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Spring Clean Your Contact Centre

Part 3 of 4

Neldi Rautenbach Neldi Rautenbach Thursday 7th April 2016

Breathe new life into your live chat strategy

Live chat has been one of the most rapidly adopted contact centre technologies of recent years. Today it supports customer service in 30.7% of organisations and sales in 29.7%. And the number is increasing daily with a lot of brands offering it all the time, on every webpage for any query.

MISCONCEPTION: Live chat is just for support, not for customer conversion.
TRUTH: Live chat is proven to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates, increase sales conversion and improve customer loyalty. In fact, a quarter of consumers would use live chat to contact customer service representatives if they cannot self-serve an answer to their query.

Customers want personal, attentive answers to their questions and reassurance that their purchase will fit their needs. Customers prefer to use it as it’s free, quick, simple to use and anonymous. And not only does live chat allow businesses a way to provide a personal touch online, eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark report found that live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any online customer service channel at 73%. While live chat has proved to help resolve customer queries in real time, this tool can be used for lead generation and to net more sales.

Forrester reports:
  • 44% of online customers 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 website can offer.
  • 38% of respondents said they had made their purchase due to the chat session itself.
  • 62% reported being more likely to purchase from the site again if live chat was offered.
Live chat could be one of the key methods to increase sales, but just how do you set this scene?

Increasing sales through live chat Context is key

When mindless chat windows automatically appear on a website, it can be just as ineffective as nuisance pop-up ads – it could alienate potential customers and are also more likely to be ignored. However, just having a chat button option within a webpage, hoping customers would click on it could be just as ineffective. By aggregating and analysing data across communication channels, predictive analytics with self-learning and adaptive algorithms will deliver insight into customer journeys across channels and help agents to deliver real time response.

Pro-active chats is based on visitor behaviour. Used properly it will engage more visitors. Having analytics will help to determine where chat invitations are having the greatest positive impact on customer behaviour and where chat can be offered proactively at points where it will make a difference.

Where, when and how to use live chat

The most common way our clients have increased their sales through live chat has been at the point that their customers was struggling/stalling to complete an online purchase. Offering customers assistance at this stage could drastically increase online sale conversions, answering, or assuring customers about any doubts about the transaction or product/s they are looking to purchase. Chat-based support can also be used at other times during the sales cycle. Well placed cross selling popup advertising integrated within live chat offers customers the opportunity to find out more about a product or service they would not have initially thought about when visiting the website.

There is an apparent correlation between respondents who prefer web chat to voice with respect to age. Livechat is more popular with younger generations (aged 18 to 34) who prefer using it to get answers to simple queries and questions they have while shopping online. (Software Advice, a customer service research firm survey, 2015) The plausible reason for this is the added convenience that live chat offers, especially for those who are used to texting and instant messaging. It provides real-time support and its anonymity allows customers to ask difficult questions which they might not feel comfortable to ask over the phone.

Whilst voice is still a popular choice for consumers, it is an expensive channel for organisations, and can reduce customer satisfaction levels by routing customers through endless IVR loops. Live chat however, allows contact centre agents to handle 2-3 webchats simultaneously, improving efficiency and call response times. The main benefit of offering a livechat solution from a customer perspective, is that it allows website visitors to stay in their channel of choice.

Providing customers with the tools to self-serve and also giving them an additional real-time contact channel, ensures the customer journey is a seamless one. One thing is clear, although livechat could be quite simple to deploy, it works best as part of a multi-channel online customer service strategy. Why not download our best practice whitepaper: Live Chat – 5 Killer Reasons Why You Are Doing It Wrong?

This whitepaper highlights:
  • How context is key to intelligent chat
  • The importance of quality not quantity
  • Integrating web chat as part of a multi-channel strategy
  • The importance of security
  • And how knowledge is critical for consistency