Live chat software has the potential to turn any small business into a thriving enterprise, whether you’re selling hats with pictures of your dog on them, or advanced B2B SaaS tools (or SaaS tools for puppies, if that’s your thing). But customers are increasingly bombarded by information and advertisements from all directions, including the smartphones in their pockets and the retargeting ads in their browser. How do you rise above the din and provide a personalized buying experience throughout the customer lifecycle?
First of all, when learning how to sell productively with live chat software, it’s important to remember that many customers who would benefit from having their questions answered in real time are not going to ping you first. It’s up to you to reach out and ask if you can help.
We offer two easy ways to get proactive with online prospects:
- Marketing Automation: Set up proactive chat greetings based on rules such as which page a web visitor is browsing, how long they’ve been on a page, previous number of site visits or chats, location, and many other options.
- Saying Hello: Yep, sometimes the most effective option is also the simplest. To say hello and ask if you can help with a text, voice or video chat, just select a web visitor from our live chats map and type your message. You can see their location, browser and other essential info before initiating the chat. It’s that easy!
Customers who are more likely to engage in an online chat are also more likely to do more of their shopping online than those who neither reach out nor respond to online chats. So don’t get discouraged if some customers don’t respond. Focus on the positive.
According to the latest Forrester report on customer communications, “Your Customers Don’t Want to Call You,” online shoppers are united by a desire to interact immediately with a company over digital channels:
Customers are increasingly using Web and mobile as a first point of contact with customer service organizations. Across all generations, they are also increasingly relying on digital channels like chat.
We predicted this trend years ago when we created ClickDesk as an omni-channel live chat app, building a social toolbar for Facebook and Twitter directly into our chat widget and, more recently, voice and video chat that work directly in the browser.
To personalize support for higher sales:
- Integrate sales and support apps for complete customer knowledge, and encourage agents to review customer histories before starting a chat.
- Ask contacts during chat sessions if they would prefer to switch to text, voice or video chat. Make a note of which channel a customer favors, and engage with them directly on that channel in the future.
- Bring up your social channels during live chats and include them in all email communications. Capture your customers’ social handles and engage with them directly on their favorite channels. If you find yourself spending a lot of time on Twitter, integrate Hootsuite with ClickDesk to send custom chat invitations directly in tweets! Socially active leads are more likely to engage via Twitter than via your website, so why not give them exactly what they want, exactly when they want it?
Get Proactive (Again)
Today’s customers demand ongoing engagement, and the most successful companies treat this is an opportunity rather than a hurdle. New thinking about the customer lifecycle includes engagement and advocacy in a continuous cycle (image via Jericho Consulting).
That first question-and-answer session with a prospect should by no means be your last proactive interaction. It’s important to follow up regularly, build trust and let current customers know that you are dedicated to constantly improving every aspect of your business. In other words, give them reasons to stick with your business.
In addition to automated retention campaigns with real-time alerts for personalized follow ups, surveys are a great way to get quick, honest feedback from current customers. We’ve built surveys, an email helpdesk and more into ClickDesk’s feature set, and integrating marketing automation software like Agile CRM completes the loop. Marketing automation software and responsive email marketing apps are no longer only accessible to enterprise users. They’re now completely affordable for SMBs and you can use them to run segmented marketing automation campaigns based on customer interests and behaviors. Integrated with live chat, they make it easy to add contacts to the right campaign and chat with them when they’re buy-ready.
One final note: Throughout all of these steps for engagement throughout the lifecycle with live chat software, the most important thing you can do is to stay positive. A professional, friendly attitude and an honest approach to customer questions will build trust and increase the customer lifetime value (CLV). Happy selling!
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