Not everyone is clear on the benefits that live chat has to offer. Many people believe that live chat is just there as a customer support tool but it can also be used to improve sales. This blog post is the first in our series of posts entitled "The Basics of Live Chat", and explains 4 ways in which live chat improves sales conversion.


1. It’s instant.

John is online, shopping for an anniversary present for his girlfriend Lisa. John, being a typical male would appreciate some advice on what jewellery to get Lisa. He is browsing website A, and decides to email them asking for a little bit of advice. While waiting for a reply John comes across website B, his lingering actions prompt a proactive invite to chat to which John quickly accepts. After a short conversation whereby the agent from website B understands John’s requirements, with a few options thrown back and forth, John finds the right present, purchases it and it arrives at his door step to a very happy girlfriend.

This is just one example of how the instant nature of live chat can dramatically improve your sales and allow you to have an advantage over your competitors. Are similar scenario’s potentially happening on your site?


2. Trust

When we walk into a traditional brick and mortar store, trust can be quickly ascertained through the mannerisms and nature of the people you are dealing with, the look and feel of the store, and, if it is previously known, the brand. Online, we often don’t get that luxury, especially with lesser established, local/regional brands. Checking reviews and feedback helps hugely. Fortunately, simply searching the company name followed by review on Google throws up some interesting results.

I personally find it useful to know what contact methods are offered. Basic checks are registered address, email and phone number. If I can talk instantly with someone via live chat, I’m much less likely to be lost to a competitor as in the above scenario. Being able to chat with a real person at the company works wonders for trust.


3. Reduced Shopping Basket Abandonment

What does the warranty cover? How much is postage? Can I get it delivered to a different address? My credit card number isn’t working?!

If you have shopped online before, chances are you have had these questions before; often at a critical point in the buying process. Often on an impulse purchase, one that, given some more time to think about, you probably aren’t in any hurry to buy. With live chat available throughout the shopping cart process you stop giving your potential customers excuses not to buy from you. A live chat agent can be just a click away to quickly answer a customer’s questions and provide reassurance.


4. Cross sell / up sell

“People who bought olives also bought Chardonnay.” “78% of people who viewed Chardonnay also bought ‘What to Do When He’s Not That Into You.’” Automated cross sell up, up sell systems can be irritating and unrelated, as perfectly shown in this video by Google.

 

Yes, there are situations where by these systems work well, but with live chat, we can do it better. Within the live chat console you can view a heap of information about your visitor. Where they came from, what they searched to get there, how long they have been browsing and on which pages. This, combined with common sense can result in some perfect upselling, meaning increased average order values.