While email, website forms, and phones calls serve an important purpose in the marketing and sales funnel, being able to create instant and personalized interactions is growing increasingly important to people as they spend more time online connecting with others, searching for solutions to their problems, and, of course, shopping.
Can you always give real-time and individualized responses to everyone? If you can't, the chances are good that your business won't grow into the future.
To address this concern in part, you'll need to embrace chat platforms. Unfortunately, there are many to consider, and that number will continue to grow as more business look for ways to adapt to this cultural shift.
Think about this.
If you're a B2B company, how can you instantly connect your staff to your clients to answer questions, knowledge requests, or address concerns? In this particular case, a service like Slack or HipChat would be a great start.
One way to win—and delight—customers through social media is to connect promptly one-on-one. Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Message makes it easy to offer instant customer service while being able to track (and save) conversations.
A way to capture the attention of your website visitors—and to better serve them—is 24-7 availability. Being able to answer their questions via a chat pop up will give you a better chance of winning their business.
So, let's take a quick look at a few of the chat platforms that will help you to connect with others quickly and immediately, ultimately positioning you to grow into the future.
Chat with your staff and clients on the same platform—Slack & HipChat
Here are two popular tools to consider.
SLACK | Slack is like texting or instant messenger on steroids. It improves communication between teams as well as team members with customers, making everyone more productive and on point. This chat platform connects everyone together regardless of location and is usable on most devices.
HIPCHAT | HipChat is a web service for chatting and instant messaging. In addition to one-on-one, group, and topic chats, it also features server-based file storage, video calling, and searchable message history.
While Slack is more popular right now, HipChat and Slack are similar. They offer many of the same features, have a free option (and paid options, too), and even look the same.
To discover more live chat apps plus see a side-by-side comparison chart, visit getapp.com.
Chat with your social media followers and customers—Facebook Messenger & Twitter Direct Message
While social media is always evolving and new features are constantly being released, here are two that have been around for a while now . . . and they're pretty good.
FACEBOOK MESSENGER | When Messenger first became available for business pages, Facebook users could message page owners and the page owners could reply. Now, page owners can respond to anyone who has commented on their page, privately or publicly. The ability to direct message your audience is extremely powerful.
Discover how you can use Facebook Messenger to grow your business.
TWITTER DIRECT MESSAGE | Twitter works to move your leads and customers from Tweets to Direct Messages where optimal interactions can be had. Both quick replies and welcome messages within Direct Messages make it easier for businesses to guide people to better outcomes through a combination of simple automation and human service.
Chat with your website visitors—LiveChat, Intercom & Drift
Embedded and pop up chats are both popular. But live pop up chat platforms on the increase—here are two of them.
LIVECHAT | LiveChat is an online customer service software with live support, help desk software, and web analytics capabilities. You can provide customer service at any time of the day or night, interact with customers on the website, and get valuable business insight on website visitors.
INTERCOM | Intercom is a live chat app that you can use to catch your website visitors and convert them into customers. Engage your visitors on your website or those who use your app, and text them via chat or email. Amplify your brand and make a personal connection at the same time.
DRIFT | The folks at Drift believe that helping is the new selling, and customer experience is the new marketing. They also believe that talking to people while they're live on your website converts more leads and closes more deals.
This comparison table lists most live chat software options—including LiveChat, Intercom, and Dift. See the differences, pros & cons, customer reviews, and performance ratings.
What does Invoq use?
We use Slack for our internal communications and for the majority of our client communications. (If you have Slack, do you know about the /giphy feature? It's highly entertaining!) Slack has not only been a life saver in some instances, but it has also forged an open path for effortless daily communication, and has eliminated email inbox overflow.
For our website, we use HubSpot's live pop up chat feature called HubSpot Messages. Because we're an Inbound Marketing agency, we use HubSpot's marketing and sales software. Since HubSpot's CRM and chat platform are connected, the information gleaned from Messages is seamlessly integrated into the CRM. No other chat platform offers that kind of power.
If you use SalesForce as your CRM—good news!—HubSpot Messages can work for you, too! All you have to do is sync HubSpot Sales Pro with Salesforce for a fast, reliable, and powerful integration between your two databases—AND for access to Messages! Yay!
What about you? Are you looking for a chat platform? Unhappy with your current chat app? Or thrilled with the chat platform you're using? Whatever the either case, tell us! Leave a note in the comment field below. We'd love to hear from you.