When sourcing professional advice, the internet has become the first port of call and business owners increasingly base decisions on digital experience. As a result, a growing number of accountancy firms invest heavily in developing their brand. However, many fail to realise that it’s not just about a great looking website but availability, accessibility and ease at which visitors can get the information they need.
Louise Wilson, Head of Finance Sector at leading outsourced communications provider Moneypenny, urges accountancy and tax experts to take heed and prioritise the digital client journey. She said: “We were digitally savvy before the pandemic, but now the nation is researching and spending even more time online. This presents a huge opportunity and if more people will choose an accountant based on what they see online, then they must ensure they present a positive, professional and engaging first impression on their websites.”
A tool that’s increasingly used by accountants to enhance their digital presence and generate more leads is live chat – which Moneypenny provides to many accounting firms across the UK, including 8 of the top 20 firms. Louise continued: “Live chat can significantly strengthen the sales pipeline and transform accountants’ relationships with their prospects and clients. The technology improves website engagement by 600% and helps to stimulate conversations that turn web visitors into prospects.
“It also performs as a helpful website concierge to cut out the noise of a busy, content-heavy website and direct visitors directly to the pages they need. This saves visitors time and reduces the risk of them getting frustrated and taking valuable potential business elsewhere.”
Here, Louise shares the four ways live chat could become a secret weapon for a future of success.
1. Maintain brand presence around the clock
Quality client support is paramount and being able to provide this via your website not only demonstrates that you care, but will give you an edge over the competition. Live chat responses appear as if they’re directly from your company and chats are managed 24/7/365. When a business invests in a live chat solution, they instantly become available around the clock. The ability to capture and handle enquiries outside of office hours and at the weekend can transform a website’s ROI – 37% of our chats occur outside the 9-5, a figure that has increased for many sectors since the pandemic.
2. Streamline client experience
Accountants are under unusual pressures – reduced resource, clients requiring additional support with and changing consumer demands. Organisation and efficiency have become even more of a priority and responding to endless emails and phone calls simply isn’t realistic.
Live chat efficiently triages enquiries by identifying client requirements and directing them along the sales funnel to the most appropriate next stage. The solution also securely stores important details for employees to refer back to, allowing for a more informed and seamless follow-up.
The instant nature of live chat is what has made it so popular with consumers. Years of dealing with call centres and experiences of being kept on hold, passed around to different departments or even being lost in the system, have all contributed to many people preferring digital communication. Consumers perceive live chat to be efficient and many appreciate the opportunity to ask quick questions, right there and then, whilst browsing online. Others simply prefer not to talk on the phone and those who are accustomed to communicating via text often favour the messenger-style experience live chat offers.
3. Boost web conversion
Businesses are experiencing a much higher volume of web traffic than usual. Live chat enables businesses to start proactive conversations with personalised auto-prompts such as “Are you looking to become more tax efficient?”, which encourages more interaction on your site and nudges web visitors into enquiring or asking questions.
Moneypenny’s research shows that 57% of clients will abandon a website if they can’t get their questions answered easily and live chat can increase conversion by 49%. The technology generates six times more website engagement and thanks to its immediacy, it encourages prospects who wouldn’t otherwise take the time to email or call, to make an enquiry.
After investing in the design and development of a website and creating online content, it’s important to make sure it works as hard as it can. Live chat’s reporting metrics offer in-depth analysis of performance and integrates with Google Analytics. Areas monitored include chat volumes, agent response rates, chat durations and survey feedback, which arms businesses with the information required to offer the best possible digital experience.
4. Offer a human response
Managing tax and accounting is extremely stressful and clients often need reassurance – consequently it’s important to remember that people buy from people. Humanising your live chat service is a crucial step to avoid the impression of appearing like a chatbot. You can do this easily by adding photos of your live chat agents and using their names so clients can connect with the person behind the screen.
Experience tells us that live chat often encourages clients to open up more, particularly on matters of a sensitive nature that require empathy and deeper understanding. Unlike the phone, online messaging gives clients time to consider their responses, pose further questions and being a much more honest and open dialogue with your business.
As well as being a quick and easy experience for clients, live chat is simple to set up and can be running on a website within minutes. What’s more, chats are logged and can be viewed, along with key insights, and managed at any time through the online portal on desktop or from the app on a smartphone.
Moneypenny provides telephone answering and live chat services to hundreds of financial services businesses and is trusted by the UK’s top accounting firms, including 8 of the top 20. Established in 2000, Moneypenny is the world’s market leader for telephone answering, live chat, outsourced switchboard and customer contact solutions. In total, more than 21,000 businesses across the UK benefit from Moneypenny’s mix of extraordinary people and ground-breaking technology.