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Personalize Your Service with Chat
Wondering if people like your layout? Customers will tell you. Not sure if you have enough content? Questions from customers will let you know. Adding chat on your e-commerce site is the perfect way to engage your customers. If you don’t have a chat client on your website go get one. Determine who on your team will answer chat and have a means to get the chat transcripts in your hands.
Online chat, which has been around since 1980, is often overlooked for it’s value as a feedback device. You might not use chat, yet customers that desire your product or service abandon your website when a chat provides answers they need now. Many e-commerce website operators rely on FAQ’s or email support to answer questions for customers. These methods assume the customer is engaged in your product to the extent that they’ll take these extra steps. My experience is that pre-sale email support or lengthy FAQs do a poor job of driving sales and helping conversion. Chat is a stream-of-consciousness communication with you (the store owner) that eliminates the hurdles preventing a sale.
Benefits to Adding Chat to Your Website Today
Your goal is to increase conversions and there are benefits when adding chat to your website.
Main Reasons For Adding Chat
Reasons people start a chat and solutions you can use to improve your site:
Bots are Not as Good as Chat (at least not at first)
There are a couple of pitfalls with chats. For one, you need someone assigned to them during operating hours. If this isn’t possible then it’s important that the operator set themselves to “away”. When a customer initiates a conversation and no one is there to answer you lose the goodwill created by offering chat.
Bots accomplish what your chat is supposed to if you are having a hard time getting to all the chats (but beware). First, it’s impossible to really know the questions people have if you haven’t taken a number of chats yourself first. What you believe customers are thinking, and are in the buyers journey, may not be where they really are. Second, customers tell me they don’t like bots and their “intelligence” is not customer friendly. The purpose of a chat is to connect with a customer at a level your competitor is not. It’s hard to convey that to a 3rd party customer service rep running your chat box, but it’s far worse when interacting with a bot.
Where Bots Might Replace Chat
When the volume of chats is too high to manage them with your people, a bot is a good idea. If your customer service reps are not getting to other tasks because of chat, that’s not “cost effective”. Use the bot to pre-qualify a customer and then send them over to a human being if the bot cannot answer the question, or the customer qualifies themselves with some pre-scripted questions.
Eventually bots will improve to the level of human proficiency. Facebook (among others) are actively working on their bot systems. With considerable configuration you can get to a near-human proficiency. However, today, October 2020, we are not at that level. Further, if you haven’t put in the time to review transcripts or chat with customers in the past then you’re missing out on the important insights you can get from your customers (see Benefits to Adding Chat to Your Website above).
Customer Service and Brand Voice
Choosing people to work your chat box is an important role. We insist on “manning” the chat box for the first few weeks of a new engagement so we can work out the nature of customer’s requests and to establish a brand voice.
The person on the chat is like a retail team member at a store – they are the face of your company. Equipping them with the tools they need to fully resolve customer issues, assist in order placement all while keeping with your brand’s voice will equate to more sales immediately.
Queries from customers need to be acted upon if there are design or interface issues experienced. The person behind the box needs to have the influence to recommend updates to the website with the goal of decreasing sales friction.
Provide a Great Chat Experience with Pure Chat
We’ve used PureChat as our preferred chat platform for the past 10 years. There are a number of alternatives out there but PureChat is easy to setup, can be customized (even the free plan) to suit your site, and gives you an app so you can chat on your mobile device. The free version only supports one person, so this platform is great as an MVP (minimally viable product) to test out chat features and see what happens.
Long term we recommend upgrading to the paid version which provides multi-user support, analytics on visits and the ability to pro-actively reach out to website visitors manually or automatically.
Chat Box Wrap Up
As an owner/operator of an e-commerce website your plate is full. Automation and batching are important to scale your business and to keep your costs down. Time and time again, though, the insights and knowledge we have gained from using chat software has far outweighed the costs. Provide better customer service and reduce the friction in the sales process by adding a chat box to your website today.
Need Assistance with Your E-Commerce Strategy?
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you need assistance with ways to increase your online sales, contact us. We are happy to provide a free consultation with you to discuss your company and your goals.