live chat receptionist answering live chat messages
live chat receptionist answering live chat messages

What is Live Chat? And Why Small Businesses Are Using It

Last updated: September 15, 2021

In today’s world, customers who need support, want to speak to someone immediately. Yes, emails are an option, but responses typically take too long. Then there are phone calls, which are an excellent strategy, but they do not always work across varying time zones. What about self-service options?  Well, they just lack the personalization that us humans crave.

So, what’s the alternative?

A live chat service: Easy-to-use and available in real-time, this has become the most popular way for customers and small businesses to communicate.

I guarantee it’ll support converting more website visitors into leads and customers. Here’s why, plus how to get started.

What Is Live Chat?

It’s an online communication app that allows website visitors to connect in real-time via messaging, showcasing the power of just being there.

Customers are often the ones who initiate conversations, seeking customer service or technical support. This is what’s known as being reactive, much like waiting for consumers to approach in-store staff. You wait for a customer to reach out and then respond. However, live chat is also used to interact with first-time visitors or returning customers. This is more of a proactive approach, similar to a sales assistant in a physical store. A combination of both approaches will support your reputation while driving higher conversion rates.

Offering this service allows small businesses to invest in future growth, benefiting from higher retention rates and sales, as well as stronger customer relationships. Whether your goal is to boost lead generation or improve customer support, implementing live chat is an all-in-one solution.

How Does Live Chat Work?

With a live chat service, there is no need for website users to download or install any software. Instead, it is an integrated part of your website. Live chat apps on a website typically look like small widget pops-up in the bottom right-hand corner. This pop-up box usually makes a sound, notifying the user that support is available, and is customized to resemble the brand of the business’ website. A user can then click on the chatbox to begin a conversation.

Depending on the app, users can type text, attach files, or even send emojis. This allows nearly complete flexibility for the user to explain their problem or address their confusion, so nothing is misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Lastly, on the backend of your website, you are able to access the live chat service’s data and features. Data is displayed on analytics dashboards that provide the ability to track customer behavior in a legal and confidential manner. This allows you to understand what users are asking so you can have more personalized and engaging conversations, resulting in more leads and pipeline created. Additionally, you have the option to create automated questions and answers, so you only spend time on users that truly need attention.

Why Small Businesses Are Using Live Chat

More and more small businesses are beginning to see that users want effective assistance immediately. If you miss the opportunity to support or do business with them, they may be gone just as quick as they came. After all, your competitors are just one click away.

Here are some reasons small businesses are using live chat service (and why you should too). I assure you it doesn’t take much to get started, and the ROI almost seems too good to be true.

 

To achieve a higher page rank

Without website traffic, it’s tough to get leads, which is why you need to remain mindful of your ranking. The higher you rank, the easier it is for web browsers to find your site. Considering that 68 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, and over 71 percent of all clicks are on page one of Google, you need to make page ranking a top priority — and live chat can help.

By keeping visitors on your website longer, it increases dwell time, which plays a role in how search engines determine page rank.

 

To turn leads into customers

Once you have leads, you’ll want to convert those leads into customers. Engagement is key here.

By taking a proactive approach via live chat, you’re connecting with potential customers and building a foundation of trust. By supporting and caring for them, they’ll be more willing to support your business. You’ll also have more opportunities to upsell by offering a complimentary product or service within the conversation. Discount codes are a great strategy for this.

 

To improve conversion rates

Users want guidance with transactions, whether that’s a product purchase or a lead form. Unlike a physical store, you can’t be there to answer questions directly.

Live chat services allow you to support indecisive users during their buying journey. By answering questions in the middle of an online action, you can improve conversion rates. When consumers are more confident in their decision, they’re more likely to buy.

 

To create a competitive advantage

Although highly beneficial for small businesses, many do not invest in live chat services.

This gives you the chance to stand out in a competitive market. Not only will you improve the customer experience, but you’ll also collect data that will help you improve your customer service. You can also use your database of contacts for future marketing campaigns.

Related: Why Web Chat Services are a Good Idea

Reach New Heights with Live Chat

There have been multiple studies and surveys conducted on this topic, showing that over 42 percent of people prefer live chat to solve issues and answer their questions during an online experience. More importantly, 60 percent of users would return to a site that offers live chat.

Other benefits include:

  • Fast response times, which helps drive sales
  • An instant and continuous way to communicate, strengthening the relationships you have with consumers
  • Unlike phone calls, live chat allows for greater context via rich media files
  • Being an affordable solution that does not require any heavy IT work, live chat is perfect for small businesses
  • Greater customer engagement, allowing you to collect content information and build lists to stay connected with consumers

Regardless of your industry, live chat is incredibly valuable for any small business. Whether your goal is to capture leads or reduce cart abandonment, live chat can help your small business reach new heights.

Written by

Hope Holland

Hope Holland

Hope joined Abby Connect in 2016 as a receptionist. She now leads the Sales Team in their efforts to help small businesses with their communication needs. Hope has always valued the customer experience and understands how crucial it is for businesses that want to succeed. With this mission, she strives to help businesses connect with their clients and improve the experience their business offers.