All the buzz coming out of Facebook’s F8 conference this week focused on chat bots integrating with Facebook Messenger to leverage artificial intelligence to automatically interact with humans. So, chat will be an even more important tool to use in general when it comes to engaging customers in real-time. And while chat bots may help us humans eventually, Pure Chat, makers of a chat service used by entrepreneurs and small teams to have better conversations with site visitors, says the key is to use chat to actually be more human.
Lindsay Bayuk, head of Product for Pure Chat, shares how integrating chat capabilities into your website can help small businesses convert more site visits into transactions, email list signups, and other important conversions that allow you to create long-lasting relationships with more customers.
Using Pure Chat To Be More “Human”
Small Business Trends: Maybe you could just talk about why it’s so important, or the role can be important of chat, to get from those leads getting generated to actually things getting done like shopping carts fulfilled or people signing up for the webinar, signing up for the subscription list, the role that chat can play in something like that.
Lindsay Bayuk: Somehow when the Internet and websites and digital marketing came along, maybe we lost a little bit of that personal relationship. What I hear constantly from our customers is that they love using live chat on their websites because it allows them to talk to more people. The more people they’re talking to the more relationships they’re building. Those relationships turn into customers. We have a product that’s available for free that small teams and small businesses can use on their website to talk to more website visitors. They can use it on a checkout page to answer any questions that someone might have about free shipping or return policies, to get them over that final hurdle before they purchase. It’s used in a variety of industries. We have a customer who’s a lawyer and uses chat to pre-qualify clients before they come into his office.
Small Business Trends: Is it the case where chat can help conversions when they actually need to have a question answered?
Lindsay Bayuk: Yeah, I think today most people are conditioned to want things now. We want it now. I want my Amazon Prime delivered as fast as possible. Small business owners have to keep up with that level of expectation. What we hear constantly is that they love being able to provide instant answers. Whether it’s they see someone lingering on the pricing page for five minutes, with our Visitors feature they’re able to pop up the chat box and reach out to that person proactively, or they’re available at any time when someone has a question. They can reach out and get that instant answer. It’s really about delivering that next level customer experience for their website visitors.
Small Business Trends: You can use chat to help someone who’s new to the site but also help somebody who is returning. What kind of information can you leverage from somebody who’s been there before that can help enhance the experience of that chat?
Lindsay Bayuk: Whether it’s someone new or someone returning, what we provide is the ability to see how many times someone’s been on your website. Then show you if you’ve had any chat conversations with them in the past. When either they reach out to you or you reach out to them. The conversation is really personalized and tailored to exactly that individual. They’re no longer just some anonymous person. You either know their name if you got that information before, or at least you know their relationship history with you and what they’ve been browsing on your website, maybe what products they’ve looked at in the past.
Small Business Trends: Now, we look at these individual chat sessions and the potential they have for helping to convert, whether it’s helping somebody buy something or sign up for something, you can also take this information and aggregate them up to see trends that are taking place and learn more about what’s important to the customers in general, right?
Lindsay Bayuk: Yeah, totally. Again with this feature of ours called Visitors, you can actually watch how people are navigating through your website and start to see trends about what the most popular pages are or maybe where people are getting stuck before they check out if they’re on an ecommerce store. You can also go through and review the text of all the conversations. We have a customer in Boston called The Start-Up Institute. Their UX designer would go through and read all of the questions that were being asked. From that she could figure out what was confusing or hard to navigate on the website. Then as a designer, she can go and make those improvements on the website.
Small Business Trends: Really, chat, it’s similar to if a person walks into your store. You don’t just let them walk in and look at them without saying anything. This is your way of doing that basically. The payoff is in understanding the customer more and leveraging the opportunity to help them in some way to become a customer.
Lindsay Bayuk: Exactly. We have a customer, Jarrett Gucci, he’s the CEO of WP Fix-it. They use Pure Chat on their website. He has said that Pure Chat helps him convert 80 percent of his business. They’re doing about $30K a month in sales. Live chat is what helps them answer any of those pre-sale questions, which is pretty sweet. I mean, we love hearing that. It’s super exciting. It works.
Small Business Trends: This is the ability to use chat through the whole customer life cycle it sounds like.
Lindsay Bayuk: It really is. Whether it’s someone new visiting your site for the first time or customers who are coming back again and again to purchase on an e-commerce website, totally.
Small Business Trends: It’s not just for big companies. You focus on the smaller companies really.
Lindsay Bayuk: We’re priced to be affordable for small teams who need to provide that customer experience and want to and can’t afford big, complex, expensive tools. Pure Chat is really easy to use and get started with. It’s free to use Visitors totally and then we have a free version of our chat product as well.
Small Business Trends: Chat becomes a great tool that allows businesses of all sizes a way that they can actually create a more cohesive experience that will go from somebody landing on their site to somebody doing something with an outcome that may be more favorable than just abandoning a cart or leaving the site altogether.
Lindsay Bayuk: We’ve read studies that say up to 68 percent of online orders are abandoned, which is crazy. It’s like billions of dollars are abandoned every year, probably because someone had the intent to purchase and then they had questions that went unanswered. We hear that our customers use us to help answer those, like I said, pre-sales questions or those questions right before someone’s ready to hit that buy button, because they want to buy. They’re there. They’ve probably even added items to their shopping cart. Then for whatever reason if that question goes unanswered they’re going to walk away.
Small Business Trends: This could actually help in terms of B2B sales as well because if you’re having a chat with somebody who’s new to the site and they’re looking for information, that’s some potentially valuable interactions taking place that a salesperson would love to have in order to craft the kind of interaction that they’d like to go back and forth with.
Lindsay Bayuk: We’ve had teams who have said that their marketing teams have been watching how people are navigating through their website and then reading the conversations the sales team’s having. It’s helping them create marketing materials, which is pretty sweet.
Small Business Trends: How do you guard against the creepy side of chat? How do they know I’m here? How do they know so much about me? What’s the best way to start an interaction using chat when you have all this great information but you don’t want to creep anybody out?
Lindsay Bayuk: My best advice is to be human. Be flawed. If you’re proactively reaching out to someone, an example of what not to do would be to say something like, “Hey, I’ve been watching every page you view.” Maybe don’t lead with that. What I like to do when I’ve done it is I like to say something like, “Howdy,” maybe in lower case font or add an emoji like a smiley face or something, so they know it’s me. With our product, my profile photo shows up as well. They see my profile photo. They see me saying howdy and maybe using a smiley face and just genuinely saying, “Hey, is there anything I can do to help you today?” If your opening line sounds like a robot or sounds creepy, then people might run for the hills. It’s really all about being human, being authentic and just showing people that you’re real.
This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.