Would you like to boost your business’s conversion rate 2.8 times with one simple tool? Then, you should definitely choose a live chat service for your customer service channels.
Live chat is a mighty way to communicate with your customers and prospects in real time. It helps your business to improve customer satisfaction, reduce support costs, increase sales, and more.
In this blog post, I will help you choose the right live chat service, optimize it, and overcome its associated challenges. I will also discuss the reasons behind the increasing demand for live chats, the role of AI and chatbots, and the legal and ethical implications of live chat.
Choosing Live Chat Service for Businesses
I have been researching live chat for quite some time now. So, the main problems you may face while choosing live chat are:
- Scheduling and Staffing
- Managing Multiple Requests
- Providing Consistent and Personalized Support
- Measuring and Improving Performance and
- Choosing the Right Software
So, I am going to discuss the features and criteria of some renowned live chat services, compare them, and offer you some tips to integrate them properly in this section. With a view of this discussion, you will be able to choose the live chat service that resonates best with your business.
Features and Criteria
As mentioned earlier, you get to have numerous benefits with a live chat service. However, not all live chat support systems are created equal. So, when you are choosing a live chat service, make sure it contains the following features:
- Proactive Chat: With this feature, you can initiate a chat conversation with your website visitors based on their behavior, location, or other criteria. It can also help guide your customers through the purchase process and upselling.
- Chatbot: Chatbots are automated systems that answer simple and repetitive queries and provide information. It can also direct customers to human agents if necessary.
- Canned Response: Canned responses are pre-written messages that answer frequently asked questions or provide standard information. It speeds up communication, reduces typing errors, and ensures consistency.
- File Sharing: The file sharing feature lets you share images, documents, screenshots, etc., during a conversation. It can significantly reduce problem-solving time, offer visual evidence, or share valuable resources.
- Co-browsing: Co-browsing allows you to see and control your customer’s browser screen during a chat session. It can be very helpful for demonstrating to your customer how to access and use your product or service, troubleshoot technical problems, or fill out forms.
Different live chat services have different features. However, these five features are a must-have, and you should check them out while choosing your live chat service. Now, I am going to recommend my top five picks of live chat services.
Top 5 Live Chat Services
Now that you know what to look for when choosing your live chat service, here are my top 5 suggestions for a live chat platform. I have used these services and had a pretty good experience. Let’s take a look:
REVE Chat is an excellent live chat platform that helps your business connect with your audience across multiple channels. This platform contains live chat, chatbots, video chat, co-browsing, and Chat API & SDK functionality to help you communicate better with your audience.
Any type of business can leverage REVEChat to provide a better customer service experience. Whether you are an e-commerce, travel, education, banking, healthcare, or any other industry, REVEChat can help you connect with your customers and deliver personalized support.
You can start using this platform on a 14-day free trial and then choose from their Basic, Advanced, and Enterprise packages. The pricing starts from $13.5 per agent per month to $27 per agent per month. The enterprise package allows you to choose your custom services, and the pricing is also custom.
Help Scout allows you to provide a live chat support feature, your help center content, or do both, all from the same tool. This platform contains chat and email support, a content recommendation feature, and is easily integrable with other tools and platforms.
Whether you have a small team or a large one, Help Scout can help you manage all your customer conversations in one powerful platform that feels just like your inbox.
Help Scout has different pricing plans depending on your needs and budget. You can start with a free plan that includes up to 10 users and 1 mailbox. The Standard plan costs $20 per user per month and includes unlimited mailboxes, live chat, reports, and integrations.
The Plus plan costs $35 per user per month and includes advanced features such as teams, custom fields, HIPAA compliance, and Salesforce integration. You can also try Help Scout for free for 15 days before choosing a plan.
HubSpot is one of the leading live chat services, and for a good reason. This platform offers live chat widgets, chatbots, conversation inboxes, and Slack integration, among other features.
HubSpot’s live chat service is part of the Service Hub software, which also includes features like customer feedback surveys, a knowledge base, reporting dashboards, and more.
HubSpot’s live chat service pricing depends on the plan you choose. There are three plans available: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. The Starter plan costs $20 per month for two users. The Professional plan costs $360 per month for five users, and the Enterprise plan costs $1,200 per month for 10 users.
Re:amaze is another live chat platform that contains a unified inbox, chatbots, a knowledge base, a dashboard, and CRM, among other live chat features. This live chat platform can help almost all types of businesses to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
Re:amaze has a flexible pricing model that depends on the number of agents and features you need. The free plan gives you access to one agent and one channel. You can also choose from four paid plans that range from $29 to $599 per month. You can also add extra features such as chatbot, voice, video, and SMS for an additional fee.
This platform offers a 14-day free trial for all plans and a 20% discount for annual billing.
LiveChat is a live chat service that allows you to connect with your customers and provide them with instant support, sales, and marketing solutions. Among the variety of features, this platform offers you multiple channel support, automation, easy integration, and analytics.
LiveChat is suitable for any type of business that wants to provide fast and personalized customer service and increase their online sales. It has different pricing plans depending on your needs and budget. You can choose from Starter, Team, Business, or Enterprise Plans.
The pricing starts from $16 per agent per month on this platform. You will also get a 14-day trial period with no credit card required.
Now that you know the best options for live chat services, let’s compare the features and prices of these services.
Tips for Integration
As you have seen the comparison, now you have a good idea of the live chat service you should use for your business. However, integrating it with your existing system can be a hassle.
So, here are some tips that can come in very handy while integrating your live chat service:
- Choose a reliable and compatible live chat platform that suits your business needs and goals. There are many options available in the market, but you should consider factors such as features, pricing, scalability, security, and support before making a decision.
- Integrate the live chat widget with your website or app in a way that is visible, accessible, and user-friendly. You can customize the appearance, position, and behavior of the widget to match your brand identity and website design. You can also use triggers and proactive messages to invite visitors to chat with you at the right time and place.
- Train your live chat agents on how to use the platform, handle different types of queries, and communicate effectively with customers. You should provide them with clear guidelines, scripts, and resources to help them deliver consistent and high-quality service. You should also monitor their performance and feedback regularly to identify areas of improvement.
- Optimize your live chat service for speed, convenience, and personalization. You should aim to reduce the wait time, response time, and resolution time for your customers. You should also use features such as chatbots, canned responses, co-browsing, file sharing, and CRM integration to automate and enhance the chat process. Moreover, you should use customer data and preferences to tailor your chat service to their needs and expectations.
- Measure and analyze your live chat service results and outcomes. You should track key metrics such as chat volume, satisfaction rate, conversion rate, retention rate, and revenue generated by live chat. You should also collect customer feedback and testimonials to understand their pain points and satisfaction levels. Based on the data and insights, you should make adjustments and improvements to your live chat service integration.
In a nutshell, you will need to carefully choose your live chat service, make it easily locatable, train your human agents properly, optimize it, and measure outcomes to improve it further.
Optimizing Live Chat Service Efficiency and Effectiveness
Once you have chosen your live chat service and integrated it, you will need to constantly optimize it to get the best outcome. In this section, I will discuss the best practices and ways to measure the metrics and KPIs.
To get the most out of live chat, you need to follow some best practices that will help you communicate effectively, efficiently, and professionally with your customers. Here are some tips and tricks to integrate live chat properly and improve your live chat service.
- Place Your Live Chat Window Strategically: You want your live chat button to be visible and accessible on every important page of your website or app, especially the ones where customers are most likely to have questions or need assistance. You can also customize the appearance, position, and behavior of your live chat button to match your brand and user experience.
For example, you can use a bright color, an eye-catching animation, or a personalized message to attract attention and invite customers to start a chat.
- Use Proactive Chat Invitations: A great live chat best practice is to make your chat proactive rather than reactive. Reactive web chat passively waits for a customer to initiate a chat. Proactive web chat, on the other hand, initiates a chat conversation with the customer based on certain triggers or conditions. Proactive chat invitations can help you engage customers at the right moment, increase chat volume, reduce bounce rate, and boost conversions.
- Communicate in a Smart Way: When chatting with customers, you need to use clear, concise, and polite language that reflects your brand voice and tone. You also need to pay attention to grammar and spelling, avoid jargon and slang, and use emoticons and emojis appropriately to convey emotions and empathy.Additionally, you need to follow some basic etiquette rules, such as greeting customers by name, introducing yourself, asking for permission before transferring or ending a chat, thanking customers for their feedback, and signing off with a friendly note.
- Leverage AI Chatbots: AI chatbots are software applications that can simulate human conversations and provide automated responses to common customer queries. However, AI chatbots are not meant to replace human agents completely but rather to complement them and improve the overall customer experience.
- Integrate Live Chat With Other Tools: Live chat is not an isolated channel but rather part of a larger customer service ecosystem that includes other tools and platforms. To optimize your live chat service, you need to integrate it with other tools that can help you manage, monitor, and improve your customer interactions. For example, you can integrate live chat with a CRM system to access customer data and history, with a knowledge base to provide self-service options and relevant articles, with a shared inbox to manage email and social media messages from one place, with screen sharing or co-browsing software to offer visual guidance and collaboration, and with analytics software to track live chat metrics and performance.
Measuring and Monitoring Service Metrics and KPIs
Live chat is a powerful tool to provide fast and personalized customer service. However, to make the most of it, you need to measure and monitor its performance using service metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Here are some tips and tricks to help you do that.
Service metrics are quantitative measures that reflect how well your live chat agents are delivering the service. Some common service metrics are:
- Average Response Time: the time it takes for an agent to reply to a customer’s message
- Average Handle Time: the time it takes for an agent to resolve a customer’s issue
- First Contact Resolution: the percentage of issues that are resolved in the first interaction
- Customer Satisfaction: the percentage of customers who rate their chat experience positively
KPIs are strategic goals that align with your business objectives and customer expectations. Some common KPIs are:
- Conversion Rate: the percentage of customers who make a purchase or take a desired action after chatting with an agent
- Retention Rate: the percentage of customers who return to your website or business after chatting with an agent
- Revenue Per Chat: the average amount of revenue generated by each chat session
- Customer Loyalty: the degree of emotional attachment and trust that customers have with your brand
Make sure you are collecting the feedback from your customer to evaluate and improve your customer service. You can use live chat surveys, ratings, or comments to gather feedback from customers at different stages of their journey.
Overcoming Challenges and Limitations
While live chat has been adopted by numerous businesses, it still has its challenges and limitations. In this section of the blog, I am going to address those challenges and offer some solutions.
Identifying the Common Issues
The challenges of live chat can significantly hamper the quality of your service and the satisfaction of your customers. Therefore, it is better to know about the common causes and steer clear of them.
Some of the common causes of live chat are:
- Long Wait Times: Customers expect fast responses when they use live chat, but sometimes they have to wait for a long time before they get connected to an agent or receive an answer. This can frustrate them and make them abandon the chat or the website.
- Poor Communication Skills: Communication skills are essential for live chat agents, as they have to convey information, empathy, and professionalism through text. However, some agents may lack the necessary skills or make mistakes that can harm the customer experience. For example, they may use inappropriate language, grammar, or tone, misunderstand the customer’s question or problem, or provide inaccurate or incomplete information.
- Technical Issues: Live chat service depends on technology, which can sometimes fail or malfunction. For instance, the chat software may crash, freeze, or disconnect, the internet connection may be slow or unstable, or the customer’s device may not support the chat feature. These issues can interrupt the chat session, cause data loss, or prevent the customer from reaching out.
As there are challenges of live chat, careful monitoring can significantly remove them effectively. Some effective solutions to common live chat problems are:
- Long wait times can be prevented by optimizing your staffing levels and using chatbots or canned responses for simple queries. Setting clear expectations about the wait time and the queue position can go a long way here.
- Poor communication skills can be avoided by training your agents on how to communicate effectively on live chat, monitor their performance and feedback, and provide them with tools and resources to improve their skills.
- Technical issues can be prevented by choosing a reliable and secure chat software, testing it regularly for bugs and errors, and providing alternative contact options in case of technical problems.
- If customers receive generic or impersonal responses, they may lose trust and interest in your brand. To avoid this, you should use your customer’s name and other relevant details in your chat messages. You can also use emojis, gifs, or images to add some personality and emotion to your chat.
With proper measures in place, the challenges of live chat can be reduced significantly.
Future Trends and Developments
Live chat has been one of the fastest-growing business tools nowadays. We have seen multiple changes and new integrations. But what are the future trends and developments of live chat services that will shape the industry in the coming years?
Some of the possible trends and developments are:
- Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots: AI and chatbots can provide faster, smarter, and more personalized responses to common queries, as well as handle multiple conversations at once. They can also learn from customer feedback and data to improve their performance and accuracy over time. However, human agents will still be needed for complex, emotional, or sensitive issues that require empathy and trust.
- Omnichannel Integration: The possibility of live chat service integrating with other channels like social media, messaging platforms, voice assistants, email, SMS, etc. is beyond the limit. This will create a seamless and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints and devices and increase the reach and accessibility of the live chat service.
- Video and Voice Chat: Live chat service’s text-based communication can be changed and may turn into video and voice chat options for customers who prefer more visual and auditory interaction. Video and voice chat can enhance customer engagement, rapport, and trust, thus conveying more information and emotion than text alone. They can also enable screen sharing, co-browsing, and live demonstrations.
- Analytics and Insights: Live chat service will leverage advanced analytics and insights to measure and optimize its performance and impact. It will track and analyze various metrics such as response time, resolution rate, customer satisfaction, conversion rate, revenue, retention, churn, etc.
Live chat services will also use data mining, sentiment analysis, natural language processing, and other techniques to understand customer behavior, preferences, needs, pain points, feedback, etc. Live chat service will use these insights to improve its quality, efficiency, effectiveness, and personalization.
Customer expectations from live chat service are high and constantly evolving. Customers want fast, personalized, and effective solutions to their problems, as well as friendly and empathetic interactions with the agents.
Live chat service can provide these benefits, but only if it is well-designed, well-managed, and well-integrated with other channels. Some of the key factors that influence customer expectations from live chat service are:
- Responsiveness: Customers expect live chat agents to be available 24/7, to respond quickly, and to resolve issues in one contact.
- Expertise: Having a deep knowledge of the products or services customers are inquiring about, and to provide accurate and relevant information is a must for live chat agents. .
- Personalization: Customers want live chat agents to use their names, to remember their previous interactions, and to tailor their responses to their specific needs and preferences.
- Empathy: Live chat agents need to show genuine interest in the customer’s situation, express sympathy and understanding, and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
- Consistency: Customers expect live chat service to be aligned with other channels, such as phone, email, or social media, and to provide the same level of quality and satisfaction across all touchpoints.
Reasons Behind Increasing Demand for Live Chat
Live chats are becoming more popular among online businesses and customers. What are the reasons behind this trend? Here are some possible explanations:
- Live chats provide instant and personalized responses. Customers don’t have to wait for hours or days to get an answer to their queries. They can also interact with real human agents who can understand their needs and preferences better than automated systems.
- Live chats increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers who receive fast and helpful support are more likely to be satisfied with their experience and to return to the same business in the future. They may also recommend the business to their friends and family, generating positive word-of-mouth.
- Live chats boost sales and conversions. Customers who engage with live chat agents are more likely to buy products or services, as they can get their questions answered, their doubts cleared, and their objections overcome. They may also receive personalized offers and discounts that can persuade them to make a purchase.
Role of AI and Chatbot
Live chat service is a crucial tool for businesses to communicate with their customers and prospects. However, live chat service also comes with some challenges, such as high demand, limited resources, and customer expectations. This is where AI and chatbots can help.
AI and chatbots are software programs that can simulate human conversations and provide automated responses to common queries. They can enhance live chat service by:
- Reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction. AI and chatbots can handle multiple chats simultaneously and provide instant answers to frequently asked questions, freeing up human agents for more complex issues.
- Increasing efficiency and productivity. AI and chatbots can automate repetitive tasks, such as collecting customer information, booking appointments, or processing payments, saving time and resources for both businesses and customers.
- Providing personalized and relevant solutions. AI and chatbots can use natural language processing and machine learning to understand customer needs, preferences, and context and offer tailored recommendations and solutions.
- Improving customer loyalty and retention. AI and chatbots can provide consistent and accurate service, follow up with customers after the chat, and send proactive messages to engage them and increase retention.
AI and chatbots are not meant to replace human agents but to complement them and enhance live chat services. By using AI and chatbots, businesses can improve customer experience, optimize their operations, and gain a competitive edge in the market.
Ethical and Legal Implications
Live chat service is a convenient and efficient way to communicate with customers, clients, or users online. However, it also poses some ethical and legal challenges that need to be addressed.
Some of the important questions you should ask:
- How can live chat service providers ensure the privacy and security of the personal data they collect and store?
- How can they prevent or handle abusive, offensive, or fraudulent messages from either side of the chat?
- How can they comply with the relevant laws and regulations in different countries or regions?
These questions live chat service providers and users should consider before engaging in this mode of communication. By being aware of the ethical and legal implications of live chat service, they can avoid potential risks and liabilities and enhance their trust and reputation.
With a view of the above discussion, now you know how you can choose an appropriate live chat service for your business and generate the best results. You are also aware of some amazing options you can give a try.
If any challenges and issues appear, we need to be concerned and discuss how to resolve them. Live chat services, chatbots, and AI are the next marvel of technology. And we need very clear ideas about them to integrate into our day-to-day lives.