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Answering Chats – Inhouse or Outsource?

woman on chat2

You want to add Chat2 – a live chat service to add to your website to capture leads and boost sales directly from your website?  Many companies nowadays are implementing a live chat service on their websites to assist their customers with answers to questions ranging from customer support to sales enquiries. A skilled live chat operator can dramatically increase your conversion rates just by being available to answer questions without the delay of email or the hassle of a phone call.

But who will answer the chats?  The problem with a live chat operator is, well, it needs to be a live chat operator. You need a real person on the other end of the line, available to answer any questions that may come up and possibly 24/7, as the online world never sleeps.  You could utilise your own staff, though you may need to change work processes as there are not many businesses who have staff sitting around idle. Also most business don’t operate 24 hours so that makes it difficult to utilise your own staff.  So another option to consider is to carefully outsource your chat to an experienced chat service.

In- House

If you decide to provide coverage of Chat2 utilising your own staff, then it should be done for the whole time the business is open for business.  Chat2 opens a door to your customers in the online world and if they expect you are at work, you need to have this online door open at the same time.

The beauty of chat is that staff can attend to several customers at the same time unlike phone calls, so already there is an improvement in efficiency of time.  However, it can be difficult for staff to operate two live communication channels of chat and the phone. So possibly a dedicated roster system may be the answer, rostering staff with a variety of duties on a computer also to answer chats.  Roles that are utilised to answer chats are normally those who undertake duties on a computer during their working day.  They may include sales, administration, marketing and even accounting style of roles.

If staff answering chats are not normally involved in frontline customer service, canned messages within Chat2 need to be set up effectively and staff should be trained in how they are expected to answer chats.  Our experience has been that many of the answers to questions from Chat2 are found on the website. Its just that the website visitor does not have the time to seek out the answers through reviewing pages of website content.

If your staff are slow at typing that is not a problem with Chat2, as this live chat software offers a voice to text function, where your staff can speak their replies that are then converted to text.

To man Chat2 effectively it is likely you will need after hours coverage of chats as many customers normally do their research and surfing the web when they are not working.  It is not financially viable for most businesses to provide this out of hours cover.  So the solution is outsourcing of your Chat service

Out-Source

So why choose to outsource your chat service?  One reason we have already mentioned is to provide greater coverage of hours at a more effective cost.  Other great reasons of why to outsource chat are also the main reasons why you have chat in the first place.

  • Customers have said that having their questions answered mid-purchase made them feel more confident with their purchase and was one of the better features a website could offer in modern e-commerce.
  • Chat is immediate and more responsive than email, call centres or other forms of communication.
  • Chat2 is also cheaper than a dedicated business phone line.
  • One chat operator can manage multiple conversations at once, which isn’t possible with phone lines, though if multiple complex conversations are active, it can be challenging.
  • Chat2 helps people get immediate support if they encounter an error in the purchase process, which they would otherwise abandon their attempt and shop elsewhere.
  • Chat2 alerts companies to issues on their website ie links or buttons not working. In many instances companies don’t know of these problems but through chat they are made aware quickly and can rectify the issue to prevent loss of sales.
  • A live chat service is surprisingly still with a low adoption rate even today, so implementing it is very likely going to give you an edge over your competition.
  • At targeted places in the conversion process, with known pain points, live chat can ease the customer through these pain points through the support of a live chat operator.
  • Outsourcing gets you all of this cheaper than hiring in-house staff.

Successful Live Chats!

  • Training in how to use the Chat software and how to answer chats is pertinent as to whether your chat service is going to be blazingly successful or die a slow death.
  • If you decide to retain in-house operators to operate Chat, ensure they are well trained in both these aspects as well as knowing your website, business and the canned messages within Chat2, exceptionally well.   Knowledge is a key quality to any successful chat operator.
  • If outsourcing, operators need to have a high level of competency in written English and in-depth information about your business should be requested including what you do and how you would like your chats answered. Even on how to answer the “I don’t know question” as you never say “I don’t know”, there are more helpful techniques to the business to manage this question.
  • Sound real! You are using real people as chat operators, so ensure they sound like a real person and not robotic. Customers online are quite hesitant and unsure of the chat technology as many websites are manned by robots, they want to know they are talking to a real person.  So encourage your operators to engage in normal conversation and don’t sound robotic.
  • Promote Chat. If you have a chat service on your website ensure it is clearly seen, let visitors know you are now available on Chat. Promote it under the Contact tab, on facebook, twitter and any other media channels. People need to know about it so it will be used.  When starting out with Chat sometimes it is good to run a competition through Chat, maybe the 100th chat visitor wins or a random chatter will be selected through using chat.

The Choice!

Providing a chat service on your website is certainly an innovative move forward for your business and the benefits as outlined here are numerous.  It is great if you can man the chat service in-house as that is where the knowledge and the experience of your business lies and you will certainly improve sales, customer service and loyalty to your website.  Though many businesses struggle to have the resources in-house so it also makes sense also to outsource Chat to experience chat agents.  The decision will be based on your internal resources, hours of chat coverage and cost effectiveness.

Chat2 is an Australian live chat provider with clients throughout the globe.  Chat2 provides the live chat software – Chat2 and offers direct training at your business or via skype. Training topics include How to Use Chat2 software, An in depth setup of Cha2, and How to be a Great Chat Operator. Chat2 also provides a chat concierge service where our experienced operators look after website chats for you, so you can feel assured that you are leaving your business in the hands of experienced, well trained chat operators available when you need them at a minimal cost.

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