Today’s pest control customers value convenience. They want to request estimates, ask questions, and book services as easily and as quickly as possible, on their own schedule. In fact, according to Inc., more than half of customers believe that a business should be available 24 hours a day.
Enter web chat. Web chat lets customers start a conversation with your company directly from your website. Web chat has an 83% customer satisfaction rating, according to Comm100’s Live Chat Benchmark Report for 2020, and 42% of customers say they prefer live chat to other forms of communication with a business.
Web chat is a useful tool for many different purposes, from complaint resolution to service booking, but today’s focus is web chat sales, a powerful tool that can help you to convert leads and secure new customers.
According to a survey by Zoho SalesIQ, almost 49% of companies that implemented web chat saw an increase in conversions of leads into customers within two years. Even those who had been using chat for less than a year saw a 5% to 10% increase in revenue.
It’s a powerful tool, but it’s not a sure thing. Here’s what you need to know to engage leads through chat, build the relationship, and close the sale.
1. Add Chat Where Questions Arise
You don’t want to overwhelm your customers with chat pop-ups, but you do want chat to be there any time they have a question about your services. For pest control services, that usually includes:
- Service description pages
- Pricing pages
- About pages
- Landing pages
If you’re not sure which pages on your website generate the most sales questions, ask your customer service reps.
2. Create Conversational Scripts
More than 85% of consumers would rather interact with a human agent. You don’t want the personal connection of live chat to be undercut by a stiff, impersonal chat script, so make sure your chat agents sound like real people.
How do you know if a script sounds “real?” Read it aloud. If it doesn’t sound like a response you’d offer to a friend, it needs editing.
3. Start With an Engaging Welcome Message
Real, human-to-human sales conversations start with a relevant welcome message. Your goal is to open up a conversation, so stay away from information dumps. Open with a question and make it as specific as possible.
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with the standard fallback of, “Hi, how may I help you?” but the customer might respond with the equally standard, “Just looking, thanks.” Avoid the automatic response with more closed-ended questions like:
- Welcome! What kind of pests are you trying to eliminate?
- Thanks for checking out our pricing packages! Do you see an option that meets your needs?
Whenever possible, match the questions to the page. If you’re placing a web chat window on a page about rodent elimination, the “What kind of pests” question might not be the right opener.
4. Match the Customer’s Tone
When your goal is to communicate authentically with your prospects, human-to-human, getting the right tone is important. Tone mismatches are how you get stilted conversations that don’t sound real. For example:
CUSTOMER: What kind of pesticides do you guys use?
AGENT: We use a range of products to help you with your pest elimination needs. Our standard termite removal service features….
The tone of this agent’s reply doesn’t align with the customer’s more casual style. It’s clear that the agent is responding from a script and not responding authentically to the real person on the other side of the screen. Something like this would be better:
CUSTOMER: What kind of pesticides do you guys use?
AGENT: We field that question a lot. We use products X, Y, and Z. Do you have pets or kids?
This agent still sounds professional, but they’re responding to the customer’s tone.
5. Focus on Helping, Not Selling
Sales-focused web chats can be tricky. You naturally want to close the sale, but the person you’re talking to might just be shopping around. A good rule of thumb is to answer the question and then give or offer one more piece of information. Here’s an example:
CUSTOMER: Are your pesticides safe for kids and pets? We have a dog and a 3-year-old.
AGENT: Yes, all of the chemicals we use are safe to use around dogs, cats, and children. We do ask that you keep your dog and toddler out of the treated room for X days. Will that work for you?
6. Look for Opportunities to Collect Contact Information
You might not make a sale over web chat, and that’s okay. If you can collect a customer’s contact information and use that to follow up—or just to place them on your mailing list—that’s a win.
Be careful, though; customers can smell a sales pitch a mile away, and they might feel turned off if you ask for their contact information too soon. Be on the lookout for questions that you could answer by emailing more information or scheduling a call. Examples include:
- Questions about pricing or discounts
- Mentions of needing to ask a spouse or family member
- Requests for more detailed information than what’s on your website
7. Ensure Fast 24/7 Responses
One of the primary reasons why sales teams adopt web chat is to provide customers with rapid responses around the clock. According to Slingshot, our partner for 24/7, omni-channel sales services, the average response time for web chat today is 46 seconds. Slingshot recommends setting a “Within 30 Seconds” goal (no matter what time of day your customers reach out) to make sure your business is meeting customer expectations.
8. Integrate Chat With Your Marketing Plan
Web chat works best when it connects with your broader marketing and sales structure to create a seamless customer experience. That might mean:
- Adding web chats to your marketing landing pages
- Using chat as a way to gather email addresses for email campaigns
- Directing chat clients to relevant promotions
Web chats fit perfectly within PestPac’s fully integrated marketing system, whether you staff the inbox yourself or let our partner Slingshot manage your chat leads. Either way, we can help you figure out a strategy.
The best way to see the value of web chat is to start using it. With these best practices in play and PestPac behind you to help you manage your sales funnel, you can start capturing leads and closing more sales in no time!