Can live chat overcome the status of just a customer service tool, and become a sales generating machine? Are phone calls dead and live chat is about to become its successor? Let’s take a look at Software Advice’s findings first.
- More than half (56%) of respondents have used live chat at least once to answer a question on a company’s website.
- 49% of respondents prefer using live chat for online-shopping questions, while 74 percent prefer phone for more complex financial queries.
- Regardless of the nature of the question, 56 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 prefer live chat to phone, compared to 27 percent of respondents aged 35 and older.
B2B sales representatives and marketers are taking an example from their B2C counterparts and are starting to utilize live chat software to communicate with their prospects, resulting in increased sales and customer satisfaction.
Not long ago, the use of live chat was associated with B2C oriented businesses. However, this communication tool is now being frequently deployed by B2B-oriented marketing and sales teams to support their customer acquisition activities.
Some of the key benefits of Live Chat for B2B:
- Increased convenience by reducing wait time and providing answers in real-time
- Increase average order value by 15% (Research by Virgin)
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Improved conversion rates (Studies suggest up to 20%)
- Reduced cart abandonment
- Increased sales
- Preferred by milennials
Proactivity is key
According to research done by Forrester, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a web site can offer.
Imagine a situation where a customer visits your website with the intent to purchase your product or service. Talking to the customer through live chat can have multiple positive outcomes for you:
- The #1 benefit is that live chat is more accessible for the customer, thus being online and starting a conversation with a prospect prevents them to go look elsewhere.
- With live chat, you can route the lead to the best possible person to reply their queries, you can also collaborate and multiple users can chat in one conversation
- You can capture prospect’s contact information like email, phone, and purpose before the chat is initiated, which helps determine the size of the deal, which can work well with systems like Leadfuze.
- You can use live chat to reduce the size of your Salesforce by using it to qualify leads. A big advantage is that one chat agent can handle multiple chats at once, which is not possible with phone.
- Online chat can serve as some sort of “cold calling” tool. With proactive invitations, you can automatically invite your website visitors based on the websites they visit or the time they spend on your website.
- Up-sell a customer and increase revenue immediately, or suggest cheaper options to build trust and secure the customer for further purchases.
- Selling to businesses tends to take more time than selling to customers. Follow up with the customer through email or phone later. Some help desk software providers offer live chat functionality, which means email, phone, and chat are all in one place.
Examples of B2B companies that utilize live chat
Sli.do, an audience interaction platform, has been using live chat to leverage both its potential for acquiring new B2B Clients and provide customer support in real time. Every second matters, when it comes to live events, that’s why they can’t afford long stalls on phone. In 2016, sli.do managed to support customers 24/5 and cut down their response time by 50%.
Chris Frascella wrote on CrazyEgg about Hygiena’s success with live chat in B2B: “Hygiena does not serve a very flashy market. They manufacture and sell microbiology and hygiene testing kits for food safety and healthcare infection control. Most of their customers are industrial food processing quality managers, hospital infection control nurses, sanitarians, and chemical/janitorial companies. From 2013 to 2014, incoming leads grew nearly ten percentage points, from 60.6% to 70.2%. As of June 2015, the proportion of incoming leads via website YTD exceeded 73%. Live chat is shifting the distribution of leads in the website’s favor.”
ZCO Corporation, a mobile application development company, explains that “the most common [live chat] questions are around pricing and process. For example, how much would this app idea cost; what would the design process be like?”
Even if you are in the most unattractive B2B market, you can employ live chat in your sales process. Whether it’s for cutting down the response time, increasing the number of captured leads or for being more open and “there” for new prospects, in most cases, live chat can justify its cost.
Is Livechat dominating over Phone?
When it comes to comparing the two communication channels, data shows that phone still has an edge over live chat. Especially with sensitive queries such as financial questions, customers prefer to use phone over chat. But but this apply in B2B as well? Let’s see what Katie Meurin, head of marketing of ZCO Corporation, has to say:
“I think people are intimidated to get on the phone with a sales rep and ask about pricing or process questions too early, because they don’t want to get hard-sold when they are just fact-finding.”
Don’t close down your telephone support line just yet. Rather use live chat to gain a competitive advantage. Especially in B2B, where online chat is not as common, there is great potential to offer something extra, and distinguish yourself. Customers remember.