Last updated January 13th, 2021 at 12:13 pm
Do you use Live Chat?
Let me ask that differently, because there are two sides to the Live Chat story.
- When you’re surfing and shopping online, do you ever / often / usually / rarely / never click the “Live Chat” or “Live Help” button?
- If you own a business and have a Web site (or even if you don’t have a Web site — see below), do you offer Live Chat to your visitors? Have you given it any thought?
(This article is primarily about the second scenario; it’s mainly addressed to you people who own Web sites through which you market and sell products and services. However, as is the case with so many things, the best way to become a quality provider of something is to first be a consumer of it. So, if you’ve avoided using Live Chat as a Web consumer up until now, consider biting the bullet and giving it a shot.)
If you are not using Live Chat on your Web site, you’re missing out on opportunities to convert surfers to customers and to enhance customer engagement.
Think about how many people — especially, but not only, millennials — prefer texting to talking on their smart phones.
Think about how you break out in a cold sweat every time you have to contact the cable company or your wireless carrier, dreading the long holds and the labyrinthal ACD system you have to navigate, only to reach an agent who informs you you’ve reached the wrong department.
And then think about the prospects and customers for your business, and how you’re always looking for ways to grab their attention and trust.
Live Chat is Here to Stay
Live Chat is here to stay, and smart businesses everywhere and in every industry are using it to provide the immediate personal touch that their prospects and customers long for.
But don’t just take my word for it. This article from Kissmetrics sites several studies in making its case for the benefits of Live Chat:
- Live Chat is Convenient for Customers
- Live Chat Cuts Down on Expenses
- Live Chat Increases Sales
- Live Chat Gives You an Edge Over Your Competition
- Live Chat Taps into Customer Pain Points
Typical Pushback for Not Using Live Chat
Before you tell me you don’t have the time or resources or money to do Live Chat with your Web-site visitors, slow down. Relax. Take a breath.
- Offering live chat does not mean you have to be available around the clock.
- You can implement live chat for free — like I did — using Tawk.to software.
Do I have your attention now?
Yes, Tawk.to is free. It can be used on any Web site and integrates with WordPress, BigCommerce, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Opencart, Opencart2, OsCommerce, Prestashop, Shopify, SquareSpace, Weebly, WHMCS, Wix, and Zencart — with more integrations on the way.
Setup is a breeze. You sign up for a free account, configure some settings, and then you do a copy/paste of the necessary code into your Web site. For WordPress, you install and activate the plugin. Done.
With a Tawk.to account, you even get a standalone Live Chat page (mine is https://tawk.to/jeffcohan). Last month, when my son’s iPhone died and we needed to discuss plans for an upcoming family event, we had a lenghty chat, computer-to-computer.
Tawk.to has free Android and iOS apps, so you can monitor visitors and chat with them anywhere you can grab an Internet connection.
Let’s talk about time and resources.
You can be a one-person shop (I am) and still benefit from Live Chat.
Use your Web analytics to identify the days and times when your site gets the most traffic. Then commit to enabling — and manning — your Live Chat system during those peak time windows.
You say you can’t commit to a regular schedule, even just an hour a week? No problem! Turn on Live Chat only when you are available, and hide the widget when you’re not.
Even better (and I’m referring to how Tawk.to works, but I think many other Live Chat systems work the same way), keep the widget enabled when you’re away, and allow people to submit comments and questions through the widget; those messages will be emailed to you and stored in your administrative dashboard for you to respond to.
You say your mother-in-law retired recently and is going stir-crazy? Make her an “agent” in your account, and let her answer your visitors’ questions!
Live Chat should be a no-brainer for many of us. Post a comment below to share your thoughts about Live Chat. Or, if you see my Live Chat widget on the lower right of your screen and I’m online — let’s chat!
PS: Too Good to Be True?
You might be wondering, like I did, how Tawk.to can offer for free what I can only describe as a superior service (their WordPress plugin is rated a perfect 5 stars with 45 ratings at this writing). I asked them — via Live Chat on their Web site, of course. The answer is that they make their money doing outsourced Live Chat as agents for many big companies.
PPS: You Don’t Need a Web Site to Offer Live Chat
I just got off a chat with Michael at Tawk.to. Michael confirms that you can set up a Tawk.to account solely for the purpose of using the standalone Live Chat page that you get with your free account. You could put the link to your Live Chat page in your email signature! Suppose you have a Facebook Page for your enterprise. You could add the link to your standalone Live Chat page there! (Rumor has it that you can even embed your Live Chat page in a tab of your Facebook Page. I’m going to look into that. I’ll get back to you.)
jay maurice says
Thank you and an awesome topic Jeff. LC has been on my mind for a while now and I think what was stopping me isn’t a challenge at all. Look for a direct email with a question about you implementing for me but here’s a question that might help other readers too:
Q. can I set up LC to be monitored by more then one person? If so, what if two people are on at the same time, how is that handled?
Q2. If you have it”turned on” and forget to turn it off, what notification if any can you set up to let a visitor know “no ones home” right now?
Looking forward to your answer
Jeff Cohan says
You can have an unlimited number of “agents” associated with your Live Chat installation. When a visitor initiates a chat, all online agents see that a chat has started (and get an audible notificaiton, if audible notificaitons are enabled). Then it’s just a case of whoever jumps in. More than one agent can jump in on a single chat; who stays and who goes is up to you. You’ll have a “whisper” window in your dashboard for communicating with your agents.
Exactly how the status updates work is something I’m still figuring out, and I’ll probably add a new blog post when I know more. This is complicated by a few factors:
PS: I just learned that the inactivity time-out does not affect the online status that visitors see. You have to manually change your status label (or sign out) to show that you’re away or offline. Here is the knowledgebase article about statuses.
I have been using Live Chat, Support, Sales plugin on WordPress is simply awesome.It has a live support, web analytics and online marketing application.There is Layout customization like client-chat colours, and other coloured features and you can Change the colour of your chat widget. Check it @ https://wordpress.org/plugins/chats/
Jeff Cohan says
Sorry for being so late to the party.
Thanks for the suggestion, Betty. I might be looking to replace Tawk because its “Automated Triggers” aren’t working.
Do you happen to know if the plugin you recommended supports automated triggers? (I’ve posted in their forum and await their response.)
In other words, can I set things up so that (for example) a system-generated message (such as “Please let me know if there’s anything we can help you with”) pops up for visitors who have visited fewer than x times and have been on the site for n seconds or minutes?