Online shopping is fast, easy and convenient, but one problem that shoppers face is the lack of interaction when they have questions about a product or service. When a customer has questions prior to a purchase, they will often delay the purchase until they have had their question answered. This means that many customers who may have committed to a purchase had they received an answer to a question prior to purchase are lost, maybe to another online vendor or to a brick-and-mortar store.
Over the past few years, many companies have begun to implement live chat on their websites to improve the customer conversion rate. Live chat support provides customers with the ability to instantly connect with and chat with a company representative who can answer their pre-purchase questions. Live chat enables the customer to get answers when and where they need them. When the customer is able to get quick, accurate answers, the conversion rate increases.
According to KISSmetrics the time has come for live chat. Live chat can improve the brand’s rapport with customers and provide customers with information at the click of a mouse. Consider these five ways that live chat can improve your business’ bottom line.
1) Convenient and Easy for Customers
Live chat platforms are a convenient and easy way for customers to immediately obtain assistance. Live chat is available to every website visitor and requires no downloads, installation or training to use.
Many customers prefer to receive support through the live chat system. In fact, a recent eMarketer survey of website users found that users were 63 percent more likely to revisit a website that utilized live chat. Another study conducted by ATG Global Consumer Trends found that over 90 percent of users studied considered live chat to be a helpful component of a website. Simply with the availability of live chat on your business site, you raise the credibility of your site and of your brand.
2) Reduces Expenses
Many times, live chat will replace a phone call to the call center. Customers access live chat simply by opening a small web application on their computer. The application opens a chat window that automatically connects to a support technician or customer representative. The customer is able to simply type their question and receive a quick response. If the customer requires elaboration, a live chat platform supports conversation between the representative and the customer.
Live chat reduces the cost of customer support and interaction. Skilled customer support representatives can even handle multiple customer chats at one time, further reducing the cost of customer support. Additionally, each customer that utilizes the live chat is one less customer that is on hold on the phone waiting to speak with a representative.
3) Increases Sales
Customer questions can make or break a sale. If a customer is unsure about a product or service, they may not commit to the purchase. With live chat, a representative is available to assist the customer by answer questions or walking them through the purchase process. Every conversion that is completed due to live chat is one that would have likely been lost without chat.
Many times, the live chat representative is able to up sell the customer during the interaction. Studies show that when live chat is present on a website, sales generally increase. (Wells Fargo Case Study Proves Business Case, Forbes, 2008, http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/case_study_wells_fargo_proves_business_case/q/id/57154/t/2 )
4) Beat the Competition
As of 2013, most companies still have not implemented live chat on their websites. With live chat, you can get the edge over your competition with excellent, immediate customer service. eMarketer recently conducted a study of online live chat users. The study found that users who utilize live chat to obtain support are far more likely to be strong online purchasers than those that do not use chat. About one fifth of those who participate in live chat support completed 75 percent or more of their holiday purchases online. Twenty-five percent of users who chat purchased 51 to 75 percent of their goods online. Only 10 percent of the users who did not use chat purchased a majority of their goods online.
When a company is concerned with providing outstanding customer service, live chat is the next logical step. Because companies are slow to adopt live chat, you can be an early adopter and beat the competition in providing high quality customer support.
5) Diffuse Negative Customer Experiences
Live chat is the perfect tool for helping customers through a frustrating experience. These frustrating experiences are commonly referred to as “pain points” in the marketing world. Live chat provides your staff with insight into the pain points that customers may deal with when purchasing goods from your site. Addressing and mitigating these pain points translates into a better bottom line.
Successful Implementation of Live Chat:
For successful implementation of live chat as a customer support tool, make sure the team responsible for providing support is well trained in live chat customer service. The team must also be very knowledgeable about your business, your inventory and the navigation of your website. Provide the team with FAQs and cheat sheets so they have the information they need at their fingertips.
Staff the Live Chat During Shopping Hours
Depending on the type of site you own, your customers may be anywhere in the world. Perform some basic analytics to find out at what time of day your sales are the highest. Make sure to staff the live chat service well during your busiest shopping hours.
Cross-Promote with Live Chat
Live chat provides you with the opportunity to promote your social marketing efforts. Request that your live chat customer representatives remind customers to follow the company’s Twitter account and to “like” the company’s Facebook fan page.
Live chat offers a new avenue for providing outstanding, responsive and effective customer service. When utilized properly, live chat can improve your business’ bottom line.
Author Bio: Gerrid Smith is the CEO & Founder of SmithSEO; a law firm Internet marketing company that handles SEO, reputation management, social media and video marketing for attorneys nationwide.