A Startup’s Guide to Engaging Customers with Live Chat

A Startup’s Guide to Engaging Customers with Live Chat

Customer engagement is essential to a startup’s survival. What exactly does engaging your customers look like? Simply put, customer engagement is the depth of the relationship a customer has with your brand. More customer engagement drives loyalty and increases revenue by keeping customers coming back for more and building closer relationships. But what’s the secret to engaging customers – especially with limited time and money? Live chat can be a great option for startups who are looking to get closer to their customers.

Before we dive into the details of how to engage your customers with live chat, first let’s make sure we all understand why it’s so important to want to. Highly engaged customers are:

  • People who spend money on your product or service. They’re customers who pay for your product or service and will pay for it again next year and the year after that. You definitely want to keep them around.
  • People who respond to and interact with your content. Can you think of a customer whose name you know because it pops up repeatedly in tweet replies, forum posts, and support emails? This group is invested in your brand and likes to provide feedback on your product or service. If you make a change to your UI, these people will tell you how they feel about it!
  • People who refer friends and family to your organization. Not only do they like to use your product themselves—whether as a paid customer or one using free services—but they also tell people about it and share your content on their own social channels.
  • People who are loyal to your brand. They’re sticking with you and don’t even bother to check out your competition anymore. This group is often a combination of all of these traits because they’re such fans of your work.

Now, let’s consider live chat and why using as part of your customer engagement strategy is the right plan. People like live chat and as younger generations age into our largest consumer blocks, it’s only going to become more popular. We’re all busy juggling a million things, so speed and convenience are essential. Live chat is excellent at both.

When done right, live chat provides your startup with several benefits, like:

Quicker response times. Live chat is instant, so your customer’s satisfaction with your service can be instant too. Instead of making someone wait hours—or days!—for a simple answer, get it to them immediately and you’ll see their satisfaction with your product or service increase on the spot.

More efficient and less costly than phone support. Live chat agents can usually handle a few chats at once, while a phone agent can only be on the phone with one person at a time. Simultaneous chats allow your team to reach more people in less time, making them both more efficient and cost-effective.

Conversational interactions. The immediate nature of live chat allows for shorter, more casual messages and introduces the ability to adapt to the customer’s tone quickly. Any support agent knows it’s essential to find the right balance when conversing with a customer, whether that means keeping it casual or being all business. By chatting in the best tone, your agent can connect with the customer more quickly and closely.

Convenience. Customers can find you and get the help they need right away. Or if you’re providing proactive chat, you can connect with them when you see signs that they may need your assistance.

Happier customers. Live chat has the highest satisfaction (73%) levels for any customer support channel. When you consider how much nicer it is to have a question answered right away so you can keep working, instead of sending an email and waiting several hours, that makes total sense.

Now that you’re convinced of the importance of customer engagement and why live chat is a great option for helping with it, let’s take a look at how you can make it happen.

How to Engage Customers with Live Chat

Live chat is often overlooked as a method for growing business. Some organizations use chat for providing support, but then miss further opportunities for generating sales, driving leads, increasing revenue, and increasing customer engagement. Right now, live chat is most often seen as a customer support tool for existing customers. It’s a popular alternative to email support since customers can get their questions answered in real-time. And since it’s well-liked, it’s the perfect spot to engage customers regularly and keep them connected to your organization and less likely to churn.

Engage customers on-the-go

One simple way to improve engagement using chat is by making sure your chat is mobile-friendly. Considering the majority of web traffic is now happening on mobile devices, it’s critical that you’re available to your customers there. Make the live chat user experience on mobile devices fantastic and your customers will be happy to chat with you.

Don’t wait for them to start the conversation

Instead of simply setting up a chat box to accept incoming support questions and waiting to see what happens, why not proactively seek out chat interactions with your customers? Detect a customer on your site lingering on the plans page? Start a chat and ask if you can help them decide on a plan. They may take you up on the offer and your high-quality help will leave a good impression. Be careful with this kind of chat outreach though, as you don’t want to annoy anyone enough that they leave your site completely. Make sure the chat text is friendly and welcoming, but not demanding, so the customer can ignore you without feeling bad about it. To further customize your proactive chats, use Bleeper Triggers to change the parameters for when the chat box displays and customize the text in the live chat box for the best fit. However you choose to proactively chat, it’s critical that you focus on engaging customers at the right moment, while also making sure not to be a nag.

According to Clickfox, “59% of consumers say their decision of when a brand becomes a favorite of theirs, occurs right after their first purchase or when their service begins.” This favoritism means loyalty, and loyalty means an engaged customer. With live chat as part of your plan, you can proactively reach out to these new customers in chat whenever you see them hanging around on your site. If they’ve been assigned an onboarding specialist, have that team member be the one to connect. (Bleeper lets you start new conversations with any visitor on your site.) Or if they’re clicking around in support docs trying to figure something out, make sure live chat is available for them so you’re there to quickly answer questions before risking churn due to frustration in the early stages.

Be strategic about where you offer live chat

If you’re unable to offer chat across your site and need to pick a few key areas you’re able to staff and maintain, choose where it goes by considering your goals and any existing pain points in your product you’re aware of. Do new users tend to get tripped up during setup? Create an onboarding flow to help them out and include engagement and live chat as part of the plan. Or is your product fairly extensive with lots of knowledge base articles? First, make sure the docs are as searchable as you can make them. But second, consider offering live chat on them in case someone can’t quite find what they need. Being the hero who swoops in to help when a customer is frustrated is a great way to win a few loyalty points.

However you do it, engaging customers over live chat will help you keep them around, get to know what they like—or don’t like—about your product, and find the people who will go out and tell their friends how fantastic you are.

Start Chatting to Engage Your Customers Today

Using live chat for customer engagement requires planning and time to show results. You’ll need to reflect on how things are going and be willing to make changes to improve your strategy and reach the outcomes you’re aiming for. Tackle this from two sides: look closely at your customer engagement overall, and examine how the live chat piece of it is going too. To be sure live chat is serving its purposes, plan to read customer feedback after chats, check metrics, and review chat transcripts. Understanding how the chats go and what your customers think about them will serve you as you expand and deepen your customer engagement push. Don’t just copy a competitor or try to do too much, take the time to think about your product and your specific customer needs. Customer engagement is all about knowing your customer and connecting with them.

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