If used correctly and as part of your overall customer service plan, live chat software has the ability to increase conversion rates by giving customers instant access to a live support agent right while they’re on your site.

But if you think simply slapping up an online icon and waiting for the orders to roll in is all it takes, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

There are “rules,” if you will, for using live chat software to the fullest, so you can:

  • Improve conversions
  • Build a strong customer loyalty
  • Create a fervent base of devoted fans

Here’s what to look for, and how to make sure you’re using your live chat program to the fullest.

Increase revenue. Improve conversion rates. In 30-days.

Powerful Analytics

The best live chat software includes intelligent analytics which can be leveraged to learn which pages customers are visiting, how long they’re staying on that page, and how they got there.

Normal analytics packages can do this as well; however, live chat analytics have one important advantage:

They present the best opportunity for the support agent to initiate a live chat session.

Often, with major purchases such as furniture or appliances, the customer has to think about it. They may want to compare prices and different models to determine if they’re getting a good deal. With these long-term, high-ticket purchases, they may come back to the site several times and then ultimately buy in a Sam’s Furniture retail store.

For these reasons, both the analytics and live chat customer support can identify customers who have been comparing different brands or who have spent a longer time on specific pages.

By posting an unobtrusive invitation to see if the customer has any questions, sales agents are able to provide answers and close sales.

It’s worth noting that adding the live chat to the Sam’s furniture website has accounted for about $50,000 in sales consistently from month-to-month.

In addition, customer support tracks the effectiveness of the live chat system by manually matching chat logs to each customer’s order.

Increasing Average Order Value

Virgin Airlines doesn’t use live chat to sell tickets, but rather uses it to up-sell customers.

Users who buy tickets online are already in the decision-making phase, so they don’t need to be convinced.  But by upselling them with live chat as they complete their order, Virgin has created some enviable conversion rates.

Additional order value from users who use the live chat function is around 15% higher than those who don’t.

Beyond that, users who participate in live chat tend to convert 3.5 times as often as those who don’t. Virgin also says live chat is cheaper than emails and phone calls as one live chat agent can typically do the work of about 15 customer specialists who are handling emails and calls.

The takeaway lesson here is that live chat doesn’t just have to be about providing support and answering questions.  If used strategically, it can also be used to upsell a likely conversion, or, if the customer is hesitant to move ahead, down-sell with a “lite” option.

Smarter Page Tracking

Your chat operators can see what pages your visitors are on.

Live Chat Is Growing

According to recent trends, live chat’s popularity shows no signs of slowing.

Last holiday season around Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, LivePerson hosted more than 860,000 chats for its  8,500+ retail and business clients.

What’s one of the reasons for the stunning growth in recent years?  More ways to chat—such as through mobile.  When surveyed, 40% of customers said they’d be likely to use live chat on their mobile phone if such an option were offered, making it more important than ever to get up to speed on responsive design.

The bottom line

When it comes to using live chat, it shouldn’t be looked at as a marketing cure-all, but rather yet another link in the customer service chain that connects you to your prospect in a way that goes beyond just answering questions or directing inquiries.

When used strategically, live chat can become an integral promotional channel that builds loyalty, gets fans talking, and convinces users to take action.

So what are you waiting for? Get chatting.