Making Contact: Are You Maximizing Live Chat's Value to Your Site?

Larry Alton
by Larry Alton 16 Jan, 2023

When customers are looking for service and support, where do they go? In the past, for instant support, they just picked up the phone and called to speak to an agent. Now, though, most adults eschew the phone in favor of something - anything - more high tech. If they want instant support, they look for a chat option. Lacking that option, most will send an email rather than place a call.

Still, despite users' eagerness to take advantage of chat systems, many businesses are still reticent to put live chat front and center on their sites, which raises a question: how do we strike a balance? If businesses want to boost conversions and improve service, they need to identify a strategy that meets customer needs without seeming intrusive or overburdening service centers.

Real-Time, Real Sales

As identified before, real-time communication is the main advantage of onsite chat, allowing customers to get help, ask questions, and from the business's perspective chat can convert buyers who might otherwise be on the fence about a product. It's faster than email and gives customers the real impression that someone is there to help them at any time. It's the best kind of customer service.

When building this kind of real time chat into a website, though, many companies quibble about where to place it. Some sites choose to introduce their chat option as a pop-up when users log-on, but many find this invasive and not the most helpful point. Other sites, such as Warby Parker, position their chat option with other contact information such as phone numbers and text options. Combining contact approaches is beneficial because it helps users locate the information using natural onsite navigation practices, but it can seem out of the way at times.

Scalable Strategy

Another major concern among businesses interested in implementing live chat tools is that of scalability. While very small businesses can handle a handful of chat requests each day, support needs increase rapidly with the size of the business, making chat hard to scale. However, chatbots offer a scalable service solution that can minimize in-person support needs. As AI technology advances, chatbots will become even more sophisticated.

The automotive industry is already using advanced chat software for precisely this purpose. Log on to Moss Honda and choose from traditional contact information as well as a live chat system. The chat system isn't an in-house operation, though - it's run through CarChat24, an automotive-specific support line. Designed specifically to serve dealerships, CarChat is just one example of a type of chatbot we'll see a lot in years to come. The software knows the industry intimately and can provide multifaceted support 24/7, taking support far beyond the traditional contact center.

AI for customer service is an outgrowth of natural language processing and machine learning, but its use in chat is also part of changing social norms.

So, if your website hasn't built chat in yet, it's time to get started. The tools are at your fingertips.