Does your website require a live chat function?

Updated on: 1 March 2017

When entrepreneurs, brand managers, and marketers review their websites, the argument is whether setting whistles and bells guarantee a better user experience. Many set up all types of platforms from review segments, JavaScript apps, and Chatboxes only to do away with them in subsequent months. Many investors have been stuck with the viewpoint that they have to appear big until they make it.

One such application is the live chat. It is a great addition that makes a website look big and enthralling. However, does your new website really need a live chat?

Here are four main things that will help to establish whether your website really needs one.

Establish whether you have ample time to dedicate running it

A live chat is one of the applications that requires a lot of time because you do not know when a client can come calling. If you cannot get enough time to dedicate to sitting in front of a computer waiting for clients to ask questions, you will need to outsource the service. For an international company that serves clients in different time zones, a live chat will have to run for 24/7.

Does your company have a customer service manual?

Whether you are running the live chat or you have outsourced the service, a comprehensive customer service policy will be required. A customer service manual is a guide that establishes the questions that clients ask frequently (FAQ), and policies on when/if your company has to be contacted. On top of this, some room is provided to the clients to make their own decision about the brand, nature of service, and even compare with others. In many instances, the questions that clients take to the live chat can be answered on the FAQ page.

Can your brand afford the costs associated with live chats?

Running a live chat can be a costly affair and out of reach for many small businesses. First, you will need to get the right software to run on your website and then employ full-time staff to answer clients’ calls. Even if you outsource the services to a third party, you will be charged on an hourly or a monthly basis. Therefore, establish whether your business can handle the additional expenses without affecting the ability to grow.

Do your clients really need a live chat?

Online marketing involves taking the business to the people and leveraging operations depending on what they need. However, does your target audience need a live chat? Ask them for an opinion on whether you should use a live chat or not. Enquire whether the clients find it hard to contact you and get the information they want.

Are other methods of customer services working?

Before installing live chat software, consider taking a review of other methods of support for your audience. For example, how effective are your FAQ page, email support, and product tutorials? In many instances, you will find that many of them are indeed effective and only need some little polishing. For example, many people prefer direct interaction on social media where they can talk to the company, liaise with other buyers, and make the decision whether to buy or not.

While a live chat is a great feature to ensure your clients get support in real-time, you need to carefully establish whether it is necessary. New businesses should consider using other methods of customer support that are affordable until they grow to a point they can meet the cost without straining.

At startup, consider following and supporting clients on social media, email, and through tutorials which are equally effective.