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Convert chat into customers

How online chat can connect you with your clients and win you business

We live in an age where everyone wants information at their fingertips — with a smartphone in the hand of almost every millennial, it’s hard to ignore the need to appeal to the online masses.

By utilising an online chat feature on your website, you can tap directly into your audience and connect with them instantly, to turn visitors into paying customers.

SO, WHAT IS LIVE CHAT?
Live chat software allows you to provide immediate customer support to your clients. Think of it a little like an instant messenger where you can interact in real time. You can run live chat yourself at no extra cost and it’s a great way of connecting with and maintaining positive relationships with your prospective clients.

In a recent survey, 79% prefer online chat to other methods of communication as they don’t feel like they are spending an age waiting on hold and can get answers to their questions quickly and easily. But don’t be put off by thinking that you need a huge availability of staff to man it; you choose the times you will be online and available to your clients, to suit the needs of your business.

WHAT ABOUT WHEN I’M NOT ONLINE?
Don’t worry — if you are not online and available to take enquiries, clients will be prompted to send you a message instead. This is a great way of retaining visitors as they won’t need to connect with another page or be transferred to a separate email facility, which runs the risk of them leaving, and you losing a potential sale.

AND WHAT ABOUT CHATBOTS?
A chatbot is a computer program backed by artificial intelligence. Customers interact with it as they would with live chat, only this time they are talking to a robotic helper. Chatbots don’t need humans to operate them, and can be available at any time of day, when live chat cannot — this can save a business time, energy and money. You can also add your own answers to the FAQs so that responses given are tailored to suit your business. Research has shown that up to 80% of customer queries can be resolved with a chatbot.

For larger companies, chatbots are also great multi-taskers. One chatbot can do the job of many humans, dealing with multiple customers at the same time.

HOW DO THESE OPTIONS DIFFER?
If you decide to go down the live chat route, then the operator will need to study how to use the software. This should be fairly straightforward given that most of the services available are user friendly. With a chatbot, once the software is installed and set up, the bot talks to the customer, without needing anything else from you.

Chatbots are also great for your potential clients overseas. Not many companies are able to have live chat facilities that operate 24/7 but a chatbot can be online whenever you need it to be, 365 days of the year and across time zones.

WHICH WAS TO GO?
So, where does that leave us? Research shows that 68% of customers leave businesses due to poor customer service and live chat can take care of this in a great way. People want information quickly and easily, and a live chat feature is an easy, effective way of doing this. Whilst the chatbot may never take over from humans, it can save a lot of time, energy and money. Which you choose will depend upon the size and type of business that you have, what time zones your customers are located in and how technically minded you are.

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