The Art of Conversation: Using live chat to market your online business

The use of live chat is fast becoming a necessity for businesses, especially for those who maintain an online store. Photo:

QUEZON CITY, Phillipines December 24, 2013 – The use of live chat is fast becoming a necessity for businesses, especially for those who maintain an online store, because of its features that help maximize user experience. Live chat is that little icon that allows the user to ‘instant message’, or text call a sales representative or customer service expert for your store.

When end-users browse a site, they expect their needs to be met such as finding ample information on price lists, shipping details, or tutorials on how to use a product. This is where live chat comes in. 

It’s not just for customer service

Live chat support involves the use of “instant messaging,” or the exchange of text-based messages in real-time.

Although it’s more commonly associated with being a customer service tool, its features make it a potent marketing tool as well, suggesting that this might just be that untapped potential that your business needs. 

The use of this support system as a marketing tool has been around for quite some time. American multinational giant Wells Fargo pioneered its use back in 2002 with their objective to boost online conversion and applicant approval rates. The results? Loan balances and approval rates increased from 30% to 40%.

Also, according to Banktech, a survey of over 1,000 online shoppers revealed 73% had cultivated a positive attitude towards businesses that employ the use of live chat, which indicates that it’s a good tactic to implement when aiming for a positive brand image.

Case Study: How live chat put Bank of America on top

The best way to get an end-user to buy a high involvement product is to educate them about it, and that’s what the Bank of America did when its online sales of mortgages sky rocketed to 800% in the first quarter of 2006 compared to the previous year. 

At that time, the second largest U.S. bank used pop-up solicitations based on analysis of an end user’s online behavior where they would invite them to chat regarding a specific offer. Employees would educate prospective clients about complex procedures, such as getting loans for buying a house.

This puts them in good position to pitch new products and services.  Employees also use a technique known as “page pushing,” wherein a customer is directed to another web page that both parties may browse together.

The “pop-ups” would usually appear when a prospective customer is comparing interest rates from the site, or when they are filling out an online loan application. 

What makes live chat so effective?

The problem with the online environment is that it lacks that human touch that helps remove a prospective customer’s anxiety when dealing with high risk transactions like purchasing automobiles and electronic gadgets.

With the help of modern technology, however, communication has evolved to a two-way discussion from being a static one-way monologue. 

Live chat’s real-time interactivity fills that demand for a virtual sales team to help solve a customer’s concern that would potentially lead to a sale. This goes a long way because consumers in general love telling their peers about their positive experience with a brand, which is good for your overall positioning. 

Case Study: Learn a thing or two from iThemes

Cory Miller, founder of iThemes, gives further highlight on why it’s important to employ live chat by saying that your operators are the ones who can walk a customer through a sale, as well as answer queries that could mean cart abandonment or a successful check out. 

He also adds that there will be ample opportunities for making an “upsell” once the customer is engaged in a conversation with an operator who understands their needs, since the latter can put himself in the former’s shoes to suggest purchases that would be the perfect fit. Miller shares some tips:

  • Place live chat buttons on the most obvious parts of your website
  • If you aren’t using a live chat program that pops up after a certain period of time a site visitor has spent on a web page, it’s best to let them know that help will arrive with a click of a button.
  • Patience is a virtue. Many people dislike sales people following them when shopping at the mall; it would be logical to think that the same principle will apply online as well. Engage them in conversation when they call for you, or when they’re already spending too much time browsing through pages in loop.
  • Use their feedback for improvement

Another good thing about live chat is its free market research. One of the best sources of information about your customers and how to make them happy is from conversations with them.

Always take note of the most frequent queries and act upon them to make it better. 

The bottom line is that advancements in technology present you with untapped opportunities you could use to better your position in the market. With the help of the Internet, consumers now have gained more control over their buying decisions with all the information available online. Mixing the traditional principle of engaging prospects in conversations with new technology ultimately makes a great combination.



Editors note: is one of many providers of chat services.  Their graphic inclusion to this article is not a recommendation or endorsement of over any other service provider. Neither the writer of Communities has any financial or other arrangement with

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Morrys Sarmiento

Morrys Sarmiento is a business writer based in Quezon City, Philipines.

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