The Benefits of Live Chat for E-Commerce
In today’s highly competitive markets, any edge in sales or service you have over your competitors can make the difference in whether you gain or lose a sale. In this world of automated, touch-tone customer help systems, the ability to chat with a live person through a website is a standout feature. Having such a feature on your website, especially when a competitor doesn’t, may be the crucial selling point that compels a potential customer to choose you over a competitor.
As the Internet has matured, online shoppers have become savvier and are expecting more from online sellers. Increasingly, they want their online transactions backed up with live customer support, just as they would have in a brick and mortar store. According to a poll by Andersen Consulting, almost 62 percent of Internet consumers said they would purchase more products online if live customer support were available.
Live sales and live support chat services are no longer the novelty they once were; they’ve matured into a serious sales and support tool. These days, if you’re not using one of these services for your online store, it is possible you are missing out on valuable sales opportunities.
How does live support work?
Typically, there is not much to set up in terms of software. The service is set up by pasting a short snippet of HTML into the web page source code. This code causes a “Live Chat Request” button to appear when the page is loaded. The code also notifies you, through the hosted chat server, that you have a visitor at your site.
From there, you can watch in real-time as the visitor moves through your site. At any point, you can proactively invite the customer to chat about your products or offer to answer questions, just as would a sales or customer support assistant in a brick and mortar store.
If a customer wants to initiate a chat, he or she clicks on the button on your website, which opens a private message window. The visitor fills in the information fields you’ve defined, adds a question, and then clicks on the “Start Chat” button. You receive the chat request, review the information, and decide whether to accept. If you do, a private chat window opens up, and your operator and visitor communicate with each other real-time via text messaging.
While you have the operator console open, the chat button on your site automatically changes to let visitors know you are available to chat. When the operator console is disabled or not running, the live chat button indicates that you are not currently online, but that a message can be left for you.
Your live chat service feature need not be made available to the general public. By placing the live chat button on a password protected page, you can set up the service as a private conferencing facility for your paying clients.
What are the benefits of live support?
In this era of increased customer expectations, lengthy delays in email communications are becoming unacceptable. Many clients are hesitant to complete a purchase if they have even one unanswered question. Live support chat gives your customers answers to their questions on the spot in real-time, which increases customers’ satisfaction level. One does not need a degree in marketing to know that satisfied customers are return customers.
Live chat fosters confidence in customers. If clients see a live chat button on your site, they will feel reassured that they will have easy access to a live person, even after the sale had been made. A chat button can be added to post-sales emails so that customers do not even have to return to your site to access your live support.
Many sales are lost at the point of ordering. Clients become worried about providing personal information during the purchasing process, leading them to abandon their shopping cart. With live support, you can assist them in completing sales by walking them through the process.
The tracking component of chat applications can also help you to understand more about your site and how well it is serving your visitors. You’ll be able to improve your website’s design, because you’ll be able to see where visitors are going and which pages are holding their attention-and which ones aren’t.
Live chat saves money because it eliminates the need to maintain an expensive toll-free customer support number. Fewer sales and support representatives are needed, since their time is used more efficiently. The chat system allows representatives to send prewritten responses to frequently asked questions and direct the customer’s browser to pages containing requested information.