Categories
Chat Blog Industry Trends

Tips for Maximising Online Revenue and Engagement at Christmas

Technology changes and the COVID pandemic have driven dramatic increases in online traffic.

Even if you don’t sell products or services online, we know that your customers will certainly be researching you online – and your competitors.

In June 2020 Deloitte surveyed US online adults and found:

In Australia, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, online retail sales as at June 2020 accounted for 10.7% of total retail, up from 9% at the same time last year. This is reflected in the 53% average increase in Australia Post domestic parcel quantities for the months April to August 2020.

There has also been a 233% increase in Live Chats in the Consumer Products & Services industry compared to pre-COVID.

via GIPHY

While this may seem like a very welcome silver-lining to the COVID pandemic this sudden surge in online activity can actually be detrimental to your business if you aren’t prepared – particularly in the area of customer service.

In a survey of 10,000 consumers who had a bad customer service experience with a retailer…

But if you get customer service right the Harvard Business Review found that customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.

So in summary…

We know that Live Chat is the preferred method of communication for Millennials and has the highest satisfaction rate of all communication channels.

But that 53% of customers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.

Therefore it is critical that you prepare now and prepare well for the flood of online traffic that comes with the Christmas period.

Here are some tips that we provide to our Chat2 clients to drive better customer engagement and increased sales – 365 days of the year:

  • Update your Knowledge Base with common questions about special hours or closures, shipping timeframes, and returns – use this to update your website FAQs for SEO benefits.
  • Make sure your returns and shipping policies are clear and not too onerous.
  • Use an auto-responder to re-direct people who communicate with you by email and phone to Chat2 us on your website or Facebook Messenger (we do both!) for instantaneous service. Make sure the contact page of your website also invites visitors to chat.
  • Consider creating promotions, then tell us so we can share them with your online visitors and convert their visit into a sale.

Shopify asked over 50 online businesses to rank the effectiveness of 15 different holiday offers, deals, and discounts. The results were pretty clear cut as shown below.

To learn more about Maximising Online Revenue this Christmas, join Karen Lloyd-Collins, Chat2 COO, for a special 30-minute information session.

We use real, current data and examples from a range of industries to show you how Chat2 can drive your online sales and expand your sales funnel by generating more enquiries. Register here.

Or get started now with our amazing trial offer of 700 hours for just $30!

Categories
Chat Blog Software Updates

Chat2 – Global Dash – This is why we are so fast!

We are faster than ever before!
How fast do you respond to your customers online? Within the hour, 1 day or 48 hours?  I still receive email acknowledgements from well known companies advising they will get back to me in 3 days! Seriously – why would any of us want to do business with a company that will make their customer wait 3 days for a simple first response?   In today’s online world – it’s very simple to find a competitor who is faster.

The Chat2 concierge team respond to online visitors for our clients within an average initial response time of 19 seconds! In the last 12 months our tech team have created a new Global Dashboard so our team can respond faster than ever before for our clients. I will explain how we do this later in the post.  But firstly let’s understand why responding fast to your customers is so essential in today’s technological world for businesses.

1. As customers can access services, products and information in a matter of seconds, they no longer expect a fast response from companies, they are demanding it!

Fast Response = Meet Customer Expectations = Happy Returning Customers.

The CMO Council found that a fast response time was the most important attribute of good customer service.

2. A fast response makes your customer feel as if they are important to you and that your business cares about them. By responding quickly you are developing trust and rapport with your prospects which is essential for any business relationship.

3. If you don’t respond fast in one channel, the customer (if they haven’t given up) will try another channel to contact you, creating more work for you and your team.

4. Finally, responding quickly to your customers will grow your business. Customers will tend to go back to a business with who they received outstanding customer service. Isn’t that something we all want to do – GROW– especially with the challenge of noisy online space?

The Northridge Group’s “Customer Service Experience Report” found that 40% of our millenial generation wait 60 minutes before contacting you in another channel.

I actually think that is quite generous of that generation, Baby Boomers tend to be far more demanding – sorry Baby Boomers – I am sure its not all of you!

“What if you take too long to respond?”

Let me ask – what happens when a company takes too long to respond? What do you do?

More than likely you will seek out a competitor who will respond faster or if you are already a customer you are likely to stop doing business with that company.

According to smallbiztrends.com 89% of people surveyed in their Customer Experience Impact Report claimed they had started doing business with a competitor after poor customer service.

Poor response time certainly reflects poorly on how a Company delivers. It makes you wonder if this is how the company is going to attend to your requests – SLOWLY! We can no longer afford to be slow in responding to our customers, unless we prefer no customers.

“It’s Challenging for Businesses to Respond Fast” 

Quick and Effective Responses to online customers is challenging for businesses.  They may not have the staff, time or capacity to respond effectively to constant repetitive questions.  Staff become overwhelmed and bored with the same repetitive task in having to respond quickly to the same questions, leading to poor customer service and high staff retention costs.

I was speaking to a Manufacturing company recently who employ first year Engineers to answer chats.  Day in, day out, after a four year degree, these professionals are having to answer repetitive, basic technical questions fast to customers to provide a technical support service.  What was being observed was a high staff turnover, high training costs, low job satisfaction and slow, poor customer service. This problem was easily rectified by the implementation of a live chat service with a solid knowledge base.  The basic technical issues were able to be answered fast, effectively and at a much lower cost with a significant improvement in customer service and corporate image. Higher level technical issues were transferred to the first year Engineers who now had more complex problems to solve.

Responding fast to customers is a huge challenge for companies and at Chat2 we have solutions to solve the challenge!

“Solutions” 

Over the last 12 months, our Chat2 techie team have developed a multi-instance Global Dashboard for our operators.  What this means is that we can link hundreds and hundreds of websites to one Dashboard. So our operators don’t need a Dashboard for each client, they are operating on one Dashboard where they are alerted to a new chat from any of the hundreds of businesses linked to the Global Dashboard.As shown in the image at the top of this post.

We have specialised teams of Chat operators for each industry who answer chats.  After we set up the knowledge base for the client, the artificial intelligence (ai) built within the software can draw upon this knowledge base to answer chats (even technical chats) fast and knowledgeably.

The Global Dashboard has made our team faster than ever before! No longer do we require multiple screens and multiple windows open, we only need one screen and one browser window – with the Global Dashboard open. On this one screen multiple client websites are linked to the ONE Dashboard. So we are alerted in the same space of an incoming chat from a hotel client or real estate client or one of our retail clients, we don’t have to flick between several screens.  This technology has made our Chat2 Concierge team faster, more effective and more efficient than ever before! It has also allowed us to take on many more clients without having to increase staffing numbers.

We also offer a wide range of other services from our hybrid chatbot/concierge service, personalisation, chatbots, CRM/ticket system integrations, real time feedback, digital user experience analytics, social media monitoring and engagement, predictive analysis, customer service/front office automation, self service automation, omni channel engagement, customer journey mapping and data analytics and management.

Keen to test the expertise of our Chat2 Concierge team?  Ready to impress your customers with immediate, knowledgeable and friendly responses? Ready to attract more customers online? Ready to grow your business?

Trial the Chat2 Concierge team – you will love our service!

For a short time only we are offering a package deal of 30 days free software trial and 50 hours concierge for 1/2 price. Check out our Offer

Categories
Chat Blog Real Estate

Real Estate & Live Chat – The Perfect Combination!

 

 

A frantic message was received by the Chat2 team on the morning of 12th October, 2018:

“We have just been evacuated so we can not answer the phones. If needed, please advise online visitors that the office has shut down due to an electrical fault and please assist them as best you can…”

Our clients rely on us to ease their worry when the unforeseen happens.  At Chat2 – this is a normal part of our everyday business; there is always some drama at the front end of business for our property clients, though we are there online to answer any question that may come our way from prospects or current customers.

The Real Estate industry has changed significantly over the last decade in the way a connection is made with homebuyers.  Previously you met many of your prospects at a Sunday home open with a warm handshake or at the agency where you could engage your buyer with expertise and warm charm. Though nowadays, the start of the home buying journey is different – it is online and it is essential real estates are there online to greet their potential buyer.

Have you considered live chat or a combination of live chat and chatbots?  There are many property agents utilising this channel including realestate.com.au, so it’s time to evaluate and seriously consider an online chat channel as a new way to connect with clients. With live chat you are likely to pick up more online enquiries and relieve the pressure on your reception team.

Homebuyers have access to property listings, photos, historical sale prices, schools in the area and can even take a Google virtual walk down the street they are considering, at the click of a mouse.  Previously this information was inaccessible to a homebuyer unless they met with you as an agent, but now it is delivered immediately to the homebuyer online.  So if you are there, in the moment, when homebuyers are online (often after hours), you are more likely to engage and assist these prospects while they are in the research and investigation stage.  This is a game changer for your property business and can put you ahead in the industry. You are providing prospects with instant responses to questions, which is what is expected in today’s age of technology.

“Online customers no longer expect fast responses, they are demanding them!”  COO – Karen Lloyd-Collins – Chat2

The Real Estate Trainer (a popular online resource for real estate agents) advises agents to respond within 5 minutes to an online client, after this time your chance of securing a new client drops significantly.  At Chat2, we believe you have to be faster and respond within 2 minutes for online enquiries, our average response time across our real estate clients is currently 18 seconds.

“We no longer measure response time in days or hours, we measure in seconds.” COO – Karen Lloyd-Collins – Chat2

The Real Estate Trainer advises that nearly 78% of prospective homebuyers stick with the agent who answers them first.
At Chat2 we have seen great success using live chat for property managers, it is making daily operations so much easier as you chat with multiple lessee’s at the same time and answer the same questions quickly assisted with ai (artificial intelligence).

Last month we received this chat on a Saturday afternoon after the business was closed.

“Help there is a large ferocious dog in my backyard – my phone is locked in the car – I have secured all the doors and I feel like a prisoner in my own home!”

Yes. A real situation our team easily managed.  The Chat2 team were able to assess the situation, reassure the tenant and calm them down, our client was alerted directly and sought assistance for the tenant, all the while, the chat2 team were online chatting with the tenant.  Yes, we do go above and beyond for our clientele!  Sure these are odd situations, but they happen.

Generally many of the questions received in chat are “How do I apply for a property?” “When is the next open home for …?” “What 2 bedroom properties do you have for sale or rent?” “I have a leak – can I have a maintenance form?”

To see a sample of FAQ’s and responses we provide daily for our real estate clients, visit www.chat2.com/2/real-estate.

The main benefits of live chat for the real estate industry is:

• Providing immediate and fast responses which is expected from clients researching property online.

• Answering questions from multiple clients/lessees at the same time, so no longer just one to one with email and phone.

• Saves time in not having to reply to an inundation of “contact requests” via email or phone.

• Answering the constant barrage of frequent questions with knowledgeable and consistent responses “on brand” and “on message” with the ai built into chat software.

• Providing a friendly online welcome with guidance and information for prospective homebuyers, landlords and current customers.

• Generating more qualified leads and enquiries by being available in real time online.

At Chat2 we have worked with many Australian real estate and property management teams for the last 2 years, providing the tools, insight and techniques to use the live chat channel. We assist real estates to engage and convert online customers. We offer a professional real estate chat team to answer enquiries for real estates 24/7 with real people or accompanied by chatbots.

If you are interested in a free trial of Chat2 Software and Chat2 Concierge Service, go to www.chat2.com and mention this blog in a live chat with one of our team. Of course, if you prefer email we are available at support@chat2.com.

Categories
Chat Blog How To How To

Chat2 Concierge – How To Get Started

Chat2 Concierge is a professional team of real chat operators who extend a warm, friendly greeting to your online visitors at the time they visit your website at any hour of the day.  The team are fully trained in aspects of sales, conflict resolution, sympathy, customer mood enhancement, loyalty building and brand values. You can rely on the team to answer chats outside of business hours, when you are unavailable or as a back-up service if you are unable to answer chats within 90 seconds.  We are a team of professional real people who care about your business delivering “on brand” messages consistently and seek to deliver world class customer service exceeding your customer and your own expectations.

Firstly, you will need a live chat software installed on your website, it can be Chat2 software or another software.  If you only have a Facebook page, we can link Chat2 software to Facebook, so you will receive more chats as well as accessing the ai features for Facebook.  This means we can quickly and easily access the knowledge base created for your business to respond fast and effectively to your online customers.

To install Chat2 software, this is as simple as going to www.chat2.com and entering your website address for a 30 day free trial.  After completing a simple form to obtain your contact details, you will be presented with a 3 options to install, either “Do It Yourself” where the code will be presented on screen with instructions to install, or get your website manager to copy and paste code or the Chat2 team can do it for you. A short video on how to install is found at chat2.com/learn/easy-site-setup/. If you have a WordPress website a plugin for Chat2 is available at wordpress.org/plugins/chat2/.

To start the Chat2 Concierge service, we need to become familiar with your business.  We achieve this in several ways:

1.  A simple online Concierge form is completed by your business providing some of the key details about your business including what you hope to achieve by using the Chat2 Concierge service.  This information introduces us to your business and is quick and easy to complete online.

2.  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) are created with responses– you are welcome to create FAQ’s or the Chat2 team are highly experienced in reviewing websites and creating the FAQ’s for you, as they know the questions that are likely to be asked.

3.  The FAQ’s are approved by your business and they are uploaded into the live chat software.  This is the knowledge base that is created for your business that all chat operators will draw upon to answer chats. With Chat2 software, the team only have to type a few letters of a possible topic and several responses are suggested to them from the knowledge base.  This feature allows the Chat2 team to be fast, knowledgeable and effective in their replies to online customers.

4.  Live Chat software is set up with automatic prompts to chats, auto responses and operator profiles.  Timings of when a visitor is prompted to chat are entered specific for the industry. If the business is also using their own team, we ensure all operators have an image and the user profile is set up effectively.

5. Ready, Set Go – the Chat2 Concierge team will open the virtual door to your website and encourage online visitors to engage in chat.

Chats are audited for efficiency, effectiveness and quality.  During the initial weeks of the service, the knowledge base is refined and polished.  If there are questions that the team have not been able to answer, the contact details are obtained for the business to contact or the chat can be transferred to the business.  For basic or constant questions that are asked and the answer is not available, the Chat2 team will follow these up with the business confirming appropriate replies and these are added to the knowledge base.

For efficiency and effectiveness, we encourage businesses to integrate their Facebook page with Chat2 software.  So all online messages received by the business are answered on the one platform and answered efficiently and effectively with a consistent approach, style and message.

A login to the chat software is available for the business to have access to all chat content and reports. Data is provided in table and graphical formats displaying quantity of chats, peak chat times, visitor or invitation initiated chats, country of chat, response times, quantity of messages by department or operator, chat ratings and much more.

Chats can be exported into a working business file for interpretation and analysis including .csv or excel files.  Customised monthly reports are available for your business analysing the data for you.

If you are seeking a stronger online professional presence that keeps your business ahead in the noisy online space, then Chat2 Concierge is the solution for you.

Speaking with one of our clients in the printing industry just before Christmas and his comments on the Chat2 Concierge service were:

“Work is still coming in for our business during the quiet time of the year. Many of our competitors are struggling to get work at the moment.  By being online consistently, the Chat2 Concierge team has given us a competitive edge. Our clients love receiving immediate responses to their questions, even if the question is not completely answered. They appreciate just having someone who is there and who can respond to them with immediacy, sometimes it can be as simple as taking a message.  Chat2 concierge saves my team so much time, as Chat2 easily answer the constant barrage of the same questions we receive over and over again online. When a job is sent through we already know what the client wants, what date they need it by – it’s a strong qualified genuine lead for us. Having the Chat2 Concierge team online to answer these questions gives us peace of mind and allows us to excel in our industry.” Matthew – Printing and Signage

Categories
Chat Blog Industry Trends

4 Common Reasons Why Business Resists Live Chat

Does this sound familiar to you?  Over the past few decades the way we conduct business has changed substantially. Websites, email, social media, mobile sites, instant messaging, B2B marketing, SEO etc etc etc… We’ve all had to embrace these rapid technological shifts and many business tell me it’s one of their biggest challenges is keeping up with technology.

So what next?  Right now we are on the cusp of the next BIG tech change in the way we communicate with our prospects and customers.  

On a daily basis I am finding that businesses still hesitate to take that leap and offer live chat to their customers – who are ready, willing AND waiting to talk online!  Why? Let’s explore the top 4 reasons given by companies as to why its not the right time to implement chat.

At Chat2 we have discovered if you wait too long, it’s your competitor who embraces the chat channel and begins to attract all your online sales as well as their own. So it’s better if you can beat them to the post! In this age of technology where greater information power is with the online consumer, business should not wait to provide what online customers are demanding – instant communication!

When offering business this instant line of communication for their online clients – we hear so many reasons as to why it is not the right time to introduce a live chat channel. So we may say:

“Hey – we’re offering you the tools and the service to talk with your customers when they are at the door of your business.  They are in your website and you can talk to them while they are there, right in that moment of real time. You can ask them directly, ‘Can I help find you something?’ or  ‘May I ask what you are looking for?’ How does that sound?”

The response we receive from the business is commonly:

“Oh no – My customers will phone me, or use the contact form or email”;  or

“I am too busy at the moment to implement live chat”; or

“My website provides enough information to customers, so I don’t need chat; or

“The questions people ask on live chat is on my website – so they just need to read!”; or

“Oh – my website needs to be updated so live chat wouldn’t work for us”.

Can you relate to any of these? If you do then you are certainly not alone, as it is what we hear everyday.  I must admit chat is certainly a change to the way we are use to doing business. We have never had the opportunity before to give our customers the opportunity to engage immediately with us in real time through our website.  This has never been possible before. A website has always just been a billboard for business, with a humongous amount of information for the visitor to trawl through. Though the problem is visitors are not keen to do this anymore, particularly once they have experienced conversing in the live chat channel.  Wouldn’t you be more likely to make the sale if you could talk with them while they are on your website?

Of course, you can choose to keep that online virtual door tightly slammed shut to your online consumers.  Though if your competitor has chat and you don’t – which business (as a consumer) would you prefer to deal with?

Let’s look at the top 4 excuses reasons we hear every day and how they can be solved so your business won’t miss out on sales.

Reason One

“I prefer to get a customer on the phone as it is so much easier to convert.”

The phone and email is certainly the channels most businesses are most comfortable working with, as it has been the main tools available. Though with advances in online technology and more power being given to the consumer in obtaining information so readily, businesses need to move quickly to grow online into the future.  

Tools and technology are now available to meet high customer expectations for speed of information. Business should investigate and trial methods like chat to see the difference to their business. Consumers are becoming wary of being on hold on the phone or waiting hours for an email answer.  Live chat is a huge growth channel and businesses need to be onboard for the ride. According to Gartner – it is expected the chat channel will grow by 400% as a preferred customer digital engagement channel from 2015 – 2018.  With the predicted growth of this channel and the significant benefits it provides to businesses as well as customers, the chat channel should be embraced sooner rather than later!

Reason Two

“I am too busy at the moment to implement live chat.”

It’s so easy to implement!  The code takes 10 minutes to paste.  If you don’t have the staff to answer chats, the Chat2 Concierge team are here to get you started. We assist businesses to transition to chat by setting up chat, creating Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQ’s), answering chats, transferring chats, providing training to staff and doing anything we can to ensure you are successful in your implementation.  We know what works and what doesn’t. You give up 20 minutes of your time to guide us in the setup and our team at Chat2 do the rest. We are an experienced team of professional chat operators and software developers. In no time you will be seeing more leads and sales coming through your website utilising the Chat2 channel.

Chat2 paid for itself after only one day. I had 3 chats in the first 10 minutes and one was a fabulous sale!”

Brenda – FNQ Apartments

Reason Three

“My website provides enough information to customers”

Or

“The answers to the questions people ask on chat are on the website – they just need to read!”

Consumer behaviour is changing rapidly online and gone are the days where a visitor will sit there and read pages on your website searching for information. If it is not clear to them at a quick glance of the first page or two – then they are likely to seek out a competitor.   So you may have a beautiful website with all the right information but customers want information now and easily accessed! Chat provides businesses with the tool to provide the relevant information fast and meet the customer expectations.  I say “Wow with the Now!”

Reason Four

“Oh – my website needs to be updated so live chat wouldn’t work for us”

Or

“We are going to implement a new website soon so we’ll put chat on then”

I ask you – “Will your website ever be completely up to date?” Our clients love chat as they know their online customers are receiving correct up-to-date information through chat daily. Visitors are regularly asking for clarification of information on websites and they will even pick up errors and bring those into chat. Hey we are all human – right!  Website visitors are now fine tuning our client’s websites for them. They are giving the business insight into what they want from the website and the information they are seeking. What great knowledge to obtain from your own prospects! Businesses can ensure this information is front and centre on their website.

Recently, we have introduced a new product called Chatsites – which is a one page website – fully interactive! On the Chatsite you have the basic company information about what you do and the chat box.  The chat software can be teamed with our Chat2 concierge service and/or Chatbot. So having an antiquated website is no longer an excuse not to have chat!

Chat2 has also assisted clients transition from an old website to a new website.  One of our clients had massive traffic with over 3000 visitors a day and when the new website went live our Chat2 team were there to virtually hold the hand of each visitor who experienced any sales, login or information issues.  The transition went exceptionally smoothly, it was the busiest month ever in chat and most importantly though no sales were lost and every enquiry was attended to in the Now!

Don’t miss out on those website visitors banging on your website door wanting answers now!

Can we help to transition your business into chat?  We are experienced in chatting with online visitors over various industries from online retail, tourism, real estate, hotels through to diving, financial, recruitment and printing businesses.

We do all the set up for you, we can chat for you, provide you with the leads, we can fully customise the look of chat, create chatbots on Facebook and/or for your website, create a chatsite, integrate with google analytics or other software. Just ask our team – visit www.chat2.com and have a chat with the team or get started straight away on the link below with Chat2 Concierge.

If you would like to learn more about our Chat2 Concierge team and what we do – there is a short video here. Who is the Chat2 Concierge Team

Categories
Chat Blog Uncategorized

Facebook and Chat Software – New Directions for Business

 

Facebook is on the verge of making rapid, radical changes.  The social media giant has been big news in 2018. First with the announcement of the change of direction for the company and now facing significant security breaches. Last Sunday, Facebook took out full page ads in seven British newspapers and three American ones apologising for the privacy scandal.  It certainly raises concerns for businesses being on the social platform and to consider other options to connect with customers online.

In January, Mark Zuckerberg announced the purpose of Facebook was undergoing a major change.  Feedback from users was that posts from businesses, brands and media were crowding out personal moments.  Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the goal of Facebook will change from helping users find relevant content to helping users have more meaningful social interactions.  For businesses this means that less priority will be placed on business posts in Facebook so there will be less exposure in news feeds for businesses. Greater priority will be given to content that promotes more meaningful interactions between users.  

Businesses will have to revamp their Facebook strategy to keep apace with this announcement.  Businesses will now receive less exposure and traction on their Facebook posts into newsfeeds of potential customers.  This article will make some recommendations on what businesses can do in response to these major events affecting Facebook.  Even if you don’t have a Facebook page the recommendations provide an alternative to business publishing online promotions at minimal cost.

How will the recent Facebook changes affect businesses?

The eight (8) major changes affecting businesses on the Facebook platform include:

  • Preference will be given to posts that create interactions between people not between pages and people.
  • Posts with long comments of more than a sentence will be given priority viewing in newsfeeds, as they encourage interaction between users.  Businesses could experiment with commenting from their personal profile rather than from the business page as Facebook may consider this to be an interaction between users.
  • Live videos will be given preference as it stimulates conversations.
  • These changes will apply to all Facebook pages personal, business and group pages.
  • Pages that post frequently, like 2 -3 times a day, are less likely to obtain traction. Marketing Specialists are advising businesses to post less frequently with quality content maybe only once a week.
  • Images with quotes, Gif’s and competition posts will not be displayed on news feeds.
  • Links to pages outside Facebook like blogs are also unlikely to be seen.
  • Any posts with engagement bait ie. competitions or inviting people to comment are likely to be removed by Facebook and not given any exposure.

How can Business promote through Facebook?

Facebook has advised that the paid advertising portal will not change.  This is one of the last avenues left for businesses to get traction in Facebook – what a surprise!  So Facebook want businesses to pay for getting any exposure. The organic reach option will no longer be readily available for businesses. The push is to move businesses towards paid advertising.  

It will be important for businesses to ensure the advertising content published on Facebook is of high quality to obtain strong exposure, particularly as they are now paying for it.  This is in line with Facebook goals, as they want content to be more meaningful to their users. So if businesses are now re-directed towards paid advertising obviously Facebook is going to experience a surge in this income stream.  Many marketing analysts are stating that it is likely that the cost of advertising will also increase with the demand, as Facebook won’t want their platform flooded with advertising.

Businesses can consider an Alternative

One of the most under-utilised platforms for businesses is the use of instant messaging applications.  Consider how you now communicate with your loved ones and friends, even business associates. Are you using more messaging apps?  Apps like Messages, Facebook Messenger, What’s App, Skype, Snapchat, Chat2 etc. In 2016, 1.58 billion mobile users accessed the top messaging apps to communicate.  This figure is projected to escalate to 2.48 billion users in 2021 as shown in the graphic below.

In 2016, more than 1 billion people used Facebook Messenger each month (Facebook internal data), that is a staggering statistic and demonstrates Facebook Messenger has been leading the way as an instant messaging application.  Though the effect of the “Delete Facebook campaign” is yet to be seen for the social media giant.

Connecting with customers through Facebook messenger opens up a whole new opportunity.  Why is this? Facebook messenger is an exceptionally powerful tool in that as soon as a customer interacts with Facebook messenger, they have immediately given the business the permission to contact them again in the future.  You can add them to your contact lists and grow your business.

Another instant message application businesses can consider if you don’t want all business conversations known to Facebook or don’t have a Facebook page is Chat Software.  So maybe consider getting your prospective customers off the Facebook platform and onto your own communication channel. This removes the Facebook control and puts you back in command of your data and information.

Chat software is a simple piece of code added to the business website from which the business can start chatting with online customers directly.  Most live chats are started with an invite into chat that pops up on the website. Some live chat software have an option to link directly into Facebook Messenger where a copy of the messages are taken from messenger into the live chat software, like Chat2.  So you can see the exact conversation in messenger and the live chat software.

How Can Businesses Get Website Browsers into Messenger or Chat?

If you are using live chat software – you can easily grab the attention of your website visitor by setting up auto chat invitations that prompt a visitor into chat.  Research has shown with this invitation – visitors are 3 times more likely to chat. At Chat2 we set up auto chat invitations for our new customers to make the transition into chatting as smooth as possible.  

Businesses can also run Facebook advertisements with a direct link into Facebook Messenger or live chat, they can offer discounts/ specials/ enticements if a customer connects through a chat application on their own web or Facebook page. Facebook also offers local awareness advertisements to reach as many people around a business location, so the advertisement appears to a person in close proximity to your business.  The link in the advertisement can direct them into the chat software.

How does Instant Messaging Apps Grow a Business?

When an online visitor uses the chat or an instant messenger interface, the business can obtain the person’s name and location, and with Facebook messenger their gender, profile photo and email.  If the chat software is integrated into Facebook messenger, then a list starts to generate from all visitors that have interacted with the business and is captured within the chat software. Automatically this is growing business by building the contact list.  

Once a client interacts in Facebook messenger, a business has immediately been given permission to contact that client again in the future. This is exceptionally powerful as it gives permission to the business to contact that client again within a 24 hour window offering other promotions, specials and discounts from your business.  At the time of writing, the cost to access this advertising channel is $0. Though I am sure it won’t be long before Facebook charge for this opportunity, so I advise to embrace it while there is such a great return on investment.

There is one concern when directing customers into Facebook messenger and that is the Facebook giant has access to your business conversations and information contained in a chat.  It is a valid concern, particularly in light of recent news. One way around this is to redirect your visitor back to your website where they can chat with the business directly through live chat software. Many businesses have chosen the live chat software option to avoid sharing business conversations with Facebook. Though there are still many who are sacrificing this confidentiality in order to have access to the powerful Facebook messenger.

 

How can Chatbots help business growth?

Just last year Facebook also allowed for chatbots to be added into messenger.  For those who are not familiar with chatbots – it’s a software application that attempts to act like a human answering questions on your website in a pop up box. At this stage, bots are primarily used to answer simple questions and share basic information. Though this technology is improving at rapid speed and eventually visitors will only be conversing with chat bots.  

Some live chat software have incorporated Chatbots as an option.  So the chatbot can be developed to greet customers initially into the instant messaging application albeit messenger or a live chat software,  but when the questions are too hard or too technical, they have the option to chat with a real person. The purpose of a chatbot is to provide answers quickly, though sometimes they are not the answers the customer is looking for, as the technology still has some way to go before it can determine the intent of the visitor chatting.

I would like to ask the question – how comfortable are you to have your questions answered by a robot?  Or do you prefer to have a real person attending to your enquiries?

At Chat2 we are finding that consumers of this generation are still not quite ready for long conversations with Chatbots.  They still want to be able to speak with a real person. They don’t want to go through menus and menus of items before finding the answer they are looking for, they want personal assistance immediately, they want their questions answered now.  That was the whole reason for going into the messenger or chat app.

It was this demand for the human element still within an instant messaging application that the Chat2 concierge team evolved. At Chat2 our clients have the option to use real people, chat bots or a combination of both.  Businesses can answer their own chats if they prefer, or if they are too busy they can use the professional Chat2 Concierge team to answer chats. The Chat2 Concierge team are a team of real people answering chats for many businesses around the world achieving 70 – 80% conversion rates in chat. An option that is gaining in popularity is the Chat2 Hybrid with chatbots and Concierge being offered to the website visitor at the initial start of a chat.

I am expecting when our generation of teenagers form the majority of consumers with purchasing power, there won’t be any hesitation  with interacting with robots. The generational shift will happen and as the technology develops further, we will eventually see intelligent robots serving customers online – but surely there will still be the need for a little human touch.

I welcome you to experience the Chat2 Chatbot to gain insights into the power of this tool for your business. Click here to start a chat with our Chat2 Chatbot.  Have a chat and tell us what you think!