If you had of told me a year ago to add Live Chat to our website to increase inbound leads I would have scoffed and probably said something like:
“Are you kidding? I don’t have time for that?!”
“Yeah right, who would manage it? Not me!”
“Good in theory but I don’t want to be bound to it day and night… I’m busy enough!”
“Live Chat won’t work for us, we don’t get enough traffic.”
But earlier this year I decided to give it a go… just for a month I told myself. ONE month and then I’ll decide whether to keep it or throw it in the mounting pile of other 267 other marketing tactics I’ve tried and failed.
I was convinced it wouldn’t work.
In all honesty, I thought we’d be lucky to get one chat per day. And even then I thought it’d be some salesy offshore company trying to sell me cheap web development services or worse: “I can get you to page one of Google very cheap…”.
I get enough of that crap via email as it is!
But I was wrong.
I’ve done a complete 360 — and I want to help you become a Live Chat believer too.
I want to show you exactly how you can use it for you web design business to:
- Better qualify leads so you get to talk to ideal ones on the phone.
- Quickly build trust and rapport to turn cold prospects warm in a snap.
- Help be of service to your existing clients in a more convenient way.
- Sell more so you can reap the profits that live chat will happily deliver to you… if you put in the time.
Because I can honestly say, it now ranks up there in my top three lead generation tactics. Seriously.
Check out a screenshot of the chat transcripts in my inbox:
Note: Yes, for you analysing eagle eyes, my inbox is sitting at 806 which is crazy stupid on my behalf. I’m having a moment where I can’t be bothered clearing it back to zero, it’ll pass in a few days. What can I say? I’m not perfect by any means and I hate getting bogged down in email — please don’t judge me! LOL
So here’s the full scoop, the good the bad and the downright funny…
What live chat program should you use?
We started off using ClickDesk which was pretty cheap and good to use but I have to say, there were a few features that were lacking which meant we were missing chats.
The way their alerts work meant that we could only have one little alarm sound when a chat popped up and then there were no flashing browser tabs, popups, reminder alerts etc if we missed that first alert. So if we’d just turned away for a minute and someone had popped in during that time, we’d miss them. (That was incredibly frustrating for a customer service nazi like myself!)
The other annoying thing was that you couldn’t set your chat office hours by default. You have to manually log on and log off which was frustrating also because a few times we forgot to log off at the end of the day and when we remembered after we’d left the office we had no way of turning chat off other than going back to our actual computer.
Once I forgot to log off and jumped on a plane to Melbourne for 2 weeks and I couldn’t even login from a different computer and turn it off so you can imagine how annoying it was! I had to call my PA to go around to my house and log me off! Arggghhh!
Anyway, after doing a heap of research we just recently settled on PureChat which is great. I actually like the interface better, you can set on and off hours to suit yourself, and you can set popups to notify you of new chats so you don’t miss any.
It also has a cool call to action feature you can set up for when a chat closes which is great to get extra likes on your Facebook page! And it gives the visitor the option to download the chat transcript as well which is handy too.
How much will it cost?
I think we were paying about $40 per month with ClickDesk and PureChat is only $5 per user / per month so the move also gave us a big saving.
The rest is just your time but it’s time well spent I assure you. It’s kinda like marketing throughout the day without even thinking about it — just marketing on semi-autopilot.
So anyway, it’s cheap. It’s almost free! Five bucks a month is a no brainer.
Who should man live chat?
If you’re a solo designer or freelancer, then I suggest you man it yourself. And don’t worry, it doesn’t take as much time as you think. Promise!
If you have a team, I would suggest that you as the business owner man it yourself first to get a feel for what people are saying, then when you’re happy with it, delegate it to someone who is sales or marketing savvy.
The first few months I spent a lot of time doing the live chats myself until I could create a bit of a policy around how we handle different conversations. My right hand man and marketing strategist, Andy, now manages the majority of our chats but I still read every single transcript that comes through and I give him pointers on how I’d like it handled differently next time if I’m not 100% down with something he’s said. (That’s a rarity by the way but like I said, I’m a customer service over-achiever!)
I wouldn’t want anyone in our tech support team handling it and I also wouldn’t delegate it to my trusty team in the Philippines. Well not at this stage anyway. Why? Because I’m a crazy recovering-perfectionist, customer service control freak, especially with things like this, and want to make sure every enquiry is handled correctly.
And on that, be careful about giving it to a junior. You need to know how to ask the right questions to get the results you deserve and that can’t be done by just anyone. You don’t work this hard to get people to your website to have it screwed up by someone who’s not qualified enough to handle it. Just sayin’. It’s not their fault, they’ll do their best, but it’s just not worth the risk.
When should you be available?
Definitely during working hours if you’re sitting at your desk.
And after hours if you can.
We send out newsletters every Tuesday with our latest blog for the week and I know that a lot of people read them that night so if I’m working late or in front of my laptop cooking dinner or watching TV, I’ll often turn it on to be there for anyone who has questions.
So if you’re around, and you know people are going to be on your site at a specific time, make yourself available to them. 🙂
What types of live chats will you get?
You will get all types of people on your chat programs but I’ve narrowed it down to about seven.
1. Spammers, tyre kickers and time-wasters.
Unfortunately you do have to take the good with the bad. Most chat programs however will tell you the country they’re from so it’s easy to identify them when they appear. We often just politely say ‘no’ and get on with our day.
Other times we just shut the chat down…
2. Blog readers or visitors with specific questions.
We do get some chats which are from our blog readers with questions, or people just saying they’re reading/enjoying the blog, or people telling us a link is broken etc. With these, I always like to over-deliver because you never really know who might be your next client.
Answer their question as quickly as you can then try and go one step further to blow their little cotton socks off.
And my inner ego loves these ones…
I’m not going to show you the transcripts of my competitors but let’s just say “I know who you are if you’re reading this!”. LOL
Seriously though, they’re pretty easy to spot from a mile off. You’ll sense it in the way they ask the questions — it’s like they try to dumb down the questions they throw at you but they’re still far too technical if they really are the typical small business owner they say they are. Like duh!
Some will get really aggressive and nasty too. I’ve had all types of slurs thrown at me by who I can only assume are jealous competitors or web nerds who get all wound up in the platform.
Like this one…
One day a wacky guy went off on a ludicrous rant at me when after chatting to him for about 20 minutes, I suggested he talk to one of our business development experts on the phone. He went on to tell me I don’t know how to run my business, I don’t care about the little guys and I need to have a good hard look at myself.
I just laughed it off. Don’t take it personally when you get loons like this. I just told him politely that we’re not a fit and shut the chat down. End of discussion.
4. Clients with technical support queries.
Now, a word of warning on this one…. DO NOT give out website login details over live chat. It’s just not safe. Most of our client chats are ones saying they’ve lost their username and password but we NEVER ever give it out over chat. We always get their details, check it against our client records in our CRM then email them the login details to the email we have on file.
Other times, you’ll get chats like this one….
5. Just quote and run.
You will get those who just want a price right there and then and it’s up to you, but my policy is that we don’t give out prices over chat. I feel that it’s just too risky to even give ballparks until you can talk to them properly about their specs.
They normally don’t want to give you their phone number, or suddenly vanish into thin air or are sometimes sketchy on what they want and almost always smell like competitors – be aware! LOL
6. The skeptical, cooler lead who needs a little warming up.
These ones come with an array of honest questions and are often a little bit standoffish to start with. They might be early in the research stages of the buying cycle, not quite sure what to ask for, had mixed opinions and advice from others on what to get and need a bit more nurturing than others who are just plain ready to buy.
They look a bit like this and it’s your job to gently educate them on what they need and how you can help them. Don’t try to sell them too hard but just try and get them on the phone as a next step, then you can talk to them in more detail about how you work and put a proposal together from there.
7. The walk up start.
I thought I’d leave the best until last! These ones are the best types of leads you can get. They’ve done their research, read through your site and they like what they see. They may have also read your blogs, been on your newsletter list for a while or been referred by a friend. They are READY!!
They don’t muck around either so if they’re ready to get a quote, don’t waste too much of their time chit chatting about specs — just get their name and number so you can call them and talk to them. They are HOT leads, the best you can hope for and ready for your help. So take care of these as if every single one comes wrapped with a 5 carat diamond. They are a dream.
Here are a few examples to get you excited at the possibilities…
And lastly, as a bonus #8, I couldn’t leave with warning you of the occasional weird and quirky ones you will no doubt encounter. I often get people asking if it’s really me and is that really me in the photo. (No, it’s a stock photo I use and just pretend it’s me. I mean c’mon.)
Other times you get ones like this….
That wraps up my live chat 101 lesson. You are now fully armed and prepped with what took me 6 months to figure out the hard way! Go you!
What I want you to do now is go and spend 30 minutes setting live chat up on your site. It really is that quick and simple. And better still, you can get started on one of the best marketing tactics around with just $5! Now that’s cheap. No excuses okay?
So did I convince you to bite the bullet and launch live chat on your website? Tell me in the comments if you’re gonna give it a go, I’d love to know…
Just quickly, before you go…
What you want to know about getting more web design clients?
Currently we get about 150 leads and sell about 40-50 websites per month so let me help you crack the code for your business.
What do you think? Share your comments below.