08 April 2014
The Power of Free in Live Chat Software
Free is a magic word. Whether in a catalogue, on the TV or in our internet browser, humans are fickle creatures and our eyes are invariably drawn to those special 4 letters. It puts a smile on our face for the whole day as we share with family and friends the tale of our complimentary pen or on-the-house drink. Everybody likes free.
And yet, to the weary e-commerce veterans, the word is looked upon with an eyebrow-raise of suspicion. This is also a perfectly understandable reaction. We exist in a world where companies are leapfrogging one another to offer you their latest and greatest tools, and will use the dirtiest tricks they know to hook you in.
It can therefore come as something of a relief to hear that the ‘free-ness’ of the product is subject to conditions; the opportunity is time-limited, feature restricted or asking for payment details so that you can be charged if you do not cancel before the trial expires. Then there is Freemium; a more modern pricing strategy that believes in offering a basic product free of charge to drive adoption and dependency before demanding payment for fuller functionality.
At Click4Assistance we don’t sully the meaning of free. In the last quarter alone we have introduced automated spell checking, customisable transcripts and extended Unicode support – all free of charge. So how can you capitalise on your customers’ appetites for free?
There is only one thing worse than trying to switch a utility provider, call a helpline or lodge a complaint; and that’s being charged for the privilege of doing so. While 0800 numbers are the norm for larger businesses, it’s not a viable solution for SMBs and for customers who need a free-dial number for their mobile phone.
The modern customer expects a modern solution to their support and enquiry needs. By limiting your channels to phone and e-mail (a fairly standard combination), companies essentially provide two types of communication: expensive real-time and free non real-time.
Although an internet connection isn’t free, many customers classify a business’ instant messaging system as a no-cost way to get in touch. Take advantage of this and market live chat software as a free service while using it to boost customer satisfaction and sales. Not only can SMBs afford live chat software, but smartphones will be able to initiate real-time contact direct through the website.
If customers can’t get free, then nearly-free or somewhat-free is a viable replacement. Strong live chat software will allow you to stipulate rules for when proactive chat windows should appear.
Assuming your live chat software offers integrated analytics you should invest some time studying visitor behaviour. This will help you devise a campaign, like pushing a 20% off voucher on Hotels in Paris if the website visitor is hesitating at the final payment stage.
The software can even be used as an optimisation tool; if visitors are bouncing after 5 minutes it could be that they are being left unmoved by the on-site sales pitch. Queuing a well-worded proactive chat invite to appear after 4 minutes could make all the difference.
Some live chat software providers offer a free trial, which means you can pass on the benefits to your customers. For example, a live chat software trial that takes 10 minutes to implement and gives 14 days of full functionality in return is still two weeks of boosting sales and improving customer communication.
Even if you decide to discontinue the product when the trial expires, you can gain significant benefits during those 14 days. Something for nothing is straightforward maths that both customers and colleagues will be able to appreciate. Think hard about your organisation’s customers, you might be missing an opportunity for live chat software.