By now, we’re all used to seeing that handy live chat option on the websites we buy our clothes, holidays and general consumer goodies from. Chat is a core tool for any business to consumer (B2C) site – proving invaluable for our customer service needs.
But what about business to business (B2B) websites? B2B live chat is a less common sight, often overlooked in the longer, slower process of corporate sales. This begs the question: is B2B live chat as effective as B2C?
The truth is that prospects will have questions, concerns, and support demands no matter whether they’re shopping as a consumer or as a business. Live chat, then, is an essential addition to any B2B website. Here’s a closer look at the specific advantages of B2B live chat, and how to unlock them for each stage of the customer journey.
Start of the journey: lead generation
At the start of the customer journey, many of your website visitors are doing their research. They’ll be looking for useful information about your product and services, so they can evaluate their options. B2B purchases, after all, typically require careful planning and comparison.
Without B2B live chat, these leads are left to themselves. They might have unanswered queries. They might need supporting content, or a more in-depth explanation than the overview provided onsite. Any one of these hiccoughs could disqualify your company as an option early-on – particularly if a competitor can offer instant answers online.
With B2B live chat, however, you can nurture your hard-won leads. For example, you can use proactive chat triggers to reach out and start to build a relationship right away. Doing so means that you can catch interest and demonstrate the accessibility of your support. (As well as qualifying your leads.) This proactivity can provide a competitive edge that helps to sway the decision when it comes to buying.
The best way to engage effectively is to reach out to people based on onsite behaviour. Think pages viewed, time spent on page, referral source, etc. Chat features like live visitor tracking and prospect detection allow you to do this with ease. So, rather than sending proactive chat invitations willy-nilly, target them based on specific behaviour, and — where possible — personalise them to each visitor’s journey.
Middle of the journey: during sales
During sales, it’s common for there to be multiple points of contact. (For example, RFIs, trials, negotiations and general questions.) It’s imperative for B2B businesses to nurture the customer relationship during these conversations. And B2B live chat can help.
Most live chat software solutions can integrate with your CRM. This means that you can offer personalised, efficient service in every interaction — regardless of which agent for the business you’re chatting with.
Plus, live chat features like chat mood help you ensure no one is less than impressed with your support. Sentiment analysis, meanwhile, lets you keep track of your prospects’ moods over time. If sentiment is going down, you get a chance to reach out and get back on track.
With every customer for B2B businesses likely to feed into your consistent recurring revenue, keeping their mood up is a great way to ensure you have the best chance of landing them.
After the onboard: caring for customers
B2B businesses tend to deal with more complex issues than B2C, whether that’s during the onboarding phase or after purchase. They need to ensure they’re serving specific needs over a long period of time, after all. These complex issues often need multiple interactions to resolve.
Live chat software provides an optimal platform for many of these conversations. With a host of features to help you out, B2B live chat users can ensure that every issue is handled efficiently, with quick, quality and convenient support.
For example, B2B businesses can use ticketing to keep track of support queries. This prevents ongoing support requests from falling through the cracks. Plus, every interaction is logged within the ticket until the issue is resolved.
Meanwhile, features like chat routing and chat transfers mean you can make sure every chat reaches the most skilled agent for the query. And, once in the support session, a B2B live chat agent can use features like video chat and file sharing to support their service during tricky sessions.
Customers, not just consumers
Live chat software is a core tool for providing customer support, regardless of whether those customers are singular consumers or acting on behalf of a business.
After all, when it comes down to it, the businesses you sell to are comprised of people. These people are consumers who are used to the convenience of live chat in their personal shopping experiences. So why wouldn’t they look for it when acting on behalf of their business?
So, B2B live chat is every bit as effective as B2C. With it, businesses can generate more leads, nurture more customer relationships, and support any query efficiently and effectively.
Is it time that you adopted live chat for your B2B business? Start today with a 30-day free trial of WhosOn.