If your laptop charger broke right now, the battery was going to die in 2 hours, and you needed to finish a project for work by the end of the day, what would you do?

  • You go to the local store that sells computer accessories to look for a charger. For example, Best Buy, Target, or maybe even Wal Mart.
  • You know how to use a computer, but seeing 5-7 different computer charger options on the shelf that all look the same is confusing.

What happens next?

  • You see a store employee nearby and ask them for help.
  • Or even better, they see that you looking a bit confused and ask if they can help.

The employee is going to need a bit of information in order to help you. It’ll probably go something like this:

  • He’ll ask “What type of computer do you have?”
  • Then he’ll look at the technical mumbo jumbo on the charger packaging
  • And success! He’ll hand you the right one while saying “This is the one that will work for you since you have an older computer”

This guy did exactly what his company wants him to do: he turned a you into a paying customer by helping you with questions in the store.

Brick-and-mortar businesses have the advantage of being able to answer basic questions before expecting customers to make a purchase.

But how can you answer your customers questions if you only have a website and not a retail store? In this case, the online business may seem like it can’t compete. But that’s not true!

You can use live chat!

Live Chat Basics

Having a Live Chat system for your online business enables you to do just what the person at the electronics store did: answer questions for potential customers in order to turn their visits into sales.

When people have questions on your site, Live Chat can:

  1. Allow them to click a box to say they have a question.
  2. Open up a Chat conversation with someone on your team.
  3. Make the sale by answering the customer’s questions.

guide-to-live-chat_chat-example

Okay, you may not always make the sale, but having access to Live Chat on a website is the closest you can get to having employees in a retail store. Your staff can answer simple visitor questions and turn them into buyers.

Why Live Chat Works

Your website probably lists a phone number where visitors can make a phone call to ask their questions. But really, are they likely to do that? Especially if they just have a quick question and are multitasking?

Or maybe you have a contact form where visitors can reach out to you and then wait for an email reply. But in this day of instant results, your visitor may not be willing to wait.

Not having a simple way to get answers fast is is the equivalent of having a “Closed” sign on the door of your retail establishment. People might figure out how to get in contact with you, but will probably just go somewhere else to get what they need.

And this is not just our opinion, since we’re obviously biased…

Visitors Prefer Live Chat Over Phone or Email

Live Chat has the highest satisfaction score of all support channels:

guide-to-live-chat_stats_live-chat-preferred

(image / data source: https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats/)

A Live Chat option allows your visitor to get immediate results, which is particularly important if they have decided they want to buy an item today. This “fast answer” is the main reason people use chat, based on a survey of visitors that use Live Chat.

guide-to-live-chat_stats_why-use-chat

(image / data source: https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats/)

Without Chat, Few Visitors Convert

Turning visits into sales or sales leads can be very difficult if you’re expecting prospects to do everything themselves independently on your website.

WordSteam.com, a leader in the online advertising industry, published a study analyzing website conversion rates. Data was consistent across various industries, including e-commerce, legal, and B2B.

Here are some humbling results:

  • On average, only 2 out of 100 visitors turn into sales or leads.
  • The top 25% of websites convert 5% of visitors.
  • The top performing 10% of websites convert 11 out of 100 visitors into sales or leads.

guide-to-live-chat_industry-conversions-wordstream

(image / data source: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/03/17/what-is-a-good-conversion-rate)

So even for the best websites, there are 89 visitors out of 100 who don’t engage immediately by buying or offering contact information!

That’s a lot of untapped potential for your business! It’s likely that many of these 89 visitors have questions that need to be answered before they are willing to buy.

Seizing the opportunity to interact with a visitor through Live Chat is a way to increase those conversion statistics as you’ll see below.

Quick and Easy Answers Produce Sales

Expecting someone to pick up the phone or wait for an email response to a question is probably unrealistic.

  • Actually speaking on the phone to a customer service agent often feels like a big commitment to web browsers.
  • Email is easier but the time frame between the question and answer may allow for the person in question to make a purchase elsewhere. Sales can be lost and the story ends sadly.

However, instead of using the phone or email, Live Chat allows you to engage with visitors instantly and seamlessly, directly on your website. No phone calls. No opening an email window. This seamless transition (and perceived anonymity) makes it easy for your visitor and removes obstacles that might keep the visit from converting into a sale.

A study from eMarketer found that 27% of visitors that used live chat ended up purchasing more than they planned and 65% were more likely to return to the site. These metrics are from 2009, so it’s likely that they numbers are even higher today as the public becomes more tech savvy.

guide-to-live-chat_emarketer-chat-stats(image source: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007235)

For the customers that we manage website chat for, we typically see visitors we chat with convert at 3-5X the conversion rate of visitors that don’t chat.

Here are screenshots from a few different customers’ Google Analytics:

This customer had a pretty average conversion rate, and we were able to get a 5X better conversion rate:

guide-to-live-chat_stats_helpflow-google-analytics-2

 

This customer was already converting really well, and we nearly 3X their conversion rate to 19% for visitors we chat with.

guide-to-live-chat_stats_helpflow-google-analytics-1

The data is strong but here’s a few examples to help you see exactly how live chat can impact your business.

Example of Live Chat: “How Much is Shipping?”

No matter how clear you may have made your “free shipping” policy, visitors are still going to ask how much shipping costs.

  • Visitor clicks the Ask a Question button.
  • Visitor: “How much is shipping?

You can see the specific product they are viewing as well as where they are located geographically.

  • You answer: “Shipping is free to all continental United States. You’re in Florida, right? Shipping will be free when you go through the checkout process.
  • Thanks!” replies the visitor—and buys in the next few minutes.

guide-to-live-chat_visitor-location

Live Chat is so much simpler than calling or emailing. The visitor asks a questions, you have the context you need to answer, and they are able to buy immediately.

Mission accomplished.

Example of Live Chat: “Which Product Do I Need?”

Some questions won’t be quite as simple as asking about shipping costs. Even so, Live Chat is still the best way to begin the conversation.

Broader questions such as “which product do I need?” may be more difficult to answer immediately, but a discussion can move the purchase forward.

In this example, let’s assume you sell accessories for electric scooters:

  • Visitor: “I don’t know which electric scooter battery charger I need—can you help?
  • You see they are in the category Scooter Battery Chargers and have looked at some specific models already.

You ask a few specific questions so you can recommend the correct product (remember the search for the computer charger mentioned before?).

  • You don’t have to ask what brand they have because you know that they were searching for “Acme Brand Scooter Charger” on Google to arrive at your site.
  • So you proceed to ask what model scooter they have, sharing a few links on your site for them to be able to identify it.
  • Visitor: “That’s the one!

You are then able to recommend the specific charger they need based on their model.

The visitor can then look at that specific charger, ask more questions such as shipping cost or payment methods, and you can observe them going through the purchase process while they are chatting with you.

It’s that easy since you are right there to help.

Example of Live Chat: Questions You Can’t Answer Immediately

Have you ever called into a customer support line to answer a question, only to have to wait on hold and then it turns out the representative can’t answer your question? Frustrating, right?

Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of having to wait on hold, they could simply let you know when they will have the answer and call you back to finish up?

With Live Chat, this is exactly what happens. Even if you can’t answer the question immediately for your visitor, you can build serious trust and rapport with them. This, of course, leads to more sales.

Here’s an example of how it works:

Your visitor asks a simple question, such as the cost of shipping, and you are able to answer immediately.

Then the visitor asks a more complicated question, maybe about a unique way they plan to use your product and how that would impact their purchase decision.

Right away you realize that you need to speak with someone on your team to get the best answer.

  • You say: “In order to get you the best answer, I’ll need to check with John on my team. He’s the expert on this product. He can answer you within two hours by email. What’s your email address?
  • Your visitor responds with their email address, asks some other simple questions, and ends the chat.
  • An hour later, you email a response after you’ve discussed this with John.
  • Visitor: “Thanks so much. “That’s exactly what I needed.

And…the visitor completes the purchase. Happy Endings all around!

Live Chat is the best way to handle any type of question your website visitors have:

  • It’s seamless for the visitor and doesn’t require a commitment like a phone call
  • You can build trust and rapport with visitors by answering simple questions immediately
  • And it can be used as an opportunity to convert them to leads with contact information for more complicated questions.

All of these results of Live Chat lead the visitor to exactly the place you want them to be: ready to make a purchase.

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