Live chat and chatbots are increasingly popular. Both businesses and consumers prefer to communicate via chat. Organizations hope to increase sales and loyalty, while potential buyers hope to find out everything they need immediately. And there is no shortage of stats pointing to the growing momentum of this shift. (Stats like these, from ICMI.)
Chat, as with anything else, has correct and incorrect uses. This resource is a guide toward increasing revenue and customer loyalty through sales chat and chatbots.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
People who come to your site and start a chat expect to see you typing right away. Without the immediate satisfaction of getting an answer, visitors may leave and never come back. This means that a monitored chat is vital for success.
Having chat-ready agents is especially important if you have an active ad campaign. You’re driving traffic and live chat catches more leads as that traffic flows through.
Being available is a huge step toward quickly building trust and potentially making the sale. But it won’t help if the person representing your company can’t:
Most organizations aren’t staffed 24/7 and have set hours. This is especially true for small and local businesses. That said, chatbots make round-the-clock customer interactions a viable possibility for everyone. Creating a highly-custom bot is easier than ever, helps in the sales process, and in some cases, is free to use.
In the world we live in today, there are no off hours. Your business may close at 5 p.m. local time, but 10 p.m. may be the time that makes sense for your potential clients to browse your website. For example, it is important for franchises to take advantage of every opportunity they can get. Franchise owners can use our franchise answering service to capture quality leads outside of their regular business hours.
While you can’t logistically keep someone available during those hours, you still want to have an option for serving those potential leads who are operating on a different schedule.
In most cases, someone initiates a chat when they have a question about the company, products or services. If your reps simply answer, it’s a missed opportunity.
A basic policy to adopt?
When a question is answered, another is asked. And the question asked should not be, “Is there something else I can help you with?”
Here are some sample questions to augment for your own use:
The most important questions are follow-ups. If someone answers your question, don’t stop— dig deeper.
Key Tip: Follow-up questions are the best way to build a relationship, find the real reason for their search and get the deal closed.
Finally, while questions are great, you also need to provide direction to your prospects. In every scenario think, “What’s the next action we want them to take?” With this in mind, you can always have their answers leading toward a relevant call to action.
The truth is, most of the traffic to your site will not start a chat with you. However, many more of them will continue a conversation, if you start it. This is done via chat prompts. Chat prompts are simple, preconceived messages triggered based on the criteria you set.
For more complex and higher-priced goods, closing a sale isn’t likely during a live chat (although not impossible). In these cases, have specific places to take the conversation to the next level.
For those who have complex or higher-priced items, a chatbot won’t likely be the best closer on your sales team. However, bots do help visitors “self-learn” about those complex products and services. Doing this is achieved with a bot containing all of the information about a feature, product or service.
Example: A law office, specializing in consumer law, has a chatbot on its “fair debt collection” service page. The bot may start with options like:
Of course, this is the first level of information. Each of the options should have an answer and a follow-up list to continue the conversation. For instance, a visitor clicks “Getting calls from a collector at work” and the bot gives a few more options including:
If you’d like to map out what your chatbot would say, create a diagram to show how questions flow. Here’s a sample diagram based on our example:
There is an in-between use for chatbots. A solution that combines sales and information to advance a sale toward the purchase. If you noticed, the legal example actually uses this type of bot.
By giving a visitor valuable information, it builds both trust and satisfaction with a potential client. And by asking for the consultation, the sales process is advanced. Of course, it’s a fairly soft “close” for a sales situation. Other versions of this bot include:
We’re at a crossroads in time when consumers desire this type of interaction online and when many businesses still don’t offer live chat or chatbot options. It’s clear that using chat for sales benefits businesses tremendously. Plus, it’s not difficult to start providing chat options on your own site — gaining a serious competitive advantage.
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