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The complete guide to Live Chat

What is Live Chat?

Live chat is a means of communication used by businesses and organizations to chat in real-time with visitors to their website.

Most people have used the live chat function before to ask questions or enquire about a product or service online and get instant advice from a customer service agent.

Those who haven’t used live chat will undoubtedly have at least seen the live chat box pop up when visiting a website. Chat boxes complete with a photo of a smiling face and a text box offering to help with any questions are now a familiar sight online and live chat functionality has become increasingly popular with businesses and consumers alike. In fact, over a third of consumers expect to see it when visiting a website, whilst for businesses, this sought-after tool is a sure-fire way to boost online conversions and improve customer satisfaction.

Consumers perceive live chat to be faster and often more efficient than other forms of communication and many appreciate the opportunity to ask quick questions, right there and then, whilst browsing online. Others simply prefer not to talk on the phone and those who are accustomed to communicating via texts and social media are sometimes more comfortable with a messenger style live chat approach.

Having live chat available encourages consumers who wouldn’t otherwise take the time to email or call, to make an enquiry or provide feedback due to its ease of use and instantaneity – customers don’t even need to leave the web page or information that has prompted their query, enabling them to make quicker purchase decisions.

Live chat generates 6x more website engagement!

Businesses have been quick to recognise that live chat can help to dramatically increase web conversions, by as much as 50%! As well as offering an additional method of communication with customers and potential customers which ultimately encourages more leads and opportunities. In fact, live chat can generate up to six times more engagement with website visitors. With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that businesses have embraced the technology which is proactive, flexible, and straightforward to use.

How does live chat work?

It works with a simple piece of software that is easily installed on a website and enables instant messaging with web visitors.

A chat box appears within the browser window and the customer can simply type their query. Someone at the other end types their response. Live chat works effectively on desktop and mobile so it can be used by customers anywhere.

Questions can be short, simple, and answered quickly or longer conversations with multiple questions and answers can develop. Live chat probably provides the fastest form of customer service available to businesses.

Why do customers prefer live chat?

The instant nature of live chat is what has made it so popular with consumers. Years of dealing with call centres and experiences of being kept on hold, passed around to different departments or even being lost in the system have all contributed to many people preferring digital communication.

Email and enquiries via web contact forms are fine but consumers expect to wait for a response to these enquiries. On the other hand, when information is wanted quickly, live chat is the perfect means of communication.

It’s also true that people feel comfortable asking fairly trivial or casual questions on live chat. These are the types of questions they probably wouldn’t send via email or web form where more formal or structured communication tends to take place. Often these questions might seem minor but they can be key to the customer and their buying decisions, even if they don’t realise it! The value of this shouldn’t be underestimated, the right response via live chat can then lead to impulse buys and a happy, loyal, new customer.

In a similar vein, live chat can also encourage a customer to open up more, particularly on matters of a sensitive nature that require empathy and deeper understanding, due to the environment feeling less upfront than a face to face interaction. Live chat gives customers more time to think and develop questions that may otherwise have been forgotten about or avoided on a phone call.

Are live chat enquiries answered by a real person?

People often wonder if there will be a real person at the other end answering their query. Whilst it is true that various businesses do use AI and chatbots, others don’t. In many instances, there will be a real person with product expertise and company knowledge waiting at their keyboard ready to help.

Chat boxes can be customised to reflect your company branding and can include a profile image and/or name of the member of staff the customer is chatting to, helping to humanise the experience and making it feel much more personal – which is particularly beneficial for sectors where a human response is especially valued.

With Moneypenny’s Live Chat, responses on behalf of our clients come from real people. While chatbots may be able to generate instant responses and, with the help of AI, answer some basic questions, they can’t offer the human touch.  For example, a bot has no capacity for empathy which can be problematic when responding to complaints. Dealing with a bot can lead to frustration and this is something which live chat aims to avoid.

AI is improving all the time, but for the foreseeable future, having a real person available to respond to live chat is definitely the best approach.

What are the business benefits of live chat?

There are numerous commercial benefits to utilising live chat. This can vary from business to business but generally, the key benefits include:

  • Higher conversion rates and improved ROI
  • Improved customer satisfaction – problems can be resolved quickly
  • Opportunities to gain insight into customer pain points and gather feedback
  • The chance to gain a competitive advantage over competitors who aren’t using live chat or aren’t using it as effectively – see below for how to capitalise on live chat
  • Encouraging customer loyalty
  • Improved efficiency in a cost-effective way
  • Facilitating remote working – chat agents can respond to chats from anywhere

Outsourced live chat

At Moneypenny, we manage chats, 24/7, on behalf of thousands of businesses.  We have a wealth of experience in this area. The chances are, if you’ve used live chat on a website, then you’ve already dealt with us but not realised it as all of our live chat responses will appear as though they are coming directly from the company.

We have live chat clients across a wide range of industries and from businesses of all shapes and sizes. Smaller businesses may think that chat is utilised by larger organisations, but with an outsourced live chat service, it can work just as well for smaller businesses too.

How can you capitalise on live chat?

From customising the design of your chat widget to activating proactive chats, there are a whole range of features that can be tailored to get the most from your live chat service. Here are some of the measures you can take to ensure your business is reaping all of the benefits live chat has to offer.

Decide what you want from live chat

Setting aims and objectives is always a good starting point for any form of communication or marketing. Consider why you are using live chat on your site and what you hope to gain from it. Are you looking to generate leads or to resolve queries? Maybe you want to improve customer satisfaction by offering people a quick, easy way to communicate.

Test different designs and opening lines

By testing different designs, opening greetings and questions, you can gain an understanding of what works best for your organisation. For example: “Hello, how can I help today?” might work better than “Good morning, do you have any questions?”

Think about your industry, your audience, your brand and the specific page of your website too. Could questions be more specific? For example, a travel agent might ask “Would you like a quote for a holiday to this destination?” or an estate agent could ask “Would like to arrange a viewing?”.

Think about the wording and make sure your language and questions match your objectives as well as reflect your brand. Ask open questions and try different things until you find what works for you. The possibilities are endless, by experimenting and paying close attention to the results you’ll quickly form a picture of what works well and yields results.

Within the Design Studio of our portal, you have the flexibility to change the colour, font and style of your chat widget. This means it can be coordinated with relevant pages of your website and you can ensure the chat widget perfectly reflects your brand. It can be updated and changed to reflect seasonal events such as Christmas or a special offer period. In fact, you can design as many themes as you wish and can also go back and edit the styles at any time, so it is worthwhile spending some time trialing and testing different designs.

Respond quickly

People love live chat because they see it as a way to get an instant response. In fact, 79% of consumers say they prefer live chat functions* to other methods of communication. Some people assume that if they make a phone call they will be placed on hold for a frustrating length of time. Email and web form enquiries usually involve a wait for a response and it can sometimes be unclear how long that wait may be. Those using live chat are hoping they will be able to access the information on services they’re looking for right there and then.

Expectations are high and unless the response is rapid, customers and prospects will be disappointed, so time is of the essence in order to get the best from your live chat.

Choose where to appear

Think about where live chat will be useful to your web visitors. It’s easy to pick and choose exactly where you want live chat to appear around your website.

You might want live chat to be available within a specific section of your content or on a CTA-driven page where potential buyers may want to request more information about a product or service – it’s entirely up to you and is completely flexible. Find out more about how to add Moneypenny Live Chat to a web page here. 

What are proactive chats?

Proactive chats or invitations are the online equivalent to a shop assistant asking, “Hi, can I help with anything?” They are an incredibly powerful tool and will add immediate value to your website. They can also be highly effective when it comes to boosting sales.

Consider which pages of your website are crucial in the purchasing process, or which may lead to questions, and include conversational auto-prompts on these key pages to encourage interaction from visitors on that page.

The key here is to understand how users approach your website. Put yourself in the position of the web visitor or shopper. Think about what they might need, what they could be looking for, or what questions they might have. Asking the right questions can make the world of difference. Not sure where to start? Speak to one of our Live Chat team and we will be able to advise, offer suggestions and share our expert view on what is effective.

Our Live Chat staff are here to deliver exceptional levels of customer satisfaction and help make your website work as hard as it possibly can. Having support available for your customers, whenever they may need it, goes a long way and proactive chats do just this.

Analysing Live Chat and using the portal

Our portal will provide data on all the chats that have taken place on your website. This information can help you to understand the positive impact that live chat is having on your bottom line. It provides a clear picture of who is using the facility and when. This sort of data can help inform decisions such as whether to offer live chat 24/7 or just during certain times of day. (It’s worth noting that 37% of users are proven to chat out of hours).

37% of chats occur out of hours.

The portal log shows the date and time of every chat, as well as the duration of the chat itself and the name of the Moneypenny PA who took the chat, so you can see everything at a glance.

It also provides useful visitor information such as name, location, and chat history. You can search this data to provide information about time ranges and chat type too, giving a clear picture of your live chat users, as well as insights into when your website is busy, which URLs are leading to chats and other useful information.  Data can be stored securely to provide a better and more personalised service to returning customers and can be exported for reporting purposes too.

We also advise our clients to track live chat via their Google Analytics account. This helps to ensure that live chat is measured in conjunction with other forms of marketing and gives a more complete picture of how your website is performing overall.

Our portal is incredibly user-friendly with lots of super-useful features. If you need anything explained or require support with the portal, one of our technical experts is just at the other end of the phone and will be happy to talk you through different features and functionality.

Why Moneypenny?

With extensive experience of live chat at Moneypenny, we know and understand how to manage chats, on behalf of clients of all shapes and sizes. We offer one seamless solution and our amazing staff are dedicated to generating the best results that help turn more website browsers into paying customers.

We believe there are two ingredients that combine to make the perfect outsourced web chat experience.

The first is the right people. Our PAs are employed for their personalities, positive attitudes, and professionalism. They care about your customers as much as you do and quickly get to grips with what you do and how you want to be represented to your customers.  They specialise in different business sectors – from property to legal, to healthcare and automotive, so whatever your line of business, we will be able to match you to the perfect representative for your company, who will respond to enquiries exactly as if based within your team.

The second ingredient for success relies on the process of briefing your Moneypenny PA and keeping them informed of changes or developments. Think of it as the same as running through things with a new employee. When someone joins your team you probably give them an induction which includes an overview of the business. You familiarise them with the most frequently faced tasks and the questions customers often ask. Your Moneypenny PA is no different; they will be ready to listen and absorb information about your business, what you do, who your customers are and what they look for. They are just like a member of your in-house team but based here at Moneypenny.

Rest assured that we do our research too. Before you brief us, we’ll have already done our homework. We will take a look through your website and get to know your business and what you do – but the key thing here is that it’s your business. To us this means that it’s you that we really learn from; you know what your customers ask, you know what they like to hear, so we will be led by you.

How much does Moneypenny Live Chat cost?

We are currently offering businesses a free one-week trial so that managers and business owners can experience our Live Chat service and its benefits first hand. The results speak for themselves and the free trial enables you to see the difference capturing every opportunity can make.

Following the trial period, there are no long-term contracts and our flexible pricing structure includes bundles of chats. This flexible approach means you are in control and only pay for what you need.

Want to find out more?

To find out more about Live Chat or to start your free trial, call us today on 0333 202 1005.

*According to Econsultancy, 79% of consumers say they prefer live chat functions because they don’t have to wait on hold and get their questions answered immediately.

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