A complete guide to Webchat, Livechat & Chatbots

Jody Mayers

14 min read Last Updated Jan 10, 2023

How long should it take for your website visitors to have their basic questions answered?

The right answer is, as soon as possible.

By answering questions in real-time, website chat can turn website visitors into customers, helping your business close more deals. Website chat consists of livechat, chatbots, and webchat business texting. Through this article we will discuss each one of these topics in detail, and demonstrate why website chat is a technology your business can’t afford to ignore.

Chapter 1 Getting started with website chat

Answering all of your basic questions regarding website chat and why your business needs it.

What is website chat?

Website chat is a chat feature on your website that allows visitors to ask you questions in real-time. Website chat connects you with website visitors quickly and efficiently, helping your business deliver a fantastic customer experience.

There are two types of website chats that your business can utilize:

  • Livechat
  • Webchat

Livechat uses a live representative to chat online with your customers to answer questions in real-time.

But, no business can have live representatives available online 24/7. This is when webchat comes in handy. Webchat makes your website ‘textable’ when real-time chat is not possible.. Customers click on the chat widget on your website, fill in their name and phone number, and your business texts them with a response when they are able to. There are benefits to both livechat and webchat, and these features will be examined further throughout this article.

Website with chat feature – How can it help your business?

In today’s fast-paced world a website with a chat feature is something that customers have begun to expect from any business. Aside from keeping up with customer expectations, website chat software is great for your business because:

  • Website chat is convenient.Customers don’t need to navigate through your entire website to find an “FAQ” or a “Contact Us” section. Instead, they can find the chat widget almost immediately and know where to get their questions answered.
  • Website chat is immediate.With website chat, customers don’t need to wait for an email response or drop everything to make a phone call. The longer your business takes to get back to a customer, the more likely they are to seek out a competitor. You need to strike while the iron is hot. With website chat, you can answer questions almost immediately.
  • Website chat is easy to use.Website chat tools are straightforward. When your customers click on the chat widget, they don’t need to follow a drawn-out process to ask their question.
  • Website chat leads to new deals.By providing website visitors a convenient and easy-to-use platform to answer their questions, website chat helps your business get new deals.

No matter what industry you work in, website chat is a tool that you cannot do without.

Livechat and chatbots

Livechat and chatbots are two complementary products that can help your business respond to customer questions in real-time.

Benefits of Livechat:

  • Personal touch.
    Even with the best chatbot, you can’t replace the personal touch that comes with using a Livechat.
  • Can answer complicated questions.
    With livechat representatives, no question is too complicated to answer. If your customer has made spelling mistakes or the language is too vague, it’s not a problem for the livechat representative to ask clarifying questions to get to the root of the customer’s concern.

However, there are unique benefits to using a chatbot as well. To answer your customer’s questions with the same immediacy of a livechat representative, you can automate the process by letting a chatbot answer commonly asked questions.

Benefits of chatbot:

  • Easily answer FAQs.
    With a chatbot, you can enter variations of FAQs that your business receives. Questions like — What’s your address? What time do you open? Do you accept Visa payment? — can all be answered through a chatbot.
  • Your employees don’t need to answer the same questions repeatedly.
    It’s nice to automate these basic questions so your employees can tackle the more difficult customer queries.

There are cases to be made for both livechat and chatbot. This is why many businesses decide to use both. They utilize livechat during the day, and chatbots for during breaks or after business hours. For these reasons, livechat and chatbot can work in tandem to deliver optimal customer experience.

Chapter 2 How to use website chat

You know the difference between livechat, chatbots, and webchat, but how can you use them effectively for your business?

website chat

How does Livechat work?

As mentioned before, livechat uses a live representative to online chat with your customers to answer questions in real time. Livechat support offers your customers with a quick, personalized response, helping your customers have a better customer experience.

You can get livechat software for your website through a livechat website plugin. The livechat software you choose should be customizable and designed to integrate easily with your website for a smooth user experience.

Effective Livechat scripts (Examples)

If your business is new to livechat software, it can be helpful to give your employees scripts to follow when answering customer queries. This will help your employees be able to answer confidently and equip them to handle many different scenarios.

Greeting scripts:

  • Hello, welcome to [business name]! Let me know if there is any way I can assist you.
  • Hello, thank you visiting [business name]. You’re speaking to [agent name]. How can I help you?
  • Welcome to [business name]! My name is [name of customer representative]. Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with!

Scripts for asking for clarification:

  • Hello, [customer name]. What do you need assistance with today? Is there something specific you are looking for that you can’t find? [Business name] is here to serve you!
  • My apologies, [customer name], I’m having trouble understanding your question. Can you please explain if there is something specific I can help you with?

Scripts to apologize to an unsatisfied customer:

  • I’m so sorry to hear you are upset [customer name]. We pride ourselves on our service at [business name]. Please let us know what we can do to make this right.
  • I apologize for your negative experience, [customer name]. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to fix it.
  • I’m so sorry [customer name] that you had that issue. Let me look into it and see what I can do!

Scripts to use when you want to put the chat on a brief hold:

  • Hi [customer name], I will need to do some research to answer your question. Hold on for just a moment while I search for the answer.
  • [Customer name], please wait just a moment while I find the answer to your question. I’ll be right back.
  • Hi [customer name]. Wait for just a moment while I find the right person to answer your question. I appreciate your patience!

Strong sign-off scripts:

  • Thank you for helping me assist you today, [customer name]. Have a great day!
  • Thank you for your patience, [customer name]. I hope we have solved the issue to your satisfaction. Have a good day, and thank you for shopping with [business name].

When your employees have the tools to succeed, they can help customers more easily and secure a better customer experience for your business.

How to use Chatbots for website chat

To make sure your business is using chatbot software well, focus on what a customer should get from an interaction with a chatbot. An effective chatbot will:

  • Respond quickly.
  • Respond accurately.
  • Provide basic customer service.
  • Refer the customer to an agent if necessary.

Respond quickly, but not too quickly

If your business is using a chatbot, it’s likely you are doing so to provide customers with a quick response to questions.

  • Answer promptly.
    When chatbots take too long to address a customer concern, your business is wasting valuable time and resources.

On the other hand, if your chatbot responds too quickly, it can make customers uncomfortable.

  • Make it feel like a conversation.
    If the chatbot is too fast, it can feel almost like the chatbot is detecting the customer’s need before they’ve fully communicated it. The key to an effective chatbot is providing a conversational response, both in tone and timing.

Respond accurately

Your chatbot must be responding to the customer queries with relevant and accurate information. While human error can’t always be predicted, try to identify multiple ways customers may be asking the same question so that the chatbot can respond accurately.

  • For example, if a customer would like to know your address, you’d want the chatbot to respond with your building number, street, city, and ZIP code. But there are multiple ways to ask for this information, like: “Where are you located?” “What is your address?” “Where can I reach you?”

If you don’t account for these variations in your chatbot, it may not deliver your customers the correct answer to their question.

Provide basic customer service

Some customer service concerns are too complicated for a chatbot and will need to be resolved over business text or livechat. However, there are some basic customer service questions that your chatbot can — and should — handle. Good questions for chatbot include:

  • “What services do you offer?”
  • “Do you accept credit cards?”
  • “What are your Business hours?”

Refer the customer to an agent if necessary

If the customer query or request is too complicated for a chatbot to understand, make sure there is a specific plan in place so that customers can quickly be redirected to the proper channel to have their questions answered.

website chat

Chatbot examples

Here are a couple of chatbot examples to demonstrate what certain companies are doing right.

  • Home Genius helps customers find contractors and book estimates through the help of their nifty chatbot. Customers click through a few questions by selecting one of the answer options at a time. Depending on which questions you select, the chatbot directs you to the proper channel.
website chat

Amtrak, the passenger railroad service, has a fantastic chatbot named Julie. This chatbot can direct you to the proper train timetable, offer you information about how to buy tickets, and answer other FAQs.

website chat

Chapter 3 Using website chat to grow your business

You know how these tools work, and you understand their benefits. Now, how can you use them to take your business to the next level?

website chat

How to grow your business with Livechat

While chatbot is less expensive in the long run, there are many reasons why livechat may be a better option for your business.

Livechat provides a personal touch

website chat

Livechat can handle complicated requests.

website chat

Livechat can understand human error

While you’re here, check out this infographic on converting leads with chatbots.

Website chat to text: A case for business texting

With all of this talk about livechat and chatbots, it is important to also address the benefits of text based chat as well. Text based chat, also called webchat, is when a customer goes to your website, clicks the chat widget, fills out their name, phone number, and question, and your business responds via text. There are some unique benefits to utilizing webchat.

  • Easy two-way communication, for when you need to leave your desk. Through webchat business texting you can answer customer questions even when you are out of the office.
  • Reliable way to continue communication. Think about situations where the Internet is glitchy or your website visitor simply must move away from the website. It’s easy to lose contact in such scenarios – but not when you have business texting based website chat. A good website chat should be able to continue the conversation via text.

Webchat business texting is a great tool to use as a backup. With webchat business texting paired with livechat and chatbots, you will never be out of reach from your customers.

Using website chat for support

Did you know that customers prefer using website chat for customer support? Livechat has a 73% satisfaction rate, beating both phone calls and emails for customer service. But, what about livechat makes it so useful for customer service?

  • Immediate answers with no inconvenience. What used to require waiting on hold for hours, customers can now receive in seconds. Customers can get immediate feedback to their questions and concerns, all while watching TV or checking their email in another browser tab.
website chat

Conversation history can easily be tracked. Customer service representatives can easily track the customer’s conversation. If one representative can’t complete the transaction, the conversation history can easily be shared, avoiding having a customer re-explain their situation to each new representative.

website chat

Saves representatives time and money. Handling one live conversation at a time is one of the most straightforward ways to handle customer concerns. Instead of juggling various email chains or needing to have multiple phone calls, with website chat, issues can be solved then and there. Customers get the answers they need, and representatives can close the ticket and move on to their next task.

How to choose the best Livechat software

What should your business look for in Livechat? Get a Livechat software that is…

  • Website visitor friendly.
    Instead of having your livechat sit in the corner of the page, have it pop up and say ‘hi’ to the website visitor. This will grab their attention and let them know that there will be someone available to speak to them if necessary.
  • Integrates with your current systems.
    Make sure your livechat software can be integrated with your website and current business software. In order for your livechat to be effective, it needs to work well with the systems you already have in place.
  • Customizable to fit your needs.
    Can you customize the livechat widget to suit the website? Can the chat be supported for multiple locations or multiple websites? Can I show names and pictures of chat agents in the chat window to make us look more approachable?

Here are some other features that your website chat should have to make it the most powerful customer experience management solution for your business:

  • Ease of implementation
    It should be easy to implement Livechat/webchat on your website. You should be able to embed it even on your blog if you want to.
  • Lead capture and reporting
    Capture and store contact information (eg: Name, phone number) of your website visitor for future contact.
  • Reusable templates
    Create, save and use message templates to answer those often asked questions. Save time and a lot of effort.
  • Assign messages
    When there is a team member more qualified to respond to a customer the agent should be able to pass the conversation to the expert.
  • Internal notes
    Your whole team gains a deeper understanding of a conversation by adding private notes to conversations.
  • Notifications
    The software should be able to support multiple ways to alert you about a new message – email, SMS, Chrome browser notification, and push notifications on your smartphones.
  • Attachments
    Sometimes you need to send images or brochures or simply add emojis to your conversation. Your website chat software should be able to support all of these.

Frequently asked questions about website chat

What is the difference between livechat and chatbot?

The difference between livechat and chatbot is that livechat uses human communication with a live agent and chatbots support the customer experience by using automated responses to support queries. Livechat and chatbots work together to provide a positive customer experience. 

Is chatbot and live chat the same?

No, chatbot and live chat are not the same. Live chat offers human interaction to support conversations, and chat offers customers automated responses to help support common questions asked by customers.

Use Website chat from Birdeye to deliver top-notch customer experience

Birdeye website chat is extremely versatile and loaded with all the functionality you need to manage interactions with your website visitors and convert them into paying customers. And that’s just the start! Make your customer’s queries a top priority and deliver an exceptional customer experience. With the right platform for customer interactions , you can deploy the power of all three website chats. What are you waiting for? Get started with website chat for your business today.

Originally published