Live Chat for Website: Everything you need to know!

Adding a live chat to your website improves your customer service and your customers have a much better experience. As studies show, they prefer a live chat to communicate with companies over e-mail and phone. In this article we will give you all facts and insights you need before you start an own live chat service on your website.

Something is wrong with a product you ordered, the delivery did not arrive on time or you need one specific piece of information to be sure. What would you prefer? Waiting two hours in a call-center queue or two days for an e-mail reply? Or just 46 seconds using live chat? This is the average time it takes companies to answer requests through the channel.

With a customer satisfaction rate of 73 percent, live chats are already more popular than e-mail and phone for communicating with companies. The number of businesses using live chat tools on their website is growing in B2B and B2C businesses alike.

While customers mainly benefit from quick and easy support with average response times of 46 seconds, businesses save costs, are able to offer a more personal interaction and improve customer experience. As a result, they improve the reputation of their brand.

Learn here how live chats work, what benefits and disadvantages exist, how live chats compare to messaging apps like WhatsApp, Instagram Direct or Telegram and how you can get a live chat for you website free of charge. We will also show you some really cool examples. Let’s dive in!



What is a live chat?

A live chat is basically an instant messaging service for your website. Through the chat window, that is placed in the bottom right corner on most websites, visitors can ask their questions about products, services or the company itself.

Live chat widget on website

Chat widgets in the bottom right corner of the MessengerPeople website.

You or someone in your team can answer the customer’s questions in the background, while they are chatting with you on your page.

However, this also works the other way round. Your company can initiate the chat with visitors to engage them in different ways. This can be done to notify them of certain products or offers, to reassure them of a planned purchase, or just to let them know, that you are there to help.

💡 Why don’t you start off by asking us some questions with the button in the bottom right corner?

Is a real person behind a live chat?

It depends on what your business requirements are. It is possible to direct all live chats to human agents instantly but also to let a chatbot take care of the first responses. 85 percent of page visitors are open to having interactions through chatbots according to Acquire.

For most companies, a chatbot has a lot of value, as most customer inquiries are recurring questions. That’s a perfect set-up for your chatbot to step in and provide a quick solution. This way, you can free up a lot of human capacities. For complex issues, it is always still possible to hand the request over to a human agent.

💡 Read in more detail how you can be successful with chatbots in customer service, and check out to thow businesses are already using them successfully!


How does a live chat for websites work?

Live chats support the visitors of your website throughout their experience. The idea is to give them a possibility to find quick answers for their questions and problems.

By clicking on the chat window, button or widget (or, how ever the live chat may be implemented on your page), a visitor, which is in most cases a customer, can begin a conversation with you.

Whether you want a human agent to receive the inquiry or a chatbot, is up to you.

A lot of businesses also like to be first in initiating an interaction with their customer. Whenever he or she spends a certain time on a page or fulfills pre-defined conditions, an automated message is triggered through the live chat. This way, your company can

  • keep visitors on the page,
  • create a more personal experience,
  • inform them on what they are interested in,
  • create engagement with your brand.

The number of businesses that use this channel on their website has continually grown over the past few years.


How many businesses use live chat?

A lot of businesses started to adapt live chat as a channel for customer communication after the research in recent years displayed the benefits. The live chat software market for example is projected to reach a worth of over a billion dollars by 2023.

The three biggest use cases for live chats are sales, customer support and marketing, much like messaging apps for businesses, although there are some differences between the two. We’ll talk about that later though.

Most live chats are used for sales, with 85 percent of B2B businesses and 74 percent of B2C businesses using it for that purpose. Customer support is the second most used area for webchats, with 67 percent in B2B businesses and 66 percent in B2C businesses. For marketing, live chat is used the least with 54 percent B2B companies and only 31 percent in B2C companies.

It is surprising to see, that even more B2B companies use live chats, as there are way more customers in B2C that propably need support.

The live chat market is still growing rapidly. It has by far not reached its peak and latest studies suggest that this channel will grow by 87 percent in the next 12 to 18 months.

📈 Check out more facts and figures around global messaging app usage, and catch up with the latest stats! 


What are live chat benefits? What are disadvantages?

Live chat benefits for your customers

The most striking benefit of a live chat for websites is that people prefer chatting over writing e-mails or talking on the phone. In a customer service benchmark study that was conducted by eDigital, results show that live chat has the highest customer satisfaction rate out of all channels with 73 percent. E-Mail scored 61 percent and phone only 44 percent.

One big reason why customers prefer live chats are fast replies. The average response time of live chats is only 46 seconds.

In a survey conducted by Invesp, 79 percent of the respondents found the immediate replies of live chats to be the most important benefit of the channel. Other points that many found good were the possibility to multi-task while getting support and the efficiency of the communication method.

Live chat reasons for customers

Source: Invesp

Another important point for using live chats is the supporting function of them while customers shop. The possibility to ask questions is literally right on the page they are visiting, and checking out products, so they can get answers instantly while also looking at the products.

But there are not only benefits for the customers. Businesses can also gain a lot from using live chats on their websites.

Live chat benefits for your business

The benefits of a live chat for your business? Of course, the first thing that comes to mind, is the cost effectiveness. Live chats, just like messaging apps, save up resources like time, employees and mental capacities. All of these cost your company a lot of money. By using the live chat function, your customer support does not need to be on the phone all the time, can take multiple inquiries at once and quickly solve problems without a long phone conversation or an e-mail back-and-forth.

Additionally, you save the money for setting up a call center (also known as cost centers!), and your staff can use their time for more important tasks.

Live chats are also very good for your company’s reputation. You provide a good first impression for the customers, who feel like they are supported during their customer experience. This in turn increases their willingness to buy from you and return to you in the future. Also keep in mind, that a good reputation leads to referrals.

Another great advantage is the personal interaction with your customer to build loyalty. Your company gets more familiar and tangible for your customers when they can talk to you and good and easy customer service leads them to bond with your brand.

Live chat disadvantages

There are some disadvantages of live-chat, especially compared to messaging apps like WhatsApp.

  • A live chat can not be continued after the conversation ended, as they are anonymous. What you can do though, is to direct your customers to your WhatsApp channel via QR-Code, as seen here.
  • Offering 24-hour support for live chat is not possible because of the working hours of your staff
  • There is only one entry point for the customer: your website. For messaging apps, conversations can begin anywhere, like through click-to-chat ads, e-Mail newsletters, QR-codes, and so on.
  • Live chat does not register customer information for re-activation, marketing and other purposes. Every chat is unique and only limited to a single conversations

Conclusion: To sum things up, always keep in mind, that live chat cannot replace messaging apps for customer communication, but is rather an addition to them. The use case of live chats is a different one than for messaging apps.

Live chats support the customer while he is actively gathering information on your website or even in the process of shopping. It is a lot more convenient for them to use a chat function on their screen than pull out their mobile phones and continue the process from there. The downside are the above-mentioned disadvantages like the anonymity of the chats and the lacking multi-channel capabilities.


Should I use live chat for my website?

To deliver a full-fledged conversational customer experience throughout your whole communication, really try to use all important channels. Don’t think of it as a single additional channel but as a whole experience that goes on throughout the whole customer journey.

Live chat is a channel that enhances the web experience, whereas other channels such as messaging apps create a platform on their own.

You should certainly offer a live chat possibility, as they are not only helpful, as shown in the statistics at the beginning, but even expected nowadays.

Messaging apps are the next step, and can build on live chats. In some countries, like Brazil or India, companies already use WhatsApp or other messaging apps as the platform for the whole customer journey. Marketing, sales or e-commerce, customer service, and even after-sales activity, they all find a home in messaging services.

Our expert tip is therefore: use both. With tools like the Messenger Communication Platform, which was created to unite all conversational activities and channels in one single platform, you offer your customers a non-stop dialogue with your brand.


How can I get a free live chat for my website?

There are different providers for live chat tools on the market. If you are looking for a free and good solution though, you will have a hard time finding a provider, that offers a professional tool with good services at no cost.

However, if you are using the Messenger Communication Platform from MessengerPeople by Sinch, small and mid-sized companies as well as enterprises can add a live chat button to their websites. It only takes a few seconds, and there’s no additional cost. Some advantages of MessengerPeople’s tool compared to other providers are:

  • A clear & structured interface of the platform allows you to monitor all incoming chats, from all of your platforms and hand them over to the most suitable agent in your company.
  • Unlimited widgets to be implemented on your web pages
  • Easy handover to WhatsApp, to keep the conversation going even after the web session is over
  • Chatbot integration: create new chatbots or use existing existing ones for your live chat and provide a 24/7 live chat service, even on the weekends

😮 This is new: With MessengerPeople’s new solution specifically tailored to the needs and budget of small businesses, you can use WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, Messenger from Meta, Telegram and Live Chat for Websites (Webchat) through the Messenger Communication Platform starting at only 49€ per month.

💡 Learn more about the new S-Package here.


This is how you can use live chat on your website

The live chat functionality is the perfect place for your customers to ask their questions on products, previous orders or even to get inspiration for their next purchase.

As seen in the screenshots below, the live chat works as a kind of virtual assistant, that helps users get things done. This enhances the customer experience a lot.

Take a look at how we from MessengerPeople use the live chat widget, which you can find on the bottom right corner of all our pages.

We prefer to use a chatbot for pre-qualification, meaning that the chatbot sorts the different requests based on the answers of the user, to hand them over to the right agent. Using “chatblocks”, this is really easy to implement, and works accurately. The boxes in the chat window provide pre-set answers that users can click on to choose what they are looking for.

A unique feature of MessengerPeople’s live chat is the WhatsApp handover. As mentioned before, a big problem with live chats is their anonymity. Every live chat is only one single session and can not be continued after the browser has been closed.

With the WhatsApp handover solution though, users can continue the interaction with your company on WhatsApp by scanning a QR code from the chat window. This way, you can not only keep the conversation going, but also direct them to a more personal platform in WhatsApp.

Webchat Livechat zu WhatsApp weiterleiten

With a QR code you can keep the conversation going via WhatsApp or other messaging apps.

 


Chatbots for live chats

A way to make the experience for your customers even better are AI chatbots. These kinds of chatbots that are powered by Artificial Intelligence have some significant differences to regular rule-based chatbots.

  • Able to have free and natural conversations thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Available in more than 120 languages
  • Improve with every interaction they have and get even more accurate

Speaking of accuracy, it is quite astonishing that these advanced bots are already able to answer customer inquiries with an accuracy rate of over 85 percent! Learn more about this in the free NLP Benchmark study from Chatlayer by Sinch.

The European Commission’s chatbot for live chat

For their Discover EU initiative that motivates 18-year-old EU citizens to travel Europe, the European Commission built a chatbot together with Chatlayer by Sinch, that offers them real-time support via live chat on their website. It answers FAQs and helps them with local differences during their travels.

The chatbot currently handles over 3,000 requests a month, with 80 percent of them being solved fully automated. The chatbot support is available 24 hours a day.

💡 Read more about the European Commission’s chatbot here!

Bizbike’s chatbot for live chat

Bizbike is Belgium’s biggest e-bike provider. To handle the amount of support requests, that a company with 100,000 e-bikes on the road gets, Bizbike was looking for a solution with quick responses that provided high-quality customer support.

They decided to use automated support via chatbots from Chatlayer by Sinch as a live chat on their website. Customers of Bizbike can for expample book a maintenance or repair appointment, schedule a delivery, and set up a testride for a bike all through the chatbot via live chat.

Bizbike’s chatbot made a huge difference for the company! It:

  • Manages 30 percent of the requests without any human support
  • Saves more than 40 working hours per month
  • Keeps consistent communications with the customers
  • Increased Net Promoter Score (NPS) by two Points

Get live chats for your website for free with the Messenger Communication Platform

The Messenger Communication Platform provided by MessengerPeople by Sinch was created to change customer communication from the old one-way push communication to a new and more timely two-way conversation between brand and customer.

All your conversational channels such as Live Chats, WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, Messenger from Meta, and many more all work through our tool. Every message that your company gets on one of these channels will be displayed on the platform and you can manage and answer them from there.

Learn more about the Messenger Communication Platform in our free Webinar “Messenger Communication for Professionals“.


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