Responding faster to a lead or a potential customer is going to leave a better impression than making new customers (or any customers) wait around.
That’s just common sense.
Not only will it make them happy, but it can also have a big impact on their potential to convert.
Live chat is one of the quickest methods of customer service, but it used to be horrible.
You’d sit there waiting for someone to connect for ten minutes only to get a message that said:
Thanks for reaching out to us. Please call this number xxx-xxx-xxxx or visit our FAQ. Thanks!
And then you sit there wondering why on Earth live chat even existed if they simply directed you to another medium.
That’s not the case anymore.
In fact, it’s become the exact opposite.
Live chat is one of the best tools that many B2B companies are utilizing on their websites.
Why? Because it converts. It helps real people.
And let’s be honest, nobody wants to send a support email only to get a (possibly automated) response 48 hours later.
Think about it. If you respond 48 hours after a potential lead inquires about your company, it’s likely they aren’t even thinking about your product or service anymore.
They might have forgotten completely, or even worse, they may have moved on to a competitor with a faster response time.
Thankfully, live chat can fix that, even when you personally aren’t there to respond.
Here are four reasons why you need live chat now.
1. Responding faster = more leads
What if I told you that most companies don’t respond fast enough to capture the number of potential leads that are out there?
Or that responding faster meant huge increases in leads?
Would you believe me?
Well, the data doesn’t lie, and statistics tell the story here.
They also researched how response times impacted lead generation.
They found that there was a 10x decrease in the odds of making contact with a lead after just five minutes without a response.
Waiting more than 15 minutes to respond meant losing nearly all of your potential leads.
Why? Because in today’s fast-paced world, people just don’t want to wait for a response.
There are tons of other businesses out there doing the same thing you’re doing, so why are they going to wait half an hour for you to respond?
They simply won’t. They’ll bounce back to Google and click the next ranking company.
On top of that, companies that responded in ten minutes compared to five minutes saw a 400% decrease in the odds of qualifying that lead.
So, if you want to be qualifying leads, there’s simply no other way to do it as fast as an instant live chat.
And if you look at how many companies were failing at contacting leads in five minutes or less, the data is pretty scary.
Only 7% of companies surveyed responded within five minutes of an inquiry.
The majority (over 50% of companies) took more than five days to respond or didn’t respond at all.
Shocked? Honestly, I’m not.
This has happened to me a lot.
I go to a website that looks cool. I browse their products, services, and features. I think to myself:
Hey, this product is cool, but I have a question that isn’t in the FAQs and if the answer isn’t specific, I don’t think I’ll be able to use it.
Since there’s no live chat, I head to the website’s contact page and I send an email request.
I wait patiently by my inbox, refreshing, and hoping for a response.
Days later, still nothing.
Well, congratulations, company X, you just lost out on a big, easy sale.
And Drift found data to back this up. It turns out that most companies don’t even have a live-chat feature.
Only 14% of the companies surveyed had live-chat systems in place.
That means you either had to call, sit on hold and speak to a pushy sales rep, or send an email that would very likely get lost in the shuffle.
We can’t risk losing customers because we aren’t willing to take the time to install a live-chat system.
In today’s landscape, can you guess what the number-one preferred channel for customer service is?
If you said live chat, you were correct (for the most part).
In fact, in that same study, nine out of ten respondents said they expect to be able to use live-chat messaging to get help from companies online.
If you’re not meeting consumer expectations in a modern world, you simply won’t succeed.
And live chat does more than just decrease response time. It can help you out in many other ways, too.
2. Help people even when you’re not there
Now that we’ve covered how response times can have major impacts on lead generation, you might be thinking:
Sure, Neil, that makes sense. But what happens when you’re busy or running a small business and don’t have time for that?
What if I’m out of the office and I get a few messages. How can I respond within five minutes?
One word: bots.
One of the most genius inventions of live chat today is being able to customize responses based on common questions, or simply respond with an automated bot that can assist.
They weren’t helpful, and they usually weren’t in tune with the user experience.
Thankfully for us, that’s changed completely.
Applications like Intercom excel at using bots to communicate.
And Drift has their own version of bots, too.
They call it “Driftbot,” and it’s an excellent way to keep customers engaged and satisfied even if you aren’t personally available to respond.
It allows you to help customers instantly, despite not actually responding on your own.
Then you can jump into the conversation when it’s convenient for you, without risking the loss of a potential lead.
You can even use bots on live chat as a way to measure the user experience and improve upon it with critical feedback.
So if responding within five minutes isn’t realistic for you, don’t worry.
You can still take advantage of the live-chat software by integrating bots that can respond for you.
Use these bots to engage with customers and offer easy solutions to their most common problems.
3. Overcome objections instantly
How many times have you found yourself browsing a product, service, or website, and you were getting ready to purchase, but you didn’t?
You came across something that drove you away.
Or you simply had some questions that weren’t answered in an FAQ or support doc, so you clicked back to Google to check out another way to solve your problem.
It happens a lot.
And that means it’s probably happening a lot to your business, too.
Don’t get me wrong, FAQs and support sections are great for surface-level questions.
But what happens when someone has a question like:
I run a small business and I want to use your software to integrate with X, but I need XX amount of licenses. How does the cost vary and what will management look like for those licenses?
You simply can’t answer that in an FAQ. And if someone has that burning question and it isn’t answered quickly, they’re going elsewhere.
For example, check out this message I got while browsing a specific page on Intercom’s website:
I was reading a post about onboarding and in-app messaging.
I got a very specific message asking me if I had questions about that exact topic.
Do you see what I mean? Live chat is a way to overcome objections before they sprout up.
They anticipated my questions and concerns and were there to help me answer them.
What’s even better? Now I don’t have to comb through a dense website to get them.
I just ask.
And look how Venngage uses live chat to do exactly that:
Live chat has become my go-to way to get answers to big questions.
And nearly any company can benefit from the ability to overcome objections faster.
RapidMiner is one of my favorite examples of this.
When I hit their pricing page, I get a personalized message asking me if I have questions about the pricing.
They instantly give me a way to overcome objections without me having to search or work for it.
They’re ready to help me when I need it.
And Dialpad does the same thing on their pricing pages.
It’s one of the easiest ways to convert customers and blow past conversion roadblocks.
4. Forms are a thing of the past
I might be breaking some people’s hearts with this one, but I’ll say it again:
Did you just gasp? If so, let me explain a bit with a simple example.
Why do you think radio advertising isn’t everyone’s favorite platform to advertise on?
Because consumer behavior and technological advances have shifted.
So why are we still using an inbound tactic that’s a decade old?
I feel like whenever I browse online and come across an e-book that looks awesome, I’m immediately given a page-long form asking for my email, name, website, etc.
It feels impersonal. It’s an information grab (to say the least).
It’s less about helping the customer and more about building an email list.
And that’s not the right mindset to have. If your number-one focus isn’t the customer and making their lives easier, you’re doing it wrong.
OK, I admit — I still use some forms.
But the truth is, you really don’t need forms to convert people into leads or to nurture customers.
And with that specific message, 63% of people who clicked on it ended up talking to a sales rep.
That’s a stellar conversion rate when you compare typical email conversion rates for sales.
The great thing about this is that anyone can use it.
Look how Directive Consulting captures leads using a simple bot on Drift:
They can instantly qualify leads without making someone fill out a tedious, annoying form.
And let’s be honest, clicking a few buttons is way less time consuming than typing through a huge form and dumping your information.
Look how RapidMiner uses simple questions to get a feel for each site visitor:
The fact is, forms are starting to die. They’re fading into the distance along with keyword stuffing and old marketing tactics.
While forms might still work for your business, you should prepare for the future.
And live chat is one of the best ways to mitigate a decline in form submissions.
Now that you know exactly why you need live chat, let’s walk through how to set it up on your website.
It’s quick and painless, and you can probably get it up and running in five minutes or less.
How to set up live chat today
Thankfully for new live-chat converts, there are tons of live-chat platforms out there today.
And that’s just a few of the nearly countless options.
You need to find one that fits your goals and needs.
For example, Autopilot and Intercom have diverse features for customer-journey optimization.
Drift has incredible bot software.
Influx is great for those who need a little extra chat support, offering regular trainings and re-trainings to their users.
For this example, we can run through the setup of Drift, one of the most popular platforms.
I also love it because it’s free, requires no credit card, and can be set up in literally five minutes.
So let’s get started. Head to Drift.com and enter your email address.
Once you enter your email address, you don’t even need to confirm anything. You simply start building out your live-chat software from their dashboard.
You can quickly start to customize the live-chat settings to match your brand colors, too.
Next, you’ll have to set up a welcome message.
A welcome message is what people are going to see when they land on your site for the first time.
For example, this is the welcome message you get when you land on Drift’s site:
It’s your opportunity to personalize the first engagement with a customer and help them with any problems they may encounter.
Start by customizing your welcome message and make sure to upload a professional headshot to personalize it.
Then, add your business details like your name, website, and company name.
Once you’ve added the company details, you can enter your contact information.
Then complete the process by installing some code to your site.
You can either install it yourself or send it to a teammate to install for you.
It’s super easy to set up on your own, too. There are a few integrations that make it seamless.
Once you’ve installed Drift, you can start taking advantage of live chat on your website.
Start collecting more leads by responding faster and helping people fix their problems ASAP.
Responding faster to a lead or a potential customer is going to make a better customer experience.
It can actually be the difference maker when it comes to converting a customer.
But how do you do it? Doesn’t live-chat software still suck? Isn’t it outdated?
Actually, it’s become the exact opposite.
Gone are the days of sitting on an outdated live-chat platform, waiting for help, only to receive a message asking you to call them or visit their FAQs.
Thankfully for marketers, there has been a huge shift in how we use live chat today.
It’s actually becoming one of the best ways to nurture customers and drive sales fast.
Nobody appreciates waiting on hold for 15 minutes or sitting by their email to get a response days later.
And you don’t want to risk losing conversions with those outdated methods of operation, either.
Responding faster is guaranteed to provide a better user experience and it will likely lead to increases in conversions.
Consumers expect instant responses.
They help you respond with bots even when you aren’t able to yourself.
On top of that, they’re critical for overcoming objections to your product or service.
Forms are slowly fading out, and live chat is swiftly replacing it.
Live chat should be one of the best tools you implement on your website today.
How has a live-chat system impacted your sales?