15 September 2015
How UK businesses are generating more leads in 2015 using live chat software
How live chat software has helped UK businesses generate more leads in 2015. The facts & figures live chat companies don’t make public about chat buttons and chat windows.
In 2015 up till now, roughly, less than 30% of businesses have adopted live chat not just to serve their customers and clients in the hour of need (providing support and solving technical problems), but also to generate leads and sales by proactively reaching out to their visitors and striking up engaging conversations with them. This is 2% better than in the same period in 2014.
Merely 20 to 30% businesses in the UK use live chat software as a preferred method of communication compared to 70% in the US. The number of businesses in the UK using live chat in order to generate business leads is even lower, and this is when more than 80% people have a positive perception of websites that display a live chat button at a prominent location. A Forrester study has revealed that 44% of respondents of a survey have said that having a live person answering their questions has a big impact on their decision whether they are going to do business with that particular website or not. In fact 83% people require some sort of live help while trying to make an online transaction. Even when they don't intend to buy immediately, they need some sort of assistance to know exactly what sort of deal they can get from the website. These people are your leads.
A simple chat button generates leads
Lead generation using live chat is a double-edged sword. It can bring you more business, and it can also send people away. It depends on what sort of live chat application (for instance, deciding whether you would opt for Click4Assistance as a company for your live chat solution or another live chat provider) you decide to use for your business and what level of efficiency it brings to your business when you mix automation with human involvement.
Take for instance automatically inviting people to have a chat with you when they come to your website. It is a great feature. You can create custom welcome messages. In fact you can also tailor the messages according to the demography you are targeting (Bonjour! to the French, Howdy! to the Americans and Good Morning! to the British, for example). But some retailers have discovered that rather than bringing in more business, their chat invites were sending people away because of the annoyance caused by the sudden invitation. There was no way to customise the welcome chat window and in many cases it would take up the entire screen, totally blocking the view of the website or stopping people from doing what they intended. This is why it is very critical that you go for a live chat application that gives you full control and allows you to customise the interface in line with the needs of your customers, providing them with a visitor experience they will enjoy.
As a marketing head do you intend to increase your sales or provide support using live chat?
Not every business website, at least initially, intends to increase sales using live chat. They may simply want to provide support to their existing customer base because providing support using conventional methods such as telephone and email can prove to be quite costly as well as inefficient. The issue lies in the fundamental way telephone and email work. The communication process is linear. At any one time you can only attend to just one phone call, in the same way you can reply to just one email. Obviously, you can increase this phone calls and email volume by employing more staff but this is going to increase your cost but not necessarily the level of efficiency.
A typical live chat program on the other hand allows you to carry out an unlimited number of chat conversations with your existing customers and clients. So without increasing your staff you can increase your ability to serve more customers and clients and solve their problems efficiently as well as quickly. Consequently, a major chunk of our live chat customers are those businesses who haven't yet realised the potential of our live chat application to become an integral part of their lead generation engine – they focus on solving their customer's issues in as seamless manner as possible without putting extra burden on the existing staff and without having to employ additional staff. This is like sitting on a goldmine and not knowing it. The real power of live chat lies in its ability to help you generate more leads and increase your sales to unprecedented levels. You just need to accept that you intend to generate high quality leads from live chat and in what manner you are going to use your live chat application to accomplish that.
Thinking of generating leads using live chat software?
According to a 2011 Internet marketing survey on an average, a customer visits 10.4 websites before making a purchase. In 2010 the figure was 5.27 so you can see that in just a single year, it's almost a 100% jump. There might be many reasons. Undoubtedly there are more websites to choose from. Hence there is this problem of plenty – the more choices you have the greater is the ambiguity. There is this constant fear of losing out on the best deals available on another website. People keep on hopping from one website to another eventually losing track from where they would like to purchase and even when finally they make the purchase, it is a random decision rather than a decision based on awareness and education.
Lead generation with live chat eliminates this atmosphere of randomness and allows you to impart awareness among your target customers and clients so that they can make an educated decision regarding purchasing from you. By communicating with the client at these very early stages help you build strong relationships from the start; they now know exactly which website to visit in the future when they have questions to ask.
Education and awareness comes through a barrier of communication and free communication on the Internet means an ability to interact with you without delay and hindrances. The conversations that take place through live chat happen in real-time – people ask you questions and you give them answers instantly. Even if they don't purchase from you immediately, they supply enough information to you so that you can reach out to them when you have got the most appropriate offer for them. These are the hot leads for you – people who may not want to buy right now but someday they will.
Proactive and reactive chat
In order to generate leads using live chat software, there are two methods that can achieve this; via proactive chat and reactive chat.
Proactive chat means taking your own initiative and inviting people to chat with you while they are on your website. You can invite them by creating a welcome message using your live chat interface; this invitation can be configured to appear at a particular interval or certain area within the website.
This is where the question of the “double-edged” sword arises. Unless you do some experimentation, there is no way of finding out exactly how your visitors react when they are presented with an invitation. You may end up annoying some and you may end up attracting some to having a conversation with you. There are many factors which determine whether invitation are accepted, the personas of the person, their current mind-set, which point they are at the buying cycle, you can only learn these aspects by trying out various combinations and monitoring the results.
As you learn and analyse the results, you can specify exactly when you would like to invite someone to have a chat with you in order to generate a lead or even a possible sale. Using our live chat software you can control practically every aspect of how chat invitations are triggered. We have already mentioned above that you can completely customise the chat invitation according to your audience, but that's not the only aspect of using proactive chat in order to generate leads. You also need to be sensitive and understanding regarding when people are willing to engage with you and when they are not. For example, not everyone would like to be interrupted while he or she is going through technical information on your website, or going through your inventory. Sometimes people want to be left alone. So you need to know exactly when your live chat application should trigger a chat invitation window for maximum traction.
There are also particular sections on your website where you can invite them to have a chat with you. For example, if someone is going through your inventory or online catalogue you can display a small window without obstructing the view to just let the person know that in case he or she needs to talk to someone your chat agent is just a click away.
Reactive chat is when you initiate a chat conversation after a person has himself or herself clicked the chat button. This is known to be one of the hottest lead generation opportunities because the person has taken his or her own initiative and is seeking you out. In order for reactive chat to happen you just need to place your chat icon or chat button at prominent location so that nobody misses it.
Visitors can be encouraged to reach out to you by strategically placing the chat window or chat button at a convenient location on your website. For example, if you use live chat from Click4Assistance, you have two options for your chat window – embedded and pop-up. Embedded chat window appears at the bottom of the screen and it remains there so that your visitor can go on doing whatever he or she is doing while on your website and also have the chat going with you. With the pop-up window, the window appears in the middle of the screen. What sort of chat window you should choose to maximise the results of reactive chat?
Every website needs to experiment with this. You may get better results with an embedded window if there is lots of material on your website and access to that material will be hindered if you use a pop-up website. The problem with the embedded window is that it is dependent upon the person always remaining on your website whereas this is not the case with a pop-up window because it appears in a different, dedicated browser window. A pop-up chat window can be shifted to a different location. A good thing about a pop-up window is that the chat can go on even when the person goes to another website (although the entire purpose of having the chat is to keep the person from going to another website until he or she has purchased from you).
When it comes to having a chat button on your website (after all people can only reach out to you if they click the chat button) you have two choices with the live chat application from Click4Assistance: embedded chat button and "sticky" chat button. In the case of the button, an embedded chat button means the button appears within the material of the page and as the person scrolls up and down, the embedded chat button can easily scroll away from the vision of the visitor and the visitor may miss out on having the chat conversation with you. The sticky chat button on the other hand, remains fixed at a place – most probably in the right-bottom corner – and no matter how much scrolling happens, the chat button remains visible.
You can decide on which page the chat button appears but it is advised that you have the chat button on every page of your website so that if your visitor needs to reach out to you, he or she can do so from any page rather than having to figure out exactly on which page he or she noticed the chat button.
Generating leads with your live chat even when you are off-line
In order to be able to have a conversation with you your visitor needs to enter some basic details (although the number of people finally having the chat with you may go down if you increase the number of details the person needs to enter before he or she can have a chat with you). For example, before someone can have a chat with you, he or she needs to enter:
- Email ID
- Login details (if available)
- Language preference
- The question he or she may have
As mentioned above within the brackets, you need to keep these bits of information to the minimum so that the person who desires to have a chat with you can do so with minimum hassle. In fact, our real time chat application can be integrated with your social networking platforms so that people can use their Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + login credentials to chat with you. But don't worry, a cornucopia of details can be gathered even when people use their social networking credentials to chat with you. But this is when you are online and available to chat. What if you are not? What if you are off-line?
Even when you're off-line you can generate qualified leads by using the form builder that comes with our live chat application.
People these days are normally averse to submitting contact forms. They relate contact forms to email communication and they know that email communication often takes a long time to manifest a reply. But the resistance is mitigated when they come across a contact form within a chat window. Once they have clicked the chat button, they are already inclined towards communicating with you and if you're off-line, now that they have already clicked the chat button, they often think that they might as well leave at least some message so that you can get back to them whenever you can. In order to leave the message and in order to make it possible for you to get back to them, they need to leave their contact details and the basic details about the problem or the issue they might be facing. This way the form collects valuable data even when you are off-line and in fact this data can be used to build an invaluable mailing list that will go on generating hot leads for you for a long time to come.
The emerging trends in 2015 show that doing business online is all about building relationships. Companies that invest in live chat hence, get a competitive edge because there is no better way of building relationships than enabling people to have conversations with you in real time – on an average it takes a chat agent just 40 seconds to respond to a chat request. This in itself makes your existing and prospective customers extremely happy. Add to that your ability to provide the answers people are looking for, it's the best of both the words – the technology and the human ability. When they are combined, generating highly qualified leads for your business becomes just a routine exercise for you.