Think of the last time you were in a store trying to choose between two products. Both of them look great, the prices for both are very good value for money, and both of them are exactly what you’re looking for….so, how do you make a decision?
Well, more than likely you would probably look around for the first sales assistant you can find, to give you more information about the products and professional advice on helping you make the right choice.
Now imagine doing the same thing online, perhaps comparing two products in a webshop. The pictures of both look great, you go through the lengthy descriptions and summaries, visit a few forums, and end up reading contradictory reviews that get you confused or annoyed. How great it would be to get some of that professional in-store advice, you think… And that’s where live chat comes in – providing the personal touch of real-store selling in the world of online purchases.
Let’s have a chat!
Over the years many companies have implemented different chat solutions to help customers find the information they need. Some have used automated messages and chatbots, others have preferred the benefits of using real agents to help those with many questions (check out how we implemented our chat solution!). But, having now experimented for a number of years with the concept of webchat, businesses have discovered the answer to the question of whether live chat can help boost sales – and the answer is YES.
There can be no doubt that many people make decisions on the spur of the moment, and as a result, one can say in general that the less time people spend thinking about purchasing a service or product, the more inclined they are to buy it. If consumers are given more time to think about what they are buying, they often either lose interest or talk themselves out of it.
We already talked about some pro customer service tips in a previous blog post. Now, you can add Live chat to your list. Live chat is not only the perfect tool to help customers make the right choice and also ensure they get to the basket checkout. It also adds a personal touch to an otherwise impersonal online shopping experience, showing customers that you are there for them even in the comfort of their own homes. And let’s not forget to mention the opportunity live chat offers for upselling your products and services. So, isn’t it about time to have a chat about chat?
“Hello. How can webchat help me boost my sales?”
Chat is a very useful tool, giving you several opportunities to boost your sales. Here are some examples:
Chat is convenient: let’s face it, nothing beats the comfort of doing your shopping from home. Chat gives people the convenience of buying what they need – from grocery shopping to new clothes and electronics – from the comfort of their own couch. Adding a webchat function to your webpage will allow your customers not only to do their shopping conveniently, but also add that personal touch equivalent to asking for help or advice from a shop assistant, making your services all they will ever need.
Fact: chat is cheap! When providing phone support one operator can handle only one phone call with one customer at a time. Chat, however, allows operators to process several, usually around 3, chats at the same time, making it much more cost-efficient – which is especially important in the case of international sales where a phone call between two countries can be quite expensive.
Chat is immediate: in today’s world, people are constantly online, always available, and wanting to receive information immediately. Phone calls might still be the fastest way to exchange information, but let’s not forget that many people do not want to discuss things in front of others around them. This is where chat can help keep things discreet but efficient.
Chat helps you sell more: according to a Forrester research survey, 44% of people shopping online said that one of the best features a website can offer during the sales process is a live person answering questions. Apart from people liking webchat support, there is also another positive side to webchat which helps to boost sales: upselling. Have your webchat function staffed by a team of professional sales people, and you will be sure your customers will end up buying more than they had planned.
Chat is personal: showing your customers they matter is what business is all about. By making sure you have a real person ready to answer any questions they have, you can show your customers that you care about them and their needs. A personal touch will always win over the cold and inpersonal self-service option.
“But what do I need to make it work?”
Without wanting to make webchat integration sound too easy, let’s mention a few things you need to take into consideration before putting together your own webchat service. Chat is a great tool to boost your business, but it’s not an activity to set up and forget. As with any other solution it requires careful thought and planning. Here are a few things to consider:
Open hours: providing the convenience of shopping from home also means that people will most probably not be visiting your website between only 9.00 and 17.00, especially if you are operating internationally. If you do not want to provide 24/7 support, then make sure you know when your website is most visited. As for the times when you do not have operators to support live queries, do not leave a ’Currently unavailable’ sign, but rather choose an option in which customers can still submit their questions for operators get back to them later (but don’t forget to mention this to your customers!).
Right time: don’t forget that this use of webchat is similar to the help sales assistants would provide in a physical shop. You do not want to scare your customers off by jumping at them the moment they enter. Allow your web visitors a couple of minutes to look around your webpage before any chat window pops up.
Sales people: with reference to the previous point, make sure the operators supporting your chat service have experience in sales, especially if you are planning to leverage any upsell activities. It’s not enough to simply put anyone there to answer questions, you need someone who can actually sell.
Cross platform: at the end of every good support interaction, customers normally like to thank operators for their help. Your operators can use this to motivate customers to write reviews and share their positive opinions on your services on social media sites.
Follow up: implementing a service and just leaving it be is not a good idea in the long run, so be ready to analyse incoming information and results. Follow-up on how your chat service is going and make decisions based on the results you get: if the interest in your chat service is too great you might need a few more agents, if it’s not you may need to change something in your processes. In any case, make sure you analyse your data and learn from it.
Chat is a tool companies have been experimenting with for a long time, and the results are already clear to see. Chat can not only help you communicate more effectively with your customers, gaining their trust and loyalty, it can also help you to achieve and exceed your sales goals. Successful business means showing your customers you care – and what better way to do this than telling them you care in person.
 Forrester – “Making Proactive Chat Work”, June 4, 2010