With the proliferation of text messaging, people are increasingly comfortable using text chat to communicate, with many preferring it to the telephone. It’s not surprising, therefore, that if they are on your website with a question that many will look for a live chat option to communicate with your company. They perceive it as being faster and more effective. While most company websites—at least those who value their customers—provide a phone number to call and a contact email address, far fewer provide the increasingly popular live chat option. Companies already have a telephone number and a main email address, so listing them on their website is an easy task. Adding live chat is less straightforward. The Process: First a chat box needs to be added to their website. There is a small amount of code to paste in the appropriate place or an app to install, which requires a basic level of website expertise to pull off. The second element is adding chat capabilities in your office. This is another piece of software to load on each computer for the employees who will handle the chats. Then it takes a bit of programming to connect the chat box on your website with the chat software in your office. Does this sound like too much of a hassle? Perhaps that’s why most companies don’t offer live chat on their websites. However, this is to their detriment. The Benefits: With live chat companies can:
The Solution: Your answering service already handles your phone calls (and maybe your emails, too), so they possess all the knowledge about your company that they need in order to manage your chat requests, too. Including live chat becomes a simple add on service. Your answering service already has a preferred live chat software package loaded on their computers, so all you need to do is add the chat box to your website. They can provide you with the needed code or app for your webmaster to add. It’s that easy. If you already have live chat in place and need your answering service to expand your coverage hours or back you up, they may be able to integrate with your software or add it to their service mix. Don’t shy away from offering live chat just because it seems confusing to implement. Check with your answering service. They can take the pain out of moving forward with this increasingly popular and often preferred communication channel. If you don’t offer live chat, you will lose business to your competitors that do. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry—and who helps businesses and organizations find the perfect answering service. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.