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11 June, 2021

How to Create a Chatting Website: Important Features and Design Tips

Modern customers require modern communication solutions. E-mail, calls and SMS are fading into oblivion, and the reason is simple: They can't keep up with today’s messengers and chats. A website with live chat can be very effective in building strong client relationships. Here is our guide on creating a suitable live chat for your business’ website and making it talk to people!

Today, businesses try their best to look like humans. They create personalized marketing campaigns, use a casual tone of voice for their content, and implement instant communication so they can stay close to their audience. One of the best ways for customer service to have a real-time connection with existing and potential clients is to create your own chat website, with a chatbot or live agents. That way, all user data can be gathered with ease, and customer service will get timely updates.

Certainly there's a lot to consider in the development of a website. There's a vast range of possible solutions that can help you build up a live chat, and each of them has its pros and cons. What's the best way to ensure that your final solution addresses all of your business needs? Let’s walk through the best scenario.

Why does your website need a chat?

If you’re still looking for reasons why your website should talk to its visitors, here they are. The live chat on your website will help you:

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  • Gain customers loyalty

In offline stores, the sales assistants help the store build good relationships with a customer. Online shops don’t have that opportunity. People doubt buying from someone they don’t know, and a live chat can address this issue. A direct conversation provided by a live chat will help a customer get to know your business better and make them more confident about buying from you. The research conducted by ATG showed that a “live chat” button makes 90% of customers in the U.S. more sure about getting help from a company.

  • Increase conversion and sales

It’s the most obvious advantage of a live chat. Such a solution helps your website visitors get answers immediately, so they spend more time with you. According to the American Marketing Association, the average increase in conversion rate on B2B websites that use instant communication stands at 20%.

In addition to keeping customers longer on your website, live chat helps them overcome objections and make a positive buying decision. According to the eMarketer’s report, people who interact via live chat are 35% more likely to make a purchase.

  • Optimize customer service

Traditional call centers are big and expensive. One live agent can handle only one call and, if their skills are sufficiently upgraded, one e-mail conversation at a time. Do you remember this comic movie scene when a person tries to answer two calls simultaneously? Can you imagine it in real life? We can't either.

Live chat changes the odds. The research conducted by Telus International states that one call center agent can control up to six chats at the same time, depending on the task’s complexity. As a result, you’ll need a much smaller team, and it will reduce the possible support costs.

Enabling your website with chatting not only lowers expenditures but gives the audience more positive emotions. Now, live chat has the highest satisfaction rate among web users. The current number of people using it isn’t as huge as you may think—only 24%—but 73% of those who used it is very pleased with what they experienced.

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  • Support marketing activities

Customer service and sales aren’t the only areas that can take advantage of live chat. Marketing—particularly when it's conversational—can also benefit from this solution.

Many of your website visitors who may intend to buy something from you can’t find a contact form or a demo version of what you offer. As a result, they leave without technically doing anything. The conversion rate for common marketing tools such as fill-in forms, paid advertisements or e-mail campaigns can hardly beat the 3% mark, which isn’t that thrilling.

Live chat changes the game drastically. Now, it’s not just passive collecting of contacts, but a proactive attitude to a conversation with targeted messages. Live chat helps people communicate with businesses directly and in real-time and receive feedback right away instead of filling out the static submission forms and wait for follow-ups that, well, might not arrive. It doesn’t matter whether they talk to a live agent or chat with a chatbot using prewritten messages, because it still works.

  • Stay closer to your audience

Live chat isn't the total guarantee of a positive purchase decision. However, it does ensure that those who use live chat will become leads once they leave the website.

During a live chat session, politely ask a user to leave contact information such as a name and e-mail address. This will help identify whether the user is new or has visited previously. It will also ensure that your visitor gets more personalization in the site experience.

If a person has already visited your website, use the information you have to make the communication even more personalized. Ask for permission to send promotional material based on their preferences. Remind them about what they were looking for during the previous visit. They may not buy right away, but in this case time will work for you.

Additionally, 63% of visitors have more will to return to a website that features live chat. So, personalized communication makes this solution very attractive. No one wants to interact with a lifeless form field, but anyone will want to communicate with someone (or something) they can relate to.

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As we consider the reasoning for creating a live chat for a website, we need to determine how we are going to do it.

Turnkey solution vs. custom web-chat development

There are many ways to make a website talk, and the easiest of them will be using a ready-made, or a turnkey, solution. Since most chats work kind of similarly, we can structure some of their inside process and patterns, and create a universal (to some extent) infrastructure for live chat development.

The approach has advantages:

  • Making cuts on time and budget: A good flexible solution will solve a lot of issues and will have better support. As a result, your team needs less time to develop, test, and deploy the solution. The less development time is, the less money you spend on the whole development process.

  • Providing stability and scalability: Modules and algorithms of premade solutions are thoroughly checked, so no sudden crashes or errors. Also, it’s easy to scale up and down necessary services depending on the chat’s load.

  • Security: Companies such as Twilio and PubNub are keenly attentive to the data security of their chat solutions.

  • Easy integration: Whatever the core of your website might be, most of the turnkey solutions have a way to smoothly integrate a live chat into it.

Still, you'll want to consider the following points:

  • Poor documentation: Not all services provide good, clear documentation for developers, and in such cases it can take time to figure things out.

  • Extra features: Some services may provide more functionality than your live chat needs, so the license cost can be high.

Turnkey services can be applied to practically any project, but sometimes they just don’t suit. If you need a chat that should be tailored to the needs of a specific business, it’s better to create a custom-made solution. Remember that, despite more customizable and flexible development, it will cost much more than the previous method would.

Once we defined the path to choose for a specific purpose, we can dive into the functionality of your live chat.

Essential functionality

If you want your live chat to be welcomed by your website users and generate more conversions, this is the list of functions to consider:

Customization options

The chat widget should correspond to your website’s design, so you should be able to customize its design: change the widget’s color, messages, logo, agent photos, tab and buttons.

Proactive messages

These messages will initiate a conversation with visitors. It can be a simple “Hello! How can I help you?” It can also be something based on the user’s actions or previous visits.

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Chatbots

These AI-powered tools are helpful when your live agents aren’t actually online. Chatbots will help your live chat function smoothly, accept incoming messages and collect client data. Certainly it'd be advantageous to hire a customer-service night shift, but you'd have to spend for it. That’s why an automated messaging system saves the day: Clients still receive answers immediately, and your customer-service team can get adequate rest.

Tracking and analytics

You should be able to keep track of customers’ interactions with your site and adjust your marketing strategy. User data tracking helps to identify who’s visiting your website. It can also show where your users come from, the data they access on their first visit, and their activity on your site.

E-mail features

Manual and automated e-mails are made possible in it for following up, onboarding, marketing campaigns, and promotional content. Answer templates are also embedded into the customer-messaging app so the product-support team can easily understand and respond to queries.

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Data security

Data protection is an urgent issue in the digital world. People want their messages and files to be secure from strangers, and companies want confidential information to be safe from criminals. One of the app’s primary tasks is to guarantee privacy to its users, and it should be indicated in your website’s privacy policy.

How to create your own chat website: a checklist

Once we determine what your live chat should do, we can start the development work. This process is usually divided into several stages:

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  1. Analyzing your target audience: This stage will help you determine the message content and tone of voice that will maximize customer engagement.

  2. Look at what your competitors do: It's possible that one or more of your competitors have created something great. Don’t steal it, it won’t make you any good, but using them as references can actually be useful.

  3. Choose a partner: Before proceeding further, you and your agency should discuss the project and the terms of your cooperation.

  4. Define the stack and integrations: When all the documents are ready, choose the technologies and integrations you want for your website. Your development partner should be able to help.

  5. Design and layout: Now it’s time to be creative. Be sure that the live chat’s design corresponds to the entire website. Also, look at how a live-chat widget will look on an active web page. It shouldn’t be too big or cover any important fields.

  6. Connect the backend: You know what your live web chat will look like, and now you can power it up. Connect a chat to a CRM and the website’s backend, so you’ll get control over the actions of this powerful tool.

  7. Test: In addition to load or manual tests, it would be great to conduct A/B testing and see what your audience likes more.

  8. Release: This stage isn’t simply a matter of clicking a button to deploy your solution. It includes ongoing support for the live chat, updating its content and removing any bugs that are discovered.

Required technology stack

The exact technologies required for project implementation will depend on the functionality of your site and the expertise of your team. Nevertheless, we can offer a fairly complete list of tools you can use for a live-chat implementation on the website:

  • Backend: PHP, Python, Node.js

  • Frontend: HTML, CSS

  • Database: PostgreSQL, MySQL

  • Integrations: Twilio Programmable Chat, PubNub, Socket.io

Webchat UX design tips

The quality of conversation your customer will have with a live chat will define a lot about their buying decision. We have some tips for you that will make it a positive user experience:

  • Set a correct tone of voice

As we already mentioned, your target audience will determine how you should speak to them. For example, youngsters will prefer more casual communication, while business people try to keep it formal.

  • Organize a chat window

A chat window should look like a chat one generally sees in a mobile messenger. Be sure to make icons for the user, the agent and the chatbot (when a live agent isn’t available). Also, create rounded chat bubbles because most messengers use this feature.

  • Make it pop-up

Even when your chat window is relatively small, users can get annoyed if it occupies page space. The best way to eliminate this issue is to make sure your live chat can be minimized.

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The cost of live-chat app development

The time-and-money budget for the live-chat development will depend on several factors:

  • The tech stack

  • The desired functionality

  • The hourly rate of the chosen team

  • The number of required specialists

The cost of building a live chat for your website as a turnkey solution will be in the range of $10,000 to $30,000. The cost of a custom solution will start at $30,000.

The final thought

A live chat is a win-win solution for the business owner and the customer. The company won’t have to spend additional money on customer service, and it'll have more organized communication with the audience. Each customer will benefit from a more welcoming attitude, and the overall site experience will be more positive. If you follow the advice we've offered today, your live chat will become a successful business tool that generates positive results.

Tags
Chat
Web development
Website

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