Fortifi's Ultimate Guide to Live Chat

Imagine walking into a supermarket, and there were no shop assistants.

Who would you ask if you wanted help to find something in the store? You wouldn't have a physical store without shop assistants, so why run your website the same way? 

What is Live Chat Software?

Live chat is an online, real-time communication tool that you can add to your website. It gives your website visitors the ability to chat with your team right there and then, without waiting days for a reply.

Whilst it is still seen by many as a customer support tool, it can also be used in sales, giving you access to real-time communications with potential customers on your site, when they are most engaged with your brand, products, and services.

Live chat can be used by businesses of any size and industry, with any goal in mind. You could be looking to increase website conversion rates, seeking to gain an advantage over your competitors, or you may have a strong focus on customer support. Live chat enhances the customer experience on your website, whether you are a one-man band looking to provide a personalised sales approach, or a large customer support team aiming to increase satisfaction rates and decrease waiting time. It's how you use live chat that differs, based on the goals of your business.

Live Chat Benefits

Depending on your business structure, your industry and how you want to use live chat, the software can provide a diverse range of benefits. We are going to touch upon three primary areas where live chat really comes into its own and can have a great impact on the success of your organisation.

1. Live chat can improve your customer experience

No matter how you use it, either as a sales tool, a support tool, or both, live chat significantly improves the customer experience you provide.

People love live chat, primarily because it is what we are used to. Live chat works in the same way as most instant messaging services and with this, customers expect quick responses. For the customer, it removes the long wait times of email conversations or having to navigate through an automated phone system to get a response to what is often a one-sentence question. Research from Econsultancy found that 79% of customers prefer live chat to any other customer service route because of the immediacy it provides.

Some live chat providers allow you to integrate the platform with your CRM for an even more personalised service. By linking these two software's together, you can get access to the entire customer history, instantaneously. This works great for large customer support teams who can't know everything about their customers all the time. Fortifi Live Chat automatically integrates with your Fortifi CRM for an even greater personalised and memorable customer experience. 

Even if you don't integrate your CRM, live chat offers you the ability to ask pre-qualification questions to better understand the customer's needs, before you jump into a conversation. Best practice is to keep these questions easy, simply asking for a name, email address and the department required or the reason for enquiry.

If you are going to use live chat to build a better customer experience, you need to know when you should be making the tool accessible to your website visitors. If you are a one-man-band, don't have it available all day when you are in and out of meetings. Rather, turn it on when you are sat at your desk and can reply to those questions quickly, and turn it off when you finish for the day. You are not a multi-national support center which can be available 24/7.

2. Live chat can improve your customer service

Some organisations provide products or services that are highly technical and often need guidance from a member of the customer support team to help them overcome a barrier or to complete an activity.

Rather than clogging up your telephone lines and overloading your mailbox, you can use live chat to answer quick questions in a matter of minutes. This way, your customers are getting the support they need, when they need it, rather than in two days' time.

Your customer support team will also love you for implementing live chat. Not only can they continue to work on other tasks whilst answering customer enquiries, but they can also speak to multiple customers at a single time (try doing that on the phone!). This not only reduces the wait time for your customer service, it greatly reduces the number of resources you need to spend on your support. Rather than through traditional customer service where an agent can only be on one phone call or respond to one email at a time, you can have agents tackling more questions at once, reducing the amount of staff you need in at one time.

3. Live chat to improve conversions

When I say to people that live chat can be used by any business, I mean any business that is looking to improve their conversion rates... and that is most businesses I assume.

Say your potential customers visit your website and can't decide on the best product, or have immediate questions on a particular product; if there is no option to chat to one of your team, they will go somewhere else. Live chat allows you to establish confidence in your product and service by answering questions when a prospect is most engaged with your brand.

Live chat also opens up a great opportunity to cross-sell other products to your customers. Let's look at an example. A prospect contacts you for information on a product. You answer the question and they are satisfied with the result. You then let them know of an offer on said product or a deal that encourages them to purchase a complementary product. Research from ICMI found a 10% increase in the average order value from customers who engaged with live chat before making a purchase.

What You Should Look For in a Live Chat Software

Figure out what you want to achieve from a live chat tool before you decide on a software provider. There are plenty of options out there and each provider will offer a variety of features that are included in different pricing plans.

The standard features you can expect to see from your typical live chat provider include:

1. Multiple chat conversations

A standard feature of live chat, the ability to speak to more than one visitor at a time. As we mentioned, one of the key benefits of live chat is the multi-tasking ability that it gives agents, shortening the wait time and increasing customer satisfaction rates.

2. Chat rating

At the end of a live chat conversation, this feature will allow you to ask customers to provide feedback on the support they received from the particular agent. This could be anything from a simple star rating or a detailed survey. Remember that most individuals are using your live chat app for the convenience and speed of results and they may not have time to answer surveys, so a simple star rating often generates the best response. You can use these results to monitor your KPIs and ensure your staff are providing the best service possible to your potential clients and existing customers online.

3. Chat Transfers

Your team will have different areas of expertise and similar to a standard telephone conversation when you may pass a call over to a colleague with more knowledge, you can do the same with live chat conversations. Chat transfers allow you to seamlessly transfer a session from one colleague to another instantaneously to get the enquiry answered it the quickest and most satisfactory way possible.

4. Agent Monitoring and Reporting

If you run a full customer service team with set KPIs and procedures, chat monitoring can be an easy way of improving your live chat offering and finding ways to stand out from your competitors. You can identify top performers, and seek out for underperformers to determine potential training requirements.

5. Wait Time Reporting

Live chat is designed to reduce the amount of time a customer has to wait to receive an answer to a particular question. However, if you are not correctly monitoring your conversations, you will leave customers incredibly dissatisfied. Monitoring your wait times is vital in improving your customer service and is particularly useful if your website receives a high volume of messages where individuals are often left in a queue before they can speak to an agent.

Fortifi Live Chat also offers the ability to check your support hotspots by providing you with a report based on the number of enquiries you receive and certain times of the day. By using this, our customers are able to staff more agents or ensure that agents are given the resources they need during these time periods, to help them reduce wait times. 

6. Canned Responses

Are your team constantly responding with the same answers to the same questions? Also known as Chat Macros, canned responses allow you to set up responses to common enquiries. Using quick commands, your team can respond faster with pre-designed answers that can be sent directly, or edited for individual customers.

7. Widget Customisation

The last thing you want is for a beautifully designed website to be ruined by a live chat widget with clashing colours. You can create an eye-catching widget that is designed with your own colours and call to action to grab your visitor's attention.

With Fortifi Live Chat, you can get everything included above and more, in one simple package. No feature gates and no hidden fees. 

How to implement live chat?

Whilst live chat is an incredibly easy tool to implement, there are a couple of considerations to take into account to make the transition easy for your team.

1. Staff training

To implement live chat on your website, all you need to do is add a bit of code that is generated by the software to the page/s you want the widget to appear on, and then you're ready to go. Simple.

The software you decide to go with will provide you with the materials on how the specific platform itself works but you may want to consider internal training for staff in terms of best practice communication over live chat. The questions asked through this channel will require quick responses, so your team will need to know the product or service well enough to answer confidently. You can use supplementary support tools for your staff such as a knowledge base, to ensure your team has the resources they need to answer customer queries in a timely manner.

2. Don't overload your staff

If you start to see a high amount of enquiries coming through your live chat tool, then you will need to ensure that your staff are not becoming overwhelmed, and support levels don't start to slip.

Set a limit of chats that a team member should handle at a time and transfer chats to free agents when necessary.

Final thoughts

Live chat can do wonders for your business, no matter the industry or size of organisation, but you need to decide whether it works for you. Are you able to be there when your customers need you? Just remember, if you aren't, your competitors probably will be.

If you want to talk to an expert about live chat in your organisation, head over to our website and book a demo with one of our team who will book you in for a call to discuss your enquiries. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us via email over at or you can grab one of our agents on our live chat, available on our website during our opening hours.


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