3 reasons why live chat is just the thing for your SME


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Your SME is customer-focused. You know all about social media, are available by phone when needed, and reply to customer emails in the blink of an eye. There’s no need to offer a live chat option as well. Or is it?

However speedy you are at email answers, you might never get a chance to prove it. Because even though you might be a whiz at returning emails, most businesses are not: 59% of them take more than 8 hours to respond, and many take even longer. Although it’s unfair, this ultimately means that potential customers are less likely to shoot you an email in the first place: they don’t really expect to get a fast reply, and they know that there’s a reasonable chance that they won’t get a reply at all. Live chat is the way forward, and here are three reasons why.

1. Your competitors are offering live chat.

I know, I know, if everyone else was jumping off a cliff, would you want to do it too? But things are different in the business world. While it’s always a good idea to think for yourself, it’s important not to get left behind the wave of customer expectations. A new survey says that 91% of consumers who have ever used live chat are satisfied with its ability to help them with buying products or services online, resolving issues or answering product questions in a timely fashion. Nearly 70% think that live chat will be used more widely in the future. It sure beats the 61% user satisfaction rate for email.

2. Live chat is the quickest way to respond directly to your online visitors.

When online shopping first became a ‘thing’, retailers and service providers alike rejoiced at the cost savings they expected. No more brick-and-mortar showrooms, no more waiting by the phone, no more expensive sales staff salaries. But it very quickly became obvious that sales staff were going to be the last thing to go.

OK, when buying online you don’t need a shop assistant to pop out the back to see if she has something in your size, but research shows that 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase. A further 45% will abandon an online transaction if they don’t get a fast response to their questions or concerns. If you need to offer any level of service – and who doesn’t? – live chat is the only way to go.

3. Live chat is easy, and online visitors like ‘easy’.

Sad but true: we humans will always go for the easiest option. Most online visitors don’t bother to read. They’re not prepared to go searching around for your email address and even less likely to bother to write you a message once they’ve found it. But that blinking ‘live chat’ button is hard to miss. Live chat makes it easy for people to contact you, and customers like easy.

It also builds trust: offering a real human being to talk to helps to show that you are a real business (not just some fly-by-night front) building your credibility. This also helps to reduce the rate of shopping cart abandonment: more than 1 out of 2 potential customers said that “lack of human interaction” was the reason they didn’t go through with their purchase.

When online visitors have such a fast, simple option available, they are far more likely to go through with an order or get the advice they need. So basically, live chat is simple and easy, has a high success rate, builds credibility, and customers are coming to expect it. I am just saying.


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