t necessarily expect an instantaneous response like they would through the website messaging.

To find the best live chat software for your brand, contact Front Porch Solutions. We help our clients set up chat software on their websites to generate more leads and improve customer satisfaction.

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