The ultimate guide to web chat for business

People want service fast, and at least a third of customers turn to chat first when they want to get in touch with a business. 

More and more, people prefer to use chat over email or calling a service provider on the phone because chat is quicker and more convenient.

Bottom line: You can’t be a unicorn brand in the 2020s without optimizing your web chat customer experience.

In this guide we’re sharing the seven key ingredients gleaned from our experiments and our customers to deliver a stellar customer chat experience. We’ll cover

  1. Adding chat to your website
  2. Using chat starters to have more qualified conversations 
  3. Using chat menus and FAQ instant answers
  4. Integrating chat with Facebook campaigns
  5. Growing your SMS subscriber list
  6. Automating follow-up campaigns with drip sequences
  7. Scaling up live chat agents

Let’s jump into the action.

1. Adding chat to your website

You might think that adding chat to your website is an obvious first step in providing superior customer service.

And maybe it is! 

But first, break down the essentials and optimizations that will turn your onsite chat into a top touchpoint for your brand.

Including chat on your business website gives customers and prospects a way to immediately contact you with any questions and issues.

This means they don’t have to look or go elsewhere, like your Facebook page or other profile or listing, to start chatting with you.

Your website is your digital calling card and is likely to be the first place a fan, prospect, or customer will go when they want to get in touch.

So, yes, including a chat widget on your website is an important step in opening up the chat lines for current and future customers.

But that’s not all.

Not only should you have chat on your website. You should also equip your business to respond to inquiries instantly, 24-7.

If you offer web chat but don’t respond to customers, you won’t be providing an excellent customer experience. 

Consumers say that chat is their support channel of choice because they get answers quicker when they use it.

Consider leveraging an application that allows your support, sales, and marketing teams to view all incoming inquiries and respond to them in real time.

Many businesses take instant 24-7 response times to the next level by using a chatbot as a first responder to chat inquiries.

Once customers know they will get a response through your web chat, they’ll be more inclined to use it, thus becoming leads, customers, and repeat customers.

In fact, 63 percent of high-spending online shoppers favor websites with web chat.

2. Using chat starters to have more qualified conversations 

You want more people to engage with your brand via your web chat because people who chat with you can become your leads.

Once you capture their contact info, ask interactive questions to qualify them and remarket to them in the future.

To start more web chat conversations, create custom greetings based on the web page and that page’s role in the customer journey. 

For instance, on a contact page, your web chat can say, “Want to talk to us fast? We’re here to chat!”

On your product pages, the web chat greeting might say something like, “Do you want to see if you qualify for our SPECIAL pricing?”

Custom greetings mapped to the customer persona visiting the web page where the chat is embedded can help boost engagement and conversions on your website, as well as make people want to start more messaging sessions.

Here are a few of the super effective chat starters used by MobileMonkey customers:

  • Find out if you qualify for special pricing!
  • Congratulations! You have unlocked a discount. 
  • Special giveaway this week! Enter to win here!
  • Not sure what size to order? We’ll help you find the right size.
  • Looking for the perfect gift? Try our gift-finder bot!

Follow up the dialogue with questions, attachments, images, and engaging content.

3. Using chat menus and FAQ instant answers

Phone-based customer service has used menus and recorded instructions for a long time, and they’ve been proven to work.

They help handle common inquiries and direct calls to the right departments, easing the burden for the customer service team.

You can use the same concept for your web chat, reducing the number of chat sessions that take up your time.

Most inquiries tend to be basic stuff that your chatbot can adequately respond to.

Create a “phone tree” sort of menu in your chatbot that users can navigate to find the information they need.

If that inquiry leads to the need for a live operator, the user’s responses can provide additional context.

Not only does the chatbot help the user but also you and whoever takes over to assist that user with their concerns.

Think of your chatbot as your receptionist, who must be trained to answer frequently asked questions and learn as they go.

As more questions come in that the chatbot can’t answer, add them and the answers to the menus.

4. Integrating chat with Facebook campaigns

Facebook Messenger is the second largest messaging app in the world, with over 1.3 billion users.

Many chatbots like MobileMonkey choose it as their main platform because it provides a huge audience.

Whenever a user messages your Facebook page, your chatbot should be able to respond to it right away.

You can also respond yourself using the OmniChat inbox.

You can use comment autoresponders like Comment Guard on a Facebook post. Comment Guard automatically messages the user who comments on a post.

You can also run Click-to-Messenger ads that send people who click on them to your Messenger as a call to action.

All of these tactics can give you tons of leads, which you can then qualify and market to in the hopes of converting them.

Within Messenger itself, you can send sponsored messages to expand your reach through chat.

Gather information on every lead you get. This will give you a ton of data about your audience.

You can use that information to further home in on your audience and create custom audiences.

Each of those custom audiences can be marketed to in different ways in order to increase your conversion rates.

With Messenger marketing, your brand can get tremendous value at a low cost per lead.

5. Growing your SMS subscriber list

The web chat tactics we’ve covered to this point will help you provide unicorn experiences when people reach out to you.

But did you know that you can proactively start chat sessions for marketing and reengagement via messaging channels like SMS?

In the U.S., SMS is among consumers’ favorite ways to communicate with service providers.

(Infographic excerpt from OpenMarket)
Pro Tip

Use a multichannel chat marketing platform to manage incoming messages across messaging platforms, like SMS, Facebook Messenger, and web chat.

An OmniChat platform not only gives your business one unified place to manage all messaging conversations, but it also streamlines your workflow.

When a prospect or customer starts a conversation with your business through web chat, you can get them to opt into your SMS subscriber list. 

You can respond to inquiries from both web chat and SMS within a single system, making customer service easier while extending your marketing reach.

6. Automating follow-up campaigns with drip sequences

Drip campaigns in chat work fairly similar to those in email, but they have higher open and click-through rates.

These campaigns are also similar to ad remarketing, but instead of chasing people around the web with ads and posts, your chatbot sends them messages.

Drip campaigns are more direct, and you can hold them more regularly at less cost over time, while getting more value out of them.

Their main purpose is to remind people who engage you through chat about your brand later on.

Front-load the campaign and don’t wait too long to send a message, preferably around 10 minutes to an hour after your first conversation. After all, it would be strange to get a message from someone you haven’t interacted with for a month or so.

The best time for you to send nurturing drip messages is while a conversation is fresh in the prospect’s mind.

Pro tip: It’s a chat marketing best practice to remind prospects how they can opt out of messaging so they don’t get annoyed with your brand.

7. Scaling up live chat agents

Congratulations! When you’ve reached this point in optimizing your messaging customer experience, you’re running a tight ship.

Prospects and customers are starting lots of marketing, sales, and customer support conversations.

You’ve integrated messaging with lead generation ads, you’re automating customer service, you’re qualifying and nurturing leads through multiple messaging channels, and you’re reengaging customers with helpful messages like account updates and promotions.

If you’re running ads and other marketing campaigns to bring more people to your chat, you’ll need to scale things up.

Both the chatbot and your chat marketing operation have to be ready to interact with a larger audience.

These conversations will net you three times more results than website clicks, but only if you get users the info they’re looking for immediately.

Even with a good chatbot handling your web chat, your business will still need humans to jump into some conversations.

If you have customer service representatives on your chat, those users will be taken care of, which will make them warm up to your brand more quickly.

The key to scaling your live agents is setting up smart alerts that let your team know when someone chatting with your business needs their attention.

Set up push notifications to go out whenever the chatbot considers a user important or urgent.

These notifications should be set for inquiries that the chatbot can’t handle alone and require human attention.

You don’t need to be notified about every single conversation, just those that are from someone who is serious about their inquiry.

These notifications can be sent through email, as mobile push notifications, or as desktop browser push notifications.

Have a website and chatbot do the selling, and let product or service specialists turn leads into conversions.

With a combination of automated chat and live chat with humans, you can win more customers and more loyal customers.

Pro tip: Use MobileMonkey’s live chat tools platform to set up smart notifications programmed to let your live agents know when to jump into chats happening across Facebook Messenger, SMS, and web chat.

Important next steps

These seven web chat tactics will help transform your customer chat experience into a magnificent unicorn that best represents your brand.

You can filter out noise and get high-quality leads by implementing thoughtful and careful strategy into your automation.

Once your brand’s chat infrastructure is in place, all you have to worry about is scaling it up to match your growth.

When you get to the point where you need people on hand to manage your web chat, that’s when you know your web chat is a unicorn.

AUTHOR
Larry is the founder of MobileMonkey, an integrated web chat, SMS & Facebook Messenger bot platform for marketing and customer service. He also founded WordStream, Inc., a provider of Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and keyword tools used by over 1 million marketers worldwide.

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