Live Chat

by Natalya Bucuy

Why live chat?

What makes a business stand out from competition ? 

Of course, products and prices play major roles when it comes to brand differentiation. But, these aren’t the only factors that have an impact on consumers.

After all, people will eventually forget how much they paid for the outfit they bought or even what exactly they bought from a company. But there is one thing that can stay with them for much longer. And that is the emotional connection between them and the brand. 

As the great American poet, Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Connecting with customers is not easy in any business. But, in the e-commerce industry, it becomes a more difficult task. After all, e-commerce companies can only interact with customers through a screen.. So how can an e-commerce company build deep meaningful connections with their customers?

One way to do that is by providing live chat, a communication channel that customers crave in today’s fast-paced environment.

Numbers tell the story

Here are some statistics to consider:

  • 79% of customers say that they prefer to live chat because of the immediacy it provides. (Econsultancy)
  • 40% of buyers who use live chat are more likely to make online purchases (versus 22% of buyers who had never chatted). (eMarketer)
  • 51% of consumers are more likely to stay with or buy again from a company if they offer live chat support. (Kayako)

Customers crave live chat. Live chat is an easy, convenient, always available option at the customer’s fingertips. It makes shoppers feel connected and supported by a brand. 

As customer experience Shep Hyken says, “People no longer compare you just to your direct competitors. They compare you to the positive experiences they’ve had with companies in any industry.” That means that if customers had positive live chat interactions elsewhere, they then expect to have the same experience when they visit any website. Not having it, at the very least, ensures disappointment.


Store Clerks Without Commissions

Besides customers expecting live chat on e-commerce sites, this communication channel has additional benefits. Lead generation is one of them. Live chat is a fantastic lead magnet and a great tool to communicate with customers to better understand their needs. According to a recent study by Forrester, live chat produces more than 40% of site conversion rates. Here is how. 

Greeting visitors with a warm message through a live chat window when they first get to a website, can immediately establish a friendly and positive atmosphere. Then, live chat allows brands to offer real-time assistance to the customers for the duration of their time on the site. Questions about shipping? Discount code for a specific item? Help to locate a specific page on the website?

Stand-by agents can be there to help at a moment’s notice to answer every question and offer support. This makes for great customer service. Subsequently, that helps to gather more leads and results in higher conversions. Effective lead generation is all about reaching out to people and communicating with them. Chat functions like a store clerk in an online store. Minus the costly commission. 

Reading Customers’ Minds

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to peek into customers’ minds and know exactly what they want? Well, with live chat, businesses can. Another benefit of live chat is that it can help a company get to know its customers better. Live chat software often comes with features that allow brands to do just that. 

For example, a navigation history tool can tell customer service agents a lot about a specific customer. They can see which pages on the website he or she visited in the current browsing session or which website directed the customer to the website. It also provides insights on how much time a person spent on a specific page and gives the customer’s geographical location.  

Additionally, within certain live chat software suites, agents can see previous chats and other customer history. This is a huge advantage as customers do not need to explain their issues or history with a company – the agents can look this information up and be ahead of the game. That delights customers by making them feel like the brand knows them well.

Another feature that can deepen the company’s knowledge of its customers is the sneak peek feature. This function provides the ability to see what customers are typing before they submit their responses.

This allows agents the opportunity to respond faster because they can start typing and retrieving information sooner. It can also help customer service agents better understand customer sentiment. If a customer types a somewhat angry message, but then deletes it, for example, an agent can come up with a successful strategy to appease the unhappy customer. 

Different live chat software packages will have different features with various functions. Generally speaking, communicating with customers on a personal level in real-time throughout the entirety of their experience is a valuable benefit of live chat. 

Real People. Real Chats. 

Live chat is an efficient tool when it comes to customer communication. There are many examples of live chat delivering fast results to businesses. Here is one. 

In late spring of 2018, Tarrant County’ Clerk Office in Texas integrated live chat in every division across the organization. The system directed every resident who contacted the office to the specific department he or she was looking for. For example, the Civil division answered probate and guardianship questions and passport clerks received the passport questions.

This meant that a knowledgeable team member was answering each citizen’s inquiry. No run-around, no lengthy phone menus – just people helping people quickly and efficiently. As a bonus, the real-time translation feature incorporated in the live chat software the county installed broke language barriers, which became useful in Tarrant County, where more than a fifth of the county’s population is Spanish speaking.


The bottom line

Live chat is the new telephone.

Whenever a new technology takes over the world, there is always skepticism around its use. Think about the introduction of the automobile, electricity, or the telephone. After the initial novelty of a technology wears off, people not only want to use it, they expect to have it available for them everywhere. Today’s customers want fast, efficient communication with the brands they interact with, regardless of industry. They crave that connection and support. Live chat is there to provide it.