Live Chat for Every Business and Budget

Here are 5 reasons why live chat is good for your small business, and 4 tools to make it happen.
October 10, 2012

Every Saturday and Sunday morning, I take a couple of hours to play around with Internet apps and tools to see what the latest applications are and which of them might apply to my business.

This week, I did something I never thought I’d do on my site—I installed a customer service live chat application. I use this feature often on other websites because it's usually to-the-point, and allows me to get something done without being on the phone or disturbing those around me. I assumed these applications would be too expensive for someone like myself. But they're not. There's a live chat tool for every business and every budget.

5 Good Reasons to Use Live Chat

If you're not completely sold on getting a live chat application for your website, here's five things you should consider:

54% of online consumers do the research. This is critical because no website can hope to answer all of their questions. And those websites that offer an online chat feature are more likely to close the sale because someone is there to answer their questions and help them come to a decision faster.

It assures your customer that you are there and they are not alone. In some ways, this is a lot like walking into a retail store and seeing the salesperson. He or she might pop over and say hi but then will just be visible to you if you have questions. This is exactly the same experience. 

Websites that have chat sell more. “It is said that live chat conversion is about 10 times higher than the conversion of an average site. The average order value also increases thanks to chatting with the online rep while shopping.” According to Szymon Klimczak, CMO of LiveChat.

You’ll have happier customers. LiveChat compiled a report that included feedback from 600 companies and 1.5 million chats. What they found shouldn’t surprise you. Chats that resolved the issue in less than 10 minutes created the happiest customers.

Engages customers and gives them an inlet. A live chat feature helps you achieve one of the top customer service trends for 2013—engaging with your customer. It gives you the ability to control the quality of their experience with you and it gives them the ability to have access to a person, information and finish their transaction as quickly as possible.

4 Live Chat Tools

There are live chat tools out there for every budget. On my site, I use Olark's live chat tool, which I found when I was trying to download a completely different web tool and was having trouble. I clicked on the chat button, and connected with the actual CEO of the company, who happened to be working that day. He helped me install the code and now I’m a happy user. 

The experience was so seamless, it made me think I should offer the same courtesy to my web visitors. I went back to see what live chat tool they were using, and it was Olark. I downloaded a version that same day.

For my purposes, I only need a simple chat tool and the basic free Olark package is perfect for me. But if you need more power behind your chat, you might consider some other tools. is very active in small-business communities. In fact, you’ll notice that some of the information for this article came from the comments and reports that they have published online. Their application is also very affordable with a basic package starting at $36/month along with a free trial. LiveChat features its ability to see what page your visitors are looking at, reach out to them to engage in conversation and even survey them. 

SnapEngage is another live chat application that has many features and can easily fit within a small-business budget. One of the features that figures prominently here is the ability to use a mobile device. 

LivePerson is a live chat tool that targets businesses that want an integrated solution that includes marketing as well as customer service features.

 3 Customer Service Trends

When I asked small-business owners what the top trends were in customer service, Richard Ferry, COO of Customer Contact Channels (C3 Connect) responded with mobile, engagement and response time. “Customers are moving faster than ever and companies need to respond quickly to their needs or else they will lose them fast.” 

If your organization wants to take on three powerful trends, consider using a live chat feature on your website. You’ll build relationships, help your customers buy and keep them loyal and happy for years to come.

Photo: Thinkstock