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magento & ecommerce

Live Chat – Does Your Web Store Need It?

Providing a fast and reliable customer support is extremely important to the success of your online store. Most eCommerce websites today have a live chat option, where a customer can ask one of your agents for assistance and receive a reply in a matter of seconds. There are multiple reasons why live chat can lead to an increase in conversions and help build a strong word of mouth about your business in the web community. It all depends on how you implement the service and the quality of your approach to it.

Live Chat Should Be About Mutual Convenience

Think of eCommerce websites as successors to traditional retail stores. Similarly, live chat agents are very much like modern-day store clerks. It’s their job to be ready to answer all your customers’ enquiries and make them feel more at home while browsing your online shop. With live chat, clients no longer have to send an email and wait for 24 hours to receive a reply or go through the pain of calling a toll-free number and pressing a series of buttons until they’re greeted by an actual person on the other end of the line.

Clients will seek assistance for a number of issues and your live chat agents need to be ready to respond to all of them without much ado. They may be interested in finding out more about a specific product and whether it has the features they are looking for. If their shipment is delayed, they’ll want to know if you can give them any additional information on when they’ll receive it. Sometimes they’ll ask for advice on how to return items that got damaged during shipping. Your agent must have an answer at all times.

Providing a fast and reliable customer support is extremely important to the success of your online store.

In its essence, live chat is all about providing convenience for your customers. Numerous surveys have shown that it’s mostly millennials and young people under the age of 35 who shop online. If you make sure they are satisfied with their experience purchasing from your website, they will likely come back next time they need to buy something. Additionally, because most of them are avid social media users, they will recommend you to their friends and followers, potentially attracting a bunch of new customers.

Live chat can be beneficial to your eCommerce business in many other ways, too. While chatting with your customers, you will learn if there are sections of your website that can be improved upon. They’ll let you know if certain page elements aren’t working properly in real time so that your technicians can solve any underlying issues promptly. If enough customers enquire about a specific product your online store currently doesn’t stuck, take that as a clear signal that you should make it available in the future.

How Proactive Live Chat Can Hurt Your Business

Providing a fast and reliable customer support is extremely important to the success of your online store.

Many live chat service providers offer a feature known as proactive chat. You’ve probably encountered it on some websites you’ve visited in the past. The moment you enter the site, a small pop-up bubble appears in the bottom right corner of the screen asking “how can we help you” or something similar to that. While this can be great for certain types of websites, it’s not recommended to use on web stores.

Several smaller web stores have complained after implementing live chat and realizing that it did nothing to increase conversions for them – on the contrary, the conversion rates were down. It turned out that these stores were using the proactive chat feature, and in the case of an eCommerce website, all the information pertinent to the products available can already be found on product description pages.

With proactive chat, you are effectively luring prospective customers into a conversation and turning their attention away from shopping, which is why they visited your website in the first place. In these situations, live chat is the path of least resistance for your clients. Why search for a product, click on the product page, add the item to cart, and proceed to checkout when your chat agent can do it for them?

Your design team has put a lot of effort into creating all those call-to-action buttons, but this renders them worthless. It will often reduce conversions, but can also damage your Google ranking. By offering to find a product and place an order for your customers, you are lowering the number of page hits. This approach is completely wrong for eCommerce websites and is not at all what live chat should be about.

What You Need to Successfully Implement Live Chat

Providing a fast and reliable customer support is extremely important to the success of your online store.

Depending on the size of your eCommerce business, having a dedicated customer support phone line would require you to hire two or more people to answer the phones and help find solutions to your customers’ problems. With live chat, however, your agents can multitask while chatting with the clients. In addition to this, they can also talk to several clients at once, thus cutting the waiting times for the customers, as well as eliminating the need for you to employ more people to respond to user enquiries.

This alone shows you how cost-effective live chat is compared to other, more traditional customer support methods. In order to have a well-functioning live chat support, you must train your agents well and get them to learn everything there is about your business and the products you’re selling. To help increase sales, consider hiring people from your team who have experience in sales. Not only will they be able to help the customers, but are also more likely to subtly persuade them into closing the deal.

The availability of live chat is also an important topic to think about. Many eCommerce experts suggest providing a 24/7 live chat service, but smaller web stores are less likely to need this. Don’t limit the availability of the service to your regular working hours. Instead analyze the data you’ve collected about your website’s visitors and identify your peak times, i.e. the hours when you get most visits and when most purchases are made. Use this to define the working hours of your live customer support agents.

Having live chat support available in off-times is vital if you cater to an international customer base. If you need more people for the job, there’s no need to hire new full-time employees. There are plenty of skilled freelancers you can hire part-time through one of freelancing web platforms. When the volume of chat requests is too high, set up an automated response that lets your clients know an agent will be with them shortly. If our experience with call centers has taught us anything, it’s that nobody likes to wait!

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By interactivated • on June 20, 2017

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