Live chat is frequently implemented with a customer-support approach that provides quick and reliable solutions to consumer needs. 

There is no denying that live chat can keep businesses connected and relevant to consumers now more than ever. 

As chat becomes more integral in the remote landscape, it makes sense to leverage chat for troubleshooting, providing solutions, and reiterating FAQs. 

Live chat is essential in this regard, so what’s the issue? 

The problem is that sole support-centric live chat leaves money on the table. 

A lot of money on the table. 

Live chat has incredible potential as a sales tool for your business that needs to be unlocked – especially if you’re trying to garner more conversions from chats, ultimately making your agents a more well-rounded sales team.

We’re going to show you exactly how to optimize your live chat strategy by aligning support and sales. 

The Customer Support Approach to Live Chat

Customer support prioritizes customer needs, problems, and solutions. In terms of live chat, a customer-support approach uses the channel with the primary goal of helping customers in real-time without the need for automation. 

Customer support agents on live chat are accountable for: 

  • Accurately answering general FAQs
  • Actively troubleshooting and providing a solution
  • Informing customers on essential business updates 

Agents that focus purely on customer support are focused on following EIM (Engage, Identify, Match) protocols. This system allows agents to engage customers, identify problems through probing questions, and match them with a tailored solution to their problem based on a company’s existing knowledge base

We don’t need to emphasize how crucial high-quality customer support is to create an outstanding brand experience. Live chat provides real-time engagement and quick solutions, without having to drag your customers through the painful experience of yelling “operator” into the phone. 

We always advocate for brands to ditch their phone lines to create a more streamlined and efficient customer support experience in live chat. Not only does live chat reveal tons of business intelligence, but it also allows you to help customers in a more meaningful way. In fact, we’ve seen the live chat industry explode in 2020 due to its ability to individually help customers in a growing remote setting. 

Related: How Live Chat Can Help You Reach Customers During Social Distancing

No matter what, a customer-support approach in live chat is essential to make the customer feel heard and acknowledged in a way to resolve their issues quickly. 

The Opportunity Missed With a Customer Support Approach to Live Chats

We don’t want to downplay the importance of customer support. Instead, we’re emphasizing that your live chat strategy needs a successful support system and knowledge base. 

However, it’s important to realize that purely customer-support live chat creates missed opportunities for lead generation and upsells. 

In other words, a customer-support approach to live chat does not offer the max value to your bottom line.  

The point to think about is not only what live chat can do for your customers but also what live chat can do for your business. 

The Sales-Centric Approach to Live Chat

The purpose of a sales-centric live chat is to convert your website traffic into as many leads as possible. The goal is to help answer questions in an attempt to soft-sell products, services, or upsells. 

Transitioning into a proactive live chat strategy may look like placing chat agents on products or service pages, pop-ups that ask if visitors have any questions about products, or pop-ups that offer specific pre-programmed upsells at checkout. 

To sum it up, the goal is to proactively trigger conversation and guide prospects down the sales funnel to conversions. 

With a live chat sales strategy, you can make customers feel seen and provide the necessary information they didn’t even know they needed to speed up decision making and buying processes. 

However, as the cliché says, too much of anything is a bad thing. 

A live chat strategy that is too sales-focused can make conversations feel fake. Today’s generation of consumers hates feeling sold to because the experience feels disingenuous. Even worse, if a client has questions that are not being answered because of a hard sell, they’ll walk away without feeling like your company was helpful. 

You have to be sales motivated while still being there for your customer and providing high-quality support. 

But how? 

Balancing Sales and Customer Support in Your Live Chat Strategy 

Support and sales in live chat is a delicate balancing act, kind of like walking a tightrope. The good news is that after tons of testing, optimization, and trial and error, we believe we’ve found that sweet spot. 

Build Out a Knowledge Base

A knowledgebase creates an internal and external database of information that your agents and customers can reference for support. It houses detailed and straightforward information about FAQs, product details, troubleshooting, and policies. An accurate knowledge base ensures that your live chat agents are providing reliable and precise customer support consistently. 

Related: What’s a Knowledge Base and Why Do You Need One? 

Map Out an EIM Flow Chart

An EIM (Engage, Identify, and Match) protocol is a flow chart that guides agents through chat handling. An EIM that integrates different customer support scenarios ensures that your agents are prepared to deliver anything your customer needs, whether it’s sales-based or support. All they have to do is follow the branch down the EIM to ensure they hit all the right questions and answers the customers need. Even more, EIM’s aren’t firm scripts, which gives agents room to make conversations more natural and feel out scenarios where a sales pitch may be relevant, even in the context of a support chat. 

Optimize Your Agent Training 

Live chat agents should be equally trained in sales and support. Agents need to know a client’s website in and out to understand the minutiae of products, service offerings, business operations, and policies. Agents also need adequate training on support issues to provide correct solutions and directions. 

For example, if a customer wants to change their order or change their shipping address, an agent needs to study those operating procedures to be able to provide the utmost maximum support. 

However, agents also need training in lead generation and sales. All of our agents are trained on the Sandler Sales methodology to generate a 52% average increase in qualified leads. Integrating a program like ours can ensure that your agents know the business inside and out and can confidently generate revenue. 

Develop a Proactive Chat Strategy 

Proactive chats are customized greetings that capture traffic. These curated messages based on product pages and content are designed to increase engagement, reduce bounce rates, and generate leads. Proactive chat is a versatile tool that you can tailor to your company’s unique sales needs. 

Related: How to Increase Your Chat Engagement by 67-85% With a Proactive Chat Strategy

When you implement a well balanced live chat, you’ll see your team pull in consistently high customer satisfaction scores, boost sales, and turn traffic into loyal promoters. 

You’ll efficiently track new leads, gain insight into how much each conversion profited you, and see if the customer had an incredible experience interacting with your company. 

What company doesn’t want that? 

Boosting Your Live Chat Potential 

It’s true that customer support live chat will make your customers happy—but that’s not where your live chat purpose ends. 

Live chat has so much more potential, and it lies in balancing sales and support. 

Integrating the two is a powerful way to create a consistently phenomenal customer experience while boosting your bottom line. 

We can’t emphasize how important it is to find that balance to create an ecosystem of loyal brand promoters. If you need the extra support in this endeavor, reach out to us

What to learn more about live chat? Check out more of our insights: