The Pros and Cons of Live Chat

January 23, 2013

Live chat gives your business the chance to interact and engage with customers online, in ways you only used to be able to do offline when they called over the phone or appeared at your door.

Chatting with your site visitors allows you to talk to them in real-time, adding dimension to your business and giving customers a real person with whom to connect, all of which has the power to increase conversion. But while live chat has the potential to personalize to your business’ online presence and do a great deal of good, there are a few things to keep in mind that might make live chat more of a problem then a solution.

The PROS:

  • Give quicker and more competent answers than through email.
  • Get the chance to engage and impress site visitors.
  • Being there to answer customer questions also means you have the opportunity to present yourself as the authority on you products and services, but more importantly, within the industry.
  • Get real feedback from customers.
  • Keep visitors on your site longer. Live chat allows you to hold visitor interest, giving them more time to convert.
  • Proactive Chat allows you to invite site visitors to chat, and offer customers the help they might need. By helping them find the products they’re after and the services they’re searching for, you can streamline their search process  increase sales.
  • Provides a positive user experience that customers will want to share with others—giving your business happy customers who’ll help you generate new leads

The CONS:

  • Failure to respond promptly or appropriately can lead to customers leaving feeling unnecessarily frustrated and can tarnish what would have otherwise been a positive user-experience with your site—always answer quickly and courteously, and don’t let outside interruptions stop you from responding in a timely fashion.
  • Some visitors don’t want to engage in live chat and proactive chats can be more bothersome than beneficial to them. Make sure the invitation to chat is subtle and unobtrusive, not annoying or cumbersome.
  • Some live chat invitations might invite individuals to “Prank Chat” with your representatives. If this happens, especially if it happens repeatedly, it can cause a great deal of frustration. To reduce the risk of prank chats, you can insist visitors provide their email address before a chat begins or block the person if it happens repeatedly.

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