By Samuel Solis, Senior Internet Marketing Consultant
The way people communicate with businesses is changing. Younger generations like millennials are starting to gain more purchasing power in the economy, and mobile devices are becoming the main way users access the Internet and interact with one another.
Data from Informate Mobile Intelligence shows that the average American sends and receives about 32 texts per day while only making or answering 6 phone calls. So, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are looking to communicate with their customers via an interactive, text-based format.
When our clients start to inquire about using a chat service, their biggest concern usually has to do with keeping the same knowledge and quality of information that a person would get if they called the office directly or reached out via email. There are a few steps you can take to make sure that your chat audience receives fast and accurate information about your practice.
Find the Right Provider
The first thing you need to do is find a chat service provider that is going to set you up for success. At Page 1 Solutions, we use a chat provider that is based in the U.S. and specifically handles clients in the verticals we serve, such as attorneys and medical professionals. This is a much better start than picking a provider outside of the U.S. that only handles banks, for example.
Find a provider that also gathers data and provides you with case studies and additional information that could improve the performance of your chats and the quality of your leads. You want to work with an agency that is experienced and continually looking to improve.
The chat service we’ve partnered with provides us data and case studies that we implement into our client campaigns when applicable. This is only possible with a provider that has a lot of experience and years of data.
For example, our provider gave us some statistics in regards to the best placement of the “Chat Now” button on the website for desktop and mobile users. We found the data useful and implemented the change on a select number of clients. We then found that users were using the chat feature more because it was more visible. We could have gathered this data ourselves, but we didn’t have to because we have a partner that is willing to test these types of minor changes and provide us the data so we can benefit from it.
Use a Script
Many chat service providers make the creation of a script part of their onboarding process for new clients. The provider sends a template script for clients to fill out which covers everything from demeanor and greetings the chat agent should use to specific information that should be provided to chat users.
As the business owner, this script is your opportunity to set up the chat agent in your image. Give your provider as much information as possible in regards to common questions your in-house staff gets asked on a daily basis.
It’s also important to mention what not to say in chat. When it comes to pricing and subjective questions, it’s best for the chat agent to connect the user to the front desk by phone; some, though not all, chat providers offer this service. The chat agent could also just say the office will call on the next business day if the chat comes in after hours or if the call can’t be connected.
In your script template given by your chat provider, you’ll likely be asked for qualifying questions that would allow the chat agent to designate the chat as a lead or not. This is usually for billing purposes when you only pay per qualified lead. The idea is to be charged only for chats that may convert into business, and not for chats asking unrelated questions or looking to confirm an appointment.
Monitor Chat History
One of the best ways to really see how your chat team is doing and how to improve is to review previous chat transcripts and see if you like the quality of the conversation. If not, provide feedback to your account manager and make changes to the chat script if necessary.
Testing the chat service yourself is also a great idea. From time to time, spot-check and see how the chat agents are handling certain questions or requests about your practice and the services you offer. Since you are handling customers in the office every day, you know the questions your staff is getting; it’s likely those questions are going to the chat agents as well.
DON’T Set It and Forget It
With forms and call tracking numbers, you can just add them to your website and the likelihood that you’ll have to change them sooner than later is not very high. Live chat is different because, as things change in your office, those changes need to be reflected in the chat scripts. If you decide to stop offering a service, you have to make sure your chat agents are reflecting that same updated information.
So, think of chat as an evolving lead source. And be sure to keep a pulse on it.
For more information about our Chat Service and to see if it’s right for you, please give us a call at 800-368-9910 or go to our website and reach out to us via chat!