Experiments With Live Chat Software
I’ve been making experiments with live chat software as a way of increasing the number of conversions we get for our WordPress technical support services.
In this post I want to tell you about what has worked and what hasn’t for me in my experiments with live chat software.
What Is Live Chat?
It’s real time chat messenger where you can “speak” with an agent at a company. Look at the bottom right hand corner of your screen and you will see a subtle indicator 🙂 start a chat with me if I’m online.
I’ve experimented with a number of solutions, my two favourites are Zopim and LiveChat, I’ll explain why I went with Livechat over Zopim a little later.
LiveChat costs from $19 per month, there is a 30 day free trial to try it out, I’m coming to the end of my free trial as I write this and will be signing up for an account.
Most of the live chat systems have a WordPress plugin, simply validate against your account and the chat box is added.
There are lots of options to customise the look and feel, you can change colours, location, add photos of agents.
You can control where your livechat appear e.g. only have chat on specific pages such as sales pages.
You can control when the chat popup appears, you can customise messages for new and returning visitors.
There are analytics and back-end tools to see who is on your site in real time.
How I’m Using Live Chat
When a visitor comes to the site, my live chat kicks in after 20 seconds and an invitation to chat is made, this is automatic, I’m not involved with the chat at this point.
I have three chat invitations, if you are on a none sales page you will see “Hello, is there anything I can help you with?”.
If you are on my WordPress technical support page you will see “Hello, can I give you more details about our WordPress technical support services?”
If you are on our WP Insure page you will see “Hello, can I give you more details about our WP Insure service?”.
If a site visitor interacts with the chat and replies I get a ping on whatever device I’m logged into and I can start chatting with my site visitor.
Making Myself Available For Chat
I can make my self available for chat, so I don’t have to be online 24/7 if I need to do something else.
There are apps for desktop, phone and tablet. I simply login to the appropriate app and make myself available or not.
If I’m online chats come to the app if I’m not chats are saved and send to an email supplied. I send these emails into our helpdesk for action whenI’m online.
LiveChat has a huge number of integrations. two I have added are Freshbooks so I can create a quotation directly from a chat session and Mailchimp so I can add a chat client into my mailing list if they are interested.
I mentioned help desk integration above, LiveChat doesn’t directly integration with Groove my helpdesk software, but I can forward chats and transcripts to an email address associated with my help desk.
The results of using live chat have been exceptional. It gives me a chance to explain how our services work, how much things cost and overcome any objections potential customers may have .
I’ve converted site visitors to client on the spot by being available to answer their questions. I’m pretty sure potential clients would have left the site never to return if I was not available to chat.
Live chat creates a sense of trust in a potential client, you communicate with them directly, they get a feel for your “voice” in the chat and know there is a real human on the other side of the inter-webs. Bare in mind I’m based in the UK and most of my clients are international.
I can pre-qualify potential customers, this is great from my point of view sending quotes and following up takes up a lot of my time. I can see the country of the visitors so I can guess if they can afford our prices or not. If you have a local company this is even more useful to qualify visitors.
Converting visitors to leads not just clients. I hate to classify people like this, but using live chat you can turn casual visitors into email list subscribers and potentially down the road into customers.
Availability Across All Devices
There are apps for desktop, mobile and tablet, I can be available on live chat wherever I am not just in the office. My business stretches across multiple time zones I’m not always at my desk when requests come in.
I said I trialled Zopim and LiveChat earlier and the reason I went with LiveChat was the quality of the chat box on mobile devices compared to Zopim. The zopim popup was barely visible compared to LiveChat I was not getting any chat sessions from mobile visitors.
There are a few downsides to offering a live chat on your site.
Time suck; answering queries takes time and there are a lot of tyre kickers out there. I’m also offering to help people who have come to the site to read a blog post and clarifying issues in a post takes time. Some site visitors expect a lot from a live chat.
I get that live chat needs to be staffed correctly as I act more as a project manager for WPDude, this is part of my job . One visitor even asked why I offer help like that for free, my answer to be seen as an authority with the potential
Having the audacity to offer services on a none sales page! I used to have a generic popup saying “Can I tell you about our services”, a guy from Australia was reading my post on migration to WP Engine and he lost his sh1t with me because I dared to try and sell him services, so I changed to more neutral can I help for none sales pages, sorry angry Aussie guy.
Leaving myself logged in when I’m not available has caused some issues. People understand what live chat is and if you mark yourself as online they want a chat now. I’ve had negative feedback for note reposing to a chat request, the solution I’ve set office hours to automatically log me out after 7pm UK time.
So those were my experiments with live chat software, live chat will pay for itself over and over.
I love the way I can answer any objections to using our services almost instantaneously and I am positive it has increased sales. BUT staff it properly be ready to answer questions.
Check out a free trial of LiveChat.