ECommerce and online shopping is immensely convenient and has grown enormously in popularity. But it has its limitations. If you are in the business of selling perfumes, for example, how do you convey the flavour of an aroma from a website? And if you are selling clothes, how do you let your prospects know about the materials used and the quality of the workmanship? These are just examples of the challenges faced by some online businesses.
One key aspect of online shopping which surveys have demonstrated is missed by shoppers is the ability to ask questions of a shop assistant. While nobody enjoys being badgered by an aggressive sales person everybody appreciates the ability to consult with an expert, especially when there is uncertainty regarding which product is the most suitable.
Another area in which interaction is important is customer support. People seeking support don’t really want to be added to a queue of unknown length in order that there query will be addressed some non-specified time in the future. People want a real time response, even if this does not result in an immediate solution to their issue. The solution is quite simple. Install live chat software on your website so that visitors can interact with an agent who is able to address their enquiries in real time.
A Forrester Research study entitled “Making Proactive Chat Work” found that 44% of shoppers said that the ability to interact during the purchase process was one of the most important facilities that a website could offer.
“Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”
Real time chat cuts down on the subsequent support requests which can save a small fortune and surveys have indicated that people are far more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
Live chat will increase sales. This is particularly true if you are selling products which require integration with others and therefore prompt a lot of queries. But it is not restricted to complex technical products. Items which are not easily demonstrated online (such as perfumes and jewellery) tend to sell better when prospective customers can ask questions.
An important consideration when implementing live chat is to ensure that those responsible for responding to queries are extremely well trained. They must be able to deal with all of the questions that are likely to arise, have a very clear speaking voice and capable of calming customers who may be somewhat unhappy.
The bottom line is that installing live chat software on your website and training your staff to use it effectively will cost a little to start with, but that cost will quickly be recouped in sales, improved customer retention, customer satisfaction and reduced support costs. So what are you waiting for?