Web Design

Outsource live chat on your website

By Mark Ainsworth

As technology improves, customers today expect a lot more of websites than they have in the past. With all of this improvement, businesses like yours need to ensure that new visitors to your page stick around for long enough to see what you are actually about.

The best way to impress new visitors to your page is for your website to focus on user experience above anything else. Consumers want beautiful pages which are easy to navigate and load quickly, and which offer a 24/7 accessibility which is not available on the high street or over the phone. This goes for customer support as well as being able to make purchases.

More than 30% of consumers expect websites to provide a live chat service now, and more and more sites are beginning to catch up. This means that a live chat service is quickly becoming not just a bonus, but a necessity. However, it isn’t cheap to hire, train and pay for a live chat team that can work around the clock to provide a professional service, which is why many companies are relying on live chat outsourcing.

What is live chat outsourcing?

Live chat outsourcing allows you to hire skilled agents who can work on your live chat service around the clock, direct from an agency. There are various forms of live chat systems and pricing, so that you can choose the right option for your business and requirements. You may be able to work with agents in various time zones and will definitely have access to agents 24 hours a day, so that you aren’t trying to schedule your existing employees around the clock.

Outsourcing live chat also means that you aren’t piling additional pressure onto existing employees, who are able to continue focusing on their current positions.

Benefits of outsourcing

24/7 support

As mentioned above, consumers these days value being able to contact a company at any time of the day or night, regardless of what time zone they are in. A live chat company is able to provide chat agents who can answer chats within 10 seconds at any time of the day or night, and give dedicated and knowledgeable support.

Cost effectiveness

Outsourced live chat agents are trained so that they can handle more than one chat at a time, allowing fewer agents to provide the same great service to more customers at once. As your business grows, you will really start to see the savings that this brings in.

Gives you a competitive advantage

According to recent statistics, 50% of consumers would rather chat online in real time than talk to someone over the phone, but a 2018 survey found that only 9% of websites in their study provided this service. If you are providing this service before others, and using agents that are already trained and professional, you can get the edge over your competitors without spending over the odds. Because you are not hiring and training people specifically, you can also increase and decrease the number of agents you need according to demand.

Costs of live chat outsourcing

There are four levels of outsourced live chat pricing:

Free live chat

There are some companies, such as PureChat or Olark, who offer very basic free live chat services. Usually, these will only really be suitable for very small businesses as there will be tight limits on how many chats you are allowed per month before you will need to upgrade to a paid version.

For newer businesses, this is a great way for you to get a live chat system on your site, and get used to how it works, before upgrading to something which you need to pay for. Usually with a free chat service you won’t get useful extras such as live chat transcripts, and you’ll need to be able to monitor the chats yourself. PureChat does allow you to save transcripts, but relies heavily on pre-filled responses for your most commonly asked questions.

Pay per agent

This is a great option for businesses which are starting to outgrow free chat services but who still don’t want to pay too much for their agents. The more you pay the more features you have access to, but for basic plans you are looking to pay anything from £11 to £50 per month, per agent.

Volume-based pricing

A potentially risky option, if you are still unsure of your website conversion rates, as you essentially pay for how much traffic your site receives. This isn’t necessarily an indication of how well your site is selling, and you may be paying money for agents who aren’t required. Fees can be anything from £30 up to nearly £500 depending on the site and, unless you are comfortable in the selling power of your website, you might be better paying per agent.

Pay-per-lead

A sensible option for any growing business, with a pay-per-lead chat service you simply pay for the leads that are generated from your live chats. If your agent responds to 10 chats and makes one sales lead, you will only pay for that lead. Costs are low, too, with the average pay-per-lead agent commanding between £10 and £25.

Whilst this may seem like the obvious choice, it is important to do your homework before choosing any live chat outsourcing service because different companies offer different benefits that may suit one business and not another.

Things to consider when outsourcing

Don’t just consider price when you are choosing a live chat company to outsource to. It is critical that you consider a variety of other options to ensure that you’ve chosen the right agents for your business, or you will basically be throwing money away. Try to think about:

Technical knowledge

Obviously when you outsource your live chat agents they are not going to have as much knowledge of your business as your regular employees, but you do want to find agents who have enough basic knowledge to handle minor issues with ease.

If your live chat agents are constantly having to leave customers hanging around whilst they try to find out the answers to basic questions, they are wasting your time and are far more likely to lose your customer. Look for agents who specialise in your industry so that they will have a basic knowledge of what you do.
What training is needed

You will only be able to provide your customers with a real time response to their questions and problems if the agents involved know the company, products and services well enough to answer straight away.

Before you choose your outsourcing service look into whether or not you will need to train your agents, and if this is an option with the service that you are looking into, so that they will be able to perform the task that you need them to do. If you don’t think that this will be possible, you might have to consider keeping your live chat support service in-house.

Ability to convert customers

This is only really necessary if your live chat is part of your sales process, but agents who can deal with issues and sell to customers may be worth much more to your business than a service which only provides basic ‘one size fits all’ responses. If you need a sales-savvy live chat agent, you need to look for a service which specifically supplies agents with this sort of training.

Conclusion

Live chat functionality is certainly a great tool in your armoury in converting visitors to your websites to leads. There are a lot of options out that will enable you to provide this, so take your time and research the offerings to see what is the best fit for your website.

The team here at MaxWeb can help with everything website related and would be happy to talk to you about how your website can do better. To find out more please call us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk.

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