What is Live Chat? Everything you Need to Know

Posted by - Tom Allen on the 16th September 2020

What is Live Chat?

 

You may never have heard the term ‘live chat’ before, or maybe you have but you’re wondering what on earth it is, or perhaps you’d like to know how it works and if there are any benefits to having a live chat function on your company website.

Often, this handy tool is described in an overly complicated way but, in short, live chat allows visitors to your website, in other words potential customers, to communicate with customer service representatives via a real-time chat box within the internet browser.

You can expect the communication channels integration box to look similar to that which pops up on this website. Take a look at the image below as an example…

                                                                          EXAMPLE:

 

Example of live chat on site | Credit: lupe technology

All interaction with a live chat feature is carried out online, making it an all-virtual experience and,  therefore, removing the need to call or email. For most people, this is the most convenient form of communication; allowing you to break down barriers between your company and potential customers. 

It’s a real-time, almost instant interaction without having to click through to another channel of communication, at least until the person needs to speak on the phone with an advisor, or member of the sales or customer service team.


At Cymphony, we always want to make sure you’re armed with the latest information and insight to help you make the right decision for your business, which is why we’ve gone into depth here on what live chat is and how it can help more people to engage with your business. It’s an important tool that can lead to the growth of your customer base and improve efficiency when it comes to problem solving and maintaining existing client relationships.

If you’d like to find out how a tailored live chat service could help your business, please contact an experienced member of the Cymphony team today.

How Does Live Chat Work?

Small business owners are less likely to invest in a live chat service, however, there are packages available to suit any size enterprise and it can have the added benefit of making your small business look bigger. Even larger business owners are sometimes hesitant to purchase a subscription to live chat software, as it advertised in such an overcomplicated way, using so much technical jargon that even I lose interest. In reality, every business can benefit from this service

In simple terms, live chat is made possible through software that is put into your website. This might sound complicated, however, it’s actually a really straightforward process that even beginners could master, and only take a few minutes. If you have a web team it will be even easier. 

There are a variety of different kinds of live chat services to choose from, each with their own unique set of functions. Which to choose depends on the level of help you’d like to offer your customers while they’re using your website.

You can have automated live chat services, otherwise known as ‘bots’, which make use of pre-loaded scripts and AI (artificial intelligence) to hold a conversation and direct customers to the right information. Alternatively, you can use a live chat service with real people at the other end, answering customer questions in greater and more tailored detail.

99 Firms highlighted that 70% of consumers prefer human agents to AI technologies. This doesn’t  surprise me as with AI you lose that personal touch and many customers end up feeling frustrated at not being able to communicate as directly as they could with a real person and therefore not being able to access the information they need. Many even end up leaving the site.

 

Step by Step Example…

 

Step 1: A person visits your website, your managed live chat system recognises this and up pops a dialogue screen with a welcome message of your choice.

 

Step 2: If your website visitor has a question about your products or services they will be able to write their question in the text box.

 

Step 3: Your managed live chat representative will then receive the message and respond in real-time to the query the website visitor has written.

 

Step 4: From here, your website visitor and company representative will be able to have a conversation regarding the query.

 

Step 5: Your company representative will be able to choose the next best step for your website visitor, whether that’s sending them an email containing a useful link, or taking the website visitor’s details and putting them in contact with a member of the relevant team, i.e. sales.

 

Of course, we will do our best to ensure smooth and effective communication, however, how a conversation plays out will depend on what your business sells, how complicated your service is, how niche your business sector is, and the countries your business operates in.

How Do I Install Live Chat?

Whether you decide to use Cymphony’s managed live chat service or that of another provider, it’s always important to make sure you’ve given clear instructions on how to install the software into your website. You shouldn’t be left to figure it out yourself. 

  

The way that live chat is installed is through a code that is inputted into your website, which then registers the software. You will get the code from your live chat provider and at Cymphony we always make sure we’re available to help you install it to your site.

You can expect live chat to work almost instantly once it’s installed in your website. In nearly every case it’s a simple process and you do not need to be technically minded in order to be able to have live chat fully operational on your website.

From this point, you will be able to start engaging with your website visitors and increase the level of business coming through your site. If you choose Cymphony you can also choose to have your live chat service available 24/7, so no matter what time of day it is your website visitors can always have a one on one conversation and access the information they need. 

You may be wondering ‘how will my customers know that my website has live chat installed?’. Usually, the live chat box will pop-up when someone enters your site, and it is usually shown by a tab at the bottom of the web page.

Why Should I Invest in Live Chat?

In short, this communication tool gives you an additional and very efficient channel of communication for your new website visitors and existing customers to chat with customer representatives.

Your customers and website visitors may not be too keen on telephone calls or emails, may be unable to communicate during normal working hours, or may like to have their query solved in a non-intrusive way that allows them to also spend time with family.

It has been proven that customers and website visitors now prefer businesses to have live chat installed on their websites, with Econsultancy finding that 79% of customers prefer live chats because they offer instant responses compared to other communication channels. Further to this, a report by Emarketer highlighted that 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. Need we say more?

This tool can be used by any kind of business, for example, it can help prospective retail customers with their buying decision or current IT customers who need support with a product or service they have already bought.

Many businesses have started to offer live chat support and the pressure to install it is only increasing with 99 Firms finding that live chat has a consumer satisfaction rating of 92%. But live chat support systems are not only suitable for large international businesses, they are also suitable for small local businesses.

To get an even better insight into the pros and cons of live chat, you can read our article titled ‘why your business needs to use live chat‘ which goes into detail on how it can improve your businesses sales and enhance customer service, amongst other benefits. 

Do you need live chat for your business?

Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, you should have an idea of how live chat can help your business and you may be able to have a good answer to the question ‘what is live chat?’. This could come in handy when you’re asked about it in the future or when you need to justify the spend to your team.

It is highly likely that at least one of the benefits above will resonate with you no matter what sector, industry, or niche your business operates in. If you would like to know how live chat can help your business specifically, you can contact a trained member of the Cymphony team who will be able to answer as many questions as you’d like.