Let's be honest, no one likes pop-ups. You get to a site, you want to check things out and you don't want something shoved in your face. If you recall, that's basically how live chat used to work. Luckily things have changed and companies have developed tools that don't interfere with the user experience.
For companies, this has resulted in immediate support, less phone calls, and increased customer satisfaction. It also means increased feedback from customers; something marketers should be jumping for joy over.
I talked to four companies using live chat to learn how it's helped improve their marketing efforts. Here's what they had to say:
Sam Gurdus, director of customer delight at AdRoll
"At AdRoll, we don't simply aim to support, we strive to delight. In keeping with this goal, live chat has become a key tool for our customer delight team. In addition to resolving people's problems in real-time, live chat gives us the ability to enhance our product based on feedback that doesn't always come through other support channels.
We're able to attach automated tags to each chat, revealing data on which issues surface most, where they pop up, and occurrence windows. This has led to improved dashboard features, easier campaign editing functionality, and strategically placed tips in areas where live chat data showed us there was confusion."
Mike Morris, VP customer acquisition and retention at Grasshopper
"Our marketing department ran live chat for a few weeks and the biggest takeaway was the amount of insight it gave us into our pricing and signup page. We learned that features we thought were most important to customers weren't the ones that mattered. We also came across a few sign up road blocks we didn't know existed.
The great part is, because our marketing team ran the live chat, we were able to take the data and create new content to address some of the questions people had. We're also currently in the midst of redesigning our entire signup process to address the issues we came across."
Josh Pigford, CEO at PopSurvey
"I throw sales and marketing in the same pot for us...there's a lot of overlap. So having live chat as both a sales channel and support channel has been very beneficial. From a sales perspective, customers are able to get any of their concerns instantly alleviated, plus it gives us an opportunity to put a face with the business and start a relationship. Almost any time someone chooses to contact us via live chat, they signed up right afterwards.
From a support perspective, it allows us to solve problems instantly. The feedback from this is literally always positive."
Caitlin MacDonald, director of marketing at Rapleaf
"From a marketing and product perspective, live chat has provided an easy and fast way to get feedback on the overall user experience. We're able to see where our users are getting caught up and what the most frequently asked questions are so we can adjust our messaging and enhance our product to make it more user-friendly.
It not only provides an additional channel of contact for potential customers, but shows users they are important to us and we want to be available to them at any time. It makes them feel more comfortable that there is an actual person behind the site, which strengthens customer loyalty and enables us to deliver that one-to-one 'in store-like' experience to each and every person."
Casie Gillette is online marketing manager at Grasshopper.
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Great, Casie. I'll have to give it a look.Thanks!
Thanks for the comment Ashley - The one I'm most familiar with is oLark. We use it and really like it. Simple to install and can be integrated with different IM platforms and even mobile.
Do you have any recommendations on a live chat product? Any that stand out?
Thanks for the comment (and tweet) Tom. A lot of the live chat tools I've seen don't force you to enter any information which is great but you do bring up another issue, it's important that the person running the live chat makes the customer feel comfortable. I'll have to check out Workface, thanks!
Live chat can definitely improve the user experience by letting a site visitor get a question answered immediately -- without calling an 800 number and navigating a phone maze or sending an email to an "info@" address and waiting for a reply. The problem is that the visitor usually has to give up his or her anonymity immediately, yet has no idea who they are chatting with or any notion of that person's background or knowledge. Newer tools like Workface improve the chat experience by letting the site visitor see profiles and decide who to chat with, and engage anonymously in a text or even video chat.
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