As an introvert, sometimes I get nervous when it comes time to start a conversation with someone.
For example, if I'm at the store and I need to ask a question, it might take me a few minutes to work up the courage to talk to a salesperson.
Have you ever had a hard time starting a conversation like that?
Even if your answer is no, it's important to remember your customers may struggle with this at times. That's why you might need to take the lead and start the conversation on live chat — this tactic is called proactive live chat.
Proactive Live Chat
In this blog post, you'll learn about what proactive live chat is, when you'd implement it, why it's important, and seven tools to help you get started using proactive live chat on your website.
What is proactive live chat?
Proactive live chat is when you start the conversation with a website visitor instead of waiting for them to engage with you. Usually this results in higher engagement rates, better customer service, and more leads.
When to Use Proactive Live Chat
Proactive live chat is similar to the salesperson in a retail store who comes up and asks if you want any help. Essentially, proactive live chat is when a chat pops up with a message before a user has clicked on the chat widget on your web page.
If you're anything like me, sometimes those salespeople bother you. But other times, they approached me when they noticed I was standing somewhere for a while and I genuinely had a question but was too shy to ask — in those instances, their support was helpful.
So it's important to use the same tact online that you would in person — you don't want to bother your customers. Rather, give them time to think of a question before asking if they have any questions. Give them the opportunity to chat in real-time with you once they're ready for that assistance. This is exactly what sets proactive live chat apart from other communication types.
Below is an example of what proactive live chat looks like in action on HubSpot's website.
Proactive live chat can appear the moment a site visitor lands on your site, or you can wait until they've been on your site for a certain amount of time prior to having your widget appear.
Additionally, if a user has been on your site before, you might not show them the same proactive live chat as a new visitor — this type of personalized experience helps you increase chances of conversion and personalizes the customer experience.
You can tailor your proactive chat message based on a number of factors including how long a user has been on the page, what page they're on, how many times they've visited your site, or how many pages they've viewed.
For example, the conversation you'd have with someone on the pricing page (presumably in the decision stage) and someone on a blog (presumably in the attract stage) will be different.
Why is proactive live chat important?
The point of proactive live chat is to engage with users who might otherwise abandon their cart so to speak.
As you might've heard before, it's important to reach the right customers with the right message at the right time. That's what proactive live chat can help you achieve — it can help you increase leads and provide better customer service.
Now, you might be thinking, "What software will I use to implement this?" Let's review some options below.
Proactive Live Chat Software
- HubSpot Free Live Chat Software
- The Chat Shop
HubSpot's Free Live Chat Software — which integrates seamlessly with your service software and CRM — allows you to connect with your website visitors in real-time quickly and without the need for any code. Customize your live chat widget so it complements your brand and stands out when visitors land on your site.
Create targeted welcome messages with your live chat when visitors arrive on your web pages. You can also target specific audience segments with your welcome messages to increase chances of engagement.
All of your live chat conversations will be automatically saved to your Conversations Inbox and on the visitor's timeline in HubSpot. This allows for efficient record-keeping. You can also respond to live chat, schedule meetings, place calls, and schedule follow-ups from the Conversations Inbox so you never have to leave the tool.
Share your team's online hours in the chat so visitors know when reps will be back online and ready to assist them (unless you offer 24/7 support).
Lastly, this tool connects to HubSpot's Chatbot Builder which further automates the process of providing effective and efficient customer support via chat whenever your visitors need it.
Front is a multi-channel communication platform that helps you manage all of your communications in one inbox. This includes your email (both individual and shared email addresses), and other customer messages including live chat, email, SMS, etc. As your communication platform, you can set up proactive live chat messages and manage them all from one platform.
Crisp is a live chat platform for customer support. According to Crisp, this live chat tool automates your proactive messages so that you can get two-times more leads. Additionally, you can provide proactive customer service and convert visitors into opportunities.
Another great option for proactive live chat is Helpwise. With this platform, you can set up lead capturing options with your proactive messages. That means that you can capture contact information from website visitors and convert them into leads, enabling you to reach out to them when they leave your site.
LiveChat is a complete customer service platform that delights your customers and fuels your sales. You can use its proactive live chat on your site to qualify leads with custom forms and AI chatbot automation.
If you're looking to learn more about proactive live chat, The Chat Shop is the place to go. You can outsource your live chat or just use their chat software internally. Additionally, receive live chat training to learn how to use proactive live chat on your website.
UserLike can help you offer support for your customers throughout the entire customer journey. Whether they're in the attract or delight stage, you can set up UserLike's proactive live chat to nurture them.
Grow Better With Proactive Live Chat
Proactive live chat should be part of your overall chat strategy. It's a great way to engage with your site visitors and encourage them to continue on their buyer's journey.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.