By Ben Rafferty, Chief Innovation Officer
Live chat is a big hit with today’s online consumers. And it’s easy to see why.
The convenience of interacting with a live person when browsing online is invaluable for shoppers looking for information and help that speeds up their buying decisions.
With 83% of online shoppers looking for some form of support to solve issues or queries during their online purchasing journey, it’s no surprise that 57% look to real-time channels like chat to get the help they need.
That should serve as a major wake up call for e-commerce sites everywhere. Because as far as consumers are concerned, a great customer experience is where the money is at. And live chat is certainly proving its worth when it comes to providing the fast and personalized responses that today’s online shoppers crave. Indeed, consumers say they’re more likely to return to a web site that offers live chat and are more likely to make a purchase with a brand following a chat session.
Live Chat Boosts Website Conversion Rates
Having chat conversations with website visitors really does pay off. According to research consultancy Forrester, site visitors that use web chat are almost three times more likely to convert than those that don’t. Plus, these buyers are likely to spend up to 60% more. But bumping up website conversions in real-time isn’t the only potential benefit on the table.
The instantaneous feedback gathered by live chat support staff represents a rich source of data that can be harnessed to review marketing and merchandising strategies on the go. Listening to what customers say isn’t just a great way of leaving customers feeling more satisfied and positive towards your brand, it’s also an opportunity to capture actionable insights on customer pain points. Insights that can be used to maximize future shopper engagement with your e-commerce store – whether that’s tweaking product descriptions, clarifying delivery options, or redesigning page formats to make it easier for visitors to find the information they need.
If you’re getting ready to introduce a live chat platform, then here are our top three tips for getting the most out of your implementation.
#1. Make Sure Your Staff Are Appropriately Trained and Supported
The actual human agents behind the software will need a very distinctive set of skills. Being able to type quickly and accurately is just the start. It’s also extremely important to have the ability to think and respond swiftly, in addition to being able to juggle several conversations at once, due to the asynchronous nature of the channel.
An important way to support these agents is to equip them with a dynamic and context-aware knowledgebase. Such a knowledgebase would provide answers to frequently asked questions, allowing even the most entry-level trained chat agents to achieve achieving a high first-time resolution rate. This even paves the way to automate and introduce chatbots to handle the common-place queries that would eventually allow the human agents to handle the complex or emotive customer queries.
Aside from being expert at conversational styles and chatting techniques, your live chat agents also need to be confident multitaskers who can handle multiple concurrent chats at a time. Plus, they’ll need to know your products inside out so they can deliver the value-add customer support shoppers expect.
#2. Do More with Live Chat
Make sure your live chat is truly available during and outside business hours, so that shoppers get an immediate response if they want to communicate. In other words, make sure you have the right number of agents available throughout the day to cope with peaks and troughs in demand. While customers may be willing to wait several minutes for a response, no one wants to be sitting around for hours waiting for a conversation to begin.
If you’re not going to offer a 24×7 service, then evaluate how many requests you get during offline hours to determine what this might tell you about the shopping behaviors of your target customer segments. Armed with these insights, you can make appropriate decisions about whether or not to extend your live chat service windows, or invest in solutions like chatbots.
Consider integrating live chat with tools like analytics, CRM or contact management systems to help drive up the effectiveness of your campaigns, provide live chat agents with up-to-the-moment customer information, and enable the capture of valuable data.
Finally, think about whether options like voice and video calls would be a helpful addition. Or whether you want agents to proactively initiate conversations with customers and suggest products, based on their customer profile and past conversations.
#3. Reduce Buyer Friction
Using live chat to answer quick questions that aid the checkout process is a great way to answer any pre-purchase questions shoppers might have – and reduce the likelihood of online shopping carts being abandoned.
Even better, if you’re using live chat to provide the top-notch customer support that bumps up conversion rates, then providing a hassle-free, PCI DSS compliant and secure payment facility can help to further streamline the shopper purchase journey, and convert your web chat support, to fully-fledged conversational commerce, complete with frictionless transactional capability.
Once a customer has got all the answers they need following an online conversation with a member of your team, why not make it easy for them to place an order within the chat session itself – rather than redirecting them to another channel to complete their purchase, where they might get stuck again!
Today’s payment link solutions make it easy to deliver a seamless checkout experience and handle customer payments in a live chat session – with no risk to shoppers or your business.
When it comes to eliminating the friction points that can get in the way of web sales, online chat payments offer a fast and straight-forward way for shoppers to pay there and then. That’s great for customers, and a great way to elevate your website’s conversion rate.