Should you have live chat on your site?

Regardless of your company size, one of the main reasons to have an online site is to allow customers to easily reach out to you. There are the usual ways that this is achieved – via a contact page where a user submits a form, or by displaying a phone number – but one often-overlooked opportunity is live chat.

Live chat is a complex solution and not something that one should rush into without having given some careful consideration to first. The trickiest element of live chat is being able to staff the chat consistently and reliably. In terms of a contact form submission, it is acceptable to expect a reply within 24-48 hours. But with live chat, the customer typically expects that someone will be able to respond to their chat the moment that they are interacting with the site.

Immediate gratification and other positives

Where a user engages over a live chat platform, it’s because they’re seeking information to help with a decision. Whether that information is able to be immediately conveyed to the customer can be the difference between making a sale or watching the customer purchase from a competitor.

Live chat presents the opportunity to build trust and confidence with your customer base. Many users will simply engage in chat just to confirm authenticity.

One important thing to note is that you don’t need to keep live chat available at all hours, seven days a week. Live chat can be scheduled to open and close at specific days and times.

Setting up live chat will show you a lot about your own website. If a user has a question, it stands to reason that the information can’t be found on your website or that it can’t be found easily. Even if the information is obvious to you, it may be an opportunity to reassess how the data is presented – an insight that can be used to enhance your site.

Choosing a chat client

There are numerous solutions available, but finding one that fits your business is the most important factor. Some setups involve logging on to their website where the chat takes place. Other solutions are more flexible for use on mobile devices and don’t require you to be at a desk.

There is a plethora of WordPress plugins which are able to be added to your website. Some plugins are associated with third-party services and others are independent plugins.

Live chat is an excellent opportunity to engage with live users as they browse your site, acting as an alternative way that they can contact you. It helps to develop trust and provides the ability to answer customer questions then and there. You will also be able to use customer insights to improve and enhance aspects of your site.

Published on Wednesday, 8 May 2019 under Web Development.