As more customers turn to online shopping, occasionally reviewing and refreshing your online customer support practices is a good idea.
First and foremost in delivering online customer service is live chat software. Most companies offer this feature on their website, and while there is growing awareness about effective approaches to this powerful tool, many companies are still missing some low-hanging fruit in regards to making the most of this software.
Many purchases are made impulsively, and online shopping makes impulsive purchases even easier—unless you don’t have live chat. When customers are ready to hit the “buy” button, it’s a major faux pas to require them to either pick up the phone or wait a long time for an e-mail response to any query they may have before committing to a purchase. Offering live chat software—and staffing it 24/7—is the only way to make customer service real time.
In a report by BI Intelligence, it was found that in 2013 up to 74% of online shopping carts were abandoned, totaling more than $4 billion in product abandonment! Of course there are a number of factors that play into this, but it is also a known fact that live chat software helps reduce abandonment rates. In a survey conducted by Forrester Research it was revealed that “Around 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.”
Assuming you are already utilizing live chat on your website, here are three best-practice tips to ensure your agents are maximizing the features of live chat that customers expect.
- Mind your manners. Not being able to hear a customer’s voice, nor see them in person automatically makes communicating with live chat very different than phone or in-person conversations. Live chat conversations need to be conducted respectfully and should match the tone of your company website. If your product/service is more informal, then live chat agents should be licensed to chat with customers in a less formal manner. On the other hand, if you’re offering professional services or higher end products, then the conversation should be more polished and refined.
- Quick response time. Live chat agents are often managing multiple conversations simultaneously. If an agent is unable to respond to a customer query right away, then the customer needs to be alerted that the agent will be with them shortly and they can expect to wait approximately X-number of minutes. Remember, the longer a customer is asked to wait, the more likely they’ll abandon the conversation, and potentially a sale.
- Personalized responses. Top agents know how to personally engage with customers and balance canned and free-form responses. Agents that provide numerous back-and-forth exchanges, and directly answer questions, will see better results than agents who are vague or don’t satisfactorily answer a customer’s question. Humanizing the conversation and personally connecting with the customer goes a long way.
There is a lot of opportunity for businesses to capture sales online. The numbers already show that customers are engaging with online retailers and are ready to part with billions of dollars. The ball is in the retailer’s court for capturing these sales. Live chat software, coupled with training that is specific to live chat agents, is a sure way to convert potential sales into actual sales.