Engage Your Leads Deeply With Website Live Chat
I hope this finds you well. As always, thank you for being a faithful reader of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report. In this issue, we want to take a look at a trending way to make your website more powerful. What we will be discussing is something that, if you’re not doing it, you’re undoubtedly losing prospects to your competitors who are doing it!
Are you using Live Chat on your website? Live Chat can be an incredibly rich way to quickly take your website visitors to a deeper level as prospects and to stand out from your competitors. We have been using personal Live Chat staffed by our team members for a few weeks on our Classic Metal Roofing Systems website. Here are a few things that we have observed and started doing which should be helpful to you with your Live Chat plans.
Seven observations we have made:
- The volume of Live Chat is unpredictable. Some days are much more active than others. Tuesdays seem to be nuts. And of course, lunch hour and 5 pm are historically busy. We do not typically staff the Live Chat during non-office hours unless one of us is bored and sitting at home.
- You probably will not have as many “chatters” as you expect. We get about 1,000 people to our website each day and, typically, only from 3 – 5 Live Chat sessions. However, we have been very pleased by the quality of leads generated this way.
- It is also unpredictable what people will ask. Chances are their questions will not be the things you thought they’d ask – you’re probably already addressing those things on your website. Conversations can get pretty involved but that is a huge opportunity for you to build relationships.
- If you can’t answer them thoroughly, you will frustrate them and turn them away from your website and your company.
- Technical folks like Architects and Designers are extremely appreciative of what they can get through Live Chat. They have visited your site with a specific need and giving them specific answers in real time will stand you apart from the crowd.
- You will get Chatters who already have your product or service from a competitor and they are troubled by it and looking for help or advice. That’s okay – if you handle these folks well, you will get referrals from them.
- Sometimes people go silent during chat sessions. This probably because they are multi-tasking. They usually come back (though not always).
Eleven helpful practices to make the most of Live Chat:
- Staff your Live Chat with your team members if at all possible. If you use a “service” to staff your Live Chat, it just becomes a glorified Response Form on your website, not a way to truly connect with people and set yourself apart from your competitors.
- Do everything you can, shy of being rude, to get their email address and even their phone number.
- Find out quickly if their interest is for their own home or for something else, and also where they are from. This information really guides the rest of your Chat session.
- Once you know the above information, start thinking about the ways in which your company might serve them. Think also about past customers you have whom they might know or live near.
- Getting their address to look at their house online is very “telling” – you can determine if it’s a difficult or simple roof, a modest home or a large home, and perhaps what type of roof they have now. Always ask permission for this – “if you’re okay with giving me your address, I will look up your home online and see what light I can shed on the details of your roofing situation. Now stick your hand out the window and wave to me!”
- Always be thinking ahead to what information might help them. Try to prolong the conversation, get as much information as you can, draw them deeper, etc. Look to build a personal connection and watch for things to point out that differentiate your company from anyone else they may talk to.
- Be friendly and personal but not overly casual — use professional language, etc.
- Send them links to things on the web when appropriate. One link we have used several times is an online article about pricing. Remind them that the article is a few years old. However, the article allows you to let them research the infamous price question later on their own while using the Chat session for more productive conversation and relationship building.
- Do not hesitate to take parts of the conversation offline. Things like “I am going to have to research that and email or call you back” or “I really need to check with the Territory Manager for your area and get back with you” work very well. People are understanding … and you get their email address and/or phone number in the process.
- End conversations with a statement that honors them and their time, such as “Thanks so much. I am really glad that I was able to connect with you today.”
- Allow Chatters to complete their typing and hit enter before you send them a response. Just like in a real conversation, you do not want to interrupt them.
In today’s age of increasing marketing costs and falling response rates, investing in a “real person” for Live Chat can be a great way to develop meaningful, solid leads.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or things you’d like to discuss.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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