It doesn’t matter how well you run your enterprise; without a steady—or preferably, growing—influx of leads, you may as well kiss all your hard work and investment goodbye.
Lead generation is the process of identifying and targeting potential new customers (otherwise known as leads) with the intention of cultivating their interest in what your business has to offer. The hope of every business owner is that every visitor will become a lead, and that every lead will eventually become a sale.
Lead generation is vital to small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike. Although it is impossible to profit from every visitor, we can employ tactics to maximize our leads, and optimize our ROI. One of the ways that we can do this is through live chat. In this article, we will discuss some of the methods for effectively using live chat as a lead generation tool.
According to a 2016 Forrester article, online chat use among customers has risen substantially in the past few years, from 38% in 2009, to 43% in 2012, and to 65% in 2015. What this growing number means is that more and more customers are visiting company websites with the specific intention of connecting via live chat.
By making your live chat presence known on your website and through search engines, you will enable more customers to reach your representatives directly through live chat.
Here are some of the reasons why this generates leads:
Live chat reduces visitor wait times, and improves customer experience. More live chat requests take some of the weight off your phone lines and company inbox. Less tied-up phone lines mean that current and potential customers don’t have to wait in the queue for long periods of time before they reach a representative. The better and faster your customer service, the more repeat customers you will have and the more sales you will generate.
Live chat increases advertisement exposure, and promotes browsing. Because using live chat requires a visit to your company website, customers who use live chat will naturally be exposed to lead generating advertisement that they would have missed otherwise. Let us illustrate this with an example:
Jessica’s decision to connect with a representative via live chat resulted in her being exposed to promotional material that she would not have seen through a phone or email correspondence. She walked away from the live chat interaction with her questions answered, and a brand-new cardigan on the way.
Live chat improves search engine performance. By having a higher dwell time among your visitors, you can improve your website’s rank in search engines, which means attracting new customers and bringing in more leads.
You can let your customers know that you offer live chat by making your live chat button easy to find on your webpage. By practicing good design, you can create an eye-catching live chat button that instills a visible live chat presence, which ultimately generates leads.
Another way that you can generate leads with your live chat software is by analyzing your live chat data. By monitoring visitor behavior, you can deliver more personalized services, and offer discounts that will make your leads more likely to convert into customers.
With your built-in visitor monitoring feature, you have access to information such as the following:
By using this information, companies can better understand their customers, which means better marketing strategies. Let’s look at this in practice:
Jordan has an ecommerce website dedicated to selling quality electronics. Thanks to his habit of periodically checking his visitor monitor, Jordan notices that a lot of visitors have been browsing tablets. With this knowledge, he decides to create a flash sale on tablets, in the hopes of creating a sense of hurry and incentivizing his leads to make a purchase. He sends out an email marketing campaign about the sale, and watches as leads are converted into paying customers.
By analyzing his live chat data, Jordan could react to his findings, and created a successful marketing campaign to generate leads and drive up sales.
In a December 2015 Customer Lifecycle Survey, Forrester found that 53% of customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their questions.
To minimize shopping cart abandonment, it is best to keep product information as clear as possible. But for when customers do have a question about a product, the best thing that you can do (instead of making the customer seek out an answer) is to bring the answer to the customer. Proactive chat is when you invite your visitors into a chat session with a representative, instead of having the visitor initiate the chat.
Proactive chat sessions can be set to be triggered by a number of factors using the rule-based auto chat invitation feature. This helps you target leads who may need to ask a question about a product, or who may require a final push to make a purchase.
Collecting visitor data is an important part of setting up your auto chat invitation, and helps your company fine-tune your automated chat rules to proactively engage the right visitors with the right material. Here is an example of a customer’s experience with well-timed proactive chat:
Derek is shopping online for power tools. He wants to buy a drill, but is unsure of whether the drill that he is looking at will be powerful and durable enough to fit his needs. He grows overwhelmed from all the options, and is on the verge of giving up when he receives a proactive chat request. “Hi Derek! My name is Mark. Do you need any assistance with your purchase?” Derek decides to accept the request, and tells Mark about his doubts. Mark helps Derek settle on a drill that he is confident will give him the results that he needs.
Because Mark sent Derek a proactive chat message, Derek followed through with a purchase that he was about to abandon. Mark’s company uses proactive chat best practices in order to make sure that their auto chat invitation sends the right message to the right visitors at the right time. This way, the company can generate leads that are most prone to buy, and help them follow through. How much could your company benefit from this feature?
Just because a visitor closed his or her browser without making a purchase does not mean that the battle for lead acquisition has been lost. People may show interest in your products, but leave the purchase for another day, or for the next paycheck.
However, according to MarketingSherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales, due to the lack of lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey.
You can effectively nurture your leads through by following up with them using the live chat wrap-up feature.
The wrap-up feature allows agents to tag chats while they are ending their conversation with a visitor. Agents can tag visitors as leads to identify them for future follow up.
One way to do this is to add a wrap-up field labeled “Next Action,” describing how each chat ended and what, if anything, is needed for follow-up. By searching for this tag, you can find all of your contacts that are in need of follow-up, and make the step towards converting your live chat conversations into leads.
Take this interaction for example:
Rhonda is a live chat representative. She starts her day off by chatting with Joshua, who is shopping for Tupperware. She answers his questions about color options and sizes of Tupperware available. When Joshua logs off, Rhonda uses the wrap-up option to tag the chat as a “lead,” because she identified his interest in making a purchase. A few days later, Rhonda follows up on her chats that she had marked as “leads” for the week, including her chat with Joshua. This helps Joshua remember that he was thinking about making a purchase, and shows him that the company remembers and cares about his interests.
By using the wrap-up feature as a lead generation tool, your company shows a commitment to helping visitors acquire what they are looking for. This tool helps your company generate new leads and keep old leads active.
Using a live chat tool with deep integration with Salesforce can be efficient in lead generation. Salesforce is a world leader in CRM software, and allows for convenient data synchronization and analytics. Salesforce live chat integration provides businesses with easy lead, customer, and case management, making each respective group easy to follow up with.
With Salesforce, you can follow up on selected leads using email marketing programs, and create leads or other contacts in your agent console. You can also set up the system to create leads or contacts automatically once a chat has ended or an offline chat message has been submitted, based on pre-defined rules. For more information on Live Chat Salesforce Integration, check out our white paper: A User Guide to Comm100 Live Chat Salesforce Integration.
See how this next example of lead generation is fulfilled through Salesforce:
Eric is a live chat representative for a large company that sells seeds, fertilizer, and other gardening materials. Thanks to his live chat integration with Salesforce, Eric’s company can identify leads based on information collected from the live chat sessions through Salesforce. Once Eric ends a chat, if the visitor who he was chatting with has an item in their shopping cart, they are automatically added into the system as a lead, as per the company’s pre-defined rules. Thanks to the Salesforce integration, visitors who are marked as leads are automatically sent emails reminding them to finish the checkout process. This automated lead generation means less work for Eric, and more sales for the company.
By automating the process of lead generation through Salesforce, companies like Eric’s receive a higher ROI and greater profits.
According to a 2016 National Harris Poll survey, 82% of Americans say that they seek recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase of any kind. When you create a personalized and caring live chat customer service experience, customers who enjoyed your services are likely to become repeat buyers. These customers can also generate leads for you through word-of-mouth advertising.
David Rusenko, founder of Weebly, is one of a growing number of CEOs who has attested to this. According to Rusenko, “Word-of-mouth marketing is a crucial component of organic growth for startups and one of the primary ways that Weebly has grown to over 15 million customers.”
Some of the ways that you can make your live chat service exceptional for your customers include the following:
Let’s look at an example of how an exceptional live chat service can generate leads:
Jeff is a first-time customer of an online book store. He had a complaint about his order, but thanks to the company’s quick and effective live chat customer service, Jeff was able to resolve his issue without a hassle. Their personalized greeting and knowledge of his information made Jeff feel like his issue was in caring, expert hands. This experience incentivizes Jeff to order through the same company in the future, because he knows that if there is a problem, his interests will be taken care of. Jeff even posted a review online praising the way that the company handled his issue, generating leads for the business.
Satisfied customers like Jeff often become “brand ambassadors” for the company. We all know someone who openly praises Starbuck’s latest holiday drink on Facebook, or have a family member who just can’t get enough of The Home Depot. By cultivating customer loyalty through a great live chat experience, you can generate leads and a solid reputation.
The art of lead generation is constantly evolving. Ten years ago, when companies brainstormed ways to generate leads, they often relied on sending out direct mail, using effective advertising, and exhibiting at trade shows. These classic approaches are great at generating leads, but what else can you do to grow your business in the modern world? By using live chat as a support tool, and putting these tips into action, you are providing both support for your current customers and generating new ones.
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