For those who are unfamiliar, live chat is a feature that many businesses have put on their websites in order to provide better customer service. The feature works just as you would expect — a small pop-up will show at the bottom of a user’s screen, and if the user wants to chat with someone in the company then they can.
This eliminates having to call if you have a question, and it makes it easy for even those who wouldn’t have called in the first place to learn more quickly and directly. Below is a screenshot of how it works:
Sometimes the live chat feature will have a pre-written message that makes it easy for users to add in their information so they can hear back the next day because they are not around. This is basically the same thing as a contact page, but because it’s right there when you need it users are more likely to engage:
Of course as with all website features, there are many different ways you can make this work. You can have the feature pop up only during business hours, after someone has been on a webpage longer than 30 seconds, right away, etc.
Your options will depend upon the resources that your business has, so it’s important not to get in over your head or live chat will actually become a negative. For these reasons, it’s important to take a good look at live chat and see whether or not your company would actually benefit.
Oh, and what about SEO implications? Read on.
The Pros and Cons of Live Chat
Below are some of the pros, cons, and statistics that can help you see if it’s the right move for your business website:
The Pros to Live Chat
- It is convenient. Wait times are shorter, users can multi-task so their patience is longer, and questions can therefore get answered faster. According to an eMarketer study, 38 percent of respondents said they had made their purchase because of the live chat feature.”
- You’re still ahead of the competition if you get started.
- You save money on your company phone bill and you can handle more questions at one time and spend less on hiring more customer service help.
- You should see a lower bounce rate because someone is there to help a user navigate through the buying or converting process. Read some statistics here.
- The more customers can get ahold of you, the better the relationship. This should hopefully help strengthen and develop deep relationships.
- Much live chat software offer transcripts of the actual chat, which makes for better customer service.
The Cons to Live Chat
- 9-to-5 hours are not always going to work because of time differences, so you may have to keep your business open longer or find people to work odd hours. Many companies outsource live chat for this reason.
- If done incorrectly, it can cause a negative reputation for the company. For example, if answers are too robotic or are being answered by people who don’t really understand your business, you’ve likely lost that customer forever.
- Sometimes outsourcing can be tough because of language barriers, so if you plan to manage the feature yourself then you simply have to have time to do it. It can be disruptive, and sometimes if you’re never there then it looks bad on your company.
Resources to Find the Right Live Chat Software Option for You
If you do decide that live chat is something you want to try, then you get into questions about which software to use and whether or not you’re going to outsource the chat answers (My advice is to spend time training those in your company to answer the chat questions to avoid any poor outsourced service, but it’s up to you what you want to try).
Again, which software you want to try depends completely on your business, but there are a few options that are higher rated than others. Below are resources, all from 2015, that can help you narrow down your search by showing you which software earned the best reviews overall and in different categories:
Extra: A great way to see if your live chat process is working is to have a post-chat survey. Not everyone will take it of course, but this can help you see if the approach is working in general as well as which live chat operators are falling short.
So Are There Any SEO Implications with Live Chat?
Live chat is neither good nor bad for SEO because the script has nothing to do with the Google algorithm. The only thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to SEO is your page load times. Live chat should not have any affect on loading time, but if it does then you may run into some SEO problems. It’s therefore important continue to check and make sure your pages are opening in 3 seconds or less.
What are your thoughts on live chat as a business or as a consumer? Do you like it, or do you find it annoying or unhelpful? Let us know in the comment section below.
Republished by permission. Original here.