Maximizing profitability is perhaps the single most important thing that any company can do. The money that stays in the company’s account at the end of the day allows a company to fund its day to day operations. You can also use this war chest to fund expansion and take it to the competition. Empowering customers to reach you by phone or live chat is a powerful way to separate yourself from the competition. Sure, an “always on” form of instant communication can be a bit tricky to manage. But it’s worth it. Here are eight reasons why: 1. It’s Much Easier to Negotiate Favorable Terms in Real-Time Haggling can be a frustrating exercise. You want to make a healthy profit. The customer wants to trim the fat from their budget, or get even more for their hard-earned dollars. Negotiating via email or a help ticket just adds to the frustration – delays in communication, missed opportunity to provide a fuller context to the offer and counter-offers, it’s a real productivity and profitability killer. If you empower customers that want to do business with you to pick up the phone and find out if they can work with you, you’re going to secure more business. Of course, there are times where real-time negotiation can get heated. One of the things we have at our firm is a dedicated negotiator for each shift. They act as a “supervisor” that customers can be transferred to. Ideally, the customer reaching them already understands the value of the product or service. The sales person has done their job. Now it’s time for a skilled negotiator to manage the back and forth of the conversation, protect our bottom-line, while helping the customer feel like they’re getting real value from what we’re offering. 2. Real-Time Chat Increases the Accuracy of Customer Information and Intent When a customer is about to make a purchase, a lot of the time they are offered some kind of web form that they have to fill out. However, the accuracy of the information you get from web forms is marginal at best. At any point there could be a typo or a misunderstanding about what kind of information was required at any given time. If you offer your customers the chance to call or contact via live chat, information can be relayed far more accurately and any mistakes can be rectified there and then. This can increase the number of sales that go through, inevitably increasing the overall revenue your company will earn. By confirming with the client in real-time, you can offer a more comprehensive solution. Add-on sales can really boost profitability. 3. Capture More High-Quality Leads Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of making a sale. Sales reps get leads which they follow, and in convincing these new leads that what you offer is top-notch, they end up creating an excellent sales opportunity. This can lead to great word of mouth advertising as well, which as everyone knows is very important if you want to start taking your company’s revenue stream to the next level. Live chat and calls can help make lead generation a lot easier because it is more efficient than web forms. When you chat with a customer, you have the opportunity to qualify them for additional products and services. In this way, a single customer interaction can lead to multiple sales. 4. Live Chat and Phone Sales are Customer-Centric One of the biggest reasons why you might not be getting as many sales as you would like is the fact that buying something by filling out a series of web forms can take a lot of time – especially if your forms aren’t optimized. This leads to cart abandonment and a sense that you do not take customer service seriously. There’s no doubt that many customers prefer to self-serve. Right now it’s about 50% of the market, and growing year-over-year. But you don’t want to leave the rest hanging. 5. Not as Expensive as You Might Think A lot of people tend to avoid live chat and call features because of the fact that they assume that it would be far too expensive. However, it is very easy to cut costs when you are offering live chat and UAN numbers for your customers to call. For example, you could use customer support software, like Kayako. When you improve employee efficiency, you reduce the need to duplicate roles throughout the organization. Time is money – especially when it comes to handling the concerns of customers. 6. Increase Engagements and Time on Page for SEO The amount of time a customer spends on your site is an important ranking factor. If you want to reach the top of Google’s search rankings, you need to increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site content. One way to do this is add chat functionality to your site. Most live chat software installs an applet on your site. The chat window lives in the lower corner of the visitor’s screen. When they’re ready to chat – or you prompt them – the window expands. As far as Google is concerned, they are spending time absorbing valuable content. This helps pad your on-site time. 7. Showcase Your Team’s Knowledge When a customer chats or calls one of your team members, the customer is forming an opinion about the quality of your staff. Is your team filled with subject matter experts? If so, let them loose on your customers. Answer questions, provide guidance and convert inbound calls into revenue. Brand loyalty is built, in large part, by customer experience. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If I knew that a knowledgable service / sales rep was ready to take my call when I run into a sticky situation, I am far more likely to do business with you. Don’t waste your time with placeholder call agents. They will damage your brand’s reputation for industry expertise and influence. 8. Opportunities for Cross-Promotion A few firms I’ve worked with have boosted the bottom-line by generating leads for affiliated companies. Everything they warm-transferred an interested client to an affiliate, their company receives a finder’s fee. This type of arrangement varies by industry. It’s worth exploring if companies that provide complimentary services would be interested in cross-promotion. For customers, this is a huge benefit – especially if there are pain points that correlate with my product, but are not directly solved by its use. When customers see you as the central source of a multi-faceted solution, brand loyalty will skyrocket. You become their first call for everything related to your industry – allowing you to cash in on problems that you wouldn’t normally be able to solve in-house. Do you want to boost sales this quarter? Phone and chat communication could be the silver bullet for taking down the competition.