Use ‘live chat’ to market your online business

Screen shot, BuildChat marketing promo, one company that supports business use of live chat.
Screen shot, BuildChat marketing promo, one company that supports business use of live chat.

QUEZON CITY, Phillipines, December 24, 2013 – Business owners and operators are increasingly discovering that live chat is rapidly evolving into a necessity for businesses. That’s especially true for those businesses that maintain an online store, due to the fact that live chat’s features help maximize user experience.

When end-users browse a site, they expect their needs to be met such as finding ample information on price lists, shipping details, or tutorials on how to use a product. This is where live chat comes in. For the uninitiated, live chat is that little icon that allows the user to “instant message,” or text call a sales representative or customer service expert for your store.

It’s not just for customer service

Live chat support involves the use of “instant messaging,” or the exchange of text-based messages in real-time.

Although it’s more commonly associated with being a customer service tool, its features make it a potent marketing tool as well, suggesting that this might just be that untapped potential that your business needs.

The use of this support system as a marketing tool has been around for quite some time. American multinational giant Wells Fargo pioneered its use in marketing back in 2002 with the objective to boost online conversion and applicant approval rates. The results? Loan balances and approval rates increased from 30% to 40%.

Also, according to Banktech, a survey of over 1,000 online shoppers revealed 73% had cultivated a positive attitude towards businesses that employ the use of live chat, which indicates that it’s a good tactic to implement when aiming for a positive brand image.

Case Study: How live chat put Bank of America on top

The best way to get end-users to buy a high involvement product is to educate them about it, and that’s what the Bank of America (BAC) did when its online sales of mortgages sky rocketed to 800% in the first quarter of 2006 compared to the previous year.

At that time, the second largest U.S. bank used pop-up web solicitations based on analysis of an end user’s online behavior. BAC would invite such users to chat with regard to a specific offer. Employees would educate prospective clients about complex procedures such as getting loans for buying a house. The pop-ups would usually appear when prospective customers are comparing interest rates on the site, or when they are filling out an online loan application. 

This kind of user interaction puts companies like BAC in good position to pitch new products and services.

In customer interactions, employees can also use a technique known as “page pushing,” wherein a customer is directed to another web page that both parties may browse together.

What makes live chat so effective?

The problem with the online environment is that it lacks that human touch that helps remove a prospective customer’s anxiety when dealing with high risk transactions like purchasing automobiles and electronic gadgets.

With the help of modern technology, however, communication has evolved from its origins as a static one-way monologue to a useful, interactive two-way discussion. 

Live chat’s real-time interactivity fulfills the demand for a virtual sales team to help solve a customer’s concern-a solution that can potentially lead to a sale. This goes a long way toward closing the missing communications loop, because consumers in general love telling their peers about their positive experience with a brand, something that is always good for your company’s overall positioning.

Case Study: Learn a thing or two from iThemes

Cory Miller, founder of iThemes, gives further highlight on why it’s important to employ live chat by saying that your operators are the ones who can walk a customer through a sale, while also answering queries that could otherwise result in cart abandonment, thus helping transform them into a successful check out.

He also adds that there will be ample opportunities for making an “upsell” once a customer is engaged in a conversation with an operator who understands his or her needs, since the latter can put himself in the former’s shoes to suggest purchases that would be the perfect fit. Miller shares some tips:

  • Place live chat buttons on the most obvious parts of your website
  • If you aren’t using a live chat program that pops up after a certain period of time a site visitor has spent on a web page, it’s best to let them know that help will arrive with a click of a button.
  • Patience is a virtue. Many people dislike sales people following them when shopping at the mall. It would be logical to think that the same principle will apply online as well. Engage them in conversation when they call for you, or when they’re already spending too much time browsing through pages in loop.
  • Use their feedback for improvement

Another good thing about live chat is its free market research. One of the best sources of information about your customers and how to make them happy is from conversations with them.

Always take note of the most frequent queries and act upon them to make it better.

The bottom line is that advancements in technology present you with untapped opportunities you could use to better your position in the market. With the help of the Internet, consumers now have gained more control over their buying decisions with all the information available online. Mixing the traditional principle of engaging prospects in conversations with new technology ultimately makes a great combination.


Editor’s note: is one of many providers of chat services. Their illustrative, promotional graphic heading this article is not a recommendation or endorsement of over any other service provider. Neither the writer of Communities has any financial or other arrangement with

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