How Can Live Chat Benefit Your Local Business?

Consumer interacts with local business via live chat

Consumers today expect quick responses and a high level of service from businesses, big or small. A live chat service can help you compete with the larger budget and resources of your more established competitors. Live chat services are an increasingly popular way for consumers to interact with brands and businesses with questions, comments and concerns. With benefits for customers and businesses alike, if you’re not already employing a live chat solution on your website, now might be a great time to start. 

Let’s take a look at the benefits live chat can provide your local business.

What Is Live Chat?

But first, what is live chat? Essentially, live chat is a web chat solution that allows customers to message with a real customer service representative when they have an issue or query. Live chat is different from chatbots, though the two are often confused. Chatbots are not manned by real people but are AI programs designed to recognise certain words and phrases and respond with pre-programmed answers or offer help menus. Live chat offers human-powered customer service in real-time.

Why Is Live Chat Great for Local Businesses?

Now that we understand what live chat is, let’s talk about why it’s such an important addition to any successful marketing strategy.

1. Live Chat Helps Consumers Reach You Easily  
Modern consumers are too busy to sit down, make a phone call, or wait on hold to speak with a customer service representative. 51% of customers say they prefer live chat services to other means of communication because it allows them to multitask, and more than 40% like that they use live chat to get answers to their questions while at work. Plus, 92% of customers report feeling satisfied after using live chat services. 

This multitasking element is also beneficial for the businesses that employ live chat functions. Small businesses who work with a marketing partner for live chat services (like us, hint hint!) can outsource the chat function but still receive a record of all communication. Not having to hire staff to answer questions (or do it yourself!) saves you time and money. 

2. Live Chat Gives You a Better Understanding of Consumer Concerns 
With live chat services it’s easy to keep track of consumer interactions with your business. Each interaction ends with a transcript, and as time goes on, you’ll see patterns emerge, with certain queries, concerns or comments coming up again and again. This offers valuable insight, which you can use to make improvements to your website and content strategy. 

Let’s say you run a roofing company. If you get loads of questions about your quoting process, it might be time to revisit the wording on your website to make your process more straightforward. If you have a lot of people chatting to ask how to know it’s time to redo their roof, that’s a good opportunity to create a blog or explainer video on that topic. 

3. Live Chat Lets Customers Get Answers at Any Time of the Day 
For local businesses, budget and headcount limits likely keep you from offering 24/7 service for your customers. But just because someone isn’t manning your phones doesn’t mean there aren’t consumers out there that have questions. Regardless of the time of day, they want quick answers.  

While FAQs can be of some help in this area, they can’t cover specific, individual questions in the way that a one-on-one interaction can. Live chat services are a far superior option to a chatbot, which asks the consumer to go through a series of prompts leading to a pre-written answer that (hopefully) speaks to their question.

4. Live Chat Capture Leads and Upsell Opportunities 
Like an in-store experience where you’re not approached by any salespeople and leave without making a purchase, an unassisted online consumer will easily talk themselves out of buying from you.  

A warm greeting as you enter a store and friendly advice from a salesperson who notices you eyeing a particular product can make you much more likely to make a purchase. The same principle applies online. When someone can chat with a live person, they’re a lot more likely to make a purchase or come back to the website again.

5. Live Chat Can Protect Your Business’s Reputation 
Reputation is so important when it comes to winning new customers. But all local business owners know how easy it can be to get a negative review. These reviews often come as a result of a less-than-ideal customer service experience, like not being unable to get answers to questions, or reach a service representative. 

With live chat, you can triage customer service before anything turns into an issue, which can help you preserve your business’s reputation while delivering excellent service to your current customers. 

Getting Started with Live Chat for Your Local Business

Live chat can make a positive difference for any local business, and ReachLocal have got you covered with 24/7 live chat services. Contact us to discover the right live chat solution for your business with one of our expert Digital Marketing Consultants. 

Emma Reid

Emma is a talented Graphic Designer and Marketer who designs all internal and external communications for ReachLocal Australia and New Zealand. She also updates and manages our websites, in addition to assisting with other marketing activities. Emma is a passionate volunteer with Orange Sky Laundry. When she's not pulling her hair out over HTML (just kidding!) she's wearing odd socks, bleeding coffee, playing dodgeball and doodling letters.

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