You may have seen when shopping online or browsing a website that a little chat box appears, usually in the bottom right of your screen encouraging you to start a conversation with a brand representative. Most people will be familiar with the function now, but if you have never used the function or noticed it before, it’s essentially like an instant messenger for that particular brand which helps potential customers on the website communicate with a customer service representative. So, what are the benefits of using live chat, and how does the function affect businesses and consumers?
What is Live Chat?
Live chat allows consumers to speak to brand reps without the hassle of ringing up, waiting on hold on to a call centre, raising a support ticket, or sending an email that takes days to get back to. You can message from anywhere with an internet connection, and even on mobile to make it more convenient for people. You get an almost instantaneous response from a real person who can answer questions about the products, delivery or any general queries for example. The main bonus of this function is that brands can communicate directly with consumers without them needing to get in touch with them first. This can undeniably help with sales, but some users will get put off by this and shut the chat window automatically. With answering so many questions at once, too, how do brands ensure they communicate confidently and clearly with all consumers without leaving people with more questions than they started with?
Your live chat will be something that people will probably use after spending some time looking at your website or products, and this won’t always be during the hours of 9-5 when people are at work. You need to ensure someone is available to chat at different times of the day to catch people when they have the time to discuss something properly. Answering questions means people can make a more informed decision after they have the knowledge required to process it, and this can easily create conversions if they’re reassured by a friendly brand rep. Ideally, someone should be able to answer questions 24hrs a day (for all those international customers and late-night shoppers!), but this may not be possible for your business. A good live chat software that enables customers to leave messages can also be a great secondary solution to this. This will also jog their memory the next day when they get a response and encourage them to return!
Companies can offer vouchers and discounts to consumers through their live chat which can often work a treat. A message saying “Get 20% off all coats! Which one was your favourite?” after a user has browsed that category can often feel like you’re paying attention to the consumer and their discount is exclusively for them which means they feel valued. It can also sway consumers into buying something that they may be considered too pricey or were unsure about, therefore increasing conversion rates.
Be Wary of Automated Messages
The point of having your live chat is to do just that and actually have a conversation with your customers! You can use automated messages to start conversations, for example, if a consumer was flicking between two products – but be careful with these as they can very easily sound robotic. There’s a fine line between automated messages and sounding professional, and you need to strike a balance between what works for you. This will be a case of trial and error and you will need to assess how different greetings or messages have different response rates. This will also give you some fantastic data for your conversion rate results at the end of the month! You also have the opportunity to show off your brand tone of voice and be helpful as well as charming and funny. This will endear customers to your brand and allow you to stand out rather than blending into the myriad of competitors surrounding you.
Handle Cart Abandonment
Abandoned carts are a real sticking point for eCommerce companies as it means you have lost a customer on the verge of making a sale. The reasons for this can be varied, but your live chat can be the perfect place to find out why. Imagine if you didn’t use live chat and your abandoned cart rate increased without you never knowing it was because of your high shipping rates? This can save you so much time and many headaches by nipping it in the bud at the source. Chat invitations will encourage your customers to start a chat, and you can discuss with them any problems they have had and why they didn’t follow through on their shopping. This is then the point to introduce tricks to help sales – encourage purchases with free shipping, money off or next-day delivery!
Live chat doesn’t just have to be a point of contact for customers, but can also be a powerful sales tool that can increase conversion, create customer satisfaction and be a successful eCommerce platform for your company. If you don’t have live chat yet, you should definitely consider trialing it to see how it can help your business reach its goals and improve customer satisfaction.
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