The average person spends 490 minutes each day consuming digital media. This adds up to more than eight hours per day! Some time is spent on websites, and 30 percent of the time is spent on social media. Some would say that we spend more time consuming digital media than we do working for a living!
As a result, businesses and marketers have invested a great deal of time, resources, and effort into building the one valuable tool that attracts visitors in today’s digital world: a website. Although most businesses and marketers would agree that getting visitors to click on their websites is half of the battle, getting visitors to stay on their sites is the other…
There are a number of innovative approaches to achieving this, such as providing the user with informative and compelling content, prompting the user to sign up for an email newsletter via a popup form, or a live chat box, which provides the user with an opportunity to speak with a live representative about products and/or services.
But how important is having a live chat feature on your website, really? Perhaps more important than you think. Read on for some reasons how live chat on your website can help your business as well as a quick how-to guide to set up a live chat feature for free (and in less than fifteen minutes).
Let’s chat about getting chatty
Having a live chat feature on your website is important for businesses today, especially businesses in the e-commerce space. A live chat feature is the 2017 version of a sales associate approaching a customer who walks into a retail store.
A live chat box will pop up as a user visits your site and ask the visitor if they need help searching for a particular product or brand, or if they have questions. The goal is to keep users on the site long enough for them to make a purchase decision. Real-time chatting with a customer service representative provides the following benefits:
- Builds customer confidence
- Enhances the user’s shopping experience
- Boosts sales and conversion rates
- Keeps users on the site longer
In fact, according to a survey of American online consumers, 68 percent of online visitors engage in live chat. Furthermore, 63 percent prefer referring back to a website with a live chat feature to make a future purchase.
App talk: Tawk.to
Although live chat features aren’t new by any means, as more and more websites enable them (such as this example here), there is a new kid on the block… The new app has all the functionality of a premium chat app, except it is free. The app is Tawk.to. Tawk.to gives you the option to hire a chat agent through their platform.
Not only is Tawk.to free to use and install, it’s also incredibly easy to set up.
What’s the catch?
When I was a young man, I had a Boy Scouts leader that would always tell me, “There’s no such thing as free…” I’m not sure why he was obsessed with that phrase, but it really became his mantra.
So, why exactly is Tawk.to free? How are they planning on monetizing it?
Tawk.to is free for live chats (without additional monitoring agents) in large part because of their genius method of monetizing their platform. When I first set up live chat for several clients, on platforms other than Tawk.to, I naively assumed that I could set it up and then hand the reins over to my client, and they would use the tool successfully. Boy was I mistaken. For smaller and even medium-sized clients, they simply didn’t have the rigor in internal processes to have someone log in each day, at the exact time they needed to, and watch the live chat all day long. Clients quickly found out that it requires real effort to have someone always on live chat. So, they’d have some website visitors try to chat and nobody would be there. That looks really bad.
Tawk.to helps companies alleviate this problem: For $1/hour you can have one of their fluent English-speaking agents man your live chat for you. While it isn’t a nonsignificant cost, you could get someone to manage your chat for you, 24/7, for under $800/month.
Guide to setting up your own free live website chat
1. Set up a new Tawk.to account
The first step is to sign up for a free account on Tawk.to. (This only takes about 30 seconds. And, no, you don’t have to enter credit card information, or any other information other than your name and email.) Simply sign up for a free account with the sign-up form available on the Tawk.to website, and follow the instructions.
The screenshots below are from Tawk.to. They have excellent knowledge-base content that can help you set up your live chat, but below I also provide helpful commentary and additional details. We also streamline the full setup into one guide, whereas on the Tawk.to site you’ll need to turn to a dozen or so pages to get all the same information.
2. Log into your dashboard
Once you have set up a free account, the next step is to log into your new Tawk.to dashboard.
Get accustomed to the Admin area of your dashboard, as this will be where you can set up the chat feature on your website, customize the live chat widget, and many other things. To access you admin area, simply click the little gear icon in the menu.
3. Embed the live chat code on your website
Live chat with Tawk.to is designed to fit the most common CMS’s, including Squarespace, WordPress, Weebly and so on.
Access the Admin panel in Tawk.to.
4. Cross-domain session sharing
The good news is Tawk.to can be set up for more than one domain. Alternatively, you can also restrict Tawk.to from certain domains.
Access the Admin panel on your dashboard.
Click on Domain Restriction and add in any additional domains you want the live chat to work on.
5. Pre-chat form setup
If you want to vet visitors and users prior to connecting them with a live representative, you can also set up a pre-chat form to ask the users specific questions to gather information.
You can do this simply by enabling the pre-chat form and selecting Widget Content from the back-end of your dashboard.
6. Direct chat links
The Direct chat link allows you to add a special link to your website that will make your chat box open in a separate browser tab or window, which has two distinct benefits:
- It is useful when you don’t have access to add the code manually to your site
- It allows you to customize the appearance of the chat link. It can be just a link, and it can be an image of your choice
7. Track progress of your live chats
Once you are done enabling the Tawk.to chat feature on your website, and you are done customizing it, now you can set it up and begin chatting!
It’s also worth mentioning that you can track and view chat history, view and analyze your team’s progress over time, and even review performance analytics, all available right in your dashboard.
See? That wasn’t so bad. Setting up a highly robust live chat feature on your website was probably much easier than what you may have imagined.
Now that you are up and running you can periodically check your team’s performance, see how visitors are reacting to the chat feature, and also watch click-through rates on your website and watch sales climb.