David Marshall, CEO of chatmarshal.com, (an Eseka Group company) shares his list of the common live chat mistakes companies make on their websites.

Live chat is one of the most powerful web tools you can use. If used properly it will increase sales and customer satisfaction. But used incorrectly it could damage your brand. So here are some common live chat mistakes you might be making on your website right now!

Below are 7 common live chat mistakes we see on websites every day.

1. Not using live chat at all.

As I stated above, live chat is a great tool. Let me give you an example. If a person is researching a product or service and they come across you and one of your competitors and your competitor has a well-managed live chat that allows the visitor to ask questions or resolve issues, who do you think they will chose to do business with? It’s probably the one with a well-run live chat tool. So that’s live chat mistake number 1, for sure!

2. Having a live chat tool that’s offline during office hours

This is one of the most common live chat mistakes. If a visitor sees this, it make the company look like a small operation. So we suggest running a 24 hour live chat and outsourcing it to a professional specialist contact centre like Chatmarshal.com. They have overflows so your website will always be managed, even when agents go to meetings, lunch or toilet breaks.

3. Giving useless or incorrect answers. One of the classic live chat mistakes!

This is maybe one of the most annoying of the live chat mistakes. When you have a live chat, make sure you and your agents have put in the time and planned your responses. If you don’t have the answers, make sure you have escalation procedures. And if your product is technical, make sure the chat agent does not try act smarter than they are. So remember: Escalate leads or enquiries immediately.

4. Not escalating sales leads immediately.

They say that if a sales lead is acted upon within 5 minutes of receiving that lead you are 9 times more likely to make that sale. Have procedures in place to get the leads to the relevant people immediately. This can be done with email, instant messaging or text messages. Make a plan.

5. Not escalating customer complaints or enquires immediately.

Same as above. If you have a client with an issue and you wait too long to resolve it, you do more damage than good. Make sure you have escalation procedures and that those procedures are followed. This is an opportunity to make a customer for life. Don’t make this classic live chat mistake! Solve a problem better than anyone else and they will rave about you.

6. Using incorrect language and not using canned responses

Know your customers and the tone of your website. What you say is very important and making jokes in text can sometimes be misunderstood. Ask anyone in a relationship. Always be professional and use correct spelling. Be helpful and if there is a customer complaint be empathetic and show them that you take their issue seriously. This is one of the most important of the live chat mistakes to avoid!

7. Not running your live chat 24 hours (consider outsourcing).

What does it cost you for every lead or sale lost? This is something you need to work out. Imaging it costs you $49 per month to outsource your 24 hour live chat service and one sale is worth $25 in pure profit. You would need only TWO sales to cover the cost of that live chat service. Do the math and work out the average value of every sale you get through your website.

There are a lot of live chat services out there. Make sure you use one and make sure you do it well.