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Ditch the Phone: Why Adding Live Chat to Your Site Just Makes Sense Here are five key reasons your business will increase productivity and profitability with live chat on your website.

By Rachel Perlmutter

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Millennials these days… they prefer texting over calling. They prefer messaging apps over voicemail. But I'll bet you that they aren't the only generation making the switch to text.

Not too long ago, web experts suggested -- no, required -- that a business has their phone number visible to site visitors, so that customers who needed an answer fast could get a hold of you or your staff. But in the age of multitasking, people now are willing to sacrifice a little bit of urgency for convenience.

Maybe you've already tried this. If you're like me, you're online banking and wire transfers with your bank and you have frequent questions. Using their online chat system, I'm able to take my time chatting with a representative while handling other important issues on the phone.

There are many other reasons why someone would prefer to message you rather than call you. And, there may be reasons why someone like you would want to add live chat to your business's website.

1. Website visitors who chat may purchase more.

In a report published by Bold360, they found that people who engaged with a site via live chat were 4.5 times more valuable than visitors who did not chat. This means that you or your staff could easily focus on those engaged visitors and get them to buy more. This is basically a reflection of the Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 rule) in customer service.

2. Website visitors who chat leave more satisfied.

In addition to converting at a higher rate, customers who utilize your live chat system may also develop a better sentiment with your company. According to eDigitalResearch, a global intelligence firm, users had a higher sense of satisfaction after chatting with a company representative on the site, compared to phone and email contact.

3. You could free your staff up to do other tasks.

In my scenario above, I was free to do other things while I was waiting for a bank representative to take care of my issue. The same holds true for staff. Many live chat services have notification settings where it can alert your staff when a message comes in, so that you're not waiting around looking at your computer. In between messages, staff could complete other tasks while waiting for the next customer.

4. You could provide a better response to customers.

Have you ever been asked a question you didn't have an immediate response to? For many new or junior staff who answer questions over the phone, panic may set in and a wrong answer may be given. A live chat software could help your team provide more consistent service across the board. Most software will allow you to create libraries of canned responses so you know your staff is delivering the most preferred lines. Also, for the more complex answers that require a more thought-out response, there's no need to awkwardly place the customer on hold. Your staff could simply ping their manager or you for the answer, or they could chat with colleagues in person while writing out their response to the customer.

Bonus: Some live chat software include features like canned responses that could potentially help you increase sales. For example, a canned response could provide messages that may guide the customer to purchase more from your business. For instance, if you're an online fashion retailer and a customer reaches out to you about a return policy for something they've accidentally torn, your staff could offer to sell them a convenient sewing kit that matches the color of their garment.

5. You're providing more contact options to people who can't call.

Since wifi is almost everywhere these days, some people have better data than they do cell service, so they might prefer to converse online. Some people may be working at a busy and loud coffee shop, so they may not want to chat on the phone. Maybe there's a language barrier between you and the potential customer, and they may feel it would be easier to type out their concerns rather than speak. Or, it could be that today's society simply does not like talking on the phone.

There is a variety of live chat software available, ranging dramatically in cost and features. Some popular ones are Olark, LiveChat, Zendesk, Intercom, and many more.

Of course, you will want to work with a web developer that can help you implement the software on your site and overall sales process. They may also have more insight into which software might benefit your specific business the most.
Rachel Perlmutter

Co-Founder at The Art of Online Marketing

Rachel Perlmutter is a digital strategy consultant, coach and partner at The Art of Online Marketing, an agency based in Southern California specializing in online reputation management, websites, SEO/SEM, and social media marketing. Rachel has 15 years of experience consulting to various business clients.

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