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No matter how well designed a website is, sometimes you have further questions about a company, its products, and services. It’s becoming less and less common for a company to have a contact phone number, and emails can go days without being answered. What you need is live chat.

You might assume live chat is just for e-commerce websites, where customers can perhaps follow up on an existing order or ask about delivery times. While this is certainly true, all websites can benefit from having a live chat feature on their website. Even better, the advancement of AI technology means you don’t even have to have an employee manning the live chat backend. A very intelligent bot can do all the hard work for you!

Intrigued? Read on to learn more about the functionality of live chat and how Newpath Web, a leading web development company, can help you implement this feature on your website.

What is live chat?

Live chat is another communication tool you can use to engage with your customers. It allows clients to either speak directly with a customer service representative, leave a message to be followed up, or chat with an AI bot that can answer non-specific questions about the company.

Some websites you visit will have a live chat bubble pop up automatically, usually on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Others require the visitor to actively engage with the function. Either way, many customers appreciate the opportunity to speak with customer service representatives in real time, without having to go through the fuss and bother of a phone call.

How does live chat work?

Live chat can be divided into two categories: human and software.

Businesses that already have a full time customer service team often choose to use the former. Their customer service reps tend to be able to manage the live chat system whilst also responding to emails and phone calls.

This form of live chat can usually be set-up and programmed using your CMS system — so long as your web development company has chosen a CMS platform with this kind of functionality, like WordPress or Drupal. Visitors to your website do not need to install any type of software on their own device: it is all managed from your website.

Even though this type of live chat is manned by humans, there will still be the option to set up template replies. You can even convert the live chat box to a contact form should you be away from your website for a period of time. Many types of live chat also provide you with the opportunity to track a user’s journey through your website. This can help if the customer is struggling to articulate their problem or the type of assistance they need.

The other type of live chat is most commonly known as a chatbot. As the name suggests, a chatbot is a software that simulates human conversation. Many of the world’s top websites are already using this technology, including Facebook and Instagram.

A chatbot uses machine learning to artificially replicate patterns of human speech and interaction. It is a self-learning machine with a constantly expanding database of knowledge based on the questions it is asked. Siri and Amazon Alexa are excellent and very popular examples of chatbot capabilities.

There are a few different ways to set up a chatbot on your site. The method you choose really depends on the tech resources you have at your disposal and the complexity of your website. Chatbots are great because they have the potential to remove the need for a full time customer service team. They do, however, require a lot of time and planning; speak to a web development services team to really determine whether this option is right for you.

Does my website need live chat?

The answer to this question will really depend on the industry you’re in and your customer expectations. As mentioned, e-commerce websites are most commonly associated with live chat, with good reason. An online store without adequate customer service is going to lose a lot of potential customers.

However, most, if not all websites can benefit from offering some form of live chat. There are very few companies for whom more customer contact is not a good thing.

If you’re wanting to increase customer convenience and make your website more user friendly, live chat is definitely a feature you should be looking into. For a more tailored response to this question, contact the friendly team at Newpath Web today. Our experienced web development services team can put together a personalised recommendation and help create a website that encourages customers to actively engage with your business.

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