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15-Jul-2017 23:42

While live chat offers your small business an incredible opportunity to connect with customers, implementing it poorly is a surefire way to lose that opportunity altogether.

So, let’s discuss some live chat best practices: This New Voice Media infographic indicates that 29% of US consumers switch to a competitor because they are annoyed by a lack of staff knowledge. Make sure your team understands your customers needs as well as your products or services.

This might appear to be an unnecessary question—after all, you’re reading this guide so you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with the idea of live chat—but let’s just make sure we’re all on the same (web)page. Ok, so maybe no one’s going to picket your business with handwritten signs and annoyingly catchy chants.

Live chat software is a real-time communication tool for websites that’s convenient for all parties, familiar to your customers, and, perhaps most importantly, human. But, as social media and marketing consultant Brian Honigman explains in this The Next Web (TNW) article, “If your business doesn’t put the customer in charge, then you’re not likely to succeed in the future.” It’s important to remember that when your customers are ready to buy, they are ready to buy now—not when it’s most convenient for you—and if you miss the chance to lock in their business at the right time, it may be gone forever.

According to a 2014 Website Magazine study, consumers who use live chat software “are more likely to buy and less likely to abandon their sessions.” Plus, live chat gives you a great opportunity to upsell customers by offering a current discount code or plugging complementary products and services. Say you’re at a restaurant and have a tough time picking an entree. If you’re like us, you ask the waiter for a recommendation.

But what if you can’t physically be there for your customers? Using live chat on product or check-out pages (or any page with a high exit rate) to engage these indecisive customers works so well that, according to a survey referenced in this Conversion Scientist article, “‘Around 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 Web site can offer.’’ When your customers can’t decide between a few different products or services, live chat can help.

Make sure you look for software that allows you to customize your chat box—including widget colors, animations, images, and text—to match your brand.

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Engaging your customers via live chat can keep them on your website longer, increasing dwell time—and over time, your page rank. You capture them by engaging with those visitors by using live chat software.

No one wants to wait three days to receive a canned, impersonal email or struggle for 30 minutes to navigate an automated phone system. But offering instantaneous support to your customers is just one benefit of using live chat.