What is a chat service and why your business needs one

Live chat software and web chat services help businesses connect with customers in real time. Live chat tools enable small businesses, ecommerce companies and local service providers to add a chat widget to every page of their websites. 

Similar to how social media messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp allow customers to send private messages to brands, live chat solutions allow business owners and support teams to connect with individual website visitors in the moment via private messages. It may be used for all different purposes from offering customer support or collecting customer information for the company’s CRM. 

Investing in the best live chat software can pay off. After all, the right setup can help your team minimize response times, drive customer engagement, improve customer experiences and customer satisfaction, offer enhanced customer support and deliver tremendous value. 

Transform your local business with revolutionary AI-powered software


How do chat services work?

Let’s dive into frequently asked questions about how live chat services like Broadly’s web chat work.

What is web chat software?

Web chat software helps companies add digital communication channels to their website by adding a web chat widget to every page of a website. These real-time tools can be used for:

  • Offering customer support: Enabling customers to connect with your customer support team,help desk or self-service content
  • Supporting sales and lead generation efforts: Allowing brands to collect customer information for the business CRM

Read more on how web chat can support your different business goals:

How does the customer use the chat service?

Instead of having to reach out to a company over the phone, via email or social media channels, live chat software allows customers to contact business owners or support teams directly via a web chat widget. Whether they are ready to request service, have a question about offerings or need support, customers can send a direct message to the company so that the company can respond in real time.

How does the business use the chat service?

On the business side of things, owners, managers and support teams have increased chances to support and convert website users. Website chat widgets help businesses collect more information early in the conversation and conduct more personalized conversations with users. 

Broadly’s web chat solution also transitions the conversation from the website to SMS, so business can keep the conversation going even after the customer or potential customer leaves the website.

What is the difference between a text message and a chat message?

Customers can send chat messages via a website’s web chat widget. Chat messages typically are initiated via a web browser. Text messages, on the other hand, are sent via the customer’s phone to the company’s SMS number. 

Broadly’s solution works by transferring any messages sent by the user through website chat to SMS/text messages. Small business owners have the added benefit of a single integrated inbox for all customer communication including web chat messages, messages from social media or review platforms, and even internal communications.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is an automated tool powered by artificial intelligence that uses templates to answer simple customer inquiries to enable faster response times and self-service. For more complex questions, the chatbot can transition the conversation to a customer support agent for further assistance. 

With Broadly’s website chat software, you get the best of chatbot and live chat solutions. Our web chat widget helps gather customer information relevant for your business right away, then connects the user to your team for a personalized, human sale or support conversation

Why do businesses use chat services?

Here are some of the top reasons companies use web chat services.

1. Enable self-service 

AI chatbots enable automated answers for simple customer inquiries with knowledge base and help desk content.

2. Reduce phone calls and speed up response times

Chatbots and customer support agents can generally answer chat messages faster than the typical phone call and can handle multiple customer live chat support conversations at once.

3. Supplement omnichannel customer support 

Chat services can enhance customer support offered via other communication channels, such as email, phone calls, text messages, mobile apps, and social media messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. 

4. Engage website visitors 

If customers can’t find what they’re looking for on your website, your customer engagement metrics, such as time spent on site and bounce rate, may suffer as visitors give up and seek out the competition. 

Adding a real-time chat service can help you engage customers wherever they are, no matter which webpage they’re browsing. With the right workflows in place, customers can get the help they need in the moment or be directed to additional support via SMS. 

5. Support a broader CRM strategy 

Chat services support your customer relationship management strategy by collecting your web visitors’ email addresses and phone numbers to send follow-up text messages. 

6. Improve support team workflows and routing 

Chat services also improve a business’s customer support workflow with real-time notifications, templates, automation and CRM integrations. 

What are the benefits of using chat services?

According to McKinsey Digital, companies use digital tools to improve customer experiences, customer engagement and overall customer relationships.

Chat services:

  • Increase customer satisfaction by 15-20%
  • Reduce costs associated with customer support by 20-40%
  • Strengthen conversion rates and business growth by 20%

Forbes completed a study and discovered that when brands invest in areas that improve overall customer experiences, they enjoy the following benefits:

  • 5.7X revenue compared to the competition for delivering a better customer experience
  • +60% higher profits than companies that aren’t customer-centered
  • 1.5X higher employee engagement compared to companies that don’t prioritize customer experience

Live chat has also been found to help improve the sales process:

  • Increasing lead generation results by 4-8X
  • Boosting website visitor engagement by 10-50%

What are chat service best practices?

Be sure to follow these best practices to ensure the effective use of live chat as a customer engagement channel:

  1. Offer real-time support to engage with customers at the moment they need it.
  2. Reduce response times: More than 40% of customers say they prefer live chat as a channel because they don’t like waiting on hold.
  3. Use mobile-friendly functionality to optimize the user experience for customers browsing your website via mobile devices.
  4. Use proactive greetings/templates to let customers know how they can interact with your web chat tool and get the conversation started.

Are web chat services effective?

Web chat services are not only effective, they are in demand, according to McKinsey Digital:

  • 30% of customers say they use live chat to connect with service providers and 35% plan to in the future
  • Another 15% say they use video chat and in the future that’s expected to grow to 19% 

Companies that lack web chat services risk losing customers to the competition. After all, about half of customers use digital channels, such as web chat, social media and email, for customer support. What’s more, digital channels are considered the first point of contact for most customer support interactions, according to McKinsey & Company.

Manage your chat services with ease with Broadly’s messaging solutions

Looking for the right live chat software for your company? Connect with Broadly and learn how our website chat solution helps ecommerce companies, small businesses and local service providers improve user experience and support team routing and workflows. 

Broadly’s web chat plugin seamlessly integrates with any website. Start the conversation with new website visitors in real time, then keep things going over SMS (with support for both Apple iOS and Android).

Does your company engage with customers via social media and messaging apps? We offer more than live chat support. Ask us about Broadly’s all-in-one Inbox, which helps business owners and service providers communicate seamlessly with contacts from all of your platforms one place.

Transform your local business with revolutionary AI-powered software