Keeping customers happy is the number one priority of many companies. Especially for XaaS businesses who depend on recurring revenue from customer retention. Especially right now when new customer sign ups may have slowed down as the economy shifted gears!
One part of creating a good customer experience (CX) is making sure you’re able to answer customer questions in the way that is most convenient for them, as soon as they have the question. This principal also applies to potential customers. Customers and leads expect to interact with you on their terms, so you’d better be in the right place at the right time with the right answers!
A good way to achieve this CX goal is by using a chat widget on your website, which allows you to either talk to website visitors in real-time in order to answer their questions ASAP, or it can use a bot (AI) to answer their questions and/or receive a follow-up response from your human teams.
So what exactly is a chat widget?
What is a Chat Widget?
A chat widget is the small window on a website that allows the visitor to chat with the company’s bot or human employees. It helps people get answers to their questions in real-time.
Chat widgets are usually seen as a prompt in the lower right corner of the site.
Here’s what our chat widget looks like to visitors on our website:
When you click on it:
HubSpot calls this feature a chatflow in their backend, since the tool requires you to create a workflow to build in the options for what happens when a visitor types in the form on the site.
HubSpot also refers to it as live chat or a bot, depending if the response is from a human or from an automated AI.
The word ‘widget’ is often associated with WordPress, where widgets are a common way to add content to blog sidebars. Companies who are familiar with using WordPress may use this term when asking for a chat to be added to their site. FYI HubSpot’s chat features can be added to WordPress sites via their plugin (another popular WordPress word!).
Freshworks notes that chat widgets are usually found on websites, though they can also be integrated into social media and mobile apps.
No doubt a 'bot' it, chat is taking over the world!
Who is in Charge of the Chat Widget?
It’s hard to talk about chat without talking about the company who created a whole new category of marketing (and more) using website chat widgets. That’s right, we’re talking about how Drift became a category creator with ‘conversational marketing.’
Though the word ‘marketing’ is in the category that chat belongs to, the answer to who owns the chat could differ for every company. It may be a bit of a misnomer, similar to the popular ‘account-based marketing (ABM)’ which involves multiple departments to be successful, not just marketing. It all depends on how your revenue team is set up and how you split the roles.
Since RevOps (revenue operations) can have the role of tool owners, sales-and-service -enablement providers, rulers of efficiency, and masters of reducing friction in the customer journey, the RevOps department or person at your company should be involved in the decision to implement a chat widget.
Another good reason this chat tool decision belongs to RevOps is because the responsibility of replying to chats can involve the sales AND service/success/support department, so having it assigned to an neutral party can help reduce internal company friction as well.
Your marketing team can use the data from a chat widget to inform their content creation for sales enablement and for other tasks, making the chat widget a cross-functional tool in need of an impartial owner.
Sales team members are usually in charge of handling inquiries and follow ups with chat visitors who are leads, while service team members are often in charge of handling questions and following up with existing customers who join the chat.
- But how do you know who is a lead and who is a customer?
- And how and when to route them?
- And when to use a bot and when to use a human?
We will answer your burning questions in a few minutes!
Why Use a Chat Widget on Your Website?
Chat widgets have some incredibly positive data to justify their use, if you’re looking to build a case for your company to start using a website chat widget. It’s all about improving the user experience (UX) or customer experience (CX) which ultimately helps improve your company’s bottom line.
Chat heavyweights Intercom list many reasons to use chat on your website, including:
- Chatbots can save each business about $300,000 a year on average due to the speed that bots respond. The savings comes from a lower team headcount needed, and overall efficiency gains
- 67% of business leaders say bots increase sales
- 54% of tech leaders say bots made their businesses more productive
- Chatbots improve CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores by 24%
- Response times speed up 3x with chatbots
- 74% of consumers expect to chat with bots
Chat, particularly chatbots, are a good sales enablement tool. Sales enablement “is the iterative process of providing your company's sales team with the resources they need to close more deals. These resources may include content, tools, knowledge, and information to effectively sell your product or service to customers.”
HubSpot writes that two of the top four sales enablement trends relate to using chat on your website.
One trend is the rise of AI, which speaks about how artificial intelligence produced a lot of new products including the revenue team favorite, chatbots. When 30-50% of sales goes to the business that responds first, HubSpot has a good point: “Why leave responding to a human when a machine can do it faster?”
A few additional reasons why HubSpot says chatbots make sense for sales teams include:
- Chatbots can answer simple questions, evaluate website visitor chat responses, trigger follow-up emails, and make simple decisions.
- Chatbots can help ensure your sales team doesn’t need to engage with prospects until they are qualified.
- Chatbots can make your lead qualification process more accurate, so your sales team only receives the leads that are the most promising.
The second big trend sales enablement may bring is a decrease in sales team headcount. This was a prediction even before the economic impact of COVID-19 may have reduced headcount at many companies.
Sales leaders can use AI (such as chatbots), training, and sales tools (such as...chat widgets) to develop streamlined and lean sales teams. More efficient teams could mean that less sales reps are needed per team, and introducing these tools will weed out the inefficient team members and team members resistance to change.
The benefits of bots extend beyond sales. Drift says “conversational AI helps you increase the ROI of your marketing spend without adding headcount. All while providing a 24/7/ 365 experience for customers and prospects. Now that's a win-win for everyone.”
Our team member, Mariana, attended a HubSpot User Group seminar on chat widgets given by Ari Echt-Wilson, HubSpot’s Conversational Marketing Manager.
Tasty tidbits from her learning include:
- HubSpot surveyed their customers when they launched their chatbot features and found that 38% of customers said they wanted to use a chatbot before talking to a human.
- Chatbots deliver convenience by being available 365 days a year and 24/7, giving website visitors a response within minutes, and having a conversation with visitors to acknowledge their needs and give value at every part of their interaction without any delays.
- Chatbots can help define website visitor intent to direct them to the right resource, which could include a human. More on this later!
Just in case you weren't convinced about the awesomeness of chatbots yet, here are a few more stats:
- 80% of businesses want chatbots
- Chatbots save all U.S. companies $23 billion in customer support salaries and $15 billion in sales salaries per year
- The conversion rate is 10x higher when leads are contacted within 5 minutes according to an insidesales.com study. AI Multiple says that achieving that speed with a human sales team takes more team members and low utilization, while bots can achieve these speeds at a low cost.
- The chatbot market size could grow from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024, reports Business Insider.
- 29% of people surveyed have told other people about a positive live chat experience
- 38% said they were more likely to buy from a company if they offer live chat support
- 51% would be more likely to stay with or buy from a company again if they offer live chat support. Customer retention is more important right now than ever.
So those are some great reasons why you should use a chat widget on your site, specifically one that uses real-time human response!
HubSpot says that four advantages of using live chat include:
- Greater convenience for customers and for your team compare to phone calls
- Improved efficiency (a key RevOps concern) for your team which results in a faster answer for customers/leads
- It is more cost-effective than email, calls, etc. since reps can work on several chat cases at the same time and chatbots can help lighten the load on human reps as well
- Chat is more user-friendly for the website visitor than phone or email, aligning with the mentality that ‘customer is king.’
The customer success experts at Simplr say that two of the five foundational processes for improving customer service are to know where your customers are at and meet them there, and to optimize your tools. Chat widgets fulfill both of these criteria. (FYI Simplr votes in favor of live human chat vs. bot since “Studies show shoppers prefer live chat, 24/7 phone calling, social media and emails for asking questions prior to a transaction, and troubleshooting problems afterward.")
HubSpot gives us a few more reasons why live chat is good for customers and other site visitors. “No waiting queue, no holds, and getting immediate answers seems like the best way to go. Plus, you can keep working while you wait for a reply instead of sitting on the phone.”
There are caveats, of course, depending on how intuitive the chat widget is for both visitors and employees to use, the response time for live chat, and the quality of responses that answer the questions or not.
For more information on what not to do with live chat, see this HubSpot article on what customers really want from live chat.
Should Your Website Chat Widget be a Bot or a Human?
We went over some of the benefits and drawbacks of both ways to use the chat widget in our article above. Which is better?
Trick question! The answer is: both!
Using both live chat and bots
Depending on the size of your team, if you’re able to use live chat in addition to bots as a hybrid option to your chat widget, it could be the best of both worlds.
Using both bots and humans could cut down the time and team members needed to answer the chat, while still giving your most important site visitors an exceptionally fast experience and answering their questions in the time they’ve come to expect.
This hybrid method for your chat widget could involve having the questions the chat asks automated (bot) to start with in order to qualify them and learn who to route the website visitor to, or it could involve having bots on certain pages (lead-centric pages) and live chat on pages that sales and support are likely needed to intervene (pricing pages and contact pages), for a few examples.
Here's how HubSpot qualifies their chat visitors to their homepage and helps them find what they are looking for before getting a human involved:
Bots could send the website visitors where they need to go: sales, service, or another section of your website such as the knowledge base in order for the visitor to self-serve an answer.
The HubSpot User Group seminar on chat widgets talks about this as the chatbot understanding and defining customer intent, in order to send the chat visitor relevant online resources and/or redirect the chat visitor to the right person at the right time.
Check out some of the data HubSpot collected and shared at the aforementioned HUG event related to when chatbots started collecting qualifying data and defining people’s intent before sending them to a human (if needed):
- They saw a 75% increase in engagement
- There was a 182% increase in qualified leads generated
- Scheduled sales meetings increased 198% from using the 'Book a Meeting' feature in the chatbot
How can you, or your chatbot, tell which visitors should be directed to a human and when?
Here are a few more tips from that HubSpot event to get you started answering that question:
- Think of a chatbot as a concierge who assists the human employee. The chatbot directors visitors where they want to go while collecting data for your human teams.
- Before you start using this qualifying chatbot on your website, make sure you know your goals and which common conversations your website visitors have so yu can make a decision on what are better suited for humans and which are better for bots to handle.
- Have bots focused on collecting data needed by your sales and service team in order to help the human employee have a strategic conversation such as a negotiation, collaboration, or problem solving for the chat visitor.
- Blog pages are not good pages for your chat widget since blog visitors are probably not ready for interaction with your business yet
- Bots should identify themselves as bots, so if your chat changes from a bot to a human, that change should be clear.
How Does HubSpot’s Chat Widget Work?
We’ll let HubSpot themselves tackle this question, with their excellent collection of articles about how to set up your chat widget for either live chat, bots, or both.
BTW, they also have a Slack integration in case your team wants to get internal chat notifications...about website visitor chat...so much chat!
Are you sick of reading about chat widgets and ready to talk about using one right now?
Now that you know how awesome chat widgets are, how customers love them, how many departments in your company can use them and benefit from them, what are you waiting for?
We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about HubSpot chat in particular, feel free to schedule a free call with us today.