We’ve been in the live chat business long enough to gain a strong understanding of what makes a good chat. When we first started out, we were tempted to treat live chat as a tool that our client’s customers could use to ask questions and get answers. However, today we know that is not the most successful strategy.
In the past, our Client Setup team would build scripts with embedded FAQ’s. Our chat operators used these FAQ’s to find answers to common questions and then regurgitate the answers in the live chat to website visitors impatiently waiting on the other side.
We quickly found that this wasn’t a scalable solution.
In order for us to provide really great service, our agents needed to know enough about our client’s product or service in order to answer questions intelligently. However, the problem we faced is that, with thousands of clients, it’s just not possible for our chat operators to be knowledgeable experts in every single vertical domain.
As a client, you could opt to pay for dedicated agents, but in most cases, this is just simply not cost effective.
Of course, with shared chat operators, where our
chat operators take chats from any website, we found that inevitably a website visitor would ask a question that either wasn’t on the FAQ or that was formatted in a manner that made it difficult to find in the FAQ.
The other problem we encountered was that the length of the FAQ was directly proportional to the length of our response times. The longer the FAQ, the longer it takes our chat operators to locate the information in question. Additionally, most website visitors quickly exposed us as a counterfeit, immediately seeing that they were communicating with an answering service instead of a knowledgeable expert, capable of answering complex questions.
Here is an example of a bad chat from our darkest days, with the operator’s name hidden to protect the innocent:
Operator [7:55 PM]: Hello, thank you for your interest in Safecycle, your Motorcycle Safety Course provider. How may I help you?
Guest [7:56 PM]: I am interested in taking the course. Do you have classes on Saturday?
Operator [7:59 PM]: I am sorry. I don’t have that information. Can I take your name and number and have someone get back to you?
Guest [7:59 PM]: You’re kidding, right? You work for Safecycle, but you don’t have the schedule? Why are
Operator [8:00 PM]: I’m sorry, but someone will be here tomorrow to assist you further. What is your name?
Guest has left the chat…
The answers to all of our questions were… well… questions!
Today, the story is much different. Today we know that a successful chat service strategy involves the chat operators and the website visitors reversing their roles. Today, instead of our chat operators cringing at their agent desktop waiting for a question they cannot confidently answer, our chat operators are the ones who ask the questions.
Today, our Chat Setup experts meet with you to come up with at least five questions that we can ask website visitors who visit your website and start a chat. For instance, our Chat Setup expert would meet with Safecycles and come up with some questions that our chat operators can use to gain control of the conversation and maybe also provide Safecycles with some additional information that may help them provide better services to the leads qualified from the website.
Below is an example of a successful chat today:
Guest [6:45 PM]: Do you have classes on Saturdays?
Operator Dave G. joined…
Dave [6:45 PM]: Hello, thank you for your interest in Safecycle, your Motorcycle Safety Course provider.
Dave [6:45 PM]: Have you taken a safety course before or would this be your first time?
Guest [6:46 PM]: Umm. I used to ride when I lived in Massachusetts, but the rules are different in Maryland. They want me to take their safety course because I’m only 20.
Dave [6:46 PM]: I see.
Dave [6:46 PM]: Do you currently have a motorcycle?
Guest [6:46 PM: Yes.
Dave [6:47 PM]: What kind?
Guest [6:47 PM]: It’s a 2003 Yamaha 700.
Dave [6:47 PM]: Ok, great. How long has it been since you last rode?
Guest [6:48 PM]: About 4 months I think.
Dave [6:48 PM]: Ok, excellent! Who am I chatting with?
Guest [6:48 PM]: My name is Karen.
Dave [6:49 PM]: Well Karen I think we can help you, but I’ll have to get your information over to the right scheduling department. Can I have a phone number and an email address where our registration office can reach you?
Guest [6:49 PM]: 825-775-6365
Guest [6:49 PM]: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave [6:49 PM]: Great! I’ll forward this along, you should expect to hear from someone from that office soon. Have a great evening.
Guest has left the chat…
The main difference between the two chats is that one chat resulted in a qualified lead, an individual interested in a product or service, who has taken the first step towards converting to a sale. The chances of converting this qualified lead into a sale is significantly higher now that we’ve asked some questions and made the website visitor feel more invested in what our client has to offer.
- We show more interest in the website visitor.
- We gather information that may or may not be important to our client.
- We engage the website visitor in a conversation.
- Most importantly, we take control of the conversation.
- We gain credibility in the eyes of the website visitor.
In my last article, I announced a feature that allows our customers to turn off the live chat icon automatically when they are not online and ready to
accept chats. However, I want to take a moment to talk about why a 24/7, always-on chat strategy is important for maximizing your lead capture rates.
We train our chat agents to ask a series of questions to chat leads with the goal of taking control of the conversation in order to successfully capture contact information. Ask for this information too early, and you’ll lose the lead. But if you ask for this information after asking a series of qualifying questions to Build Great Rapport With Live Chat, then when you
do ask for contact information, the chat guest will be more comfortable handing the information over.
It’s true that your staff are going to know your product much better than our chat agents; however, we recently compiled some statistical data in order to compare the lead capture rates of our equivalent experts, our sales team, with our lead capture chat agents. The numbers were surprisingly close!
Of call of the chats taken by our sales team, 21.53% of those were qualified leads where we captured contact information. Of all of the chats that overflowed to our contact center chat agents, 22.46% of those chats were qualified leads with contact details captured.
Had we chosen to operate our chat campaign without using the overflow services of the call center, we may have lost over 100 leads over the course of a 4 month period. It’s definitely worth doing the math. You may discover that the cost of an overflow plan will pay for itself in the form of more sales.
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Some businesses prefer to handle their lead capture strategy in-house. The thought of having an outside party handle their after-hours and overflow chats just does not appeal to them. Every business has their reasons for wanting to take care of their own customers, so we’ve implemented a feature that will allow our customers to only take chats from their website when they are online and ready. We call this feature the chat-offline hidden icon.
Many of our customers agree with us that the Live Support Offline icon is a bit cheesy. What it says to your customers is that you offer chat as a communication channel, but not right now.
Instead, our philosophy is to advertise your live chat communication channel when you’re
on line Acne good product Christmas time available and hide it when you’re not. If your operators are not available, your customers simply won’t see the chat icon on your website. Plain and simple.
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Ideally, we will encourage you to implement a 24/7 chat strategy. The Web is a 24/7 environment, and we believe your customers should be able to contact a real, live, human being at any time.
However, if that’s not possible, hiding the chat icon when you’re away will save your customers from thinking you’re available when you’re not or tempting them with a live chat icon that says you’re not available.
Read any Live Chat research study these days, and you’ll discover that Live Chat can be a valuable tool that can turn your website into a cash machine. Statistics suggest
that Live Chat can increase your sales by 40%. Live Chat can lower your shopping cart abandonment rate, and it can improve customer retention rates.
These numbers are great, but there are things that you need to put in place before you’ll start to see these results.
At Conversion Support, all of our chat operators are trained to handle chats on behalf of our clients who use our overflow chat services. While your employees will know your product or service best, it’s up to us to step in and handle customer inquiries when your staff is too busy to handle the inquiries themselves, or when they’re gone for the day.
Lead Capture Chat
For many of our customers, we provide lead capture chat services. The goal is to capture contact information from the website visitor, ask qualifying questions, and then forward that information onto your sales staff so that they can follow up. In order to provide the best possible service and
ensure the highest lead capture rates, we created the concept of “opening questions”. These opening questions are go-to questions that the chat operator will use to take control of the conversation.
For instance, let’s say your business is providing motorcycle safety instruction to new and seasoned riders. Our operators may or may not know much about motorcycle safety, but we’ll still build rapport with your Web site visitors by asking some questions related to the field of motorcycling.
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- Do you own your own motorcycle?
- What kind of motorcycle do you have?
- Have you ever taken a motorcycle safety course before? If so, when and where?
- Do you currently have a valid motorcycle endorsement?
Additionally, by asking for contact information in exchange for something else, your chat operators increase their chances of capturing a lead and leaving the chat guest feeling satisfied.
Our goal is to leave the chat guest feeling satisfied that your staff is working on their request while
they wait for a follow-up call.
Give us a call today, and ask about our 30 day free trial at 1-800-220-5390. You’ll speak with one of our chat specialists to learn more about what we can do to help your business make the most out of your Web site.
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Live Support Offline. Sorry, we’re closed. Come back another time. I commonly
see this on our competitors websites. Some of them promise to be there when you’re not. They claim they are a 24/7 operation, yet they don’t seem to be eating their own dog food.
I firmly believe that sends the wrong message to customers, especially if you’re in the business of live chat. Conversion Support is in the business of live chat web software, but we also provide chat services 24/7. Our collective of chat operators never sleeps.
Even in your business, in the global marketplace, leads can come calling at any time of day on any given day of the week. You want to make sure that a live chat operator is standing by, ready to capitalize on the night owls and the international businesspeople who just happen to be surfing the web in the wee hours of your morning.
Conversion Support’s Live Chat Software is backed by 24/7 chat coverage. Even if you aren’t working, we are.
Click here to signup for a free trial, and get started in just minutes.