Why You Should Use Online Chat for Sales and Customer Service

If you’ve done any amount of wandering around on the internet these days, you’ve likely visited a site in which a live chat box has popped up during your time there. Maybe you didn’t have any questions and closed the box, or perhaps you did want additional info and Steve from XYZ Inc. was able to fill you in. These savvy companies are taking advantage of online chat for sales and customer service purposes — and you should be too.

Website visitors love having online chat available for customer support. They love how quick and efficient it is, how it lets them multi-task as they get questions answered, and that they get better quality — and faster — information than if they’d asked a question via email.

Ready to add online chat to your website? Here are five ways that using online chat for sales and customer service can make your site — and, potentially, your company — more attractive to visitors and potential customers.

5 Tips for Utilizing Online Chat for Sales and Customer Service

1. Provide Customer Convenience

In this increasingly digital age, we’re used to instant gratification. We want a new jacket, so we order it in a few clicks. Our favorite author just released a new book, so we tap a screen and download it to an e-reader. On movie night, we stream our picks from the convenience of home — no buying tickets or sitting in a crowd of people.

With the advent of online chat, customer service has become just as convenient as purchasing products. People no longer have to scroll through a website, searching for the “Contact Us” page and praying that there is a phone number there to get instant help. Instead, a magical chat box pops up from the bottom of the screen. “May I help you?” asks the Online Chat Angel. The customer knows that their problems will soon be resolved with no scrambling for their phone, being transferred to various departments, or endlessly having to wait on hold and repeat their account or order number.

2. Lower Your Expenses

When a customer service representative assists someone over the phone, they can only handle one phone call at a time. When they help someone via chat, they can work on a few different chat windows at once. The time spent per interaction drops. Customers spend less time waiting and fewer reps are needed to handle problems and answer questions. Everyone wins in the online chat equation.

3. Bump Up Your Sales

“Can I use this table outdoors?” “Do the sizes for these shirts run large or small?” Often, customers have questions that aren’t answered on a company’s website. With live online chat, they’re more likely to ask questions, get the information they need, and follow through with a purchase. In fact, a Forrester survey showed that “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”

During the chat, your rep can act as a salesperson and ambassador for the company, not just answering questions, but pointing out the benefits of the product/service and gently encouraging a purchase.

4. Edge Out the Competition

In a world where organizations are always looking for ways to stand out amongst their competitors, online chat can give you a real edge. With most companies now having an online presence and many moving into the social media world, online customer chat is the next frontier. It provides an instant, easy platform to assist prospects and customers and help them feel confident in making a purchase, as well as providing support if there are problems with a product or service.

5. Make Your Visitors Feel Valued

Maybe a customer doesn’t have a question they feel is important enough to call about yet. Perhaps they’re simply meandering around your website and wondered how much shipping would be or how your subscription service works. They’re at the point where they’ll either wander around until they find the answer or they’ll lose interest and move on when — poof! —a magical chat window appears.

Suddenly, it’s easy for them to ask a quick question without bothering anyone. A company representative is right there asking to be of service. What better way to make a potential customer feel welcomed? Live chat representatives aren’t robots that spit out answers to questions. Customers enjoy having a warm, friendly human being on the other end of the chat window to guide them and make their experience with the company the best it can possibly be.