Every business should have a live chat on its website. Having a live chat feature is especially important for small businesses, as it helps you stand out from the competition. Discover all of the benefits you will get from using the best live chat software for small businesses. 

What is website chat software?

Before getting into the benefits of live chat for small businesses, make sure you understand what live chat is. Live chat refers to the chat window that appears on your website. This is one of the key tools you want on your side to facilitate customer communication. You can also use chatbots or automated responses to take care of simple queries. The best live chat software will let you use a combination of automated responses and live support. 

Benefits of a website chat software for small businesses

With that in mind, let’s explore some of the benefits of live chat for your business.

It can have multiple use cases

One of the best things about having a chat on your website is that you can do so many different things with it. Some of the potential use cases for live chat software include:

  • Accessing an FAQ or knowledge base
  • Getting customer support from a live agent
  • Collecting contact information to generate leads
  • Encouraging web visitors to make purchases
  • Providing tracking information for orders
  • Scheduling appointments or making reservations
  • Getting feedback from web visitors

Improve the customer experience

One of the biggest advantages of small business live chat is the way that it improves the customer experience. Website visitors prefer to talk with support teams over live chat software rather than talking to them over the phone. Even if your customer base happens to include clients who prefer another method of reaching you, the more options you provide them with, the happier they will be. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to communicate with you.

Customers love the convenience of live chat features. That high level of convenience comes from multiple factors. To start, website visitors don’t have to search high and low for your contact information. They simply locate the chat window on your site, type their questions, and wait for a response.

Using live chat services requires very little from the prospective customer as they are usually already on your site when they decide to use this feature. Live chat support also conveniently works on both desktop and mobile devices.

Some tools, like Podium, even let you use a chat window to transfer customer conversations to text. This allows for two-way, personalized communications between businesses and their customers, which improves the overall customer experience. 

By improving the customer experience, you also boost customer loyalty, which can lead to an increase in referrals and reviews. It also lets you drive more to your bottom line via repeat purchases.

Boost first contact resolution

By incorporating live chat support into your website, you maximize your rate of first contact resolution. Between your knowledge base, FAQ, autoresponders, and live customer support agents, customers are much more likely to resolve their issues right away. This maximizes customer satisfaction, and improved customer satisfaction boosts loyalty, reviews, and referrals.

One case in particular where live chat software can help solve issues immediately is website-related issues. For example, if a customer forgets their login information, they can just reach out to your agents for a reset. Or if you made a mistake with a link and have a 404 page on your website, customers can ask your chat representatives for a new link. This takes just a matter of seconds with live chat software, while it could take much longer without this service. 

And if you choose a solution that lets you transfer web conversations to text, you avoid the problem of people accidentally leaving your website and ending the conversation prematurely. Transferring conversations to text allows for ongoing conversations that don’t end until a resolution is reached. 

Give time back to your team

Using live chat software also gives time back to your team. Using a live chat feature or transferring conversations to text is much more time-efficient than a phone call. This is because each member of your support team can handle multiple chat threads at once, while they would only be able to handle a single phone call at a time.

Additionally, your support team can multitask while providing support over chat or text with live chat software. Sometimes chat users take a long time to respond. If this is the case, your support team member can get other work done while they wait for the conversation to continue.

Automated chatbots can give your team even more time

If you incorporate chatbots or automated responses, you can give even more time back to your team. These bots or canned responses are an excellent way to handle common questions and simple requests. They are particularly helpful for FAQs. Having an automated bot take care of common questions lets your team focus on the more complicated customer queries.

More sales

Incorporating live chat support onto your website can also create opportunities to boost your sales. If a customer is considering buying a product but they have a question about that product, live chat support makes it easy for them to find the answers they are looking for, allowing them to complete their purchase.

Without live chat, customers may not find the answers they need, which might cause them to buy from a competitor instead. With live chat support, however, they will get an answer immediately and continue shopping on your website.

Live chat software also helps boost sales by letting you turn conversations into conversions. Every time your team talks to a website visitor, this is a sales opportunity for your small business. For example, maybe a visitor is still in the early stages of shopping. Perhaps they are just comparing options and had no intention of buying. Talking to a sales agent might be the final push a potential customer needs before purchasing from you.

You can boost the likelihood of a sale even more by transferring web conversations to text. The ability for two-way, personalized communication helps form a stronger relationship between customers and businesses. Just because a customer isn’t ready to buy while they’re on your website doesn’t mean they won’t change their mind a few days later. And if they have unresolved questions, they can simply text your team and find the answers they’re looking for quickly and conveniently. 

Use analytics

You hopefully already use Google Analytics or something similar to view reports on your website traffic. Analytics tools let you make educated decisions about your small business marketing. 

The best live chat software will also offer analytics for your live chat, possibly via Google Analytics integration. This gives you insights so you’ll know whether you need to adjust your live chat strategy.

Some live chat software will even have the option of delivering reports right to your inbox. For example, Podium gives you daily reports of your new inbound leads.

You can even get more data from your chat conversations with post-chat surveys. The opportunities are endless.

Build trust with customers

Incorporating live chat software into your small business website will also improve the level of trust that customers have in you. If customers trust that you will offer the communication method they prefer, they will also trust that you will resolve their issues quickly. Just make sure you have experienced customer service agents who are knowledgeable about your products and company.

Match your brand

Most live chat software for small business owners will also let you match the look of the chat program to your brand. You will typically have the option of a simple template or design to use. But you will likely also get the choice of customizing other features, like the avatar and chat button, to match your brand.

Enjoy multilingual benefits

Website chats or webchats transferred to text messaging threads are also very useful for customers who don’t speak English. This is true even if your live chat software doesn’t have a built-in translator, as this is not a common feature. The convenience comes from the fact that responses are written, and website visitors can take as long as they need to respond to the chat. This gives them time to copy and paste into Google Translate or another translation tool.

Using a translation tool is nearly impossible with other support methods, such as talking over the phone. While it is possible with emails, emails are much slower than live chat, so they aren’t ideal for urgent matters.

While verbal multilingual support often isn’t affordable for the average small business owner, webchat gives you the opportunity to use translation tools and talk to your customers in the language in which they’re most comfortable. This is an excellent opportunity for your small business, as it lets you compete with larger companies that have multilingual support.

Conclusion: webchat for local businesses

While basic webchat is a great place to start, Podium lets you turn a webchat into a text messaging conversation, which is the preferred communication method for most customers. If you are ready to take customer communication to the next level, you need Podium in your toolkit. 

Isaiah Rendorio
Isaiah Rendorio Product Marketing Manager, Campaigns

Isaiah Rendorio is the Product Marketing Manager for Podium Campaigns—helping local businesses tap into the power of SMS marketing to strengthen customer relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more revenue.

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