You are looking through a website and you like the products or services they offer. However, you have a question so you send a query to their support email.

You wait for an answer for an hour, two, and three. In fact, you had to wait a good 24 hours before they got back to you but by that time you already found another business to buy from.

The world is moving at a fast pace and people won’t wait around for answers.

Businesses know how difficult it is to lead a customer through the sales funnel to get them to purchase products or services yet many make the mistake of not having a live chat support on their website.

Obviously, responding to a lead faster is going to leave a better impression than making them wait around.

Live chat is one of the best practices of top-notch customer service. That way, potential customers can ask their questions and get an immediate response which increases the possibility of them actually purchasing. It is the most preferred method of communication for customers over email and telephone.

Losing Leads By Not Responding Quickly

Drift conducted a survey on 433 companies with regards to their lead response time. If you don’t have live chat support for your business it seems that you are not alone.

In fact, 240 companies (55%) take 5+ days to respond to queries and only 32 companies (7%) answer within 5 minutes. Additionally, there’s a 10x decrease in your odds of making contact with a lead after the first five minutes and that increases to 400% decrease if you respond after 10 minutes.

In other words, those potential customers are gone forever if you won’t answer their questions under five minutes.

Moreover, only 14% of the 433 companies surveyed has a live chat feature.

Don’t make the same mistake.

The Advantages of Live Chat

Here are the 5 main reasons why a live chat feature is beneficial for any type of business today:

#1 Connecting with your website’s visitors

Talking to your potential customers is the best way you can know about their thoughts and concerns. Live chat allows that. Identifying your visitors’ pain points will help you improve your products or services and over time, it will also help you enhance your marketing strategy.

Connecting with your visitors will make them feel taken care of and this will highly increase the chances of them buying what you offer.

#2 Convenience for Customers

It’s just more convenient for potential customers to be able to get the answers they want in a matter of seconds rather than wait a couple of hours just to get a response. Again, this will greatly affect the trust they have for your business. When you give your visitors a way to contact you easily, they will have more confidence in you as a vendor.

#3 Improve buying experience

All business owners want their potential customers to have the best user experience as possible. Through live chat, you can have a direct conversation with them and make them feel welcome as you guide them while they make their purchase.

It is a great way to increase your sales and provide a memorable experience for customers on your website. According to a research conducted by eDigital, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%. It is the most efficient and immediate way to boost customer experience.

A live chat representative is equivalent to a sales representative at a store. They answer questions and help solve any issue that might arise to keep potential customers happy.

And the more satisfied they are, the more likely it is that they will buy.

#4 Competitive Advantages

A recent study by TELUS International found that out of 1,000 websites, only 9% of them use live chat to provide real-time support to their customers. This means that if you choose to set up a live chat support for your website, chances are you will have an advantage over your competition.

Do it quickly though because according to Forrester, the number of U.S. online shoppers who use live chat has increased from 38% to 58% in the last five years meaning that more and more people are using this feature when they are shopping online. Soon, live chat support is going to be the norm of customer service.

#5 Cut Costs

Customer support doesn’t have to be expensive.

According to a research conducted by Forrester, live chat customer service is 17-30% cheaper than a phone call.

Chat support cost less than phone support because one representative can often handle multiple requests at the same time which is just not possible when answering calls. In fact, according to Telus International, customer service agents can engage in as many as six simultaneous chats, depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

So really, live chat is a great way in cutting down costs.

Tips for a Successful Live Chat Support

There is no doubt that having a live chat feature on your website will bring your business numerous benefits. But setting up a live chat is only the first half of the work.

There needs to be a real person who is always ready to respond to queries behind it. Whether you work alone or with a team, here are 5 tips in running a successful live chat support.

#1 Pick the right live chat platform

It’s really important to choose live chat software that suits your business needs. Things to consider are, for example, pricing, scalability, advanced features, statistics and tracking, and third party software integrations. If you’re looking for a live chat solution for your website, Social Intents is a good starting point (Ok, maybe I’m a little biased as I work at Social Intents, but I really think our apps are awesome!).

#2 Train and prepare

Make sure that you or your team is equipped with the knowledge to answer your potential customers‘ questions. Knowing the product or service through and through is the only way that you can provide a satisfying answer to queries. Also, a well-trained staff is a good way to impress your visitors.

#3 Be human

Nobody wants to talk to a robot. The whole point of having a live chat is so your site visitors can talk to a human to help them.

Be patient, polite and precise.

Emphasize when it is necessary.

If they have an issue with what they bought from you, make sure that they know that their concern matters to you and you are there to help them solve the issue.

#4 Make use of canned responses

Canned messages are predetermined responses for frequently asked questions. You can create canned responses in advance so you don’t have to type the same answer repeatedly or paste from another resource. This feature will save you loads of time and is very helpful if you are dealing with multiple chats at a time.

#5 Know your priorities

You should focus in solving the problem, not a speedy conclusion.

People should walk away feeling that you resolved their issue because there is a chance that they are going to contact you again and again until you come to up with a satisfying resolution. This means more phone calls, emails and live chat requests to your queue which compromises the customer service experience.

#6 Avoid typos

I know typos adds to the appeal of live chats being “human” but it just doesn’t look professional.

Be sure to use correct grammar and proper punctuation. Avoid misspelling at all cost! If you do slip up, make sure to apologize and correct immediately after.