Share this content
45

Live chat - does it work

i am considering installing live chat on my website to leads. What do practitioners think?

Didn't find your answer?

I have come across a firm that provides leads for £99 per month by instaling live chat on the firms website and making sure the conversations are progressed by using a number of FAQs.   Some practitioners come accross Melu in the past gives details including a quote from a well respected local firm which states they have had more business from live chat than they have had from the website for many years.  Do practitioners have any experience. Thanks Peeps.

Replies (45)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By paul.benny
04th Jun 2019 15:15

I'd visit the website of that 'well-respected local firm' and have a go at using the service as a potential client, ideally outside office hours.

You might also want to think about what resource it might require from your side, both to set up and to field enquiries..

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Mr_awol
04th Jun 2019 15:34

I almost always close chat bots, so it wouldn't work for me as a customer.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Mr_awol:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
04th Jun 2019 16:25

Mr_awol wrote:

I almost always close chat bots, so it wouldn't work for me as a customer.

that was not my question - whether it works for you is anacodotal evidence. For example my rough rule of thumb is that it takes 400 website hits to generate one telephone enquiry and one telephone enquiry is worth about £170 in GRF terms if you convert 1:3 (because google searches produce price sensitive leads that i weed out. If the conversion ratio changes to 40 website hits for one lead (which is what i suspect) it would mean i earn at more at a price that is a lot cheaper than buying in fees. that is why i asked the question!
Thanks (1)
avatar
By Maslins
04th Jun 2019 15:48

It's rare I use them, and it annoys me if they pop up covering half the screen when I'm trying to read stuff.

Who answers the live chat? Your OP makes it sound a bit like someone from the software provider (or the software itself) does it? Or have I misread, and you need an employee (or yourself) to do so? If the latter, you'll want to ensure it's either only on during office hours...or waking hours if you're happy to get pinged in the evenings/weekends.

It's something we briefly considered a while ago, but ruled out.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Maslins:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
04th Jun 2019 16:32

Maslins wrote:

It's rare I use them, and it annoys me if they pop up covering half the screen when I'm trying to read stuff.

Who answers the live chat? Your OP makes it sound a bit like someone from the software provider (or the software itself) does it? Or have I misread, and you need an employee (or yourself) to do so? If the latter, you'll want to ensure it's either only on during office hours...or waking hours if you're happy to get pinged in the evenings/weekends.

It's something we briefly considered a while ago, but ruled out.

the fact you use them and it annoys you is again anacdotal evidence but if it proves anything it is that accountants do not think like their clients (who are more sales focused) it is the support service that mans it although clearly it is better answered by your staff - that is however an economic decision. The comment below answers your queries.

Thanks (0)
Replying to alan.kennedy.smithkennedy:
By Glenn Martin
04th Jun 2019 17:07

Thats an unfair comment towards Maslins advice.

Maslins is unlikely to go to another accountants website as a punter, he is speaking in general terms that he does not like them when shopping for services on line. he doesn't have to think like a client.

I don't like them either. If you offer a high level personal service they do not fit in with that. If you offer low quality conveyor belt service they maybe work.

It is clear you have already convinced yourself that is for you but don't shoot people down just because they don't have the same opinion.

Thanks (4)
Replying to Glennzy:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
04th Jun 2019 17:54

Glennzy wrote:

I don't like them either. If you offer a high level personal service they do not fit in with that. If you offer low quality conveyor belt service they maybe work.

It is clear you have already convinced yourself that is for you but don't shoot people down just because they don't have the same opinion.

Using live chat is not inconsistent with a high level of personal service. For example if the senior partner mans the chat bot then that is very personal but also very expensive. Given the partner of the average accountant gives the average client 3 hours of time per year I am not sure about the "personal service argument" - my business coach is much more personable but also much more expensive! My main concern is the most cost effective way of increasing the conversion rate. The fact you do not consider this also suggests you do not think like most sales Directors. If the process is made more efficient that enables the service to become more personal in the long run.

Thanks (0)
Replying to alan.kennedy.smithkennedy:
By Glenn Martin
05th Jun 2019 09:42

As already said why ask for advice when you shoot down anyone who disagrees with you. Are you Firstab in disguise.

You have clearly made a decision to go with it so why bother asking the question.

Your response is ridiculous why would a senior partner man a chat bot.

You may have only got 3 hours with a senior partner years ago but not now.

Why do I need to think like a sales director, the person scanning the internet for accounting services is not a sales director but a small business owner looking for someone to act for them who is close to their own circumstances. Small business owners like a face to deal with not a robot.

Thanks (3)
avatar
By CypherHq
04th Jun 2019 16:17

We use Melu's service on our website (which launched on Monday and from which we've had one lead via chat already).

I suspect I was also a partner at the 'well-respected local firm' you mention (though they now look after a few of them, so can't be sure).

Genuinely cannot recommend their service enough and recommend it to every accountant and lawyer I meet.

It's £99 / month, but only after you've had a free month trial. Given that their staff field all of the enquiries it takes no resource from you other than to speak to the leads as they come in. If it doesn't work for you (and it likely won't if you don't have any web traffic), then you switch it off and forget about it.

It is very effective though (assuming you have web traffic) - You give them some simple FAQ's to answer (like is there parking at your office, do you look after charities etc) and then sit back and wait for leads to appear. You get a transcript of every chat, so you can check the quality of the operators (never a problem in our experience) and can turn the pop-up on or off, so if you just want it to sit there and only interact with visitors if they click on it, you can set it up that way.

Website visitors either interact with it or not, but in the 5 months we've been using the service (at the old firm) we had about £13k of new recurring fees come from it and zero negative feedback.

Obviously some of those fees would probably have found a way to contact us were we not using the live chat, but I'd imagine that at least some of them would have drifted away from the website and on to another firm also.

Thanks (2)
Replying to CypherHq:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
04th Jun 2019 16:40

CypherHq wrote:

It's £99 / month, but only after you've had a free month trial.

................

It is very effective though we had about £13k of new recurring fees come from it and zero negative feedback.

I calculate that is £4p per £ of GRF! (£99x5/13000). Hmmnn.....

Thanks (0)
Replying to alan.kennedy.smithkennedy:
avatar
By CypherHq
04th Jun 2019 16:44

Yes, but one of the client's was about £8k of the £13k...

Thanks (0)
Replying to alan.kennedy.smithkennedy:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
06th Jun 2019 15:04

alan.kennedy.smithkennedy wrote:

CypherHq wrote:

It's £99 / month, but only after you've had a free month trial.

................

It is very effective though we had about £13k of new recurring fees come from it and zero negative feedback.

I calculate that is £4p per £ of GRF! (£99x5/13000). Hmmnn.....

I'm clearly missing... a lot here. Why £99 x 5? Why 6 months (including the free month)?
Why is £99 x 5 divided by £13,000 £4?
Wouldn't you be saying you are getting over 10 times your investment back (13,000 divided by £99 x 12 months)?

I am even more confused than usual...

Thanks (1)
Replying to CypherHq:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
04th Jun 2019 16:53

Curious, you have registered today to just post that which sounds like a sales pitch.

Just saying.

Thanks (3)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
avatar
By CypherHq
04th Jun 2019 16:58

registered today because we launched our new business yesterday!

Prior to that was registered under a different username through my old firm.

As I said, I recommend their services because it was effective for us. I also acknowledged that if you have limited web traffic then it would be a waste of time.

The OP asked for feedback on the service and I gave it. Appreciate that the timing might look odd, but that is purely a coincidence.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
04th Jun 2019 16:57

interesting pm from another accountant. he used live chat and got about 10 new clients over two years when managed by a staff manager. Still cost effective but not as good as the quote above. it depends solely on the quantum of web traffic i suspect. Personally i do not like accountancy staff doing sales activity. it gives them an reason to justify low recovery rates.

Thanks (0)
Replying to alan.kennedy.smithkennedy:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
05th Jun 2019 08:56

Several people say they hate them and you dismiss it as just "anecdotal evidence".

A single person claims success and you take that as the way it will work for you.

Why have you asked a question when you are only accepting one sort of answer? I can only think of one reason, but that would be a clear breach of the site terms and conditions.

Thanks (2)
avatar
By Maslins
04th Jun 2019 16:58

You say it's just anecdotal evidence that these annoy some people, and that you can tell webchats drive extra sales by client sign ups following completion of a webchat. However, what you can't tell is how many people were on your website, generally liked what they saw and would have got in touch, but a webchat pop up annoyed them enough they went elsewhere. Remember, such people are highly unlikely to email you to say they would have signed up if it wasn't for the webchat. Ie survivorship bias.

I'm not saying confidently that this will apply to a lot of people, most will just click the "x"/similar and continue browsing, but I think it's dangerous to ignore comments from people who don't like them.

Thanks (2)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
04th Jun 2019 17:19

Don't bother Maslins, I smell a lot of horse manure in this one.

The link drop in the opening post, the "friend" arriving in support with a new account, aggressively attacking people suggesting they are a bit naff.

The instant PM from someone else saying its great, but are too scared to post.

Very warm wafts coming in my direction given most people looking for accounting services want a technical response, not a call centre chasing for details type stuff.

hat said if you do "pile em high, look ma no hands" style services it might well appeal to your client base.

Thanks (3)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
04th Jun 2019 21:06

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

Don't bother Maslins, I smell a lot of horse manure in this one.

The link drop in the opening post, the "friend" arriving in support with a new account, aggressively attacking people suggesting they are a bit naff.

The instant PM from someone else saying its great, but are too scared to post.

Very warm wafts coming in my direction given most people looking for accounting services want a technical response, not a call centre chasing for details type stuff.

hat said if you do "pile em high, look ma no hands" style services it might well appeal to your client base.

I did not post the pm because i presumed the sender wanted to remain confidential. I have spent about one third of my career in pure sales roles and two thirds in accountancy and the language of the sales department and approach is very different from the anecdotal evidence on here. Ratios and conversion rates are kpis that the industry focus on but accountants appear to ignore. Whilst i cannot comment about those who followed me I am about to launch a coaching business and am looking for tools to help my clients. the firm of Melu i met networking, and so am interested in the view. the accountant who followed up was a former top 50 firm partner.

Thanks (0)
By Tom Herbert
04th Jun 2019 18:03

A reminder to the OP that link dropping is generally frowned upon. This one has been removed and replaced with the company in question's name.

All the best,

Tom

Thanks (0)
Replying to TomHerbert:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
04th Jun 2019 20:49

TomHerbert wrote:

A reminder to the OP that link dropping is generally frowned upon. This one has been removed and replaced with the company in question's name.

All the best,

Tom


Apologies i did not know.
Thanks (0)
avatar
By sash100
04th Jun 2019 21:40

Actually, web chat have worked very well for me. I pay £129 a year using Zendesk. £99 per year seems steep.

Some clients are a little shy to make a call and prefer webchat

Thanks (0)
Replying to sash100:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
06th Jun 2019 15:06

sash100 wrote:

Actually, web chat have worked very well for me. I pay £129 a year using Zendesk. £99 per year seems steep.

Some clients are a little shy to make a call and prefer webchat

It's £99 a month...

Thanks (1)
avatar
By leicsred
05th Jun 2019 09:15

We have a web chat on our website (manned by us) we have had a few people use it, not massive amounts, but for the cost (it's free) we see it as a good additional service to offer.

Thanks (0)
By Duggimon
05th Jun 2019 09:19

Personally if I'm shopping around for anything I'll look at multiple sites. Any that fire any sort of popup at me are closed immediately, particularly unsolicited live chats.

On the other hand, I do love the option for chat when looking for support from someone I already use, I'm not averse to the medium, it's just when it comes across as pushy.

I expect my approach to business is different to those accountants using this sort of service though.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Soletrader
05th Jun 2019 09:53

If you can guarantee that it is run well you have quality control over it then it can be beneficial - my experience they are a great help
Line but not so effective in lead generation.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Fran Kidd
05th Jun 2019 15:21

Hello Alan,

We are in the process of trialling Melu. It is an incredibly easy install and so far we have had some good results.

The main benefits for us are:

- That clients (or more appropriately potential new clients) are able to contact the people on the chat from 08:00am-10:00pm during the week therefore, creating the feel of a more 'proactive' practice.

- It provides that immediate response that is not possible using web forms/ emails.

- You have a level of control over how subtle/ not the contact icon is and whether the people who manage the chat 'invite' the end-user to interact with them or wait for the end-user to click through.

It is at this point a little bit too early to judge the conversion rates of enquiries but happy to talk on the phone in a couple of weeks if you would like?

Thanks (1)
Replying to Fran Kidd:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
05th Jun 2019 15:55

There's coincidence, lies, damned lies, statistics and marketing.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Fran Kidd:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
05th Jun 2019 16:08

Fran Kidd wrote:

happy to talk on the phone in a couple of weeks if you would like?

thanks that might be very helpful.
Thanks (0)
Replying to Fran Kidd:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
05th Jun 2019 16:57

You're the second new poster to have a positive experience with this product. 2 posters joining up in 2 days who just happen to use Melu and have stumbled upon this question.

That's almost unbelievable.

Really! I don't believe it.

I now know to steer well clear of Melu.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Lone_Wolf:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
05th Jun 2019 17:14

BUT I want these guys negotiating Brexit. That much brass might just dazzle the other side.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Lone_Wolf:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
05th Jun 2019 21:10

Lone_Wolf wrote:

You're the second new poster to have a positive experience with this product. 2 posters joining up in 2 days who just happen to use Melu and have stumbled upon this question.

That's almost unbelievable.

Really! I don't believe it.

I now know to steer well clear of Melu.

I was interested to read but the assumption you have made that the approach is someway orchestrated is almost certainly incorrect and under estimates the supportive relationships that develop when networking. Both the positive comments i referred to above appear to have come from well respected multi partner firms in Oxfordshire - I suspect the second firm took live chat on because the first one had and did not want to be left behind. I posted my post because as i have said above i had met the the md of melu networking and wanted to know who else was using the service. Not least if i recommend the service to clients it helps justify the fees if it works. I hope that helps. if it does not maybe it is because you are a touch cynical.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Lone_Wolf:
avatar
By Fran Kidd
05th Jun 2019 23:13

If you want to check the validity of my post, you can check our website www.shawgibbs.com where you will see Melu chat is installed and you can view my profile in the team section.

We are a top 100 multi-partner firm as Alan has said below. I have been marketing accountants of various sizes for 12 years and I would not risk my reputation or the reputation of Shaw Gibbs with a misleading review.

I can also vouch for Matthew Williams from Cypher as we worked together for a number of years at a previous practice which was also a top 100 reputable and trusted accountancy practice.

I find it quite sad that this kind of response has been posted when we are all attempting to provide help to those in the profession via honest opinion.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Fran Kidd:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
06th Jun 2019 15:10

Fran Kidd wrote:

If you want to check the validity of my post, you can check our website shawgibbs where you will see Melu chat is installed and you can view my profile in the team section.

I sense Fran Kidd is about to be inundated with emails asking if she is really posting on AW...

Thanks (0)
avatar
By In a Daze
05th Jun 2019 22:59

It would suggest you need high traffic to your website for this to work so google or what ever you are doing is working.

May be worth investing the money on your website rather than paying for this app.

Thanks (1)
Replying to In a Daze:
avatar
By alan.kennedy.smithkennedy
06th Jun 2019 08:09

In a Daze wrote:

It would suggest you need high traffic to your website for this to work so google or what ever you are doing is working.

May be worth investing the money on your website rather than paying for this app.

Or both. From what i hear this is spot on. live chat appears to work best for those who have lots of traffic to their website. Whether it is manned or not and by whom depends on economic factors.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By pauljohnston
06th Jun 2019 10:28

Lots of comments.

I use webchartbut I expect an immediate response and not to be left hanging to chat. Sadly the last two i used had a long wait and thus were closed down.

Maybe a call back could help too

Thanks (0)
Replying to pauljohnston:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
06th Jun 2019 11:32

Lots of comments. Quite a few… erm, most… of them (by curious happenstance) from Oxfordshire, where Melu is based (though I'm not suggesting that's connected in any way).

Like webchat itself, this promotion relies on there being some take-up (else, why bother?) – but only a partial take-up. Imagine if we all went "great idea, I'm in", all had this installed on our websites and all were met with floods of queries. Could Melu cope? Unlikely. Response times would slow. People would turn off. Success would soon be followed by failure.

Thanks (0)
Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
06th Jun 2019 11:19

Well, I'm hardly new to the site and I spotted this Q as I'm about to trial melu too after chatting with their owner at Accountex. 30 days for nothing. If it works it'll be worth £99 a month,

Simple to instal and easy to provide a range of answers to the FAQs you anticipate from experience. As more come in - these get referred to you (or your team) so you can update the list that the operators use when reply live on the site.

The live chat can only work well if you provide and update the Q&As that can be answered through live chat and without bothering you.

Those who don't like it won't use it. I doubt it will discourage anyone from using me (or you) if they come across an unobtrusive live chat box on the website.

Thanks (0)
Replying to bookmarklee:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
06th Jun 2019 11:38

bookmarklee wrote:

I doubt it will discourage anyone from using me (or you) if they come across an unobtrusive live chat box on the website.

Maybe, but what hasn't been said yet (well, it might've – apologies if I missed it) is that the "success" stories are only part of the picture. They’re anecdotal, if you will. If the above responses are typical (and who knows? – that's kind of my point!) then it would seem that for every potential client that loves webchat (for which I can see the allure of putting such on your website), there is someone else who hates it and whom it drives away.

It's binary: you can measure what you know; you can't measure what you don’t know. Businesses will continue to thrive both with and without webchat.

Where this thread has succeeded is in getting us to talk about Melu, rather than webchat per se.

Thanks (0)
Replying to bookmarklee:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
06th Jun 2019 12:45

bookmarklee wrote:

Well, I'm hardly new to the site


No, but you are a well known peddler of horse manure so you don't exactly improve my view of Melu.

I'm guessing you lot are on some sort of commission from this mob.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Lone_Wolf:
Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
07th Jun 2019 13:18

Sorry I seem to have upset you Lone Wolf. I’m confused tho as I never ‘peddle’ anything and my website makes quite clear I don’t get involved with anyone paying commissions or affinity fees.

You’ll note I haven’t praised the product/service as it only went live on my website today.

My only interest is in offering independent commercial advice, insights and support for accountants.

If what I share is of no value or interest to you, feel free to ignore it.

(I do wonder if people who use pseudonyms are as rude in real life when people know who they are)

Thanks (2)
avatar
By Bob Loblaw
06th Jun 2019 13:43

I'm going to have to treat every answer to this post, positive and negative, as anecdotal. Including my own.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Bob Loblaw:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
06th Jun 2019 13:49

Yes. That's what you do with anecdotes.

Certainly don't consider applying any logic here. The OP asked for anecdotes, the OP obtained anecdotes, the OP got upset that he had received anecdotes.

You couldn't make up such an anecdote.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Bob Loblaw:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
06th Jun 2019 15:12

Bob Loblaw wrote:

I'm going to have to treat every answer to this post, positive and negative, as anecdotal. Including my own.

I'll take that under advisement ;)

Thanks (0)
Share this content