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Web Chat Best Practices: Tips & Tricks

The only guide you need for excelling at web chat to improve sales and customer service.

Table of Contents:

1.Getting Started: Proactive vs. Reactive Live Chat: Which one’s best for my business?
-Lower shopping cart abandonment rates
-Customer feedback
-Increase number of sales and leads
2.Setting up Proactive Web Chat
3.How to Display Web Chat on My Website?
4.What if customers want to chat but no agent is online?
5.How to end a web chat?
6.Best practices for optimising web chat
7.How many chat sessions should one agent be handling?
8.Measuring your web chat performance
9.Ensuring long-term success by implementing a web chat software?

Whether you are online shopping from a retailer, booking a holiday or browsing the web for the best insurance provider, you would have noticed that more and more companies are incorporating web chat to their websites. This is no surprise- in recent years the use of a web chat software has increased drastically, as business owners become more aware of its benefit, and this has positively affected the levels of customer satisfaction.

While web chat is a great technology to begin with, in order for it to bring the optimal benefits, it needs to be employed with the company’s set objectives in mind. Think about what are your key performance indicators (KPI) and ask yourself whether implementing web chat will help achieve them in a cost-efficient and customer-friendly way. If the answer is yes, then let us share our insights on how to properly implement it to best fit your ecommerce marketing strategy.

1.Getting Started: Proactive vs. Reactive Live Chat: Which one’s best for my business?

Having a web chat feature on your site is a step forward for improving your customers’ on-site experience and enhancing the customer engagement. Implementing reactive web chat to your website allows visitors to make queries regarding your product or service that will be answered quicker than an email and without the inconvenience of a phone call.

However, oftentimes customers are reluctant to initiate a conversation with an agent, maybe because they are confident in their choice or simply don’t consider it as an option. This is where reactive live chat’s weakness lies- in leaving it up to the customer to seek for customer service that should be provided at all times.

In this case, taking the initiative and being proactive will improve your brand’s relationship with the customers and optimise the lead conversion. Here are a couple of reasons why you should opt for a proactive web chat:

-Lower shopping cart abandonment rates
by following a customer’s buying journey, the agent is able to offer the right kind of help at the right time, without interfering with their on-site experience. This way he will be able to provide advice and eliminate any concerns that the customer has before making a purchase. Engaging with someone who can provide expertise on the product makes the customers much more likely to complete their order, without having to refer to other sources for help.

Customer feedback
observing the way customers browse your site and making note of how long it takes for them to make a purchase provides an insight on what prevents people from finalising an order and can be a solution to shopping cart abandonment. Getting familiar with your customers’ behaviours is always useful when coming up with a new marketing strategy and developing more sophisticated customer service.

Increase number of sales and leads
if increasing customer satisfaction and generating more leads are amongst your key performance indicators, you’ll manage to achieve them by organically implementing proactive web chat into your customer service strategy. Plus, being able to approach customers who are on the verge of making a purchase will enable the agents to up-sell with offers relevant to the customer’s needs.

2.Setting up Proactive Web Chat:
Reaching out to the right customers who actually need assistance is essential for the proactive web chat’s success. The best way to engage with these customers is through auto-invitations- custom-build chats based on a particular set of rules that determine whether it’s appropriate for an agent to approach the customer at a certain given time. Those rules can be based on:
-Customer’s location
– The current page they are browsing
– The number of times they have visited the website
-The amount of time they have spent on the website
– Number of times they have reached out to customer support

The customers most often targeted with auto-invitations are:
-Shoppers who tend to overthink their purchase
-Returning clients whose buying history is already in the support’s database
-Visitors frequently browsing the products page

Personalise it
the auto invitation you create should appear as friendly and personable, not resembling a spam pop-up window that the customer would close straight away:

This web chat introduction has addressed the customer by name, which instantly creates a sense of engagement and shows that the agent is concerned with her needs.

Don’t rush it
Don’t reach out to the customer immediately after they have entered the page, and don’t send multiple consecutive chat invitations, as this might put them off and negatively affect their experience on the site.

The auto-invitations should be used sparingly and at the right times, in order to secure the customers who are valuable to the company in some way or another. Finding the happy medium between being helpful and obstructive is essential for optimising web chat for customer conversion.

You asked, we answered- some of the most common questions we get about getting started with our web chat software:

3.How to Display Web Chat on My Website?

When getting started with your web chat software, it is important to choose a design that is going to fit your website’s look and won’t interfere with the customers’ on-site experience. The web chat button should be placed somewhere visible and easy to reach, but it shouldn’t be too bright or too big — you don’t want it to be your site’s main focus.
You have the option of placing your chat button at the top of the page, so that the visitors are aware they can contact you as soon as they open the website:

Another option is to have it on the bottom of the page; This is a good example of a button that is noticeable and original but doesn’t prevent the customer from browsing the site:

You can also opt for a sliding web chat button, so that the customer doesn’t have to scroll all the way to the top/bottom:

The more visible your web chat button is, the better the customer conversions will be, so choose whichever options you think will fit with your website’s design. Just make sure that the clients have no trouble finding it when they want to contact the customer service team.

4.What if customers want to chat but no agent is online?
It’s up to you to decide how to handle queries made outside of the customer support’s working hours.

A contact form-
you can get the chat widget replaced by a contact form for when the web chat is inactive, this way if a customer’s got a query, you will receive an email about it.

Hidden chat widget
another option is to hide your chat widget completely so that no one can contact you during an offline period. After all, the purpose of the web chat is to offer an instant response to people’s questions, so if you can’t provide this service at the time, there isn’t much point in the feature being present. What’s more, it could irritate the customers who were expecting to find someone to contact.

5.How to end a web chat?
Ending a web chat might seem a no-brainer but, in fact, it’s one of the most crucial points in the correspondence with a customer. The feeling they’re left with when exiting your site will most likely determine whether they will be a returning customer, therefore, the best web chat practice includes a well thought-out goodbye.

A plain ‘goodbye’ isn’t enough
whether the person made a purchase or not, whether they were dissatisfied or left a positive feedback, every customer deserves your agents’ attention and courtesy. Don’t end the chat with an abrupt ‘goodbye’, but make sure that the customer is leaving the site with a good impression of the service and that there aren’t any queries left unanswered.

End the chat when the customer’s ready to
let the customer set the pace for the conversation and don’t end it before making sure that they don’t require further assistance. Expressing a genuine concern for your customers’ needs and making sure their issues are resolved won’t go unnoticed and will help you improve your customer support rate.

Make the customer feel like they matter
Always thank the customer for contacting you and expressing interest in your product or service. Under no circumstances should you make them feel like they are annoying you with their queries or as if their issues are irrelevant. Treating every case with equal respect is the way to build a loyal customer base that will feel personally connected to your brand.

Now that we have covered the main practices for the initial implementation of a web chat technology, what you should think about is how best to optimise the service through planning, tracking and tweaking the variables on which your customer service performance depends:

6.Best Practices for Optimising Web Chat:

Have a clear goal– as we mentioned in the beginning of this guide, to reap the potential benefits of the web chat software, you need to be aware of whether or not this technology is suitable for your business objectives. Is web chat going to help your company meet the key performance indicators (KPI) that have been set? To optimise its use, it’s best to directly align web chat with a defined objective, which could be:

-increasing conversion rates
-decreasing shopping cart abandonment
-reducing the average handle time of an interaction
– improving the customer satisfaction rates
The improvements made in any of those aspects will signify that your web chat is working in favour of your business.

Train your agents properly– how well is your web chat performing depends to a large extent on how skillful your agents are. Providing them with adequate training and the necessary tools to handle customers is an efficient way of optimising the way live chat influences your brand’s customer satisfaction rates. Not only should agents possess soft skills so that they can relate to your customers’ issues and reassure them, but they should also have enough knowledge on the way the software works, in order to confidently use it.

7.How many chat sessions should one agent be handling?
Apart from the proper training, in order to perform well, the agents need to be handling the right amount of concurrent web chat sessions. Too little would mean that they are inefficient in providing good customer service, but if they are assigned with too many, their response time would increase, which leads to customer dissatisfaction.
The best way to determine the right amount of chats per agent is through trial and error- test what works best for your employees by tracking the customer satisfaction rates and the agents’ ratings. That’s how you’ll know when to make the necessary adjustments to the number of sessions/ number of agents.

Understand the customers’ needs- collecting data from the web chat interactions and taking into consideration customer feedback is a good way of finding out what do your clients value and what they wish was improved in the customer service they receive. Knowing if customers would like to receive quicker responses, or if they wish the staff was more friendly and approachable will help you decide on the adjustments that need to be made to increase customer satisfaction.

Be Consistent- providing consistent web chat support will ensure that all of your agents are working up to the same standard. It is important to offer the same high-quality customer support that reflects the standards of the company to each customer. Creating scripts that could be employed at multiple stages of the web chat will guarantee that agents will use the brand’s tone and language in every interaction with customers. There could be a couple of different scripts for different types of customers and issues to provide clients with the most essential product information in an efficient and concise way.

8.Measuring your web chat performance
So, you’ve got your web chat software up and running- customers are using it, your agents receive positive customer service feedback, but you are unsure whether the efforts and resources invested into the technology are paying off in terms of increased sales and customer conversion rates. How do you know for sure that you are getting the most out of web chat, and when is it time to make the necessary improvements?

Data is your friend- The data gathered by the web chat’s analytics tools gives you an insight on your customer support’s weaknesses and strengths, as well as on your agents’ performance. Analyzing this information will let you know about:

– Your user’s location
– The pages the user is browsing
– Whether the user has been contacting the website’s support
– The average time they spend on your website

Using the data as a guide, you can make continuous improvements to your support team and customer service strategy and determine which are the most efficient practices for generating more leads and increasing revenue.

13.Web Chat Volume- this is a good indicator that gives you information about how efficient your agents are in answering customers’ queries .Additionally, you can compare your web chat volume to the number of visitors, to accurately determine how many web chat agents you need at certain periods of time and to forecast sales.

14.Agents’ Performance- your web chat customer support depends on the skills and competency of your agents. A good web chat agent must reply instantaneously to customers’ queries while providing exhaustive and accurate information about your product. Their role is not only to be a good communicator, but also to create an opportunity for an up-sell or a cross-sell, mainly by asking the right questions and uncovering the customers’ needs.

To determine which of your agents are performing well and which are in need of additional training, you can track the customers’ feedback on the interactions they’ve had with the support team

15. First Contact Resolution (FCR) Rate- the higher amount of customers whose issues have been resolved immediately so that they don’t need to make a second query leads to higher customer satisfaction levels and increased sales. In 2017, FCR has become more important than speed, as reports have showed that the companies with highest customer satisfaction have increased their handle times at the expense of their response speed. Therefore, this is a metric that you need to keep in mind.

16.Web Chat Conversion Rates- the amount of chats that result in sales gives you a good indication of your agents’ ability to bring in sales by offering the customers the best personal experience. People using web chat are reportedly 7.5 times more likely to make a purchase, so your agents need to be properly trained in order to be able to turn visitors into paying customers.

17.Customer Satisfaction- web chat surpasses all other forms of customer service with a 73% customer satisfaction rate, which is why it’s important to keep track of whether the customers are happy with the service by letting them rate their experience before leaving the website. Satisfied visitors are more likely to convert into regular buyers, so every customer needs to be given equal attention.

9.Ensuring long-term success by implementing a web chat software?
In order to turn live chat into a viable aspect of your customer service strategy and to ensure that your sales experience a steady growth, there are several factors that you should monitor. Keep in mind that the key to a good web chat practice is continuous improvement within all of those metrics. Regularly tracking and measuring the web chat interactions and making the necessary alterations will increase your company’s revenue while bringing down the cost per customer.

Offer expert customer service-
make sure that your agents are able to provide an expert support and advice to the clients’ queries and that they would be able to lead a detailed conversation about the customer’s concern with your product or service. The agents should operate while keeping in mind the activities that the customers value and those that they wish to avoid, in order to deliver a satisfactory service.

Integrate chat conversations to your CRM system- the information about the customers that you receive through web chat communication can be used by agents to better understand the nature of the queries and to provide a more personal and satisfactory customer service. This information can include the client’s purchase history, previous buying preferences or shared personal details.

Implement a co-browsing solution or an online video chat option — in addition to your new web chat software, these solutions will help you improve customer engagement and will enable you to track your customers’ buying journey, giving you a valuable insight into the way they interact with the site and their purchasing habits.

Improving agents’ performance- The feedback data gathered from web chat interactions can be used to measure the agents’ performance against your key performance indicators (KPI), and to identify the areas where they need training. Combined with the average handle time (AHT) and first contact resolution (FCR) metrics, it gives the web chat users an understanding of the impact each agent has on the customer experience.

All in all, both the statistics and the customers’ experience show us that web chat can be the solution to businesses struggling to identify their customers’ pain points, needs and preferences. However, web chat is not a one-size-fits-all technology, and when implementing it you should make the necessary adjustments in order for it to serve the needs and purposes of your business. If done correctly, however, the web chat software has the potential to elevate your company’s customer satisfaction and engagement rates, to improve the customers-brand relationship and boost sales rates.

Simply put, optimising web chat revolves around tracking the metrics, comparing the results and making the necessary adjustments to your customer service strategy. The data provided by web chat takes the guessing work out of determining whether a certain approach is successful in engaging customers or increasing lead generation and lets the eCommerce owners concentrate on the areas that need improvement.

Constant monitoring, evaluation and improvement is really the best practice when it comes to web chat- there is no magic trick that will help you achieve your business objectives overnight. It’s all about being consistent and paying attention to what the data tells you.

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