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In today’s highly competitive markets, any edge you have over your competitors in online sales or service can make the difference in whether you gain or lose a customer.  The ability to live chat and engage a person through your website can provide you a significant ROI.  According to Forrester Research, chat earns an impressive 15% on reactive (customer service /sales) click to chat while Proactive chat (chat by invitation) earns a whopping 105% ROI.  Having such a feature on your website, especially when a competitor doesn’t, may be the crucial selling point that compels a potential customer to choose you over a competitor.

As the Internet has matured, online shoppers have become savvier and are expecting more from online sellers. Increasingly, they want their online transactions backed up with live customer support, just as they would have in a brick and mortar store. According to a poll by Andersen Consulting, almost 62% of Internet consumers said they would purchase more products online if live customer support were available.

Live sales and live support chat services are no longer the novelty they once were; they’ve matured into serious sales and support tools. These days, if you’re not using one of these services for your online store, it is possible you are missing out on valuable sales opportunities.

So how does live chat work?

Typically, there is not much to set up in terms of software. Numerous chat software companies abound with a handful of premier providers.  The service is set up by pasting a short snippet of HTML into the web page source code. This code causes a “Live Chat Request” button to appear when the page is loaded. The code also notifies you, through the hosted chat server, that you have a visitor at your site.

From there, you can watch in real-time as the visitor moves through your site. At any point, you can proactively invite the customer to chat about your products or offer to answer questions, just as would a sales or customer support assistant in a brick and mortar store.

If a customer wants to initiate a chat, he or she clicks on the button on your website, which opens a private message window. The visitor fills in the information fields you’ve defined, adds a question, and then clicks on the “Start Chat” button. You receive the chat request, review the information, and decide whether to accept.  In a proactive mode an invitation is forwarded and can be triggered based upon some preconfigured rules.  Now let’s get to the top 5 benefits for deploying live chat.

1)  Increased Customer Satisfaction

In today’s world where information can be searched for and almost anything can be done with a click of the mouse – consumers have gotten impatient. They want their needs and inquiries to be addressed instantaneously.

Just imagine what will happen if a customer with a problem wants to get in touch with you and you only have a few phone representatives to answer calls – so the line is busy. If the customer gets impatient, he or she might end up switching loyalties to another company who can fulfill their needs immediately.

The same thing applies if a customer sends you an inquiry through e-mail and it takes a long time for you to respond.

Customers will have the privilege to handle their personal matters during work hours while being discreet. Instead of using an office phone, while their coworkers sit next to them and they are able to hear their personal matters, the customers are able to chat with live support confidentially. This is where live chat systems help increase customer satisfaction. By simply subscribing to a live chat system, your site visitors can easily get in touch with you via live chat.

2)  Reduced Operational Costs

Most live chat systems offer a multi-chatting capability, concurrent chat sessions with the ability to interact with 2-4 customers.  So if you have two operators who respond to chat sessions and each one can handle two or more sessions at a time – that will result to a 50% savings in your operational costs.   Contrary to phone, chat offers efficiency in interactions as well as a reducing telecom expenses.

3)  Increase sales with proactive chat and service upsells.

Just like in a brick and mortar setting, if you see a customer moving through your store not sure of which item to purchase, you would ask them if they needed assistance and then close the sale.  You too do just that from your website. You can watch what visitors are looking at and then send them a ‘can we help?’ message. The message can be unique to that visitor. If you see a visitor pausing on the checkout process you can ask if they would like to take the order for them. Overall, being proactive with your visitors will increase sales.

4) Tracking & Monitoring your Visitors:

With the right software you can collect information about visitors, including the website that referred them to you, the browser they are using, and their click- through path. You can see if the visitors have been on your website before. You can also keyword search which will help you determine which product or topic is the most popular on your website. Proper keyword research can help you focus your on-page promotions so that you attract visitors who convert. Keyword research even plays a role in helping you save money by lowering your cost-per-click, and may be able to point out keywords that convert better than others do.

5)  Exit Surveys – Managing satisfaction with CSATS and NPS.

At the end of a chat most chat software can submit an automated chat survey that allows you to capture key elements using a Net promoter operating model. NPS is based on the basic idea that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. By asking one simple question — How likely is it that you would recommend [Company X] to a friend or colleague? — You can track these groups and get a clear measure of your company’s performance through its customers’ eyes. Customers respond on a 0-to-10 point rating scale.

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
  • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

This helps companies gauge if the customer will purchase in the future and if they will refer the products.  The result:  instant customer feedback with the ability to respond quickly to a customer with a negative impression.

Some of the most recognized brands are utilizing hundreds of chat agents on a daily basis interacting with customers providing sales, customer service, help desk and more.  Review the top 5 reasons and see how your company can benefit and realize the chat return on investment.