Originally published by REB

In today’s age of technology, everyone wants a response immediately, which is why we chose to add an extra pillar of communication to our website.

Two years ago, we installed a Live Chat function on our main website plus all of our allied businesses so we could facilitate fast, direct conversations with our customers. If I’m being honest, the roll out wasn’t perfect and it took a lot of trial and error for us to work out the best way to manage it effectively and efficiently, especially in a business our size.

Having established a solid system now, I would highly recommend other businesses implement Live Chat if they haven’t already so here are some of the lessons that we learnt along the way.

1. Chatbots 

Bots are convenient and a good starting point if you decide to incorporate Live Chat into your website. At first, we tried implementing a bot that could direct a customer to the right page on the website, but we quickly learnt that nothing could beat the human touch.

For us, the bot was directing people to the wrong place on our website, or it couldn’t understand exactly what it was asked. So, if you’re thinking about having a bot in your Live Chat, here’s what you should consider:

  • The size of your business – for smaller businesses, having a bot in the Live Chat is an excellent option to get started but maybe not so much for the larger businesses.
  • Range of services that you offer – if you have an extensive range of services, it might be difficult for the bot to direct your customer in the right direction.

2. Human touch 

After experimenting with bots, we decided to develop a process where our team managed the Live Chat function. At the end of the day, nothing can beat human touch or think exactly like humans so we a created a team of people scheduled to manage our Live Chat every day during business hours.

To help us implement this strategy, we put someone in charge to coordinate this team which mainly consisted of our administrators and train them on how to best answer questions they receive. Where possible, the aim is to convert the Live Chat into an appointment with one of our agents, brokers or BDMs or it could just be as simple as directing them to the right page.

On average, our team conducts 30 substantial conversations a day, with topics varying from tenant enquiries to home loans to sales. We now use bots in combination with our rostered team for automatic conversation starters and after-hours communication.

3. Take it to social 

Having a social media presence for your business is a must. We all know how important it is, and how it can enhance your marketing efforts. To complement our Live Chat feature on our website, we connected it to Facebook Messenger, so that anyone who messages one of our offices through that platform also receives an instant reply. An administrator then continues the conversation as if it was a Live Chat.

Integrating tools like this across all platforms will really help take your communication to a new level. The more convenient you make it for your customers, the better results you will generate for your business.

4. Gen Z & Y

Real estate is all about conversations. Generally speaking, Baby Boomers and Gen X are happy to pick up the phone and call if they have a question whereas studies are showing Gen Y and Z would prefer to send a text, email or search your website to find the answer.

Calling a business is the last resort for many people in the younger generations, so when they go online and a chat window pops-up in the corner, it’s easy to just type the question away. You’d be surprised how many people are open for a chat. Live Chat on average generates about 10 sales leads a month for us, which makes it a valuable tool to incorporate into your business.

Hopefully that gives you some insight into incorporating Live Chat into your website if you haven’t already. From our experience, I would highly recommend it however if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, I’d be happy to have a chat.

Karuna Dimelow, Chief Operating Officer