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Live Chat Feature On My Website – Good Or Bad?

More and more businesses are using a live chat feature on their website to increase interaction with their site visitors. Question is does this increase sales and actions or does it just increase the work required to manage your business?  Not all industries and websites are suitable for using a live chat feature so how do you know if it’s right for your business?

Firstly, let start with the costs. The actual cost of installing such a feature is very cheap, from £10 per month in some cases for a fully suitable live chat feature. So, the initial set up costs are not the problem. The main cost could be getting someone to staff the live chat, so when people click to chat they get a real person. This could be quite expensive if you have a high traffic website which could mean you have multiple chat requests at the same time.  It can be quite time consuming so if you only have a few staff and one is always manning the live chat you are essentially a staff member down. Although, most live chat features have an alert noise so your PC will beep when someone wants to chat, meaning you don’t have to sit and stare at the PC.

Next issue is knowledge, if you have someone replying to chat requests this can put the potential customer off if they don’t feel confident their question has been answered or the chat operator has simply failed to answer their question completely.  This works the other way of course and knowledgeable staff can turn an interested site visitor into a sale or new business if they show good knowledge of the product and can answer the question whilst being helpful.

There is also the offline alert if you are away from the PC. If a customer always see’s the live chat feature offline it could put them off.  Next issue is when do you man the live chat feature? This all depends on your business. If people are more likely to need what you offer in the evening or weekends then it makes sense to man the live chat then.

A live chat feature can install trust in a site visitor and make you look professional. Potential customers can have their queries answered on the spot. It can also give you an advantage over competitors.  If customers have to send an email it might mean losing a sale if they have to wait for a reply. Live chat can speed up the sales process.

Pros:

  1. Immediate contact with a potential customer.
  2. Personalised service.
  3. Cheap to install.
  4. Convenience for the customer.
  5. Edge over your competitors.
  6. Increases trust.
  7. Encourages site visitors to complete an action.
  8. Looks professional.

Cons:

  1. Time consumption if always needing to be staffed.
  2. Can put customers off if questions not answered.
  3. Live chat requests need to be replied to instantly.
  4. Use of unknowledgeable staff.
  5. Staffing issues.
  6. Offline message always used.

Conclusion

The question is live chat suitable for your business is one only you can answer. Do you have trust in your staffs knowledge base of the product or service you provide? Can you incorporate manning the live chat into a staff members daily task list without leaving your business short staffed in other areas?  If you can say yes to both these then it might be worth running a live chat feature trial for your website.

Dorset Tech Support

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