Thinking about Managed Live Chat – there’s a lot to consider including DIY – It’s a new client booster!
Don’t be fooled through thinking in will be super easy to do it yourself.
And it all depends heavily on your objective of providing the live chat service on your website.
The main objectives are:
- To provide customer service to existing clients
- To improve the conversion rate of your website
- More Checkouts
- More Leads
- More Contact requests
- Or as more often the case, some combination of some or all of these
“Before you do anything – do the math!”
Do the numbers stack up?
For many, there are concerns related to outsourcing these business-critical functions. The reality is, providing this level of engagement for your existing and prospective clients can be resource draining.
Before you do anything to provide 24/7 live chat with at least one person
– do the math:
30 days in the month x 24hours in the day = 720hours per month.
720hours / 8hour shifts = 90 shifts
90 shifts / 5 days in the standard week = 18 full weeks
18 weeks / four weeks = 4.5 Full time Equivalent employees per month
So, assuming that there is no absenteeism, not allowing for penalty rates, not allowing for supervision and training, not allowing for additional staff during peak times… let’s say you are looking at 4.5FTE’s per month at say $5,000 each. A conservative minimum of $22,500 per month.
Now I know that there is always excess capacity somewhere and that amount could easily be reduced if it was managed internally but beware, all is not always as it seems on the surface.
How many leads do you expect to deliver? It all comes down to the quality of the traffic you are driving to the site. The better the quality, the higher the conversion rate. Once you understand the number of leads – at least within a range, you will be able to assess the likely per lead cost.
Ok, we have the first consideration – cost. If the numbers and effort go even close to stacking up, then it’s worth considering Managed Live Chat a little further.
What are the managed live chat providers Commercial Agreement terms? Are there lock-in contracts? How do they charge for their service. Are you easily able to see the ROI? What does the service level agreement cover? At the very least, be fully aware of what you are commiting your organization to.
Capability – both internally and the potential provider. Can you handle it?
“You want Live Chat? You can’t Handle Live Chat!”
As with any change management piece, rolling out Live Chat through your organisation can be a success, a disaster or land up anywhere in between. As long as you do the research and are fully aware of the risks and pitfalls, you will be able to manage them appropriately.
Would Live Chat be a welcome distraction or an unwelcome distraction for your team? Whilst your aim would always be to ensure your team was well trained in manning the live chat, personality types play a large component in what determines a very successful “chat agent”.
There could be several reasons why any of your team members see the chat as a “distraction”:
- A “Welcome” distraction – They see manning the live chat and chatting with website visitors as a nice change. It provides variety in their daily tasks. They look forward to chatting with every website visitor. They keep the interactions relatively long and cover a broad range of topics, and try to receive as many chats as possible. They are a “chat sponge”. The outcome from this scenario is low staff productivity and a lower number of qualified leads due to “Chatting” instead of following the process.
- An “Unwelcome” distraction – In this scenario, the allocated person views manning the Live Chat as taking them away for their core responsibilities and duties. There may be a real need for this employee to avoid distractions to be effective and this additional form of multi-skilling is far from welcome. They keep the interactions short and avoid them if possible. The outcome from this scenario are likely to be low staff productivity and low conversion rates due to again, a lack of following the process in the desire to finish the “chat” as soon as possible and get back to their core duties.
There is an increased burden on management when live chat is involved. The supervision required to ensure “quality” chats across the board to deliver consistent client experience and deliver against your objectives. The process must be clearly mapped and delivered in training.
Do you have the sales resources to manage the additional leads?
“You would be surprised the number of times a business will lift to a new level simply though leads delivered via Managed Live Chat.”
The competency of your potential providers should also be thoroughly researched and tested. It is important to note that every website, website visitors and organisations have differing cultures, needs and objectives thus you will never experience a Managed Live Chat on another site as it would be on yours but, the things to look out for:
- How quickly they respond to the website visitors’ first question
- What their first response is to the website visitor
- How well they are able to build rapport with the website visitor
These first three factors have a huge impact on everything else that follows during the interaction. Don’t forget that your Managed Live Chat provide the website visitor with their very first impression of your organisation, you need to make sure that it is a good experience.
“You never get a second chance at a first impression”
Next, take note of:
- How well they answer your questions
- What level of detail they provide to your questions
- Whether the interaction fairly represents the organisational values/culture
First impressions matter and your first impression includes your experience for each “new” component of the interaction from the “greeting”, first hello and rapport building through to the first question and response then to any follow-up questions and discussion.
- How much additional information they provide
- How many (and what quality) questions they ask you
- How quickly before they seek your contact details
If the process is simply you asking questions, them providing a few answers then seeking your contact information you must expect that this will perform better than your existing contact forms – Live Chat always does but, it will deliver the same level qualification and the leads will be marketing qualified leads.
Why are they doing it?
If your aim is specifically to drive new business through your website in particular, gain new clients, then you should be in discussion with an organisation that talks about just that – their concern for increasing your new clients and growing your sales revenue. The outcome of Managed Live Chat with your website visitors should be Sales Qualified Leads or full conversions. Leads that have been fully qualified – to the same extent you would have your sales team qualify them. They should be a good fit and yearning for your offering by the time your Sales Executives contact them. Or at the very least, be aware that your offering can solve their problems at an investment level within their budget.
Can they actually chat for you?
How can you achieve this through Managed Live Chat? You need to make sure your provider can emulate your sales process. Sound easy but imaging expecting an external party to be able to do what your sales team do with all their product knowledge and training and internal resources. It is a pretty tall order. Every discussion with one of your website visitors is effectively their first experience of the sales process of your organisation. Whether that be a form to complete or a person to chat with, it impacts their impression. It’s their “user experience” and you are aiming for that to be as positive and effective as possible. Your provider should work closely with you to understand your sales process. Particularly the early stages to ensure the process can be effectively delivered during managed live chat interactions.
The Onboarding – It’s a partnership!
It should be very obvious from the early stages that your Managed Live Chat provider is interested in helping you increase your revenue through new clients. For Managed Live Chat to hit its optimum levels for the traffic on your website, you will find that your provider works closely with you to understand your sales process, your ideal client profile, detail about the initial stages of your sales process, how you qualify your marketing leads and how you define a sales qualified lead.
The ideal Managed Live Chat provider will want to partner with you. Your goals will become their goals in so far as they can influence them (and you may be surprised just what an impact Managed Live Chat can have). They will be focused on delivering value at every stage of the partnership usually well beyond the original promise. And most of all, they will have a robust continuous improvement process to deliver ongoing improvement in website visitor engagement and new client acquisition.
To wrap it up, there are many factors to take into consideration when you are considering Live Chat for your business:
- The Cost / Investment required to do it yourself
- Commercial Terms – How flexible are they and what is the level of risk
- Capability – both yours and any potential provider
- Concern – The provider’s concern for your business outcomes
- Onboarding: Plan for success through partnership
- Ongoing Support and Improvement – If it feels like set and forget…. It probably is.
You should expect the provider to be a proactive partner concerned for the value they deliver. Concerned for your business objectives and working with you to continue to improve business outcomes.
You want them to talk about more clients – not more leads.
Good luck with as you embark on your journey with Live Chat. It will be an extraordinary experience and lift your new client acquisition to new levels boosting your revenue and bringing your sales and marketing teams closer together.