Every now and then, customers just need to deal with a real person. No pop-ups, FAQs or forums - a real, living, breathing human being.

A great way to put people visiting your website in touch with real people is by using live chat on your landing pages.

1. Customers Love It

Really, there isn’t a much more important point to make than this. After all, if you’re not creating happy, engaged customers, you’ll struggle to keep your doors open.

Part of the reason customers love it so much is because it’s an extremely effective and efficient method of getting your customers and prospective customers in touch with real people on your customer success team.

For example, lets compare live chat to another common approach used to get customers in touch with your people - call centers. In many instances, live chat is more efficient than a call center customer support model.

This technology can cut down the amount of time it takes your customers to get in touch with you. This means less time waiting and more time finding solutions - no wonder 90 percent of customers find live chat useful.

Because your customers and web visitors find live chat useful, they become more willing to revisit your site if it offers live chat.

An eMarkleter report said, “Fully 63% of respondents who chatted said they were more likely to return to the site, and 62% reported being more likely to purchase from the site again.”

Not only does live chat help create happy customers, it helps create returning customers - that is crucial.

2. Improves Conversion Rates

Customer experience is a big factor that affects your ability to convert visitors. Another important factor is the ability to answer customer questions in a quick and meaningful way.

Being able to interact with a customer lets you specifically speak to their needs, present the most relevant information, and hold their hand while they make their buying decision.

This increased support while the customer is making up his or her mind drives up conversions. Internet Retailer says that Abt.com increased conversion rates by 20 percent when it started using live chat.

The article continues, “At fashion apparel retailer HauteLook, live chat also helps to improve agent efficiency as well as conversion rates.”

This sentiment was echoed by the owner of Call Box on the Shopify blog. Noah Kadner, the owner of Call Box, says that nine out of 10 chat conversations can be converted into sales.

3. Increases Customer Lifetime Value

While live chat converts at the top of the funnel, it can also be used to help your conversions throughout the funnel as well.

The biggest reason you can use live chat to increase lifetime value is because you can speak to individual customers and better understand their needs. By chatting with them, you’re able to figure out the exact reason they’re buying your product and you can more accurately offer other products or services as part of an upsell offer.

Virgin Atlantic has had tremendous success using live chat to upsell customers - they encourage you to speak with a person as opposed to sending inquiries via email.

Internet Retailer notes: “Virgin also has found that average order values for consumers who use live chat is some 15% higher than for consumers who do not use the tool.”

4. Your Competition Isn’t Using It

What’s the easiest way to beat your competition? First, find something that works very well. Second, find something that works very well that your competition isn’t doing or using.

Well, that’s where live chat comes in.

Many online retailers are not using live chat, according to a study conducted by Telus.

It increases conversions and makes happy customers, but it isn’t being widely used. It could be your secret weapon in the battle for competitive advantage.

5 Ways To Properly Integrate Live Chat

Live chat doesn’t guarantee higher conversion rates if it’s not done properly. Here are five things you can do to use it to it’s fullest potential.

1. Have Competent Agents

So much of live chat’s ability to increase your conversion rate and revenue per client is to have people who know your product well and who are competent communicators.

You can make sure your chat agents are competent and well-informed by making sure they are properly and thoroughly trained. Training can handle common customer questions and concerns, effective responses, and the proper protocol for interacting with your customers.

2. Be Speedy In Your Response

Like I mentioned above, people like live chat because it’s a quick way to get in touch with a real person. If you aren’t able to put the people and infrastructure in place to see that you are able to provide a quick response, live chat probably isn’t worth your while.

Again, properly training your reps can really help with response time because a well-trained rep will be able to more quickly and efficiently identify and address customer concerns.

3. Be Mindful Of Peak Traffic Times

Very few businesses will be able to employ 24-hour a day, seven day a week live chat support. It’s really not that realistic.

So, you need to know when traffic peaks on your website so you’re able to effectively allocate your resources. Knowing this would let you have a dedicated support person in place during peak times. If you wanted to offer round the clock support, you could have someone multitask during off-peak hours.

4. Optimize The Live Chat Experience

We write a lot about conversion here. The number one tip we share is: test, test, test. Whether it’s a call-to-action or a headline, we always say TEST.

The same goes for chat - find out what works and what doesn’t.

Also, another important thing to do is to look for emerging patterns. For example, if you notice a common question that keeps popping up - add some information about it to your landing page or in the FAQ section of your site.

5. Don't Forget To Plug Social Channels

You always want to be capturing information and attention - it’s the only way to succeed online. Take the conversation your agents have during a chat session and use it to drive traffic to your social channels by having prepared statements that are used at the end of a session:

  • “Please like us on Facebook
    [insert link] and follow us on Twitter [insert link] to stay up-to-date.”
  • “If you’ve found our conversion helpful, click the following link to tell people about it [insert a link to a Click To Tweet message].”

Customers love chat when it’s done well - it produces happier customers and more sales for you. Follow the five tips I’ve shared above to make sure you make the most of live chat on your website.

How else can you make sure you use live chat to its fullest potential? Have you tried any other forms of real-time marketing to engage your customers, like real-time web personalization? Leave a comment below and let us know!