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Why set up live chat on a small business website or online store

Why Set Up and Use Live Chat on Your Small Business Website

Live Chat setup tips to save time, money and grow your sales

Why should you set up live chat on your business or e-commerce website? Because people are spending a lot more time online, browsing, shopping, staying informed, learning, having fun, engaging with a variety of products and services. And when they need help, they expect you to be available, to answer their questions right there, on your website.

Over the past few months, global chat volume has increased by 31% compared to the beginning of the year. The increased demand for online support is prompting many small business owners to look into live chat options for their websites.

But how do you go about choosing and installing a live chat function on your WordPress, Wix, Shopify, or BigCommerce website? What do you do with this add-on once you set it up? And how does customer-initiated chat work anyway? These are the question we’ll attempt to answer in this short article.

Why set up live chat

Isn’t that just one more thing to manage? Who’s going to spend all day talking to every bored pensioner and every troll?

The answer’s easy: it IS one more thing to manage, but when you set it up correctly, you’ll see improvements in your customer engagement, satisfaction, and sales.

Setting up and using live chat on your small business website is even more important if you’re running a boutique agency, a service-oriented business, or an online shop because you’re going to engage with your customers at the very moment they are interested in your brand.

1. Increase sales and leads

In the last 5 years, live chat has gained a lot of ground. Studies have shown that customer-initiated chat can drive 3 to 5 times more conversions than phone customer support. People who use live chat to contact companies are also 3 times more likely to purchase products or services from those companies than people who don’t use live chat.

It’s easy to understand why: live chat is instant access. It’s an instant answer to questions, instant problem-solving, instant purchase. Your support staff and sales team have more opportunities to turn curious visitors into paying clients. But that’s only if you set up your live chat well from the start.

2. Improve customer satisfaction

Live chat is personal and non-intrusive. It’s a way for people to feel like they can trust you more because there’s a real live person on the other side of the website. It’s a quick and relaxed way of interacting with visitors, answering their questions, and solving any problems that might prevent them from making a purchase.

All these things will most likely grow your sales, but they will also make customers like you more. If you combine useful answers with polite, fast response rates and equally fast problem-solving, your customers will love you.

3. Save time and money

You’d think that when you set up live chat on your website you create more work for yourself and your team, but you’d be wrong. When compared to other forms of customer support like email, phone, or social media, live chat wins the race all the time. On average, an agent replies to a customer query in less than 23 seconds, with average resolution time at no more than 42 seconds.

Good live chat software will include efficiency and productivity tools to help your customer-relations team keep track of conversations, handle multiple calls simultaneously, automate responses, get regular statistics, and much, much more.

Besides, setup, functionality, and maintenance costs go down too because live chat is a cloud subscription-based service. So there’s no need to invest in telephony infrastructure or spend money on per minute call costs. You can talk to customers from any device that connects to the internet, anywhere, at any time.

How to install Live Chat

You don’t have to be a developer to set up live chat on your website because most live chat software requires just a line of code inserted into the pages of your website. You do, however, need to pay attention to where you insert that line, and then spend some time customizing the chat window.

Depending on the type of live chat you’re using, the setup instructions might differ slightly. The best way to get this done is to follow the instructions of your live chat provider (LiveChat, Hubspot Live Chat, Drift, Olark, Intercom, SnapEngage, Pure Chat, ClickDesk). You usually get these instructions automatically after you sign up, or you can find them in the help section of each provider’s website.

Nevertheless, not all live chat software is the same. You should choose the software that works for you depending on what you want to use it for:

  • Will you need just customer support, or are you interested in sales and marketing tools too?
  • Will you be offering 24/7 support (in which case you’ll need a live chat software featuring a chatbot), or will your live chat work only during normal hours?
  • How many customer support agents are on your team? Some live chat options are designed for small teams only.
  • What additional marketing, sales or analytics features do you need?
  • Any other security or compliance criteria your live chat should meet? Like HIPAA compliance for healthcare?

Asking yourself these questions before you subscribe to a live chat service will help narrow down your options and choose the best software for your business.

Having trouble setting up your live chat? Get help.

How to use Live Chat to grow your sales

Finally, here’s what you should do to get the most from the live chat feature on your small business or e-commerce website:

1. Assign a dedicated person or team to handle live customer communication.

When you have someone on your team who focuses exclusively on customer communication, it will show in the number of satisfied customers. It’s also easier to measure results and improve efficiency and response rates.

2. Make sure you answer FAST.

In a study conducted by Drift, they found that taking longer than 5 minutes to answer a chat request, drops your chance of landing a lead by 10 times.

3. Use bots to answer questions even when you’re not there.

One of the benefits of live chat is that your team doesn’t have to chat with customers 24/7. When you set up live chat on your website, spend a little more time arming your bot with customized responses to the most common questions. You’ll not only give visitors the info they need at any time of day or night, but you’ll also help your team filter conversations.

Questions like “How much do your services cost?” and “Where do you ship or deliver?”, “Do you offer x service?” and “What’s your return policy?”, all these simple questions can be answered by a bot, with only more complex queries reaching your support staff. You can even use bots to measure customer satisfaction at the end of a live chat session.

4. Handle complaints and overcome objections on the spot.

It’s a better strategy than ignoring complaints which may turn into negative reviews. Live chat can help you solve problems quickly, offer alternatives and incentives, which often change a bad review into a glowing one. But to be successful at this, you need to come up with solutions fast. Don’t make your customers wait.

5. Split leads into categories right there in the chatbox.

Forget about forms. By asking your visitors targeted questions in the live chat window, you can narrow down their interest and offer them solutions that match perfectly.

Questions such as “Are you B2B or B2C?”, “Do you already own our product, or are you a first-time buyer?”, “Do you like coffee or tea?” can help you categorize leads, and put them in touch with the right salesperson, or the right offer, improving your chances of making a sale.


Your small business website or online shop needs a live chat add-on. Visitors expect it, just like they expect contact forms, social media links, fast page loading times, and mobile-responsiveness. It’s all part of the basic online package that every business has to offer these days. You can choose to view it as an inconvenience, but if you look deeper, you’ll see that setting up live chat on your website will help you simplify and improve your sales process. It’s a winning move.

Need more help customizing your website to attract more visitors and get more leads?

Get in touch with a Nerd Pilot via our website’s live chat feature. Or drop us an email. We’ll answer all your questions, and give you a quote with no-strings-attached to cover any website and app-customizing ideas.

Written by

Writer and online content strategist. Loves stories, technology and entrepreneurship. Wants to help you leverage online tools and best practices to grow your business. Ask her questions! She’ll get you answers.

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