Graham – Esher
Thank you for the question.
So firstly live chat does not have to be expensive, in fact, it can be free using a company called www.olark.com and with a bit of investigation, you will see many more offering the same “free” service.
It’s also incredibly easy to manage, so from a financial and usability perspective live chat is absolutely fantastic.
So that’s the free version, but for you Graham, as you have a member of staff that can manage the service and you wish to put customer service as the forefront of your business, then there are also much better live chat tools available, most notably www.zendesk.com, which can also allow you to connect with your customer through your social media channels along with tracking and management.
Please do be aware that this is not something that you can just set up (even though it is incredibly easy too), you will need to treat this as an important stage of your sales pipeline and provide the correct training and advice to the person running the software.
If companies are governed by trading standards, this is even more important as all communications can be catalogued and if you give “bad advice” then this can be used against you.
I am not saying that it would ever be your intention but mistakes do happen and that is why training is important as mistakes made at this stage gives your potential customers all they need to take you to court over misinformation and win.
Now we’ve got that out the way let’s talk about all the wonderful benefits from a customer perspective.
There is no doubt that live chat is convenient for customers. At the beginning stages of every business, there are inevitably pain points that customers need validation on before they buy and by having live chat you are able to answer those questions immediately, reassuring the customer and improving greatly your chances of a sale.
Another fantastic thing is that it can be strongly argued that live chat gives you an advantage over your competitors.
Unless you are one of the lucky businesses that have no competition (congrats to you) then you will find that most customers will snoop around online to find the best deal or service for them.
If you have live chat then you can provide that extra assurance that other companies don’t provide and that could be the difference maker.
Here’s a fun stat (if you like that sort of thing).
“Almost 2 in 10 live chat respondents did more than 75% of their holiday shopping online, compared with 14% of those who did not chat. A further 25% of chatters made 51% to 75% of their purchases on the Web, versus just 10% of those who did not participate in chat services”.
So ultimately the best of luck with live chat I hope it helps you grow your business and connect with your customers better.