We’ve all seen them — the ubiquitous little chat bubbles that are popping up on websites everywhere. You’ve probably used one to get a quick answer to a pressing question. And you’ve likely been annoyed when you needed an answer and the chat bubble was missing. If you’re a business owner this may have gotten you wondering whether you should add live chat to your own website.Spoiler alert! You should. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

In the far distant past when website chat burst into prominence it was a fairly meager service. But this isn’t 2015 anymore. Live chat services have matured quite a bit over the last 1,825 days, and now they’re capable of so much more than just chatting with a support professional through a website (though that’s pretty great).

As a result, they bear a closer look from any organization that’s looking for an efficient way to connect with their customers across all of their communications channels, while providing answers, gathering insights, and reimagining the customer service experience.

Live Chat Brings Your Messaging, Apps, and Website Together Under One Platform

If you’re like many businesses, your customer support staff is already communicating with customers across a range of services —email, instant messaging, SMS, social platforms, and more. You might be skeptical about adding yet another way for customers to reach you.

But you shouldn’t be. Live chat has evolved. It’s now one communications platform to rule them all (hobbits not included). Many live chat providers offer website owners the ability to field incoming messages from all of the services listed above.

And it’s extremely versatile. One service rep can handle multiple customer conversations at once. They might be fielding questions from Facebook Messenger through the live chat app while simultaneously helping website visitors.

One of those visitors might have a tough question that requires research. The rep could create a chat ticket and then respond back to the customer via email, without leaving the platform. They could also pull in chat requests from WhatsApp and then automatically forward contact information from the customers directly into your CMS.

Chat is just for websites now the way that duct tape is just for ducts.

There’s So Much More That Chat Can Do

You’re still not impressed? Man. Tough crowd. How about we throw in mobile connectivity? Not only can your staff connect with customers in the office, but they can also keep in touch through their mobile devices.

And AI chatbots! Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence are the future of live chat. The service already saves you money by allowing one customer service rep to manage multiple conversations simultaneously. AI chatbots mean you won’t need customer service reps at all.

The AI isn’t quite that advanced yet, but it’s still fairly capable. You can use chatbots to start conversations, answer simple questions, and guide automated conversations for lead generation purposes. Some systems can intelligently assign chats to the appropriate department based on keywords found in a customer’s question.

With live chat you can follow your customers around your site to see where they go. The systems offer deep analytics, granting insight into the kinds of questions people ask, where on your site they ask them, and at what point in their journey. Chat can answer just as many questions for a business as it does for its customers.

Customers abandon their shopping carts when they can’t get quick answers to important questions. Chat gets them across the finish line. The service can help you increase conversions and make more sales.

In truth, you can do more with chat than we have room for in this article. The service has transformed itself from a cute website extravagance into a communications necessity. Remember at the beginning of the post when we talked about customers getting annoyed that they can’t get their questions answered immediately? Don’t let that be your customers.

We Use Live Chat and You Should, Too

The choice of whether to add chat into your arsenal isn’t difficult. But choosing the best service for your purposes can be. There are dozens of providers with varying degrees of support and functionality. Some of the biggest include LiveChat, Zendesk, Podium, Freshchat, Nextiva, and HelpCrunch, but even some smaller providers offer robust services.

We can help you sort through the pack to find the right choice, and then get everything configured and working properly. If you need a website to go with your chat, we can build it. Hosting? Maintenance? We’ve got you covered.

We use live chat with our business and we can’t live without it. We suspect you won’t be able to, either.