The Internet is a great tool for customers who want to know more about the products they’re buying. Unfortunately, they’ll do much of their product investigation while flying below your radar. For example, potential customers will land on your website and evaluate your products or services without contacting any salespeople. This is similar to a brick-and-mortar store where a visitor walks in and out without being offered any guidance or help. Unless you’re able to intervene in some way, visitors may leave your website and never return. This is a lost opportunity. A live chat window embedded directly on your website can change this dynamic in a fundamentally beneficial way. Imagine a visitor that searches for the solution to a problem and lands on your site. After she stays on the site for a period of time, you approach her and ask if she needs help. If she indeed needs help, you’ve just made contact with a potential customer! Companies that have implemented live chat on their website have experienced 10-20% increase in their online sales. The great thing about live chat is that it is mostly automated. Live chat automatically creates a popup on the visitors’ websites, and only those customers that want to chat will be connected to a live chat agent at your company. The live chat feature can be implemented by signing up with a live chat provider, such as Comm100 Live Chat. After signing up, you’ll receive a small block of HTML code that you put on your site. The whole process takes only a few minutes. You run the system yourself, with your own in-house live chat agents. Below are some suggested best practices for implementing live chat on your website. #1. Availability Make sure the service is available throughout the time of day that your customers are likely to be on your site. This could mean implementing a 24×7 presence if your customers are distributed worldwide or if you expect many customers to log in from their home in the evenings. #2. Timing Set up live chat so that your customers have an opportunity to browse for a while before getting the popup chat window. Think of the traditional brick-and-mortar store, where the customers look around for a minute or two before being approached by a salesperson. #3. Gain information Your live chat implementation must provide your agents with information about each customer before the chat begins. You’ll want to know how long the customer has been on the site and what pages were visited. This allows you to route the live chats to the most qualified agents. #4. Multi-tasking Leverage each agent’s ability to multi-task. An agent should be able to handle 4 or more live chats simultaneously. You can help this process by providing canned responses to typically asked questions. Instruct your agents not to rely too much on automated responses, however, because customers will quickly pick up on it. Your agents must maintain a conversational tone, providing a true sense of human contact. #5. Salespeople Your live chat agents are your salespeople, so train them as such. They should be keen on evaluating customers and making quick determinations on where they are in their buying process. They should also look for opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell. #6. Offer information Offer to follow up with information. For example, your agents can send follow-up emails with critical information after the chat has completed. This helps start the sales relationship. #7. Integration Ensure your live chat software integrates well with other customer tracking systems. This allows your agents to quickly add a customer to an email list or make notes in a sales tracking database. You want your customer interactions to get recorded for later analysis. Keep in mind that this article only discusses using live chat for sales activities. Live chat also finds tremendous use as a post-sales tool, where users can interact with an agent and get attention on support issues right away. Images: ”Live Chat Button with Hand Shaped mouse Cursor / Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator. Want to get your business featured on Tweak Your Biz? Check out #TYBspotlight.