The jury has met and reached a verdict: businesses that deliver personalized experiences and proactively engage visitors on their websites outperform their competitors. This is something that not only pertains to larger companies, but rather applies to businesses of virtually all shapes and sizes.

Simply having a website is no longer enough. Buyers and customers expect businesses to know their preferences and offer them unique digital experiences. This is important due to the rising costs of paid search and online advertising; businesses must offer visitors multiple engagement options. In addition, they need to proactively segment and engage buyers and customers who require virtual guidance and assistance.

Digital Engagement

While digital engagement can mean different things—from targeted content personalization, to chat, to messenger apps—live chat remains the predominant channel today.

Small businesses that offer digital guidance and support through live chat give visitors what they want, when they want it. More than half of online visitors prefer live chat over phone, and nearly half cite live chat as the most helpful website feature while they are in the midst of an online purchase decision.

Here, first impressions play a crucial role. Visitors form an opinion—positive or negative—of a brand within five seconds of visiting a website.

Having a state-of-the-art website is a critical starting point. To use the now famous line from the 2012 movie Jerry McGuire where Dorothy (played by Renee Zellweger) tells Jerry McGuire (played by Tom Cruise) that “You had me at hello,” businesses either have visitors at “hello” or they have likely lost them altogether. Put bluntly, if you don’t have a great website, you need to fix it (read our two-part blog post, “10 Things to Consider When Building and Optimizing Your Website,” for a checklist).

Assuming website visitors aren’t lost in the first five seconds, businesses have about 90 seconds (and the window continues to shrink) to engage with them. This is where live chat plays a critical role—and it is important for both buyers and customers.

Consider the typical buyer—both B2C and B2B. They are often 60 to 90 percent of the way through their journey by the time they engage directly with vendors. Instead, they spend their time researching options and talking to their peers. When they do get to your website, they are much more likely to purchase (versus bounce) and moreover return to it when live chat is available and humans are able to answer their questions.

Likewise, customers prefer live chat over other engagement channels when seeking assistance with a service-related issue or question. And when they cannot get prompt, accurate answers through traditional channels such as email and phone, they take their business elsewhere.

Hosted Live Chat

Many small businesses are likely nodding their heads in agreement. However, you might be concurrently shaking your heads “no” because you simply don’t have the resources to manage live chat. Outsourcing the work is one option, but conversations—digital, phone, or even email—with buyers and customers are core to nearly every business; tapping into the global pool of professionals through one of the freelance marketplaces isn’t a viable option.

When we launched Davinci Virtual more than a decade ago, we sought to deliver business capabilities that were previously inaccessible to small businesses. For the development of our Live Web Chat services, we elected to leverage the same technology—LiveEngage from LivePerson—which we initially honed on our own website. For the human element of our chat solution, we didn’t need to look very far. The team-based approach employed for our Live Receptionist services was a perfect model.

Dedicated Live Web Chat teams—typically comprised of four to five representatives—are assigned to a group of customers and serve as virtual extensions—and experts—of those customer teams. These teams work with each of their customers to configure solutions that meet their requirements. Then, leveraging the predictive intelligent capabilities in the LiveEngage technology, our representatives engage with the highest value visitors at optimal moments. This ensures that we engage with buyers who are most likely to purchase, and with customers who have genuine support questions and problems.

Admittedly, it is difficult for small businesses to compete as large businesses in today’s Digital Age. Technology can be both an enabler and an inhibiter. This is also further shown by our easy to set up solution that works on WordPress, static html, Magento and Shopify, just to name a few platforms.

This is where services like the ones we provide can make a big difference—helping small businesses to look, act, and compete like much larger companies. Live chat is a great place to start. Contact us today!

You can call us, email us, and of course chat with us.