To have chat or not to have chat? That is the question. I’m sure everyone out there has been on a website and BOOM! In the lower right-hand corner, a chat icon pops up to greet you.
Nelson Bruton, president of interchanges, a lead generation firm in business for years joins us to discuss having a chat team on your side that will help your business succeed.
Below is a transcript of Devin and Nelson’s discussion that is filled with great nuggets to improve your business.
Devin Herz – Hello Nelson.
Nelson Bruton – Thank you for having me Devin pleasure to be here.
Devin Herz – Oh yeah. Great to have you here as well. And Nelson, you’ve got some awesome software and a business that I want to bring some attention to and let our viewers out there know that this even exists. So, please give us some insight on your background and how you really got started in this segment of marketing.
Nelson Bruton – Absolutely. So, gosh, we’ve been in business for 20 years and we’re a full-service digital marketing agency. And, about 17 years ago, one of the things that we plugged into our digital marketing solution package, if you will, is a live chat solution. And because we were already doing SEO and SEM and email marketing to drive people to a website, we were focused on how do we convert more of those people into sales opportunities? And we started adding chat to the website and built our chat teams out and it worked very, very well. And so that’s how we kind of came about 17 years ago, adding that chat solution to the overall mix.
Devin Herz – Yeah, that’s great. And I know that interaction definitely helps engage with visitors. And I would say that your platform is definitely different than what a lot of people experience out there when it comes to chatbots and whatnot. We’ll get into that in just a minute, but I think people spend tons of money getting people to their website, but they lose them as quickly as they get them there. Give us some insight on how your platform really helps keep the visitors engaged and what differentiates you from the typical chatbots that are out there. Because I know this is a completely different way to go about it.
Nelson Bruton – Yeah, yeah. It really is. There’s a ton of chat software companies out there that are really good. And if you have the people and capability to staff it yourself, it’s a great option, right? Especially if you’re a small business, there’s a lot of good, very inexpensive chat software out there. There’s a lot of chat software that has AI built into it, artificial intelligence, where you can program a bot to answer simple questions on your site and direct people through different choices. And that can work in the right applications. Where we really specialize is the more complex B2B environments we work with, mostly industrial components and equipment manufacturers, truck manufacturers, equipment dealers, where the conversation is more complex where trying to think about programming a bot is just a whole other level because there’s so many different options, products, technical details, etc. So, where
we separate ourselves is we provide a 24/7 dedicated chat team, real humans behind the chat. We have our own proprietary chat software, which is just a widget that, you know, like all the others you copy and paste the code onto the site that puts the chat widget there. But again, what truly separates us is that we have teams of people in call centers, professionals that we train specifically to dedicate to a customer website. That’s served us very, very well in the more complex B2B, customer space.
Devin Herz – So instead of having AI or a chatbot, these are actual real people that understand your client’s business to be able to answer questions that are thrown at them. Is that correct?
Nelson Bruton – Absolutely. Yeah. And you know, one of the things I like to distinguish is, you know, when we train our people, we have a very detailed process that we go through. It’s an easy process, but it’s a process where we’re not trying to train our chat team to become salespeople or a sales specialists or product experts for our customers, nor could we for the intensely technical customers that we have, we are conversion experts. So when we go through the training process, we’re training them to be able to help the visitors navigate the pages of the website. We’re training them to be able to answer common questions that come up, we’re training them to be able to ask some top-level qualifying questions. For the technical customers that we have though, typically what happens is the visitor will ask a technical question or an application or a facility-specific question that we won’t know the answer to. At that point, our team simply says, let me have one of our experts help you with that. Can I have your phone number, email address please?
Devin Herz – They’re capturing that information, which is crucial, right? You want to get that contact information, which helps you market to them ongoing, retargeting them, reach back out to them, or have a sales professional from their team. But it’s really an extension of their team because now you’re saving them time by answering probably the most common FAQs that are out there.
Nelson Bruton – Yep. And a common concern that comes up is, well, you know, you guys are just the middleman. We have a contact form on our website. People can fill out, we have a phone number, people can call. And what we’ve found doing this for 17 years, the people that prefer to call or fill out a contact form, they’re still going to do those things. Where our value lies is we’re capturing the people who are, today, leaving the website because they don’t want to call or fill out a form, but they would engage with chat because that’s their preferred method of communication.
Devin Herz – Yeah. I would say increasing conversions is what it’s all about. And I know we spend good money for our clients and for ourselves and you get traffic there and you’re like, where’d they go? So this is just another way to really engage with them, keep them on the website, longer answer questions they may have, and give you those opportunities that people are potentially losing. When it comes to website visitors, what would be three nuggets that you want to share with our audience today?
Nelson Bruton – Well, for us, deciding whether or not to do a test with somebody or if they want to decide to do a test with us, one of the discussion points is, do you have at least 3,500 people going to your website each month? That’s kind of the minimum threshold. The chat software is really inexpensive. And so when you jump up to having a fully staffed team, obviously the investment levels go up. So, we want to take the time to make sure that there’s a good chance, a really good chance of
getting a solid return on investment for that client. 3,500 visitors to your website per month is the minimum you want to have in the B2B space. You want to have a high average sale to be a good fit with what we do.
If you have that low amount of traffic or more, up to a hundred thousand, 200,000 visitors, we can handle high traffic websites as well. And then you have a high average sale or one conversion could be worth a significant amount of money, you know, $3,000 or a hundred thousand dollars or a million or $7 million. We converted a customer on one of our other client sites that was worth $7 million. The high value, average sale, or high value customer over the course of a year or more, those conversions tend to produce that return on investment that we’re both looking for. If our customers are getting a return on investment, they’re going to stay with us for a long time.
Devin Herz – That makes total sense. And I’m sure it was a heck of a nice ROI to land a $7 million client. That’s quite awesome to have that case study. When you think about the websites and just with our audience out there that maybe trying chat, having tried bots in the past, I would say that one of the things that you want to keep in mind is to make sure that you’re tracking how many phone calls you’re getting and really be able to track and measure. Do you have any insight on that?
Nelson Bruton – You’re exactly right. I mean, you have to have benchmark data, right? How many phone calls are you getting? How many contact forms are you getting? How much traffic do you get to your website? Those are three pieces of information that every marketing director or business owner should know because those are the key performance indicators that drive your digital strategy, right? Drive more traffic convert more of it into calls and form completions. Now we’re talking about adding live chat as a conversion tool or a capture tool. How many live chats do you get? And so usually when we do a 30-day free trial with our customers they see a significant increase in conversions. They still usually get the same number of phone calls and contact forms, but now they’re getting chat conversations as well.
Devin Herz – Yeah. And I would say that the other nugget here is the fact that you’re starting conversations with the website visitors. I think people like that human interaction. We all sit at home and kind of scroll through different things and don’t reach out to people on the phone anymore, but there is something to that personal touch. Your software really starts that conversation with the website visitors.
Nelson Bruton – Absolutely. We proactively engage every single visitor. And so what that means is we automatically open up the chat window on a website after a certain period of time. Usually, it’s 15 seconds or so where we’ll pop up the chat window. For customers of ours that we have where their average visitors are on the site for longer than four minutes, we’ll wait about 45 to 50 seconds before we pop up the chat window. But that proactive chat is important. The next thing that’s really important that I want to emphasize here is we allow the conversation to start right away. In other words, we don’t require visitors to enter name, email address, or any other contact information prior to the chat starting. That’s a roadblock that prevents conversations from happening. So by us doing the proactive engagement and by us letting the visitor start typing right away, when that chat window opens, we get more conversations started and more conversations, as you indicated leads, to more sales opportunities.
Devin Herz – Yeah, absolutely. Well, whether you want to talk with Nelson about interchanges and what they can do for you, which I highly recommend, even if you’re trying this out on your own, those three nuggets right there, I think will help you out. What type of businesses are you best suited for with your service?
Nelson Bruton – Yeah, so, you know, like I said, that the more complex, the better, we have some example sites we can pull up from our previous discussions. Weldeck, is a company that manufacturers railings and mezzanines and guards for large industrial facilities and commercial facilities. And you see our chat window opened up in the bottom there. If you were on their site, you could start chatting right away. We literally doubled their sales leads. We doubled their quote requests. A cool story with this one is, you know when you click the “get a quote button”, it goes to a page where you pick which division you want to fill out a quote form for. And their quote forms are extremely long. Like if you click on the mezzanine request for quote, the second one, uh, that form is extremely long.
I had suggested to the marketing director at the time when she was there, I said more than likely we’re going to cannibalize this. You’re going to get less of these. You’re going to see a lot of chats to my surprise. They still get the same number of people filling out this request for quote, web form. But we doubled their sales leads that right there just shows that, Hey, never make assumptions test, right? Marketing is testing, uh, number two, uh, it talks to the people’s preferences on a site, the people that want to fill out this form, that’s where they’re comfortable with. That’s what they prefer. They’re going to do that. But we started capturing the people that wanted chat. That was, that was their preferred chat or preferred method of communication. And so having phone numbers, contact, or quote forms and a chat, that’s a huge nugget for businesses that are really trying to increase their sales opportunities and their sales pipeline.
Devin Herz – Love It. Love it. And I mean, the fact that you have the proof of concept here, so yeah. Let’s move on to another Site.
Nelson Bruton – Yeah, yeah. This is a good story here. Elliot Equipment, this company manufacturers different types of industrial trucks for specialized markets and specialized contractors, they sell through distributors. And as do most of my customers and the story here, they had a chatbot on their website when we first started working together a few years ago and I talked to the President of the company and I said, “Hey, you already have your data on your performance of your chatbot.” And it was done pretty nicely. I mean, they had a chatbot with some intelligence built into it in terms of the different options people could click. And we did a 30-day test human versus bot, if you will. And as you can see, my chat team is still on their site because the humans one, we produced not only a higher volume of sales opportunities, but the overall experience, the customer experience was greatly improved compared to what they were seeing with their, their chatbot. And, you know, when I go to trade shows and talk to people, you know, all these businesses talk about how their relationship businesses, you know, their businesses unique because it’s the people, right?
Yeah. If you’re a relationship business, don’t try to put a bot on your website. Put people on there because people buy from people makes sense. And then I see the capstone was this company is extremely technical, this company manufacturers and does microturbine installations all over the world.