You’ve got a live chat widget on your website and you’re ready for the first few chats to come in. You log into your instant messaging client, and you wait. And wait.
But nobody’s chatting!
Simply placing a live chat widget on your website is no guarantee that anyone will use it. Your visitors may not even notice it’s there.
Increasing the number of live chat interactions can increase your company’s conversions and brand awareness. It can also help you glean information on what your customers think and experience when they visit your website or interact with your products. And when you know more about your customers’ needs, you can improve your business all around. In order to increase the number of chats you receive—and subsequently your conversions and engagement—you’ll need to take a few steps to make the most of your chat.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all chats are good chats—we want to increase certain types of conversation and minimize others. For example, you’ll most likely want to increase conversations relating to:
- Sales of your product or service
- Technical support and quick fixes
- Queries from existing customers
- Chats from prospective clients looking for custom quotes
At the same time, we need to minimize certain chat requests that might be:
- Contact from anonymous, and potentially abusive, users
- Requests for free samples
- “Noise”, such as people posting test messages
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most efficient ways to increase live chat engagement on your site. Some of these tips only take seconds to implement but can make a real difference.
Customize your chat widget
One of the simplest ways to increase chats is to make your chat widget more inviting. That means playing around with introductory messages and labels you use on the chat bar, as well as branding your chat widget to match your company. A simple change in wording could be all it takes to make your live chat widget more appealing to a new visitor. Personalization creates a better customer experience and adding real photos of your agents helps your visitors know who they’re talking with before the chat begins.
Proactive chats from your agents
When 83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase, it’s important to make the most out of live chat and reach out proactively. Laura Shear writes, “The truth is, we humans are notoriously bad at asking for help. We may need assistance, but unless it’s easy to come by, many of us simply won’t raise our hand. With proactive live chat, agents can jump in as a resource at just the right moment, turning a potentially fruitless online experience into a win-win.”
When you’re logged into live chat you’ll see constant updates displaying the number of visitors on your site, the page they’re on, and the number of pages they’ve visited. Try initiating chats with people that have been browsing your site for a while. Remember: tailor the opening message to the content of the current page to avoid irrelevant inquiries. You can read more on how to grow your business with proactive chat support here.
Advertising and awareness
Are you promoting live chat on your site effectively? One of the best ways to raise awareness is with a pay-per-click (PPC) ad that mentions live chat availability. You can run an ad like this in Google Adwords or a similar tool. Remember to schedule your ad so that it only appears when you’re logged in to live chat; for example, you may only want to show the ad during office hours.
Also, be sure to filter out any languages that you don’t speak so your ad is more relevant. If advertising is out of your reach, try raising awareness via low-cost methods instead. Email newsletters, social media websites, forums, or your own email signature—they’re all free.
Any contact form or response form needs to ask for the minimum amount of user information. Are you asking your visitors to give you too much data upfront? If you require their email address, telephone number, or an opening message, try removing those fields so that you cut back on barriers to engagement.
Playing hard to get doesn’t work in the world of live chat support. When customers can reach your business in real time, and across multiple channels, including web, mobile, or in-app, they’re more likely to get the answers and help they seek. It’s important to be available to customers online and via mobile. Setting clear chat hours can also helps set expectations for customers when chatting with your brand.
Increasing the number of chats isn’t an exact science. It often takes time for visitors to become familiar with the live chat system on your site. Sometimes visitors will notice the chat box and come back to your site when they have a reason to use it. Expect engagement to ramp up slowly over time, and don’t abandon live chat simply because uptake has been slow.
Live chat is still emerging as a sales and support tool, but some of the world’s biggest brands use it because it’s efficient and features many advantages. Live chat may still be viewed as a novel experience for many, however, it will only become more popular. By offering live chat, you will be seen as a leader in your industry—even if it takes a bit for your visitors to take full advantage.