Live Chat: Another Way to Communicate With Clients Chris Lonergan January 22, 2018 Share: Too often, we forget to think about how the preferences of our potential clients. Whether you're crafting a website, preparing print products, or reaching out for reviews – catering to your potential clients and their needs will improve your response rate. Let's talk about Live Chat – a method of communicating that can open you up to a new segment of potential customers shopping your services. Let's Give an Example of What We Are Talking About Here Educators already understand that people have different learning preferences. Some people are "tactile" and need to be able to write, type, or create to best learn a lesson. Other are "visual", so having slideshows, figures, and graphics are the most effective methods for learning. Still more are "auditory", meaning they best learn when hearing information. So what does an educator do when they have a classroom full of students with a variety of learning preferences? They provide multiple avenues for learning in one lesson, giving opportunities for all students' learning preferences to intake information in the way that works best for them... Why Wouldn't a Business Do the Same? Your website should (hopefully!) already have multiple call-to-action opportunities placed throughout your site. Hopefully, the top of your website has a clear-cut method for calling your business or, within a few clicks, the opportunity to use a contact form to start a conversation. In the last few years, there has been a sharp growth in Live Chat opportunities on the web. Previously Live Chat was expensive or resource intensive, but an increased demand has spawned a live chat marketplace – with many providers offering a featured-filled "freemium" pricing option to get you started. "I'm a Contractor - Do I Really Need Live Chat?" The short answer – probably yes. The long answer – if you have any sort of office staff that answers your business phone, you should probably set up a live chat on your website. Is Live Chat a Hassle to Set Up? Live chat programs are now much easier to implement than in years past. For most, you download an app to your phone or use a computer to log-in to your chat account, supply a bit of code to your online marketing staff, configure your settings, and you are up and running. Why live chat is worth the minimal effort because it: Makes it easy for customers to ask quick questions - Regardless of your industry, live chat makes sense. Like we mentioned above, your potential customers already have their own communication preferences. Live chat is growing to be a more reliable way to get a quick answer to a question when a phone call isn't possible and when they are looking a faster turnaround time than your "Contact Us" form. Allows you to instantly connect to / sell a customer - The process by which you convert a visitor to a customer starts when a user visits your website. Often, websites are described as your 24/7 salesperson. The hope is, that through the proper structure and user experience/user interface design, your customer is led directly to the section of the website that best answers their questions. Reduces the number of clicks to find the information they need - Live chat removes all hurdles for clients in a hurry. Chat allows you the ability to learn more about your client and direct them to the best answers and best content possible. Where they may have clicked away if they couldn't easier find what they were looking for previously, this user is now captured, and can potentially develop into a lead and the resolution of their initial problem. Makes you look more professional - Live chat is getting more common now, so having the option for a simple chat service keeps you looking like you're up with the times. If your competitors don't have chat, it means you're ahead of the curve on that front. Live chat can also make you feel like a bigger company, even if you really still only have one truck and one person on the phones. The One Part of Live Chat That is Hard Finding a provider is easy. Setting up your account is not difficult. The biggest problem you'll have is cutting down your response time. With live chat services, timely communication is vital to your chat success. If someone is on your website asking a question via chat, you have a minute, maybe two to respond before they bounce. If your turnaround time is 5 minutes to answer your website chat – that customer is long gone. What Live Chat Service Should I Use? As of late, we've had some experience with two chat services that offer a free chat to start, with the ability to pay for additional bells and whistles if you find the services useful. Footbridge Media's Contractor Lead Chat - We might be a bit biased here, but the reason we offer this service is because we know how much better it is than our competetion's. Tawk.to - You can get most of their basic chat functions for free, with the option to pay a recurring charge to remove their branding and to have a little more finite control of the messaging service Drift - The basic chat is very strong, including live chat and chatting via app. Drift's main product is actually "chatbot" services, which helps to sell for your company even when you are away based on their input and the pages they visit. It goes without saying that while the ability to have your own custom "chatbot" is very cool, but the pricing may keep you satisfied with the regular chat functions. Making Sure Chat is the Right Fit for You To my mind, there is no doubt that having a live chat works for your customer base – but it has to work with you and your business first to be worthwhile. If you are a sole proprietor and have no dedicated office staff, live chat probably isn't worth it for you. Instead, you should make sure your Google My Business Messaging is set up. This allows you chat from your GMB Listing via SMS or Allo, a platform on which a less than instant reply isn't always the kiss of death. The bottom line is that live chat on websites is becoming more popular because it helps people find the answers to the questions they have. Make sure the purpose of your chat is to help the user in whatever way possible. They don't want to engage with your live chat to get promotional content spat back out. Help them first, and then guide them to the resources and services that your company can offer to answer their questions. About Chris Lonergan Chris Lonergan is the President of Footbridge Media. With a background in web design, print design, and online marketing, Chris is focused on providing quality marketing and business solutions in the construction and service industries - helping small business owners to more efficiently manage their company and grow their operations. Recent Articles The Importance of Reputation Management for Contractor Businesses What Makes Your Business Unique - Discovering & Defining Your USP 7 Proven & Effective Ways to Improve Online Presence for Your Contractor Business 5 Tips for Positive Brand Building for Contractors Successful Ways to Earn Repeat and Referral Business Is Your Contractor Marketing Plan Up-to-Date?