• Matt Phillips

Should I Install a Chat Feature on My New Website?

Nowadays, most D.I.Y. website-building platforms (Wix, for example), have an out-of-the-box chat feature built into all of their templates. This is a tool that they provide to you that makes communicating with your website visitors simple! But there are a lot of dangers that come with the use of a chat feature. Though it can be a wonderful tool, there are many pitfalls that have the ability to turn it into a nightmare.

This week, we thought we’d shed some light on some of these pitfalls and give you a little checklist to follow as you’re trying to decide whether or not to install this feature on your new website! When reading each of the different steps below, make not of which apply to you and which don’t, and hopefully by the end of this post you’ll have direction on whether or not a chat feature is right for you! Let’s get into it.

Can you monitor it 24/7

The first consideration to make as you sort out whether or not to install a chat feature is this: can you monitor it 24/7? The internet is always open, so your website visitors will always have the ability to type a message into your website’s chat box. This can be a great thing, but it can also be detrimental to you if you’re not the kind of person who sits in front of their computer with their email open all day. For a chat box to be open 24/7 means that you need to give it constant attention. You never want a disgruntled customer leaving you negative Google reviews because you never got back to them when they messaged you on your website (we’ve seen our fair share of these kinds of reviews and trust us; they’re not nice).

A chat feature requires constant monitoring, so even if you do feel that you’re equipped to handle it, be aware of the toll it may take on your time. If you have a high-traffic site, you’re bound to get tons of spam leads, fake contact information, and confused customers who are on the wrong website or don’t know how to work a computer. As long as you’re willing to give it consistent attention, deal with the loads of spam, and respond to every message that comes through, you just may want to install a chat feature! If not, then this next step is for you!

Can you afford to outsource it?

If you’ve decided that you just don’t have the mental bandwidth to deal with answering all those messages, there are other options that still allow you to have a chat feature! The best one that we’ve found is answering services. In the modern business environment, many answering services have expanded their capabilities to include chat monitoring. They have trained individuals whose sole job is to sit and respond to every message that you get! Now, this could be exactly the option you’ve been looking for, or it may not; there are a couple of things to consider here that can make or break this option for you.

First, how complex is your business or service? If you’re a coffee shop and your online store is geared toward selling bags of coffee and merch, then a call center employee could most definitely be trained to handle your website messages. But, if you’re a construction company that builds multi-million-dollar buildings, the ability of a call center employee to provide your customers with any meaningful assistance is next to nothing. If you provide a simple, straightforward service, then this will likely work for you. If you provide a complex or time-consuming service, you may want to avoid outsourcing.

So, if you’ve decided that you don’t want to monitor your chat feature 24/7, but you can afford to outsource, your problem may just be solved! If not, we’ve got some more options for you; just stay tuned.

Are there certain hours you can monitor it?

Let’s say you’re a small business owner who only has about 3 hours a day to get away and sit at your desk to answer emails. If you still want to have a chat feature on your website but don’t have the time to monitor it 24/7 or the means to outsource it to a call center, there’s still hope for you. With a lot of website platforms, there is a way to schedule certain hours for the chat box to be “on” and available for customers to leave messages. If you do have a defined portion of your day where you’re at your computer, attentive, and ready to respond to messages, then you could very easily set up the chat box to only be open during those hours!

Then, customers get the convenience of being able to send a message directly through the website and you get the peace of mind that they’ll only come through when you have the ability to answer them. This is a great option for a lot of people and will work for almost anyone that has times during the day when they’re at their computer! However, some people just don’t have the time to commit to always being at their computer for certain hours during the day, and that’s perfectly okay. If you own a small business, you’re a busy person. In this case, we have one final option for you! Let’s run down one last step in your decision-making process.

Can you trust a chat bot?

If you don’t want to commit to monitoring your chat feature yourself and don’t want to outsource it to someone else, there is one last option that just might work. A lot of website platforms have the option to enable an AI assistant (basically Siri) to answer messages for you. Now, some of the same considerations need to be made here as when we were talking about answering services. If you offer a super simple service and all you need is a way for someone to get the tracking number for their order or inquire about your products’ availability, a chat bot will do just fine.

But if you’re in an industry that requires bidding people for services, communicating about projects, or anything else that’s generally complex, a chat bot will do you no good. It’s all about deciding what kind of experience a potential customer will have on your website. If you’re okay with the kinds of responses they’ll get from a chat bot, and you trust the bot to give them accurate information, then you should go ahead and install a chat feature and enable the bot. It just might work for you!

Hopefully one of these options ends up working for you! Having the ability for a customer to communicate with you directly from a chat box on your website is an amazing way to streamline communication and give the customer a great experience with your brand. Just remember to be careful when installing it and not get in over your head with this feature! We don’t want you getting burned out by something avoidable.

We hope you found this post helpful, and we’d love for you to check out some of our other great brand-building content here on our website or over on our weekly podcast! In this week’s episode, we talk about this subject in more detail and give you additional tips for using chat features. Catch you guys in the next post. Peace✌️ #TeamBrandNation

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