How Live Chat Helps Businesses Engage with B2B Buyers

How Live Chat Helps Businesses Engage with B2B Buyers

Business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients are different in many ways. With B2B, you are dealing with a well-informed and busy audience. These are professionals on a tight schedule who must justify all of their purchases based on demonstrated value and ROI. Finding effective ways to engage with B2B buyers can be challenging. One of the best tools for this purpose is live chat. Let’s look at how this technology can help you generate sales and improve your image with these unique clients.

How B2B clients are different

B2B clients are unique in a number of ways.

  • They are always concerned about the bottom line. Business owners and managers need to calculate the best ROI for every purchase. You can be sure they’ll be comparing your offer with others and analyze which is the better business decision.
  • They want details and specifics. Consumers often buy based on emotional decisions and on what’s trending. While B2B buyers aren’t immune to trends and emotions, they focus more on specs and details before they make decisions. You need to provide them with practical information that relates to their needs.
  • They are busy and time-challenged. B2B clients don’t want to waste time searching for information or sorting through fluff and filler. They want easy access to relevant information as quickly as possible. They also appreciate an omnichannel approach which lets them receive responses on whatever device or platform they’re using. As it stands, they don’t often receive the kind of support they desire. According to a survey by TimeTrade, a whopping 84% of B2B buyers frequently do not receive answers to their questions regarding a purchase.
  • They are more knowledgeable than the average consumer. With B2C marketing, it’s usually best to use everyday language and avoid industry jargon. With B2B clients, however, you can assume your audience is well-versed in the type of products or services you’re peddling. You can (and should) get more technical. In fact, you need to show that you respect their knowledge.
  • You may need to convince multiple decision-makers. With B2C, you’re typically selling to one person or, in some cases, a couple. With B2B, however, there are often several layers to penetrate. That’s why it’s so important to present a strong case with plenty of evidence.

Why live chat is the ideal way to reach B2B buyers

Engaging with B2B buyers requires a complete strategy that includes tactics such as content marketing, hiring knowledgeable sales and customer service reps, and maintaining a strong presence on social media, especially LinkedIn. One factor that can make a big difference is introducing live chat on your website. This single feature actually goes a long way in addressing many of the unique needs of B2B clients.

Provides efficient answers

As we noted, B2B buyers are busy and seek relevant information and answers to their questions. Live chat makes it possible for someone to get a prompt reply to any question. The chat agent can either answer questions directly, refer the visitor to the appropriate page, or forward the inquiry to someone who can answer it. This can save the prospect lots of time he or she might have otherwise spend searching your site (or, as the case may be, simply giving up and checking out your competitors).

Generates leads and sales

Every investment you make in your business must ultimately be justified by a positive ROI. There’s evidence that live chat helps you improve B2B sales. According to the American Marketing Association, live chat increases conversions by 20%. Just as impressively, adding this feature improves overall ROI by a whopping 305%. 

Helps you understand your customers

One of the most valuable aspects of live chat is that it provides you with a format that’s easy to study. By looking at chat histories, you can identify your customers’ needs and most pressing problems. You can also get a good sense of how effectively chat agents are addressing these concerns. It’s much harder to go back and listen to phone conversations. With chat logs, you can scan sessions and gather information you can use to improve all aspects of your business. The best chat providers also provide you with custom reports that let you perform analytics to help you track your results.

A powerful branding tool

One of the best reasons to implement live chat on your website is that it helps to strengthen your brand. This is valuable even if you don’t make an immediate sale. Potential clients who are able to interact with you via chat leave knowing more about your company and products than they did before. Browsing a website is a fairly impersonal process. When visitors actually talk to someone, they’re more likely to remember you as well as have a more positive view of your company. This is a feature that lets you differentiate yourself from the competition right away, the moment someone lands on your website.

Getting the most out of your chat software

Once you recognize how much chat can do to upgrade your engagement with B2B buyers, it’s a question of finding the right solution and learning how to use it to your advantage.

  • Find the right chat provider for your needs. You need to do your research to find the best chat provider. Consider features, customer service, cost, convenience, security requirements, and more.
  • Chat must be easy to use. The whole point of live chat is to allow visitors to get fast answers and solutions. For this to work, the chat window must be visible on every page and it must be easy for website visitors initiate conversations.
  • Make sure your chat agents are helpful and knowledgeable. While getting a quick response is a start, it’s also important that visitors get real value from live chat. In one survey, 94% of respondents said they are more likely to buy from a company when they have live interactions with knowledgeable employees.
  • Emphasize speed. Studies indicate that 60% of customers don’t want to wait more than a minute for a response. You can speed up interactions by providing agents with canned responses, including helpful links, for common questions. Another way to make interactions more efficient is to start by having visitors answer a pre-chat survey.

If you want to engage more effectively with your B2B clients, live chat is one of your best options. It gives you a way to offer fast and personalized service to busy professionals who don’t have time to waste. Quality chat software also lets you track valuable analytics so you can upgrade your customer service and provide even better solutions to your clients.

Release Notes Nov. 28: A new UI to configure Shortcuts, List Online Agents in Hub, Proactive Chat API updates

 

Hello SnapEngagers,

here is what our team has released in the last weeks:

A new UI to configure Shortcuts

  • We have updated the Shortcuts UI to make it easier to manage shortcuts, especially for a larger list of canned messages. The new user interface now features a search filter, pagination, bulk delete and an improved editor to configure the messages.
  • In the CSV import section can now select to either append or replace when uploading a list of shortcuts

Known limitations: Currently saving or deleting more than 200 shortcuts at once may time out. A fix is in the works.

Hub Updates

We have added a new Online Agents List option to view or search available agents, see their availability status and to start a 1:1 chat (or jump to an existing 1:1 chat):

Coming soon: The number of ongoing chats of each agent.

Hub Fixes

  • Fixed an issue with some icons being mis-aligned on Windows browsers.
  • Fixed some errors resulting in a ‘Something went wrong‘ message in Hub. We are still tracking down edge cases that can lead to this bug, if you still see this issue please contact us on support@snapengage.com
  • Fixed an issue where the live monitoring dashboard window size appeared too small.
  • Team Chat: The scroll position will now always jump to the last received message when switching between chats.

 

Other Updates

  • Fixed an issue with ‘Agent Tags’ in Proactive Chat mode, where the routing did not respect priority tiers when selecting an agent.
  • Fixed an issue with the openProactiveChat API that caused the chat to not open up when clicked multiple times on the same page
  • Fixed a scrolling issue on mobile browsers which caused the position of the visitor to jump to the top of the page when opening the chat box.

Announcing Approval Bot for GDPR Compliance and Chat Routing

Announcing Approval Bot for GDPR Compliance and Chat Routing

We’re thrilled to announce a new addition to our chatbot offering! The new Approval Bot is a customizable chatbot that helps businesses (especially businesses that adhere to GDPR-compliant practices) ask website visitors for data processing acceptance/consent before a chat session is initiated. The Approval Bot is also useful for automated chat routing and chat segmentation.

How does the GDPR affect businesses?

When the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) went into effect on May 25, 2018, many sweeping new data protection regulations were put into place for businesses that handle the personal data of EU citizens. This regulation signified the largest change in data privacy regulation history in over 20 years, and is comprised of a set of laws that aim to provide increased protection of EU citizens’ personal data. The GDPR applies to all organizations that handle, control, or process the data of EU citizens, regardless of where in the world those organizations are located.

Key changes to prior data protection regulations include increased territorial scope and applicability, changes to breach notification and penalties, and increased conditions for consent. Under the GDPR, EU citizens possess rights related to the following: data breach, right to access data, right to be forgotten, data portability, privacy by design, and more. You can read more about the GDPR here.

 

Using the Approval Bot to fulfill GDPR requirements

One of the key components of the GDPR centers upon increased conditions for data transfer/processing consent and increased transparency regarding situations where personal data will be transferred. A live chat conversation is a prime example of a situation in which this type of personal data transfer could occur (for example, a chat agent may request a visitor’s email address, name, phone number, etc for both sales and customer support scenarios).

The Approval Bot makes it easy for businesses using SnapEngage to ask website visitors for consent/acceptance prior to starting a chat conversation (even when proactive chat is used). When a website visitor first initiates a chat conversation or responds to a proactive invitation, the Approval Bot greets the visitor and a data processing consent clause will be displayed to the visitor. All language used by the Approval Bot is completely customizable (including the initial legal text/statement, accept/decline instructions, specific accept and decline word(s), post-decline text, and ‘response not recognized’ text). 

Here’s an example of the data consent terminology used currently on the SnapEngage website:

 

Please note: This is an example of the data consent terminology used by SnapEngage specifically. The data consent terminology for your business will be based on your unique business model and how your business handles personal data.

We strongly advise and recommend that you work closely with your organization’s legal department and Information Security Officer to craft a legally appropriate message for your business.

 

 

 

 

 

Once the Approval Bot is enabled via the Admin Dashboard, a website visitor will not be able to initiate a chat conversation with an agent until they clearly (in this case by typing ‘Yes’) acknowledge that they read and understand the statement and also provide consent for data transfer during the subsequent chat conversation. If the visitor declines and does not give their consent (in this case by typing ‘No’), then the chat session will automatically disconnect and all data from the chat will be automatically deleted.

The Approval Bot is further enhanced by location-based settings because SnapEngage automatically detects the website visitor’s location. Therefore, businesses have the ability to automatically launch the Approval Bot for website visitors from the following geographic locations: European Union (EU) only, EU and unknown locations, or for all geographic locations. SnapEngage uses the Approval Bot to adhere to the GDPR specifically, so we’ve set up our Approval Bot to launch only when visitors from EU countries initiate a chat.

Additional routing applications for the Approval Bot

Even though the Approval Bot’s primary application is for data consent purposes, the customizable nature of the bot makes it useful for additional scenarios that require automated chat routing and filtering/segmentation. For example, depending on your business model and industry vertical there may be two segments of customers or prospects that your team typically interacts with. Is there one segment that your business would like to offer live chat services to, and a second segment that your business would prefer to direct to a website form or other non-chat methods of assistance? This is a perfect example of a secondary use case for the Approval Bot!

Perhaps your company offers real estate services and you’d like home buyers and sellers to start live chat conversations with your team, but you’d prefer your second audience segment (real estate agents) to call your team directly. Using the fully-customizable Approval Bot, you can set up the initial automated greeting text to ask the website visitor to type in whether they are a Buyer, Seller, or Agent. You can then set up the Approval Bot settings so that ‘Buyer’ and ‘Seller’ text responses are routed to the ‘accept’ track, and ‘Agent’ responses are routed to the ‘decline’ track with appropriate messaging for each.

Any type of scenario where your organization would like to offer chat services to a particular segment(s) but not to other segment(s) makes a great secondary use case for the Approval Bot. Think of universities and colleges catering chat services to prospective students vs. current students, services for job-seekers vs. hiring companies, businesses differentiating between sales leads vs. support inquiries, or healthcare websites offering live chat services to patients vs. doctors/providers – the opportunities are endless. While this routing does depend on whatever text the visitor types in (meaning there is a chance the visitor could self-identify incorrectly), the Approval Bot still provides helpful chatbot automation to route inquiries more appropriately for businesses.

7 Tips for Generating Positive Client Testimonials

7 Tips for Generating Positive Client Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are extremely important for promoting your business. As the internet and social media become even more saturated and competitive, prospective buyers are seeking social proof before they choose a product or service. Testimonials tell readers and viewers what other customers think, which is much more powerful than hearing this from the business alone. One survey found that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as their own friends. How can you motivate your customers to leave reviews? Here are some tips to help you generate more positive customer testimonials.

 

Ask For Testimonials

The first strategy for getting more testimonials is very simple – ask for them! Ask in as many ways as you can think of. Place buttons linking to review sites on your website and social media pages. Request reviews on any printed literature you hand out. If you have a store or office, place signs near the counter or register. Yelp, for example, makes signs for businesses to display.

It’s also perfectly acceptable to ask clients for reviews in person or on the phone. You or your customer representatives just have to do this in a polite manner and at the right time. It’s always best to ask for testimonials when the client is particularly satisfied and/or excited about your product/service. Make it clear you’re asking for a favor rather than making a demand, and make sure to highlight the benefits your client could experience as a result of giving the testimonial (such as possible increased brand awareness/marketing benefit).

 

Set Up Profiles on Several Review Sites

Not all of your customers necessarily use the same review sites. The more sites on which you’re listed, the easier it is to get reviews. If you’re only listed on Yelp, for example, then you’re missing out on people who prefer to leave reviews on Google, Yellow Pages, or another site. Some people aren’t registered with any review sites but might be glad to send you testimonials to post on your website. However, the goal is to make it as easy as possible to get reviews. For this, it’s best to claim your listing with any site that your customers are likely to use.

Also, don’t overlook sites that are specific to your industry. When you take time to set up profiles on review sites in your niche (such as software review sites for SaaS companies like SnapEngage), it’s more likely that visitors to those sites will be a better fit for your product.

 

Automate Requests For Feedback

Many people won’t take the time to provide testimonials without being prompted to do so. It’s not always possible to contact each customer individually to ask for feedback. It’s more efficient to automate the process. You can, for example, send out automated messages via email to all your customers requesting a review. Another great option is to ensure that your live chat software includes a Post-Chat Survey feature, which automatically surveys clients about their experience directly after a chat conversation. Admins will be able to view survey results and comments in real-time, and can use this data to follow-up with satisfied clients right away to identify additional opportunities to collaborate with the client on a testimonial quote, case study, and more.

There are also software programs with advanced features to automate feedback requests. With some of these, you can do more than just send out requests to every customer. You can set up parameters to increase the likelihood of getting positive reviews. For example, you can program the software to only send out requests for your most highly rated products. Or you can program it not to send out requests to people who had to contact customer service after their purpose as customers who’ve had problems are less likely to leave positive reviews.

Ask For Video Testimonials

Written reviews, whether on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or your own website, are great for building social proof. Video reviews, however, are better still. This gives your viewers a chance to see customers explain in their own words what they like about your products. Video testimonials are ideal for showcasing on your website. When making testimonial videos, keep these tips in mind.

  • Videos should be professional but don’t need to be Hollywood quality. If you’re a small or midsize business, your objective is to get across why your customers appreciate your products. You want to make sure they look professional and, even more importantly, that sound quality is good. But you don’t have to spend a fortune investing in technology or expensive production company services.
  • Keep videos short and focused. Anything longer than a couple of minutes is going to challenge your viewers’ attention spans. You can always make a longer video and edit it later.
  • Make sure customers appearing in videos identify themselves. Providing their names, location, and profession helps to establish them as real people.
  • Remember most customers aren’t professional actors. They need a little guidance on what to say. At the same time, don’t ask them to read a script as the whole point is to get someone’s authentic opinion. You can, however, guide them on what topics to cover (e.g. key features about your product).

Use Survey Data to Get More Positive Reviews

Surveys are useful for learning more about your customers. They help you identify what you’re doing well and areas that need attention. Net promoter score surveys are especially useful for helping you gauge customers’ overall satisfaction. These surveys ask how likely it is that someone will buy something from this company again. You can pair NPS surveys with your strategy for getting more online reviews. Target satisfied customers and invite them to write a product review. This strategy has helped SnapEngage increase user reviews on online software review sites.

Send Customers Samples

One way to get reviews for a new product is to send out free samples. The key to doing this successfully is to target the right audience. Sending samples to existing customers who have bought similar products is always a solid strategy. Another option is to target your offers to the appropriate demographic using Facebook ads or another advertising platform.

When sending out free products, you have to be careful about issues such as disclosure, laws, and TOS, especially if reviews appear on websites other than your own. Amazon, for example, specifically prohibits incentivized reviews. You have a lot more leeway when you’re selling from your own website. Even then, however, always ask for honest testimonials. Another thing to keep in mind is that FTC guidelines require that anyone who receives a free product discloses this when leaving a testimonial.

Caveats For Testimonials

In their eagerness to receive testimonials, some business owners make mistakes and engage in practices that do more harm than good. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Don’t argue with reviewers. It’s frustrating to receive negative feedback, especially when you feel it’s unjustified. However, there’s nothing to be gained by getting into public arguments on review sites (or on your own blog). Respond to all reviews politely, even if the reviewer is being rude or abusive. If you have reason to believe the review is fake or attacking you unfairly, contact the site.
  • Never ask for positive reviews. Obviously, you hope your customers will write favorable comments that you’ll be proud to display on your website. However, you never want to say (or even imply) that you expect your clients to write positive reviews.
  • Be careful about incentivized reviews. Until recently, the prevailing notion was that as long as you didn’t demand that customers write positive reviews there was nothing wrong with rewarding them with coupons, free items, or contest entries. However, with growing concerns about fake reviews, many companies, as well as the FTC, are cracking down on incentivized reviews. Google also penalizes businesses that incentivize reviews. As noted above, though, if you’re publishing testimonials on your own website, make sure reviewers disclose any rewards or incentives you’ve provided.

Reviews and testimonials make a big difference for growing your business and acquiring new customers. The number one tip for generating positive testimonials, of course, is to offer quality products and exceptional customer service. However, it’s also necessary to prime the pump and encourage users to tout the virtues of your products. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll be able to attract more testimonials for your business.

Release Notes Nov. 8: A Dark Theme for Hub, Minimize and SwitchWidget JavaScript Events, Transcript Email copy sent to Agents fix

 

Hello SnapEngagers,

today we have some exciting updates to share with you.

A Dark Theme for Hub

Chat agents can now select a dark theme in the Hub preferences. This setting can be found by clicking on the agent avatar in the top right corner of the Hub -> Agent Preferences -> Other Settings. Give it a try and come over to the dark side!

Assorted Hub Updates and fixes:

  • We have changed the font and font weight in Hub based on your feedback to improve readability.
  • Improved compatibility with IE11 (we still highly recommend to use a modern browser when using Hub!)
  • Fixed an error showing ‘please refresh page to continue’ in Hub
  • Fixed an issue making text invisible when copy&pasting in Hub
  • Fixed an issue where the inline chat history was linking to the wrong visitor when switching between multiple concurrent visitor chats.

 

Other Updates:

We have added a few new JavaScript Callback Events to better track visitor engagement with the chat box on your website. Please find the documentation here.

  • Minimize Event: The Minimize event is triggered when the visitor clicks the minimize icon in the chat box, or during live and active chats when they click on the minimized ‘button’ to maximize the chat box.
  • SwitchWidget Event: You must have the widget selector enabled in your Design Studio prechat &/or offline form to utilize this event callback functionality. The switchWidget event is triggered when the visitor has selected a value from the available dropdown list options. It will return the value of the newWidgetId.

Other:

  • Email Integration: Fixed an issue where the copy of the chat transcript sent to the chat agents was not sent from no-reply@snapengage when configured this way.
  • Facebook Channel: Fixed an issue where the page could not display more than 25 Facebook pages.