In this guest post, Jeremy Durant from digital marketing firm Bop Design, extols the virtues of adding a live chat option to websites…
It’s time to rethink live chat on your website, especially for B2B firms. Most professional websites have at least one form, often more. While I’m still a proponent of having easy to complete contact forms on a website, I’ve recently seen a lot of positive results from installing live chat tools on B2B websites. At my digital agency, we’ve installed a live chat feature on a variety of websites, for both product-based and service-based companies. Both have had surprisingly good results. For a client who is a B2B construction manufacturer, the primary source of lead generation is the chat feature.
So why should brands, even service-based brands, consider adding a live chat feature to their professional website?
Why Chat Is a Winning Strategy
- Customer Service
The most obvious reason for installing live chat on a website is to provide a top-notch level of customer service. A live chat pop-up on a website is the equivalent of a sales associate greeting a visitor to a brick and mortar store. It’s a touch-point that says your business is responsive and available to answer any questions. Particularly for highly-competitive industries, great customer service can be a major differentiator.
Sure, your website may have several different ways to get in touch with a human at your business (phone, email, contact form, etc.), but a live chat is immediate. The world often moves to fast to wait to get your questions answered. It’s also another competitive advantage. If you can immediately answer your prospect’s questions before your competitor checks their email or replies to a website form submission, you are already ahead.
Your job is to make your client’s job easier, to simplify their life, to give them back a few minutes of their day. Forcing them to pick up the phone and call your company, only to get your voicemail where they have to leave a long message isn’t adding value to their day. Email forms are better but can still take time to complete and send, unless you forgot a field and have to go back and see what required field was missed…get my point? Live chat is a highly efficient way for your prospective clients to get in touch with you without taking away from their day. They can check their email while you are responding or they can tell a coworker why a project deadline was pushed back or they can make their lunch plans.
When it comes to marketing, particularly digital marketing, there is a real push from consumers to make the experience personalized. While great content strategies look to answer questions with well-written blogs, carefully crafted FAQs, and nicely designed white papers, they may not answer the one question that is unique to a prospect. A website chat feature enables you to quickly personalize the experience for the user and address their needs.
If you have a well-defined business model, you likely have a very specific target market you are trying to work with. Not every company or client will be the right fit for your products or services. A chat feature is an efficient way for your prospect to evaluate your offerings AND a great way for you to qualify them as a lead. All the websites we have installed a chat feature on are using the live chat for converting and qualifying leads. It’s an easy way to determine if it makes sense to take the conversation offline to a phone call or move to a quote or give them resources that would be a better fit for their needs.
If your website doesn’t have a chat feature, it’s time to consider it. Now, live chat features may not be the right fit for every firm. You’ll need to think about the needs of your target market. In some cases, if your service or product is complex, live chat may be an annoyance or unhelpful. However, we’ve seen the benefits of live chat features for a variety of B2B brands looking to generate more leads.
Jeremy Durant is Business Principal at Bop Design, a B2B web design and digital marketing firm. Jeremy works closely with businesses in need of a website, marketing and branding strategy, helping them to develop their unique value proposition and ideal customer profile. Jeremy received his BA from Merrimack College and his MBA from California State University, San Marcos. His writing has been featured in EContent Magazine, PublishThis, Marketing Agency Insider, Visibility Magazine, and Spin Sucks.