E-commerce has changed customer behavior and how marketers conduct their business. People are now more likely to complete a purchase on the web due to the advancement of technology, website optimization, wide item selection, and the sheer convenience that it provides.
In 2020, it’s predicted that the global online shopping market will hit a whopping $4 trillion. The United States is leading the charge on this front, with an average customer revenue of $1,804. And in 2023, it’s expected that online shoppers in the U.S. will reach 300 million—that’s more than 90 percent of the country’s population.
Given these statistics, it’s more important than ever for companies to tap this enormous resource and grow their online business today. However, simply having a website and an item to sell isn’t enough.
What you need is a solid strategy that would not only funnel potential buyers into your business but ensure that they’re completing a purchase. One of the things that successful online businesses are doing is to engage the customer as they’re navigating through the site.
To do this, they’re employing a live chat strategy for every customer that may be interested in a particular item. Responsive customer service has been proven to be quite an effective approach to drive more sales and convert visitors into buyers.
International intent-based marketing company Aberdeen Group conducted a study and found that live chat is the most preferred communication channel of online shoppers. It’s fast, accurate, and addresses a pain point that is blocking the customer from completing a purchase.
American market research company Forrester Research found a similar satisfaction rate, with customers reporting they’re 44% more likely to conduct a transaction with an online shop that has a live chat strategy. So what are the factors that make responsive customer service so appealing to online shoppers?
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As mentioned earlier, live chat is a great way to identify and address pain points that are experienced by the customer. Whether their card isn’t working or a coupon code isn’t being properly processed by the site, a live customer chat eliminates these obstacles easily, with little hassle on the customer’s part.
Always remember that people are shopping online due to convenience. If that convenience is hampered by an issue present in the site, that could cause shopping cart abandonment.
Although chatbots are great at addressing simple customer queries, they might fall short when it comes to specific problems by the customer. With live chats, however, customer support can process and understand what the customer is trying to communicate. From there, the representative can easily look up at the problem and provide a speedy solution.
This isn’t to say that you have to pick one over the other. It just means that you have to know when to use chatbots and when to employ a human touch. Both are important depending on the situation.
3. It builds relationship
Live chat is an effective approach to build a relationship with customers. People often respond positively when another person is listening on the other end of the line.
As a result, trust between the customer and the company is being solidified resulting in repeat purchase. According to the paper titled “Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right,” 73% of people consider customer experience as a vital factor in completing a purchase.
How to leverage live chats to increase conversions
Now that we’ve identified the factors that make live chat so effective in convincing people to make a purchase, it’s time to look at the strategies you can use to take advantage of this edge.
Here are four of them:
1. Train your staff
All of the aforementioned advantages crumble when a company fails to provide the necessary training for their customer support. You have to remember that your customer support isn’t just there to help with the purchase, they have to be a subtle salesperson too.
Sure, you may be spending money on your team to shape them into the best salesperson/customer support. But if they’re pumping up sales, then those costs are well worth it. After all, your staff is an investment on your part at the end of the day.
Identify each of their strengths and weaknesses. Train them on how to handle the different emotions brought in by a visitor. And map out all the possible questions that might come up once your team goes operational.
2. Be consistent
What this means is that the voice of the company should be portrayed by all the staff that’s operating under its umbrella. Train your people to speak this voice to ensure that customer experience is consistent no matter who they’re talking to.
To identify your company’s voice, you need to create a persona for your company. Tailor that persona to the principles of your brand and the experience that you want your customers to feel.
3. Be proactive
Being proactive means that you’re addressing a perceived problem before the customer can even think of contacting chat support. One example is when a visitor is already on the checkout page but has yet to complete a purchase.
This is the first sign of shopping cart abandonment. Have your staff prevent shopping cart abandonment by engaging the customer and asking them what could be causing the delay. Again, this might be due to a coupon code not working or a card is not being authorized. Whatever it is, have your staff deal with the growing problem and make sure that the purchase is completed. In short, deliver a digital brick-and-mortar experience.
4. Customize introduction based on context
If chat support identifies a customer that seems to be having trouble in the site, instruct them to introduce themselves based on what items the visitor is browsing. For instance, if they’re perusing biking gears, your staff’s intro might look something like “Hello, welcome to [website’s name]. I’m [representative’s name]. How can I be of assistance about your biking gear purchase today?”
By tailoring the introduction based on the situation, customers will be more than willing to engage the representative and reveal information about what he needs. From there, the rep’s training will take over and the experience will be similar to what brick-and-mortar shops deliver.
The staff can also upsell the customer and offer gears that may be associated with the product they’re interested in, driving sales even higher.