5 Ways Companies Can Use Live Chat To Increase Sales

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A live chat widget is a great way to communicate with website visitors. It offers a natural and convenient way to connect with people using a form of communication that consistently ranks as the most satisfying for customers. And while customer service is likely to be the most familiar form of business live chat for most people, it’s also a great tool that you can use to gather leads and increase sales.

You can add a live chat plugin to your site in just a few minutes in order to begin improving the customer experience you offer your visitors. It works at any scale, whether you’re a solo seller on Shopify wanting to connect personally to your customers or a large B2B service provider with dedicated customer support and sales teams.

No matter the size of your business, here are some of the best ways to use real-time chat to increase conversion and generate more sales on your site.

Live Chat Can Gather and Pre-Qualify Leads

Effective live chat on your site offers always-on lead gathering for your sales team. You can use pre-chat fields in your chat widget to gather contact information as a requirement to start a chat session. You can easily ask discovery questions that lead to more information during a chat as well. Real-time monitoring information can also provide other useful information, such as the referring URL a visitor clicked on to reach your site and location information to see where the visitor is located.

You can also use live chat to pre-qualify leads, as sales development representatives can ask questions to determine the specific interest level (and potential budget) of a visitor. If you offer products and services at different price tiers, this pre-qualifying process can sort site visitors into the right sales channel, and can make sure that they are introduced to the options that are going to be the most appealing to them. Using our site at Formilla as an example, our live chat sales team can highlight different services and packages for a sole proprietor running a WordPress site versus a big business with an international footprint.

Tagging contacts for future follow-up is a breeze while chatting, whether you are applying tags automatically or adding them manually over the course of a conversation with your website visitor. Tagging lets you organize your contacts to easily find what you need later. You can then easily filter contacts that need more communication, or you can seamlessly set up targeted messaging or email campaigns based on the criteria that you gathered while chatting.

Live chat can also be used to send customers to the proper department right away. You can use a chat department feature so that the visitor is routed to the proper agent based on their own selection, or you can route the chat based on the page where the chat begins. Sometimes all it takes to increase sales is connecting the right customer to the right person at your organization.

Sometimes all it takes to increase sales is connecting the right customer to the right person. Click To Tweet

Live Chat Reduces Time to Close 

Adding a live chat plugin to your site is an effective way to increase your visitor-to-lead conversion rate. That metric measures the percentage of website visitors who express clear interest in purchasing a product or service you offer. Live chat makes your site more “friendly” and welcoming, which in turn makes it “stickier” for first-time visitors. If someone visits your site, they arrived there for a reason – and live chat is a great way to figure out that reason and respond accordingly, which in turn will increase sales.

Live chat sales teams can act with the purchase funnel in mind, quickly identifying where in the process a potential customer currently is and what information would be most helpful to advance them towards closing. If a visitor is still at the “Awareness” phase, then a sales development representative working via real-time chat can provide them with information about your company in an engaging, friendly way. If the visitor is expressing “Interest” and making their needs clear to your live chat salesperson, then your representative can quickly guide them towards the right company offering to suit those needs. Product overviews or demonstrations can help cement a customer’s “Desire” to purchase, and finally the sales agent can stay with them through the purchase process to make sure it all goes smoothly.

One of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing is that you normally have to come up with strategies to reach people at all phases of the purchase funnel without knowing where or when prospective customers might encounter your messaging. With on-site live chat, your sales team can be trained to rapidly and effectively identify customer needs and provide the right information at the right time, reducing the overall time it takes to close a sale.

Live Chat Is Fast Support (Which Leads to Fast Sales)

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According to data presented in Forbes, “50% of consumers say that having a live person answer questions in the middle of a purchasing decision is one of the most important features a brand can offer.” The actual purchase process is a critical time, and with so many options available online any pain point that potential customers encounter can be enough to send them to other options. Whether you run an ecommerce site or you’re a B2B service provider, live chat is an effective method to provide quality customer service right where and when it can make a difference.

Having a live chat widget on your website means that customer support is just a mouse click and a message away. You are less likely to lose sales due to customers having to wait for an email response. There is no need to wait on hold for support over the phone either. And an agent assisting over chat can typically help multiple people at the same time rather than handling one call at a time. Agents can even respond from a mobile device if they need to step away from their desk.

Live chat can also be used for proactive offers of assistance in real-time while a visitor is looking at a product. If a given product is being looked at for several minutes, you can reach out with an invite to chat to answer questions or help find similar products. Chat is the perfect method of communication to be present right when the customer is making a purchasing decision, leading to an improved conversion rate.

Finally, live chat can be a highly effective example of “sales through support.” Providing quality service when it’s needed builds customer loyalty, which in turn makes customers more likely to purchase from your company again. And sometimes customers who are seeking support are prime candidates for cross-selling or upselling because their needs are best met with different products or services your company can offer. Identifying this need via live chat can give your sales team a great opportunity to assist a customer and make a sale at the same time.

Cross-Selling and Upselling Opportunities

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Live chat is the perfect venue to take advantage of cross-selling and upselling. The power of “conversational sales” draws upon proven principles of business and techniques developed over decades of sales call experience. Letting your sales team actually build a relationship with your customers through conversation forms a valuable bond that encourages customer loyalty and greater engagement with your products and services.

With a solid CRM platform in place, your live chat agents will usually be able to consult an existing customer’s history in order to know what they’ve previously purchased, in order to drive cross-selling and upselling. And live chats can even be routed directly to the appropriate account executives who know a customer best.

Since it is such a convenient and natural method of communication for visitors, your customers will quite often be chatting while they are considering a purchase. This means you will have ample opportunities to mention other products that are similar or give you the opportunity to offer additional items in real time. You can learn about a customer’s needs through a live chat conversation, and make them aware of products or services that could interest them.

As mentioned above, live chat already is a great venue to proactively offer help right when a visitor is considering a purchase. You can use the live chat platform to easily see what pages or products the visitor has already browsed. Not only does chat provide a way to provide information that might lead to a larger purchase or an option that fits the customer better, but it also lends itself well to helping right when that purchase is being considered.

Live Chat Reduces Cart Abandonment 

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If you’re using the tips provided above, hopefully you’ve provided the assistance needed to guide a visitor into the purchase process. But what happens when a question comes up while the customer is in their shopping cart, getting closer to clicking “Confirm”? If your live tracking tells you that a visitor has moved from the cart or payment page to a different section of your site, or if they have stayed on those “almost ready to purchase” pages for a long time, that might be an indication that they are in danger of abandoning their carts, and in need of further assistance.

Industry data from Forrester tells us that 53% of customers are likely to abandon their purchase if they have a question and can’t get a quick answer. Implementing live chat best practices can help increase sales by converting those who have already come close to the finish line.

You can reach out to a customer who has abandoned their cart later with another communication method, such as email, but the wait time while trying to reach the customer may result in lost sales opportunities. Live chat is the best way to make sure you are on the spot when abandonment does occur. Having a chat widget available means a visitor always has a quick and efficient way to have their questions answered.

Proactive chats are a great way to go here, since you can use automated messages to offer help if a customer has spent an unusual amount of time on the cart page without completing their purchase. Cases where the customer changed their mind due to having questions about a purchase will no longer hurt your conversion rate. You can also offer help proactively anytime a visitor has spent a certain amount of time looking at the same product, to help move them from consideration to cart to final purchase.

Sign up for a free trial of Formilla today and experience the power of live chat for yourself.

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