Live chat has become the norm on a lot of websites. Customers want a fast and easy way to communicate with the brands they’re considering buying from. And for small businesses that don’t have the ability to always be on call for those conversations, it makes sense to outsource to a dedicated chat service.
This type of service can certainly benefit a business selling moderately priced products or services. But for companies that want to create ongoing relationships and sell expensive products or services, canned customer service responses from a third party may be enough.
At least that’s what ProfessionalChats CEO Scott Hansen found back when he was managing his family’s dental practice.
He explained in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “Ultimately we were trying to stop the shopping process for people when they got to our website. We wanted to offer them a conversation and engage with them when they were at their peak of interest so we might be able to convert that into a scheduled appointment before they hit the back button or go onto the next website.”
So that’s exactly the service he set out to create with ProfessionalChats. There are, of course, other live chat services out there. But ProfessionalChats differs because the team takes the time to learn about your business and is specifically trained to empathize with customers, rather than providing generic responses. Additionally, a lot of live chat services outsource customer service functions overseas, so sometimes nuance can get lost in translation.
Hanson offered an example, “If you own a plumbing company and a customer contacts you because their mainline broke, we know what that means and can empathize with them. Their house is probably smelly and unpleasant and they might have had a bunch of their stuff ruined in their basement. Our team is trained really well to empathize with them and when that happens and we can establish trust, it makes them more likely to give us their contact info and become customers.”
ProfessionalChat offers services to companies in a number of industries, from medical and dental practices to local service providers like plumbers and roofers. Essentially, any company that sells a high end product or service that costs more than a couple hundred dollars could benefit from putting a little extra effort into their live chat, which is essentially what the company provides.
For companies that are interested in getting started, you can simply call the company and take a quick survey, which should take about 15 minutes. Then the team scours the internet for more information to create unique value propositions and talking points about your company. There’s a $949 setup fee and a 15-day calibration period where the company gets a feel for the volume of inquiries you receive on your website. Pricing is based on that volume and can range from $50 to a a few thousand a month, with most paying a few hundred per month. However, there are no contracts, so you’re not locked into any service agreement for a specific length of time.
COO Trevor Flannigan says, “We’ve both managed companies previously so we understand that anytime you take on a new vendor it’s like taking on a second job because there can be so much friction and anxiety while you already have so much work to do. So we worked really hard to make this a white glove service that’s as easy as possible for companies.”
He also shared that the company has a 99 percent retention rate with clients. So companies that use the service seem to feel that it is worth the investment.
In addition to the team of people who are available to chat with customers online in the company’s Kansas City office, they also work to increase conversion rates by calling new leads right away and then patching them through to the company. This service is included in the monthly cost.
Hanson says, “We found that conversion rates were a little lower than we expected initially. A lot of companies would wait 20 minutes or more before reaching out to a new lead and that just wasn’t fast enough. It’s just too easy to keep browsing and find other options. So we call as if we are from the company and talk to them to build value over the phone. If we get them over to actually scheduling an appointment or making a sale, we’ll put them on hold and call the business to give them the lowdown and then connect them with the customer.”
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This is great especially if you can build in answers to common concerns. This way, you don’t have to consistently answer them.