Live chat is a great way to engage your website visitors and convert them into either leads or appointments. 

Before using Flow, many of our clients had limited success with live chat. The promise of the technology didn’t quite live up to the hype — it didn’t increase lead gen, conversion, or provide any real value to their customers. 

To make live chat work, it’s not in the technology, it’s in the strategy. You need a sharp game plan and to avoid these five common mistakes to really crush it with live chat. 

We’ve figured out the secret sauce for an amazing live chat experience for our clients (that we also use ourselves). Thus, we’re going to share these big no-no’s so you can course-correct and upgrade your live chat experience.

 

Mistake #1: Treating Live Chat Like a FAQ Instead of a Convo

Imagine you meet someone at a coffee shop for the first time. 

You walk up to them and you say, “Hey, want to go out?” 

You’d be a bit forward. But that’s what companies do with live chat — treating the moment as if each visitor wants attention. Which is never the case. 

Related: How to Get a Customer-Obsessed Reputation With Live Chat

Live chat is not about going for the jugular, being abrupt, or answering questions in FAQs. Like you wouldn’t ask for a date with a stranger before the small talk, you wouldn’t push your final CTA in your chat intro. 

Here’s The Solution:

Remember, chat is a conversation. People will come back to your site many times before they’re ready to set an appointment, convert to a lead, or buy. If you’re too forward or too fast, you’ll turn them off. Instead, it’s courteous to welcome new visitors, acknowledge them, ask their name, and engage with them like you would a guest in your home. Ditch the scripts and be warm and welcoming. 

 

Mistake #2: Having a Poor Knowledge Base

Disorganized knowledge bases, we’ve seen them all — sticky notes, random Google docs, different agents with mixed responses, nothing organized, consistent, or seamless. 

When you know your visitors have shared questions, it’s crucial to have at least an accurate, standardized answer. The answer doesn’t need to be copy-pasted to everyone. In fact, we suggest all your answers are unique. However, your team needs an internal knowledge base to answer questions correctly and consistently. 

Here’s The Solution: 

Have all your FAQs written out, well-known, and documented. Turn your FAQs into an internal knowledge base and share it with your team. Everybody will have the same answers to your visitor’s questions. From there, you can train and let agents answer questions accurately, provide any other relevant information, and do so unscripted.

 

Mistake #3: Working Without a Messaging Strategy

Companies have agents that can answer questions on a dime but aren’t trained in messaging strategies. As a result, agents assume their visitors are going to ask them for the next steps based on the right answers rather than strategic ones.

Here’s The Solution: 

Create a messaging strategy that anticipates the different ways a customer would approach your live chat agents. Include the various scenarios based on the brand’s persona types, specific questions, and follow up questions to their responses. The follow-up question is crucial to lead traffic through the buyer journey — from being complete strangers to being comfortable taking action. 

 

Mistake #4: Not Using Proactive Chats Well (Or At All)

Proactive chats, also known as greetings, can increase your conversion rates. It’s our secret sauce since we’re able to generate 67-85% more conversations for our clients using them. 

Yet, proactive chats are so underrated. Most businesses don’t create custom greetings based on user intent, timing, or behavioral analytics. 

Instead, they use generic chats that say, “I’m here. How can I help you?” It’s no different than walking into a retail store and somebody saying, “Hi, is there anything I can help you with today?” You know the reaction, “No, I’m good.” 

The same instinct happens on live chat, click off. But, if you’re looking at a specific page for a minute, reading through, then a message pops up. What happens? You’re more likely to engage. 

Here’s The Solution: 

Build a proactive chat strategy that gets more visitors talking to you. When you write your greetings, make the headlines grabbing and based on their intent. Finally, make them pop up at the right time. We’re experts in this area. If you need more help, talk to us

 

Mistake #5: Misusing Chatbots

People install chatbots because they’re easy, right? They’re programmable, fast, and cost-effective. But here’s the thing — they don’t drive revenue. 

Related: When to Use a Chatbot vs. a Live Chat Agent? 

Since bots need tons of training material, most only handle rudimentary, basic needs. Plus, people only engage with bots when they have simple questions. Anything complex, people want to talk to humans. Which is why companies that use bots see poor engagement. Since most people prefer human interaction, putting a chatbot is a poor sign to your customers. It says, “We can’t bother to answer your questions, so talk to this piece of code instead.” 

Here’s The Solution: 

Bots have a time and place, but if your product is complex — products or services with a value over $1,000 — you need live chat agents to avoid losing out on conversions. At Flow, our team of US-based agents is trained to know your business inside and out, we can help.

 

Growing From Your Live Chat Mistakes

As with learning anything new, you’re bound to make mistakes here and there. After all, it’s the mistakes that teach us improvement. 

We encourage you to take a step back, look at the big picture, and see what’s not working for you. Only when you address what’s wrong, can you change direction and do what’s best for your customers. If you feel like you need help with pinpointing problems, please reach out to us