Of all of the people on the internet, 79% of them would click on a live chat window if it populated on their screen.

That is such a large number of users that it seems simply shameful to miss this opportunity for engagement.

Despite having a large number of users say they would interact with a live chat box, brands seem to be missing the mark. In fact, 38% of users admit being frustrated by their average live chat experience:

  • Waiting too long for an agent to respond
  • Getting an imperfect response from an agent
  • Needing to have a rep repeat themselves multiple times.

Conversely, if a site does live chat well, the rewards are high. In fact, some sites have seen boosts of 45% in their conversion rates just from using live chat.

That’s no surprise to those of us that work in marketing.

Consumers want to be able to contact the company form which they are purchasing a product.

So, if you’re not getting what I’m putting down, or if your company hasn’t already started to focus on live chat, now is the time.

It’s a huge boost for customer satisfaction and retention if done well — plus it provides the opportunity to convert large amounts of visitors to your website into paid customers.

How can you harness this powerful tool? We’ll let you in on six ways:

1. Direct your users

Live chat is the most preferred engagement channel for consumers today — with over 92% of people reporting satisfaction with it. The high rating means there are many more people that are likely to trust it over other, traditional means of contact.

Pay close attention to which pages on a site prompt the most inquiries or live chat conversations — and then use those conversations as a starting ground for your on-page optimizations. While chat is a good way to reduce customer concerns — it’s an even better method to proactively prevent customers from having concerns at all.

For example, if you see a number of chats come through your pricing page about the specific wording of “per seat” versus “per agent,” it may be time to consider how to better convey that in a way that makes sense to your target audience.

2. Proactively offer support

Nothing shows a customer that you care more than when you can sense that they might be confused on-page. No matter how delightful your team is, your customers will be far more delighted by never having to reach out to you for a support inquiry.

Source: Zendesk

By analyzing which pages the user has engaged with and how long they’ve stayed on each page, you can empower your support representatives to start a chat. You might ask if the user has a question after they’ve been on page for 30 seconds, scrolled a certain depth, or interacted with a module on the page (like a calculator).

Blue Soda Promo actively triggered live chat and was able to convert nearly 60 percent of chat leads into sales. A good place to try out this method is on your checkout pages.

It’s a commonly confusing touchpoint for visitors and, if no live chat support is offered, 77% of customers said that they wouldn’t feel compelled to make a purchase on that page.

3. Make it easy for visitors

There are few experiences more frustrating for a customer than looking to get in contact with a company only to discover that the channel that they’re using isn’t supported.

Take, for instance, someone looking at United Airlines on Twitter. They might reach out to the company on social about a bad experience. If United didn’t offer support there, that’d be a frustrating situation for both parties.

64% of customers expect to receive real-time assistance regardless of the customer service channel they use. So, if you offer live chat on your website, but not on mobile, you’re missing the mark.

Further, even if you offer live chat on mobile, the experience should be easy and straightforward for a user. Oftentimes, mobile experiences for customers were created as an afterthought and try to cover the bare minimum rather than being fully-featured.

Don’t make that mistake. Up to 70% of web traffic happens on a mobile device—it’s no longer the outlier as much as the main contender.

4. Target visitor on the right pages

Having live chat on every single page isn’t a scalable option for most companies.

Instead, most companies should choose to offer live chat on the select few pages that make sense. The pages where you include live chat should be the ones where you get frequent questions, or where you feel like people get confused or nervous most frequently.

A great example of this is your sales or pricing pages, as mentioned above. Some other great pages to add chat include:

  • Account management and preferences page
  • User management panel
  • The first time viewing your product or product dashboard
  • The first time viewing your documentation

Beyond targeting to specific pages, another great tactic is targeting based on user segment.

For example, some companies may choose to only target enterprise customers, and they could do so on every page.

For other companies, a strategy of targeting any company with 100+ employees may make sense. No matter how you do it, targeting carefully and showing chat when it’s the most appropriate (rather than every time) with help gain customer loyalty and conversions.

5. Offer a pre-chat survey

People hate repeating themselves.

In fact, a survey done in the UK by UBM showed that 75% of consumers thought that was the worst part about using a support tool. Offering a pre-chat survey and getting a little bit of background information about your customers while they wait to be connected to an agent can help save you time in the immediate moment as well as in the future.

Source: Comm100

By collecting information from a customer (and making sure your team actually reads it) like in the example above, you can prep your customer support agent with pertinent information about the trouble a customer is going through.

In your live chat system, you can store this data so that anyone else that gets into a conversation with this customer can also see the historical information about their inquiries.

Better yet: use an integration with your CRM or helpdesk so that you can get other valuable customer information such as how much money they’ve spent with your company, or any other support inquiries that they’ve sent in.

You can even tap into a 3rd party data provider such as Clearbit or FullContact to help with this as well. The more context you provide for your team, and the fewer questions they have to ask, the better.

Keeping everyone in the loop across the board helps to make sure that your users get uniform experiences. In Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report, they reveal that 73% of consumers value highly.

6. Keep it personal

No one wants to talk to a robot. Encourage your support team members to match the tone of the customer and try to keep it as friendly as possible.

Take, for example, this user’s amazing interaction with Netflix support:

Not only will it be a much more delightful experience for your customer, but it may help with your word-of-mouth marketing efforts as they tell all of their friends.

In a 2013 study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, customers identified authenticity as one of the top qualities that would attract them to a brand.

That’s right. More than product and pricing, modern consumers care more about having rapport and being able to trust the brands where they are shopping. Live chat is an immediate and easy-to-seize opportunity to convert.

Wrapping it up

When people decide to interact with live chat, they do so because they expect an immediate response. That being said, most of those users also expect that immediate response to be less-than-awesome.

Boost your conversion rates by catching them off-guard. Offer chat where it makes the most sense: on pages that are usually confusing or to people who are already having trouble. Don’t let the same customer pitfalls happen over and over, either. Use your historical data to make changes to problem pages and continue to scale your customer experience.

Keep live chat easy and fun to use while still making sure that it works the same across all platforms. You don’t need to be a stiff support robot.

Many customers appreciate a bit of humanity on the other side, especially if you use a relatable tone and show that you understand where a user is coming from. Lastly, try to never make a customer repeat themselves—just like it’s rude in in-person conversations, it’s rude via chat as well. Implement backend tooling to make the process of providing live chat support seamless for both your team and your customers, and you’ve got yourself a conversion machine in the making.

Yaakov Karda is the co-founder of Chatra.io and a slow coffee enthusiast. When not brewing or working on the startup, he helps his wife with their art projects or explores Tel-Aviv on a bicycle.