In business, the conversion rate of leads from your website is higher if live chat is involved.

“They’re going to be 15 to 20 percent higher for converting a website visitor into someone who’s going to chat into a customer,” said Christopher Windisch, the CEO of Click and Chat. “If you look at customer satisfaction, chat is always the channel of interface for customers that has the highest customer satisfaction ranking.”

While most businesses look at passive means of prospects connecting with you — like email or a phone number — chat is a way to proactively engage a customer and even connect with invisible website visitors.

“Chat is more like a sign spinner on a sidewalk. They are actively engaging with people that are walking by your business, and chat is the same way. We are proactively engaging with your website visitors that were previously invisible to you,” said Windisch. “You didn’t know they were there. But now we’re reaching out and grabbing those visitors and engaging them in your brand and inviting them to chat. So it’s a benefit from the customer’s perspective and it’s a benefit from the business’ perspective.”

But where do you even begin when it comes to integrating live chat with your website?

The first thing Windisch said to decide is how you want to use chat. Some platforms are better for providing customer support; other platforms are great at sales and leads. He gave several questions to ask:

  • What is the purpose of your live chat? What do you want it for?
  • How do you want to entice people to chat?
  • How do you want to guide someone through the journey of the website and what information do you want to gather?
  • Who do you want answering the chats? Do you want to dedicate staff to it or have the service provide people?

With live chat, there are various options to chose from. Windisch said you can have the service provide agents to answer the chat, you can answer the chat yourself, or you can do a hybrid model — you only answer during business hours, and then agents take over. But whether it is an agent or the studio owner, a script should be customized for your business. In fact, customization was a big thing Windisch said to look for when choosing a platform.

“If you really want to customize that experience, you have to make sure you have a platform that’s customizable that will let you write your own scripts, use your own graphics, capture all of that browsing behavior from the visitor, so making sure that whatever is most important to you, that platform is going to provide it for you,” he said.

Another protest to live chat could be the fact that chat bots exist, but Windisch explained those are for a more narrow focus. And it doesn’t allow for the personalized experience.

“Especially for smaller stores, instead of having a small conversation with thousands of people, they want to have more of a deep and meaningful conversation with a smaller group of people because you’re going to be doing store marketing or social marketing for a location,” said Windisch. “I think live chat is a great way to engage with customers and I think they’re going to expect it and especially when you’re competitive against other potential yoga studios or other exercise outfits, I think that personal engagement is what’s going to win over more customers.”