Would a live chat tool be right for your B2B website?

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You’re on a B2B site and suddenly a Web chat window pops up. “How can I help you today?” the window asks, and you can now learn more about the B2B company’s services, products, website.

Customer service just went from you trying to contact someone to the company contacting you immediately via a live-chat tool.

The question is: Has this helped B2B companies acquire more customers and attract more visitors?

Liveperson.com, with nine offices globally, serves the likes of Virgin, and Verizon, reports that having a live chat service on a website increases on-site conversions by 20 percent, reduces handling costs by 25 percent and customers that chat have a 35 per cent higher average order size.

One infographic online echoes their findings.

From its end, Boldchat serves North Face, Dell and Groupon, among dozens of others, and boasts that their service has helped their customers see a 55 percent increase in purchases.

Their surveys found that two thirds of American online shoppers have engaged in live chat, up from half in 2009, and a third of them saying they’d be likelier to buy after a live chat. More than half surveyed actually said they’d prefer to communicate via live chat, than any other medium, citing speed and efficiency as the main reason.

Lindsay Bayuk, spokeswoman of Purechat.com, says that the company has facilitated more than four million chat conversations on the platform, since launching in 2012.

According to Bayuk, the majority of their clientele serve other businesses. “Live chat is the quickest and easiest way to connect, than making a phone call, and waiting on hold, and using voicemail,” she says.

“Live chat provides a quick way for sales, marketing teams to connect with their visitors, and quickly answer their sales and buyer questions.”

Their clients include signs.com, and Sixth Division, an Arizona a marketing consulting firm, who began using the product recently. Sixth reportedly sold a $10,000 deal thanks to the live chat, says Bayuk.

Additionally, Sales Whisperer in California, a sales training and sales consulting for other businesses, sold several thousand dollar deals that began with their live chat product.

“They’ll see that chat pop up when they visit – they see the immediacy in answering their question, and it warms them up. Sometimes they’ll give me their phone numbers and we’ll initiate a phone call and seal the deal,” says Wes Schaeffer, CEO.

“How can you not try something so affordable? Everyone wants the instant gratification, the asy pill, and chat gives you that. The fact that it runs on your smart phone as well … that type of easy of use, people might not feel as threatened the way they might with a phone call.”

The time commitment is no different than a phone call or an email, he adds.

A key consideration for B2B firms is the expenses saved. After all, live chat brings down overall contact center costs by lowering average interaction costs. They can also boost efficiency by allowing live chat staff to handle multiple conversations simultaneously, thus reducing the need to hire more representatives.

For Purechat, the investment in time and resources is comparatively small.

While some clients, she says, have dedicated teams or individuals responding to live chat – depending on the size of the business – in terms of technical investment, it takes less than three minutes to get a small bit of code onto a small business owners’ website.

There is a free version of the platform, or if a company wants to upgrade for features, functionality and unlimited use, it’s $15US a month.

“Any B2B business has a website, gets leads, and is driving traffic to their website. You had better be there to easily answer their questions,” says Bayuk.

Snapengage has served HubSpot, Hootsuite, Weebly, AWeber, ExactTarget, SendGrid, Sotheby’s Realty, and Blue Cross.

“Live chat enables businesses to turn otherwise passive website visitors into engaged leads and customers at the precise moment they express interest,” adds Marketing manager Molly Wojcik.

Snapengage says its clients’ conversion rates double, triple, even quadruple with the implementation of live chat.

“The price of the tool is generally nominal in comparison to the performance metrics it produces,” she says.

Do you think a live-chat tool would boost sales at your B2B company? Let us know in the comments section below

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