You’ve seen it on some of the websites you’ve visited. Some are intrusive, while some are just a small window hovering on right bottom corner of the page. Yes, we’re talking about online live chats. It’s now becoming a ubiquitous feature on e-commerce websites, so much so that many internet retailers have some semblance of an online live chat implementation on their web properties.
But not all big websites have it. Amazon certainly doesn’t use it, but online shoe retailer Zappos has it, though not as easily visible as most website implementations. However, Home Depot has something similar to most live chat implementations that you’ll see on websites that employ this feature.
Knowing that you operate an online business (or at least a business that has an online sales channel component), is it worth your time and effort to install and maintain such a feature?
First, let’s take a look at the cost of implementation. If you’re operating a WordPress website, there’s a free plugin that you can install to get your website up and running with an online live chat feature. A good example of this is WP Live Chat Support (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-live-chat-support/), which has a free version that should be more than adequate for most website owners’ needs.
Other platforms (Magento, Joomla and Drupal, for example), may have a similar bolt-on plugin or component.
Of course, there are other paid services out there that you might want to consider as well. These are:
- BoldChat (http://www.boldchat.com) – $599.00 per agent per year
- Olark (http://www.olark.com) – as low as $12.00 per operator per month
- Pure Chat (http://www.purechat.com) – as low as $10.00 per operator per month
- LiveChat (http://www.livechatinc.com) – as low as $16.00 per operator per month
Doing a quick Google search for “online live chat software” will give you numerous results for companies who are offering this service for a small monthly fee. While their pricing and some of their service options may vary, the main defining feature of each service is the same.
So, cost isn’t be a big issue. What about management? If you already have a reservations office or department that handles phone calls, the same department can most likely handle online live chats too. In fact, depending on which software or service you use, one reservationist can handle more than one live chat session at the same time.
Now that you know cost and management isn’t a big issue, what are the benefits? Here are just a few:
Chances are good that your competitors don’t have a live chat support system in place. This allows you to provide better customer service while your potential customer is on your site and ultimately get a sale before they find your competitors.
Improve Your Customer Experience
Since most online live chat software offer a feature that shows you where your visitors are on your site, you can see which pages are underperforming and overperforming. From there, it should be easy for you to replicate page elements that increase website conversions and eliminate some of the roadblocks that lead to an online sale.
Better Customer Service
Online chat services also provide a convenience to website visitors especially if they’re encountering a problem. It’s easier for potential customers to click on a link than to pick up a phone and call for help especially if they want an immediate answer right before making an online booking.
Increase Website Conversions
If you have a sales-oriented online customer service representative, he or she can help in increasing website conversions by offering one-off discounts to gently convince or push your potential customer to make a booking. Your online customer service representative can also recommend products or services that fit better with what your potential customer is looking for, and can also upsell underperforming products or services if necessary.
Do you have an online live chat service or feature on your website? What are the other benefits that you’ve seen so far? Tell us through via the comments section below!