Is live chat software worth the money?

19 June, 2020

20 mins read


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Live chat software is not new by any means, with a reported 41% of consumers now expecting businesses to have a chat function available on their website. When you compare this with the 79% of businesses who say live chat has increased sales and customer loyalty, you would think everyone has it! However, it’s simply not the case.

The good news is, if your competitors are in the odd 17% of businesses not using live chat on their website, you’re going to want to read what we have to say. Actually, even if your competitors do have a chat function available, you’re going to want to read this.

In this article, you’re going to find the top benefits of website chat software, answers to your questions (like how web chat works) and some of the top providers in Australia. Essentially, by the end, you’re going to know if live chat software is worth the money for your business.

[Feature image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash]

11 Top Benefits of Live Chat Software

1. Talk to customers via their most preferred method.

Consumer data shows 79% of people prefer live chat over any other form of contact method. Further data from 2014 also shows 49% of people have made a purchase as a result of a live chat experience.

Why do people like live chat software so much? 

  • It’s convenient.
  • People know their enquiry will be sorted quickly.
  • Users can multitask.
  • For the phone-anxious, it means not having to verbally talk.

What’s interesting is, research from Kayako shows 42% of businesses believe consumers prefer phone over live chat or email. So, does this mean these businesses are wrong, or right, but only for their business? 

When deciding if chat software is right for your business, consider your website traffic numbers, as well the number of emails and social media messages you receive. If you’re receiving decent traffic and you have a high email volume, it’s probably right for you.

2. Access new critical user information.

Most live chat software providers will allow you to download chat logs. The data from these logs will help you optimise your website, customer experience and overall business, decreasing pain points and increasing profits.

For example, you may notice the majority of your online chat conversations are instigated after hours, between the hours of 7:00pm and 9:00pm. As a result, you may decide to create a late shift for your customer support staff. Or, you may notice people are paying for their accounts more via online chat, causing you to look into online payment via a user management system.  

One of the most important statistics you’ll want to look for is your chat drop off rate. Is there a particular question your customer support is asking leading to a high drop off? Are your users waiting too long for a response? By fixing the common denominators, you can help increase your conversion rate. Speaking of…

3. Increase your sales, with proper optimisation.

Does live chat software actually increase sales? This is the question you’re actually here for, and the answer is yes. An article by Acquire reveals an average of 30% of conversions can be attributed to a live chat experience. Who can laugh at 30% more sales?

Like anything, your live chat software will only be as successful as its setup. Provide a poor user experience and you may as well not have bought the software at all. So, here are a few tips.

How to Optimise Your Website Live Chat for Sales

  • Use natural language like you would a phone conversation.
  • Ensure a live chat is responded to within 10 minutes or less.
  • Utilise your analytics to optimise your chat user experience.
  • Find live chat software with a high user experience rating.

4. Start conversations instead of waiting for them.

One of the best parts you’ll find about live chat  is how you can be the one to start the conversation with your website users — also known as proactive chat. For instance, you could program for your live chat box to pop up with a, “May I help you find something?” message after a user has been browsing for 2 minutes.

It’s a similar concept to having store members approach shoppers. A person who is shy or too busy looking may not readily approach a shop assistant, but if they’re approached first, they’ll reciprocate the conversation. 

As mentioned in how to optimise live chat software, you’ll want to use natural, helpful language with your user. You’ll see many bots say, “I’m here if you need me,” or a simple, “Hi, I’m Gary!” But don’t do this. Ask if you can help them find what they’re looking for or if they need a quote. You can always switch your messaging later down the track.

5. Solve user problems and enquiries fast.

Yes, live chat users really do expect a response within 10 minutes or less. In comparison to social media and email, most consumers are looking for a response within 24 hours. However, what this means is, if someone is looking for a solution, and fast, and you don’t have live chat or the processes to answer quickly, they’re going to move onto a competitor — but more about that later.

How to Improve Your Live Chat Response Times

  • Analyse your chat’s history to ensure you have enough staff online to meet chat volume.
  • Ensure your staff are utilising online and away statuses correctly.
  • Create a document for your sales team or support staff to ensure they have the information, common responses and process guidelines readily available.
  • Outline introductory questions (name, email, etc.) to ask users before they go into the chat with a real time support person.

6. Boost staff efficiency.

CSM reports the average business using live chat experiences a 28.4% efficiency increase in their customer experience (CX) teams. This is mainly due to:

  • Experienced customer service operators being able to manage 4 to 6 customer conversations at once.
  • Being able to handle enquiries quicker with pre-set responses.
  • Having the ability to ask for support for an enquiry while still conversing with the customer.

With the option of live chat being available, more of what would have once been calls or emails will be able to be handled faster and more efficiently. This alone makes live chat software worth the money — but wait, there’s more.

7. Amplify your customer experience.

As well as all other other benefits already highlighted in this article, one of the key pros of using a chatbot provider is being able to operate 24/7 in some capacity. All providers we know of allow you to program an ‘out of office’ message. If you do this cleverly, people won’t even know they’re not speaking to a real person.

For example, a received message after the hours of 6:00pm may trigger the response of:

“Hi there, we’re unable to answer your enquiry, but we will have one of our specialists contact you as soon as possible.”

In the morning, your customer support team can respond to the messages.

8. Improve your website’s user experience.

Imagine a user on your website is looking for a particular product or service, but can’t find it. Normally they would leave your website, but they just so happen to see your live chat conversation starter seeing if you need help finding something. Your team sends them a link and they make a sale. Do we need to say more? 

Okay, maybe we do. Sometimes a website is tricky to use at fault of the design, an error or the user isn’t technologically adept themselves. A live chat is simply a backup of assistance for whatever they may need.

9. Increase user time spent on your website.

There are two key reasons you want people to spend more time on your website:

  1. The longer they are on your website, the more likely they are to purchase or enquire.
  2. When Google sees people spend a decent amount of time on your website, they assume your website is good. This may help with your search engine optimisation.

How does a simple chat box do this? While people are talking to your live chat agents, they’re still on your website. The chances are, they’re continuing to search around while they wait for a response too, increasing the likelihood of lead generation.

10. Snag sales from your competitors.

Let’s be honest, being able to steal a sale from your competitor is one of the leading reasons live chat software is worth the money. As mentioned earlier, there is still a large portion of businesses not using a chatbot application to stay connected with customers, which means they’re not getting any of these benefits.

By having a chat feature on your website, you’re ensuring your website visitors can easily and quickly contact you and get a solution. This ease of service may in fact be a deciding factor on who they choose, especially if it’s their favourite form of interacting with businesses.

11. Support your digital marketing.

When someone clicks on one of your social media posts or ads anywhere online, they’re already interested in what you do. Ideally, your various digital marketing campaigns should be connecting to a landing page, which should have your live chat virtual assistant available for people to talk to and engage with.

As we know from the other reasons live chat is worth the money, people having quick and easy access to someone within your business is only ever a good thing.

Live Chat Software Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get live chat on my website?

Every live chat software provider will be different, however, the standard process involves:

  1. Decide on and purchase live chat software.
  2. Organise the details, like automated questions, responses, etc.
  3. Add the chat code to a custom module to your website backend.
  4. QA (test) your software.

How much does live chat software cost?

$19 per user seems to be the general starting point for many live chat providers, but it depends on the service and features. Many companies will offer a free trial, which if they do, we highly recommend taking to get a taste for how it could work for your business.

Is live chat a real person?

Live chat can be a real person, but some can be setup to be automated. It’s always a good idea to have a real person behind the conversations during peak hours, using automated responses for out-of-hours enquiries. 

There are two types of automated chatbots — scripted and machine learning. Scripted live chats allow you to set certain words or phrases to trigger a response, while machine learning options allow the software to optimise over time and develop natural language processing.

The good news is, from experience, most people aren’t aware they’re speaking to pre-programmed answers, so don’t be concerned it will put people off.

Why is my live chat not producing sales?

If you’re not seeing sales or successful enquiries as a result of a live chat feature, you may not have it optimised. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to analyse your reports to see where you are losing customers or enquiries and optimise from there.

Why is live chat important?

As mentioned above, the key reasons for having live chat include:

  • Increased sales.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
  • Improved staff efficiency.
  • Positive impacts on other digital marketing.

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