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Why HVAC companies need live chat on their website

Whether you decide live chat is right for your HVAC company or not, there are other sure-fire ways you boost your business.

hvac companies chatbot business
Image: Housecall Pro

In recent years, website live chat functionality has taken off in almost every industry.

Now, consumers come to expect the ability to quickly chat or ask a question–either through an intelligent chatbot or with a live person–at nearly every hour of every day. One study found that 51% of consumers now expect businesses to be online and engaged 24/7. That’s a tall order.

From the customer’s perspective, it makes sense. If you visit a website or research a service, you may have questions. You want those questions answered or you’ll probably move on to the next company.

housecall pro chatbot
Image: Housecall Pro

So it’s clear that having a chat functionality on your site can help meet the rising expectations of customers as they surf the web.

But it’s not just a feature that’s nice for some of your customers.

Live chat can help your HVAC company’s website capture more leads and convert more customers. In other words, it can help you book more jobs and grow your business. That’s what really matters–and that’s why live chat is such a critical tool for your company.

How Live Chat Can Help Grow Your HVAC Company

Having live chat on your site lets customers contact your company any time. It can lead to more conversions and help your company convert more website visitors into leads and customers.

That sounds great, but let’s get down to the brass tacks.

What can your business hope to accomplish by implementing live chat on your site? Is the boost actually worth the time, money, and effort of implementing a chat system in addition to the money you already invest in your website, social media, online advertising, and other assets?

Let’s look at the data shows:

hvac live chat data chart

According to marketing firm Rank First Local, which specializes in-home service businesses, they typically see website conversion rates between about 3-8%. That number means that for every 100 people who visit your company’s website, only about 5 of them will end up calling you or booking service online.

Having live chat on your website, though, can help juice the numbers.

One study conducted by the American Marketing Association found that having online chat on your website can increase the conversion rate by about 40%.

So, if your website conversion was 8% to start, that would bump you up to about 11% after implementing live chat. All told, that’s a net effect of 3 more leads or sales for every 100 customers that visit your site. It’s not earth-shattering, necessarily, but it does present a pretty big opportunity.

If your website receives 500 visits per month, then this 3% bump would generate an extra 15 leads or customers every single month.

Even with a conservative estimate–say an average invoice of $500 per customer–that small boost means an extra $7,500 per month in revenue. Not bad, right?

There is one more thing to consider, though, which is how you deploy and manage a live chat feature on your website (and how much it costs). So let’s dig into that next.

How to Implement Live Chat on Your HVAC Website

Adding live chat to your site isn’t quite as simple as snapping your fingers. But, in most cases, it’s not terribly difficult either. Many companies have made installation and setup pretty dang easy, even if you’re not super tech-savvy.

But, let’s not get into the specifics of the technical implementation until we talk about the strategies that you can pursue here.

When it comes to getting live chat up and running, you have a few different options.

Option #1: Out of the box live chat, powered by humans

The first and most obvious way to get live chat up and running on your company website is to simply install a chat service on the site and give access to someone from your team.

If you choose to go this route, there are many services to choose from:

This is just a small selection of the services that you can use. At its most basic, you can install these services on your website and then receive notifications on your mobile device and via email when someone starts a conversation.

Many companies choose this route. They set up live chat and then they respond in real-time when someone is at the computer and available to respond–usually during normal business hours.

Of course, this does have some limitations. For one, you still need to have a human available to respond to customers in real-time. And the times when someone isn’t available, that customer’s message is met with radio silence (or a message that chat is disabled).

Option #2: Automated chatbot

Another popular option is to cut out the human element and implement an always-on, interactive chatbot feature.

These can be handy for helping customers answer common questions or direct them toward common pages on your website. But, they lack the human element and aren’t able to handle complex requests.

hvac chatbot
Image: KnowTechie

There’s also some additional work to set up a chatbot, configure its responses, and dial in all of the details that allow it to handle “conversations” with your visitors.

If you want to explore this route, there are basically two options.

One, you can use a service that adds chatbot functionality to a third-party messaging service (like Intercom or Messenger). Here are some to check out:

Or, you can find an all-in-one chatbot platform, like:

Option #3: Hybrid of chatbot and live chat

Who says you can’t have it all?

Most chat platforms allow you to strike a balance between these two options. You can provide an automated chatbot that answers simple queries, directs customers to take important actions, and assists visitors when a human isn’t around. But you can also have a real person jump into the conversation at any time.

This hybrid approach is common for all types of companies and may be perfect for your HVAC business.

Option #4: Outsource the chat altogether

The idea of staffing a full-time person to monitor and respond to live chat requests on your website can be a heavy lift. Add on to the fact that would-be customers may be chatting your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it’s clear that running your own website chat may not be feasible.

Luckily, there’s a final option, which is to outsource your chat operation.

There are third-party services that provide 24/7, live chat coverage (with a real human!) on your behalf. Best of all, there are even services that are specially catered for HVAC and home service businesses.

One service, HomeServiceChats, boasts a 100% response rate from trained professionals in HVAC and plumbing.

Outsourcing your chat could take a lot of extra work off your plate. But it may not be the right choice for every company–so weigh your options and choose with care.

More Ways to Boost Your HVAC Business

Whether you decide live chat is right for your HVAC company or not, there are other sure-fire ways you boost your business.

Finding operational efficiency, improving marketing, and making it easier for customers to find your company, book service, and pay their invoice is the key to growth and taking your business to the next level.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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