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.
In today's fast-paced digital world, customer service and support are more important than ever. One of the most effective ways to meet the needs of your website visitors is by providing them with a chat option. By adding your own chat application to your website, you can offer real-time assistance and support to your customers, which can improve their overall experience and satisfaction.
If you’re still looking for reasons why your website should talk to its visitors, here they are. The chat solution on your website will help you:
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 this feature 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 these solutions. 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, it 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 tools change 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, it 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 are very pleased with what they experienced.
Moreover, chat solutions can be integrated with other platforms such as messaging apps, websites, and mobile apps, which increases their reach and accessibility.
Support marketing activities
Customer service and sales aren’t the only areas that can take advantage of live chat features. 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. They help 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 chat tools 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 a chat option. 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.
As we consider the reasoning for creating a chat room website, we need to determine how we are going to do it.
There are many ways to give a website the ability to “talk”, and the easiest of them will be to use a ready-made, or turnkey, solution. Since most chats work similarly, we can structure some of their internal processes and patterns to create a universal (to some extent) infrastructure for chat room website development.
Here are several solutions that can provide you with real-time messaging for your website:
LiveChat is a modern web chat solution that will help you create an interactive chat window on your website. Besides the chat itself, you will also get features like reports, analytics, archives, tickets, and user management. LiveChat’s interface is clear and convenient to use, so you won’t have any problems getting started. With the help of LiveChat, you can set up automated greetings, send targeted messages, and save message history.
Price: Starter—$16/mo./user, Team—$33/mo./user, Business—$50/mo./user, Enterprise—upon request.
HubSpot Live Chat
If you use HubSpot’s CRM, you will most likely choose to use HubSpot Live Chat. You can also choose it separately if you want. This tool provides you with an inbox where you and your team can organize all chat conversations, phone calls, and emails. This solution also has an easy-to-use ticketing system where a customer service agent can create a ticket that will record all interactions between the agent and the customer. Both of them have the ability to revisit the ticket if they have any additional information to provide or more questions about the issue.
Price: Free for CRM users, Starter—$20/mo., Team—$41 /mo., Business—$59/mo.
Drift is not just a customer support live chat app. It’s also a sophisticated marketing solution that you can use for so much more. Thanks to the enormous number of integrations, Drift allows your clients to access your calendar directly and book calls and meetings. The Driftbots, chatbots provided by the service, can perform a wide range of functions, from answering questions to qualifying leads. Also, they can notify your sales representatives when a potential lead is on your website, even if they are there anonymously.
Price: Starts from $500/mo./10 seats.
Do you see the small chat window at the bottom right corner of the page right now? Yes, it’s Crisp. This live chat app has plenty of features to offer to a business. The chat can send proactive automated messages, upload files, and integrate social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. What makes this solution even more attractive for businesses is its personalization. You can customize your Crisp chat to fit your brand colors so the user experience will be seamless. Another interesting feature is real-time translation: You can write a response in your native language and the service will translate it to the customer’s language.
Price: Basic—free, Pro—€25/mo./workspace (4 seats), Unlimited—€95/mo./workspace (20 seats), Enterprise—upon request.
Other platforms include Zendesk, LiveAgent, and MobileMonkey.
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, making them a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes.
Security: Companies such as Twilio and PubNub are keenly attentive to the data security of their chat solutions.
Easy integration: Whatever your website's core might be, most turnkey solutions have a way to smoothly integrate a live chat solution 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.
Dependence on third-party providers: Ready-made chat solutions may require businesses to rely on third-party providers for support, maintenance, and updates, which can be risky in case of service interruption, security breaches or data loss.
Turnkey services can be applied to practically any project, but sometimes they just don’t suit. If you need a chat app 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 chat room website.
If you want your live chat app to be welcomed by your website users and generate more conversions, this is the list of functions to consider:
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.
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.
These AI-powered tools are helpful when your live agents aren’t actually online. Chatbots will help your chat tool 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. You can develop a chatbot from scratch or use an out-of-the-box solution.
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.
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.
Features like a login system, voice messages, calls, and multiple chat rooms can be omitted since they mostly suit mobile messengers. You can also read our article about building a Slack clone.
Integrating video-calling into a chat room can greatly enhance the user experience by allowing for real-time face-to-face communication. This feature can be implemented using various technologies such as WebRTC, which is a free, open-source project that provides web browsers and mobile applications with real-time communication capabilities via simple APIs.
Once we determine what your chat application should do, we can start the web development. This process is usually divided into several stages:
Analyzing your target audience: This stage will help you determine the message content and tone of voice that will maximize customer engagement.
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.
Choose a partner: Before proceeding further, you and your agency should discuss the project and the terms of your cooperation.
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.
Design and layout: Now it’s time to be creative. Be sure that the live room’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.
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.
Test: In addition to load or manual tests, it would be great to conduct A/B testing and see what your audience likes more.
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.
When it comes to developing a chat solution for your business, there are several key technologies that you will need to consider. From the front-end user interface to the back-end infrastructure, building a chat solution requires a comprehensive 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 your software engineer can use for a live-chat implementation on the website:
Backend: PHP, Python, Node.js
Database: PostgreSQL, MySQL
Integrations: Twilio Programmable Chat, PubNub, Socket.io
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.
Understanding these costs is crucial for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to make a chat app, as it allows them to budget accordingly and make informed decisions about their project. 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 chat room 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 topic of chatting on websites is not unfamiliar to our team. Some time ago, we created Fireaway, the simplest web chat in the world. It’s a single-use, anonymous chat that doesn’t collect any of your personal data and doesn’t save the message history. You just open the browser tab, enter your name (you can enter whatever you want), invite another person with a link, and start chatting.
Fireaway provides you with quick, real-time messaging and ensures the maximum level of data security. If you want to create a unique web chat solution, feel free to contact our team. We will provide you with a detailed estimate for your idea.
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.
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