By Joe Jones - Meet the Team
Live chat boxes on business websites have existed for nearly ten years in some form or another. But while the technology has been around for a while, it’s only been in the last year or so that live chat has really exploded as a popular and 'new' way to communicate instantly with customers. To a certain extent, we have website visitor metrics to thank for this, as companies are realizing just how many visitors they're losing to unanswered questions, site navigation issues, and complaints sent via offline messages.
Live chat is the solution to all of these problems. Why? Because it makes you and your chat representatives immediately accessible to the customer. No more waiting for an email response, and no fighting a robotic and unsympathetic phone tree. All they have to do is click and start typing. But what can you do with live chat on your business website to further enhance customer engagement? Let's take a look.
Everyone does their live chat setup a little differently. It starts with a unique visual design that melds nicely with the theme of your website and fits neatly into the lower right-hand corner where people have come to expect live chat to be. Businesses also vary in how the first exchange is initiated. In many cases, a friendly chatbot will notice someone browsing and will open their chat window to greet them and offer assistance.
While the vast majority of people may smile and close the window because they don't need anything, those that really are having trouble finding or defining what they need will appreciate the introduction. The chatbot can then smoothly transfer the customer to a support agent who can help them complete their shopping experience.
Sometimes customers have questions that they absolutely need an answer to before they can complete a purchase. More often than not in e-commerce, customers will fail to find the answer in the product description page or FAQ and will simply leave an abandoned cart and go elsewhere. However, when you have a helpful and well-manned live chat support window right in their web page, it's easy to type out questions like "Does this come in extra small?" and "Can you ship this in time for Father's Day?". Being able to answer these questions quickly often translates to a sale that was already in progress, rather than losing business to a competitor.
While chat support reps have been and will be asked from time to time to help with shopping, you can transform this occasional request into a luxurious concierge service on your website by offering customers the opportunity to work with a personal shopper. It's rare to be able to add any luxury to the visual-only digital world, but when your chat agents are ready to step in and provide personalized item selection and friendly advice, it can make your website feel like an exclusive boutique rather than an online warehouse like most e-commerce venues.
Depending on your industry and business, it is entirely possible that most customer service issues occur while using your website. From having trouble updating a password, to a cart that keeps dropping items, you can use your website’s live chat as an avenue for first-responder solutions. Rather than having customers run into a problem and unhappily hunt down your customer service contact information, they can simply flip open the chat box and report their issue right away. Your chat agents can then quickly and easily work through the problem with them, or assure the customer that a ticket has been started on their behalf and will be solved shortly.
One of the many sources of bad online reviews is a company’s failure to resolve issues related to customer experience, such as problems with website navigation, the online checkout process, or with a product itself. Being available through live chat immediately after a customer has experienced a hitch, may help you prevent some bad reviews. You may even be surprised at how many loyal customers you can generate by demonstrating care and accessibility as related to their problem.
As automation takes over the impersonal aspects of marketing and customer engagement, this creates an opportunity for your employees to actually interact one-on-one with your customers as brand ambassadors and customer service representatives. Live chat allows you to have friendly, personable conversations; and this combined with a top-notch CRM, can create a rewarding and lasting customer experience.
Finally, as a business manager, you know there can be a difference between your written policies and what you can actually do for a customer. The policies are in place to provide a framework and to help you spot and combat scammers. However, if a legitimate and concerned customer takes the time to ask if you can do something a little special for them, it's often worth the sale to be able to say "Yes". Live chat provides customers with the opportunity to inquire about conditions that need to be met prior to finalizing their purchase; and, it gives you the chance to respond immediately to arrange such requests, for example a special delivery, gift wrapping instructions, shipping specifications, etc.
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