So, it’s 2019 and you don’t have chat on your website…

It’s 2019. Technology advances are swirling in, faster and faster every year. There are companies that migrate your hard data to a virtual cloud. There are virtual reality goggles that can take you to different countries and “touchcommerce” technology emerging that literally allows you to buy things at the tip of your finger. You can even skype your dog and feed them treats while sitting on an airplane thousands of miles in the air…and your company website still doesn’t have chat on it?

With all the data showing that visitors prefer live chat functions because they don’t have to wait on hold (42%) and think a business needs to be available 24/7 (51%)…it’s hard to believe some companies still don’t feel the urgency to implement this feature.

I have a theory that the only reason a company doesn’t have chat on their website is because 1) it’s unfamiliar or 2) it’s intimidating to decide who will “man” it. Here’s the response to both of those excuses.

The “It’s Unfamiliar” Excuse:

Let’s get familiar by talking about what chat is and how you can use it.

Chat is a feature that allows website visitors to interact with your team/a designated representative through text. A little box comes up that offers help and support for website visitors and they can type any questions into it and connect with live support personnel.

A company chat box will likely will be located in the bottom right hand of your screen and look like this:

Chat is extremely common on websites, 15% of consumers have communicated with a business via a chatbot in the last 12 months.

The reason they are so popular is because consumers want immediate support (we don’t have patience for a dial tone) and don’t want to talk in real life (70% of people would rather text than talk in person).

If you read my blog Are Millennials to Blame for Our Unhealthy Attachment to Digital Media? It’s a pretty easy argument to make that millennials feel strongly close to bots because we grew up with them. But how else do these chat features benefit users?

In ways, chat is a mirage that lets users feel like they:

  • are immediately listened to. They don’t have to wait around, thinking their email is floating somewhere or that they’re going to be put on hold. Live chat allows the feeling of an instant connection – even if it is with a robot.
  • got passed the chore “form fills”. Sure they might answer some of the questions your representative asks about their email, name, company and job title–but that’s just small talk, the form is much more invasive.
  • have quick attention to their problem. The longer you have your chat the better it will become as you grow sequences for specific questions or problems. Having a resources ready for common questions will be bound to help you.

And,  your company benefits from the reality of:

  • extra bandwidth for simple questions (like an FAQ, you can preset answers and resources for common questions.)
  • better data collection. You will learn what questions are recurring as visitors browse your website browse. Where do you typically see certain confusions? What are questions you could build sales collateral around?
  • leads. The more contact and engagement you build with visitors the more likely they are to convert!

Although your chat will require someone to answer questions, the availability is really up to the person designated to the live chat role.

If you’re marked available, it’s extremely easy to get notifications through email, Slack, or desktop notifications so you never miss any.

And if a user chats you, and your designated representative is marked ‘unavailable’, the user can be redirected to another representative or they can get a programmable away message that triggers and looks something like this:

“We’re sorry all representatives are unavailable. If you don’t feel like waiting, send a message back we’ll email you when we reply”

So if Fred is the first in command but he’s unavailable, the chat would be designated to Paula (who is available).

But if both Fred and Paula are unavailable, the user will see the away message and their chat and email will be in the chat inbox for response when the sales reps login again.

Getting Set Up

Likely, your CRM has a chat bot feature you can very easily use on your website. But if not, there are options you can integrate with your website like x, y, or z.

Setting it up will always be a little different, but for the most part it will go through similar options.

Here’s an example of how easy it is to set up a chatbot in HubSpot:

Go to inbox by going to ‘Conversation tab’ and selecting ‘Inbox’ from the drop down.

In this one place you can see every conversation that comes through chat. You can change your availability to “away” in the bottom left hand corner.

The “ We Don’t Have The Bandwidth” Excuse

Help customers get where they want to be with a friendly 24/7 chatbot. It’s an easy, efficient way to manage multiple 1-1 conversations, and send customers to the right help article or chat agent.

  • You can be “away” when you’re not available
  • It does most the talking for you

If you’re nervous about losing touch with your customers–don’t worry. In reality, they are getting their answers solved fast which is what they care about. 40% of consumers do not care whether a chatbot or a real human helps them, as long as they are getting the help they need. (HubSpot, 2017)

Your user experience will improve, and if they need you (if the bot can’t answer the question) they will be directed to a sales representative.