Not-So-Great Website? Get Live Chat.
The introduction of live chat into the online consumer landscape has had a dramatic impact on the way customers and service providers, like higher education institutions, interact. While early instant chat tools were popularized for social interaction, such as Yahoo Instant Messenger and AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), business providers across all sectors have come to realize the need for a dynamic presence on their website to build relationships with customers and facilitate the purchasing process – increasing results and revenue.
It’s the process that’s important here. We’ve all been customers browsing or shopping on a website at one point or another. While looking at photos of an automobile, a pair of shoes, a new laptop, airfare or any other item of importance, the thought comes to mind: I need more information.
Sometimes all the data referencing the item in question is listed in the website nicely. Sometimes, it’s not so easy to find. Higher Education institutions are particularly guilty of designing websites that are organized more for the school’s use internally than what might make sense to a prospective student.
And even if a web designer spent painstaking hours getting your website to be as user friendly as possible, there will always be a missing element – the human touch. People can have information right in front of them and still want to verify it with a real person.
Live chat solves both of these dilemmas: poorly designed websites and people wanting to connect with people. For a website that’s not easy to navigate or information is buried, it gives a prospective student a lifeline for information instead of them abandoning the website altogether. It also allows a school to be a dynamic global player and build rapport with prospective students regardless of location. International students are particularly eager for easy, helpful assistance when considering a program on a website since English may not be their first language.
While it’s easy to think that tools like live chat are fostering a society without social skills, it is actually providing quick access to a real, empathetic and helpful person. The true power of live chat is its ability to make the transmission of information a live, bilateral process – arguably beating even a personal email as a mechanism for building trust and assistance. Your prospective student isn’t simply reading words on a screen, but getting immediate feedback on their concerns. The exchange helps erase doubt and sets your prospect student on a clear path for further engagement.
How I lived, saw or experienced one of MindMax’s values this month
Get Results – Learn Always – Align to Mission – Build Meaningful Relationships – Ask for Help.
Build Meaningful Relationships: I received a phone call one evening from a prospective student – we’ll call him Jack – interested in one of the online professional education programs MindMax represents. He had a myriad of questions, and we discussed all aspects of the course until Jack finally explained that he was very unclear about how the payment process works. We delved into the point by point details of what he and I would have to do in order for him to enroll and secure payment through his employer. At the end of the conversation, I sensed he was still unclear. I suggested that we have a conference call with his employer’s HR rep to ensure the three of us were on the same page moving forward. The HR rep and I were able to outline the exact steps we would all take to ensure a smooth route to enrollment. The multiple conversations I had with this Jack undoubtedly left a very positive impression on him and the HR rep. Since then, he has referred our online program to multiple colleagues several of whom are now enrolled in the program.