The Importance of Live Chat in the 21st Century

In today’s world businesses have to make fairly tough decisions about which communication channels to adopt, balancing the need to provide a good level of service via the adopted channel, with the fear of missing out if they don’t keep up with the latest technology.

Life was much simpler when it was either face to face, phone or snail mail, then along came email and the whole digital customer revolution began. To be fair however, despite a lot of noise, there are still only four main channels (if not in person):

  • voice
  • email
  • messaging
  • live chat

All of the social media derivatives, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, are just derivatives of messaging, a descendent of the humble SMS text. As it happens, however, all channels have found their own niche purpose in our day to day consumer psyche.

Voice is, without doubt, still King. Email is good when you need to get in to detail (possibly with attachments). Messaging is a good fire and forget (you can pick it up later). But live chat is the game changer when it comes to website conversions.

In a high street store, a good sales advisor is an asset. They help customers who are just browsing, offering tailored customer service. They make recommendations, upselling to customers, based on their unique needs. They assist with enquiries or issues from new or returning customers. What’s more, they do all of this as the face of your business, personifying the experience which customers will associate with your brand. But when it comes to online sales, the sales assistant has been lost. Sure, websites are a more efficient selling model than physical stores, but imagine if you could harness the advantages of a sales assistant and apply them to an online model?

Live chat you ask? Well, you wouldn’t open your store without a shop assistant would you?

The same can be applied to B2B. Buyers, empowered by all the information available online, perform most of their research independently. Before, it was common for telephone and email enquiries to stream into offices. Buyers would establish relationships with individual employees as they worked towards a deal. Today, however, you’ll most likely not hear from a customer until they are close to signing the dotted line.

Up steps live chat, bringing the physical shop assistant in to the digital world. Just like a good employee, a live chat agent can help customers who are browsing, improve conversion, increases average order value, nurtures customer loyalty and improve the customer experience overall. In fact, chatters tend to spend 60% more per purchase and, if they engage with a live chat agent, they’re 2.8 times more likely to end up purchasing a product. This is selling power at its digital finest!

It is now well established that having questions answered in real-time during a purchase activity is the most important feature a website can offer and by embracing live chat on your website, you can do exactly that. Let the good times roll….

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