The Truth Behind Some Common Live Chat Misconceptions
MYTH #1: Live chat is powered by robots.
We get this question a lot … “Are you a robot?” … and the answer is NO! In fact, sometimes we’re almost too human when communicating with our website visitors, often getting sidetracked about where they live, what their interests are, and even exchanging photos of pets. Now, we’re not saying we don’t like robots – I mean, that Wall-E character was pretty darn cute – we’re just saying that they’re no substitute for real human engagement.
People want to chat with people. If you can have a real, human interaction with one of your visitors, that emotionally-positive experience will almost certainly be transferred into good feelings toward the company or the brand in general.
MYTH #2: You need to have agents available to chat 24/7.
Although the true effectiveness behind live chat is the power to communicate with website visitors in real-time, this doesn’t mean that you have to staff agents for online availability around the clock. Most businesses don’t have the bandwidth to operate sales and support functions 24/7, and that’s OK! Don’t let this be a deal-breaker when you’re deciding if live chat is right for your business. Instead, focus on setting expectations with your visitors upfront.
Be sure to post your live chat hours in a highly visible area on your website so your visitors have a very clear understanding of when they can interact with your agents. Many visitors prefer live chat over phone or email communication and will return at the hours that you specify.
You can also configure offline messages to display when your agents are unavailable. This allows your team to continue collecting leads and support tickets outside of your designated live chat hours and follow up later.
MYTH #3: Live chat is too expensive.
Before we highlight some of the gains that live chat can bring to your business, we must first mention that the primary goal of live chat is to foster customer engagement. This new customer-centric approach to engagement focuses on the overall brand experience, and if you are able to create happy, loyal promoters of your brand, the bottom line will follow.
But beyond customer engagement… As is the case when evaluating and adopting any new tool for your business, it always come down to ROI. You need to be able to justify that the expense is worth the investment. The three major areas where we see consistent gains for our customers include:
- Increased conversion rates – being there to assist with friction in the sales funnel
- Increased efficiency – not only are sales and support teams able to handle multiple leads/cases simultaneously, but sales teams can focus their time on quality leads (they’re already on your website!)
- Increased customer satisfaction – allowing visitors yet another communication method to get their questions answered (SPOILER ALERT: People LOVE options!)
When used properly, live chat has proven time and again to not only increase conversion rates and revenue, but also bring significant savings to customer support teams, ultimately adding more to the bottom line. We’ve seen customers experience triple digit returns on their live chat investment within 30 days.
MYTH #4: Live chat is too impersonal.
Without question, face-to-face interaction is the most personal and effective method of communication, but we all know that in-person meetings and video conferences can be a time suck and not always the most efficient means for communicating, especially when it comes to interacting with your customers and prospects. So, when we look at the alternatives – phone, text, email, live chat – which is the best method for fostering customer engagement? Well, of course we’re biased, but in many ways, live chat is actually more personal (and efficient) than phone/text, and most certainly email.
Customer engagement really comes down to connection, and while phone calls offer an instant voice association, live chat offers a visual that is perhaps more powerful. One of the first tips that we always recommend to our clients is to use real agent photos in the chat window. You’d be surprised how a simple photo alongside the agent’s name can instantly forge a connection with your visitor. And we even have clients who have gotten creative with agent photos – one client in the pet industry has agents using images of their pets, rather than their own personal photos to represent themselves – talk about a conversation starter!
We also recommend using emojis and exclamation points (this of course depends on your brand’s voice). Even a highly professional discussion can be made more comfortable with a well-placed smiley.
MYTH #5: Live chat is only used by millennials.
While many recent studies have confirmed the popularity of live chat among younger generations, we continue to see an appreciation across all demographics for the immediacy that live chat brings. (Read more about How Demographics Impact Live Chat.) As older generations adapt to new technologies (even my grandmother can’t go a day without her iPad), and more mainstream brands offer live chat as a communication channel, usage of (and the expectation for) real-time communication will undoubtedly continue to climb among all audiences.
We can’t discount the importance of the millennials though. After all, they are the future of the marketplace. So regardless of what your audience currently looks like, at some point, you’ll have to conform to this generation’s preferred communication methods – we recommend sooner than later!