Increasingly, your customers are expecting instant gratification. If they have questions that they need answered before they buy, especially after hours, they expect to instantly get ahold of someone at your company for an answer.

This customer demand for instant gratification is a blessing and a curse for remodelers – a blessing because you can book appointments with the customers who get in touch, rather than losing them to inaction. The pressure on you is to provide an online chat option that satisfies your customers and drives the sales leads you need.

Looking for data on which chat systems customers like best? We surveyed 500 homeowners to answer that exact question!

What are your options for Online Chat?

1) Self-service chat.

Your first and lowest investment option works just like your phone lines. Rather than the phone ringing, your receptionist receives an online alert to chat. From there, software lets you type messages to folks browsing your website.

Pros: Having chat in-house, your chat operator knows your business well!

Cons: You can only cover the hours when your inside sales team is on call. Also, if your phone staff is busy, your response time and booked sales may suffer.

2) Full-service chat.

Think of full-service chat operators like an answering service. When a customer asks to chat, they are connected with a live human being to answer their questions. Based on a script we write, the operator answers questions and tries to book an appointment. Live operators have a high success rate – about 20% of the thousands of remodeling leads we generate monthly are booked by our chat operators.

Pros: Chat is available 24/7, 365! This answers a strong customer demand for 24/7 service. As a bonus, with Spectrum chat service you only Pay-for-Performance, so you only pay for qualified leads. At $16 per qualified sales lead, chat service is highly profitable. Also, you don't lose leads with clumsy responses, as each operator is trained to engage at the right time and with the right information to book a lead.

Cons: Chat operators only know as much about remodeling as you tell them. We write up extensive scripts to answer all the possible questions a customer might have.

3) Automated chat (A.K.A. Chatbots)

We are living in the future – customer service being provided by robots! Chatbots answer common questions by picking keywords out of what a customer types in. It’s frequently obvious that you’re talking to a robot, though, and customers may be turned off when they realize that.

Think about it: when was the last time you were satisfied with an automated customer service system, like the phone company has?

Pros: Available around the clock. Never complains about long hours. Doesn't call in sick.

Cons: Customers may feel unvalued if their first interaction is with an automated system. More than 87% of customers prefer to speak with a live human. Pricing can also be very expensive when you compare cost-per-lead generated.

So, there are your options for instituting an online chat system for your company. Here at Spectrum, we use data to make sharp decisions with our remodeling partners. We surveyed 500 homeowners to get a feeling for what they want in a chat service. Download our findings below to get the data to make your decision!