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We get 27% of our leads from live chat — You can too

Photo of Alex Holmes
by Alex Holmes
May 25, 2017

Tomorrow marks my one year anniversary at Influx. Making it one year at any startup is always exciting because a) you made it this far and b) the company made it this far. In addition, I’m now proud to announce that we’re growing significantly every month, churn is low and we’re expanding into a bunch of new markets with new types of clients.

But how did we get here? We needed LEADS, lots of leads. That’s why Leni and Mikey hired me one year ago. I spent the last year waking up every day asking myself the same question as most B2B marketers. How do we get more leads?

In addition to driving revenue and growth, more leads helped us figure out what to offer, to whom and how — essential questions for any young startup like ours.

 

Enter Live Chat

Live Chat has been around for 10+ years, but it seems like only recently that companies and marketers started talking about it. Companies like Intercom, Drift and Autopilot are all doing really exciting things with their chat widgets, so I was intrigued.

I also learned quickly that our website was our number one marketing channel. My first task, how do I make my number one marketing channel even better?

We started with a big rebrand and redesign. We purposely created a really light and simple design that gave us space to try things like live chat. Here it is:

The website redesign set us up to be able to use add-ons like live chat widgets without compromising too much.

 

When I started, we had this Intercom auto message popping up for all new visitors. I HATED it. It was invasive, annoying and we missed most of the chats anyways. We’re a global business with chats popping up 24/7. We get just as many inquiries when I’m sleeping as when I’m awake. I felt like I had zero control.

So, what did I do? Without thinking about it too much, I removed the auto-messages in Intercom. ‘Auto-messages’ are the pop ups that look like this:

By removing these, I figured that we’d actually get MORE leads as people who were trying to get in touch with us via live chat, but couldn’t, would now request a quote instead.

I was wrong.

Two Types of Leads

I learned that there are generally two types of people that will show interest in your business. The first group are people that are ready to give you their information and are ready to request a quote. The second group are people that are just browsing and still researching different options. They’re not quite ready to share their details.

Removing the chat experience had zero effect on the number of people requesting a quote from our quote request form.

We had to do something else.

The Solution

I rebuilt our messaging to target users by session, time on site and URL. Here are four examples:

  • Our welcome message appears after 6 seconds when someone arrives for the first time telling people what we do.
  • Our pricing page message only appears on the pricing page.
  • We have a message on one of our most popular paid media landing pages.
  • Our check in message appears when someone visits our website a couple times without creating an account

Optimizing the Chat Experience

All of these messages are set to only appear when there isn’t already another message.

Initially, we only provided chat support without dedicated agents. In three months, we started generating 17% of our leads from live chat:

Lead quality was good too. Many of our top customers originally arrived via live chat.

Phase Two: 24 Hour Live Chat Coverage

We still had one big problem. We didn’t have 24 hour coverage of our chat experience. We were missing about half of our potential leads, even with a bot popping up in near real time. These were the people that started a chat, but then left after two minutes because no one responded to them. They wanted to talk to a person:

So, being a support as a service business, and being about to launch a live chat service of our own, we implemented 24 hour live chat on our website in April with Monday to Friday coverage. Check out what happened:

Whoa, we’re now getting 27% of our leads from live chat — a 50% increase in live chat leads. We did this by training a team of agents to respond to chats within two minutes.

Now, let’s go back to my original thinking. Our website is our number one marketing channel, and I just made our number one marketing channel 25% more effective.

I’m happy with that.

 

If you found this article helpful, check out our new service: live chat support as a service with 24 hour coverage, Monday to Friday, and try chatting to us there. I’m also testing out a newsletter focused exclusively on how to optimize the chat experience for your business. Subscribe here.

Update: Looking for more content like this? Check out our support blog with stories about hiring, building remote teams and generating referrals from support conversations.

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About the author

Photo of Alex Holmes

Alex Holmes

Alex runs Marketing and Client Success at Influx. He works with both existing and future clients. Favorite support experience of all time: iTunes and Optus.



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