Live chat is helping to transform the way we shop and sell online. It provides a convenient, quick and simple way of accessing customer support. Given how easy it is to access, it’s not surprising that live chat has the highest satisfaction level for any customer service channel, with 73% of shoppers in one report giving it the thumbs up, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone contact.
For such an unobtrusive function (you will often find the live chat icon tucked away in the lower right-hand corner of websites) live chat certainly packs a punch. When the function is active, visitors can get answers to their questions almost instantly from any page on a website.
So, how can live chat help your ecommerce site increase conversions and are there any downsides to the function? Let’s take a closer look and explore some of the pros and cons of live chat…
- Connections – Live chat helps businesses build personal connections with customers. Personal connections build trust, and increased confidence in a business leads to more conversions. Simple!
- Comfort – Let’s face it, not everyone likes talking on the phone. For phone-phobic visitors, live chat strikes a perfect balance between the direct approach of a phone call and a slower email exchange. Customers who feel comfortable shopping on your website are far more likely to stick around and buy something.
- Choice – Live chat gives customers more choice and flexibility. Instead of two contact options, phone and email, visitors to your website can instantly access advice using the live chat screen. We all live busy lives, so having the ability to multi-task and submit questions to a customer service rep on live chat (without having to exit the website and pick up the phone or draft an email) is priceless.
- Immediacy – Live chat is a game-changer as far as customer service is concerned. After all, if visitors to your website don’t want to wait longer than 3 seconds for a site page to load, how much patience do you think they will have if they call your business and you put them on hold for five minutes or ask them to dial numbers or make vocal prompts to get to a real person? Live chat gives shoppers the answers to their questions NOW and dramatically increases conversions as a result.
- Convenience – Live chat is virtually instant and easy to use. It allows visitors to access the information they want in seconds – not minutes or hours. You won’t get much more convenient than that!
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- Lack of experience affects results – When used correctly, live chat has been shown to boost conversions by as much as 45%. When used incorrectly, the results can be disappointing. Businesses without experience of using live chat successfully can struggle to implement a successful system. If you’re new to live chat, do your research first or seek out the advice of an experienced digital agency for help getting started.
- Staffing – If you have a live chat function enabled on your website, it’s essential that you have staff ready and waiting to respond to any questions and queries that are sent in. Leaving questions unanswered, or customers waiting a long time for a response, is unacceptable and could seriously affect how much trust your customers have in your business.
- Training – You’ve got a live chat system up and running – that’s great. Now it’s time to focus on what you can do to turn enquiries into sales. Much of this comes down to staff training. A great chat support team is an essential part of the live chat experience. After all, it’s how your staff handle each enquiry that determines how a customer feels about the overall experience. Was your live chat rep professional? Knowledgeable? These skills are essential to the live chat experience.
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