If the goal of your website is lead generation, then it is critical that website visitors are given every opportunity to contact you.
Unfortunately, many of your visitors will not fill out a contact form because they don’t want to wait for a response, and many won’t pick up the phone because they don’t want to commit to a phone call.
Fortunately, live chat fills that gap and more and more users are choosing live chat as their most desired option when they are ready to reach out to ask questions or learn more. Live chat is one of the best conversion tools available, but if not used properly, it can hurt the overall experience on your website.
The Worst Live Chat Mistakes
1. Creating Barriers to Start a Chat
When setting up your live chat system, you can customize how much information a web visitor needs to provide to start a chat. A common mistake is to require a visitor to input tons of information about themselves before they can speak to you.
Remember that most visitors who start a live chat are not ready to convert or make a purchase. They are often reaching out with a question and looking to start a conversation.
- Reduce the pre-chat form to 2 fields maximum: name and email address. The email address is important because if you get disconnected on chat, you have a way to reach the visitor later.
- In the pre-chat form, explain why you are requesting visitor’s email. For example, our TinyFrog pre-chat form states, “Let us know your email in case we get disconnected.”
2. Not Training Your Team Well
Talking to potential customers on live chat is very different from a phone or email conversation.
On live chat, you need to respond as quickly as possible, convey a friendly tone, and keep the conversation going.
Even an experienced client support representative or sales person needs some training on how to handle chat scenarios and keep visitors engaged on chat before they speak to customers.
- Create basic scripts for common questions and live chat scenarios. This is a great resource and it will help your team respond to chats faster.
- Make sure your team understands the goal for each type of live chat scenario. For example, should the live chat agent guide the visitor to a certain step, gather their information, or set up an appointment.
3. Leaving Default Messaging & Settings
For every live chat system, there are a couple of steps in the setup process. Your development team can install a plugin or code and customize basic elements of the live chat.
The majority of the live chat settings, however, are controlled in the third party system platform.
A lot of website owners forget to customize the messaging and chat forms. Leaving these default options in the chat area will create a disconnect on your website and can diminish your overall website user experience.
- Review and customize the pre-chat form and the offline settings. Customizing all of these elements will help you get the most out of having live chat.
- For instance, our TinyFrog chat widget used to say “Leave a Message” when agents weren’t available. By changing the messaging to say “Contact Us” and adjusting the form, we increased the number of conversions through the offline form.
4. Missing Out on Peak Chat Times
When you first add live chat to your website, it can be difficult to predict how many chats you’ll receive and the peak chat times.
It’s impossible for your team to manage live chat 24/7 so you’ll need to pick a schedule. But if you never identify the peak chat times for your business, you could be missing out on the best time to engage your customers. You may be surprised by how many people want to chat at lunch time or later in the day.
- If possible, run a test and try to have an agent active on live chat as much as possible during your business hours for a few days or week.
- If multiple team members can help you manage chat, create a schedule and make sure you have someone active during peak times and a backup person, in case you receive numerous chats.
Side note: If you aren’t seeing any chats on your site, review the chat engagement & prompts settings in the live chat platform. Test a new pop-up or prompt to encourage chats.
5. Not Following Up After Chats
Follow up is a critical aspect to live chat. Web visitors are often multitasking with multiple browsers or apps open, so it’s very common for a visitor to drop off during a chat conversation.
You could be missing out on leads and opportunities if you never send a follow up email after a chat.
- Make sure to request a web visitor’s email address in the pre-chat form, so you have an alternative contact method to follow up if the chat gets interrupted.
- If a customer drops off of chat, send a simple follow up email to the potential client or customer. Ask if they’d like to connect on a phone call or via email to continue the discussion.
You’ll convert more live chat engagements to leads and customers with just 1 follow up email.
Keep Improving & Testing Live Chat
Since it’s still a relatively new feature for websites, live chat systems are constantly unveiling new features and integrations.
If you aren’t seeing the best results for your live chat, test a new chat prompt or messaging. Just like everything else on your website, small improvements can make a big difference.