Three (and a half). Count 'em. 3 1/2. Plus some tips and hints for your ecommerce chat service.

Ecommerce is taking over the world.

Online sales already make up 14.6% of global retail spending. Total ecommerce business stretches even beyond this. Over the last decade, ecommerce sales have grown an average of 19% a year, far outpacing growth in physical sales. And even while physical sales suffered during the 2009 recession, ecommerce sales grew.

E-Commerce has blown up like this for 5 reasons:

  1. It's convenient.
  2. It's fast.
  3. It's fun.
  4. It's visible.
  5. It's modern. And it is finding ways to mesh perfectly with the internet habits of old and young generations alike.

E-Commerce is an awesome example of how tech is changing the way we shop.

But despite its popularity, there is no escaping that ecommerce can be a bit robotic, a bit too efficient.

Moving the buyer's journey online removed the human connection we all secretly love when shopping in real life. And ecommerce is having a hard time replacing it, even when fuelled by bots

1: Customers and Computers - Not always a match made in heaven

Customers are starting to miss the human touch while they shop online.

And studies have even shown that a human emotional connection is more important to customers than their overall satisfaction.

Customers just want to know who they are buying from. They want to trust the products they are buying and the people delivering them. They want a business to make them feel special. Think wining and dining.

It's not for lack of trying you're not getting conversions from your website. If you’re already spending thousands on PPC, SEO, ETC, wouldn't it make sense to convert more than 2% (a stab in the dark at your current conversion rate). So, what about the other 98%? That's a lot of love lost.

But all hope's not lost for your ecommerce game. A chatty superhero is here to save your site.

2: Chat - the cape and tights you need to be a CSAT Superhero

Digital commerce is not just about the latest technology. It’s about choosing the right one for your specific organisation, with your specific needs, as the enabler of the digital buyer's journey across your site.

Chat services are perfect for ecommerce sites looking to improve their customer service and sales.

For those in the back row, chat is an internet service that allows customer service agents to communicate in real time with customers through instant messaging, usually found built into a company’s website.

At its heart, chat customer service agents replace the real life store assistants we rely on in a physical store. Both provide real-time advice and assistance to customers. Both are expert brand ambassadors for their company, providing personalised service to customers. And personalised customer service is the key to better customer retention and relations.

And both ensure that every customer has the option to have a real, empathetic connection with another human being during their shopping experience. Building trust is building a sale.

Live Chat support brings the human touch right back to ecommerce.

3: Sales through Service

Chat's not a one-trick pony, either. First up, it's incredibly convenient for customers. Having a question answered immediately by a live chat agent means no hold times and no need to navigate through complicated phone options. Press 1 for bad service.

Second, chat's cheap, but not dirty. Unlike phone operatives, live chat agents can talk to multiple customers at once, reducing average interaction costs while serving more customers. Best is, they can do it all to the highest standard in the industry.

Third, effective chat increases sales. Live chat support gives agents the chance to walk customers through their digital journey, through any technical problems, and through any issues that might otherwise stop a customer from completing a purchase. Sales are 30% higher after a customer has had a positive interaction with a sales associate. Plus customers can multi-task when talking to an agent – they can keep shopping while they chat! Chat conversations can be used to increase urgency and make sure your visitors know how to complete the sale. You don’t want a customer to miss out and have a negative experience, and you want good service to bolster your conversion rate.

Fourth, chat taps directly into customer pain points. A chat agent having a personal conversation with a customer can identify what is bothering a customer with far more empathy than a bot, and faster than an employee sifting through emails, can. They can directly address those pain points, and easily report any recurring issues to management.

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Customers are not experts on your products and services – you are! It's true that the customer is always right, and they know best what they are looking for. Well-trained chat agents are perfectly placed to provide detailed information on which products best match the customers’ needs. They can advise, encourage, and guide customers towards products with real heart. 

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Finally, chat lets you tap into markets that otherwise might be left out of traditional customer service channels.

Our first big group is millennials - they're spending over $600 billion in the US alone, equalling 30% of annual retail sales. The number of youngsters growing up on the internet is only going to get bigger - embracing online methods of customer service like chat will capture them now and ensure you have an expanding and loyal market into the future.

Surprisingly, though, older markets can also be captured by Live Chat services. It is not a shock that younger people use live chatting services more than older people. But still 15-20% of age groups over 35 still report that they prefer live chatting to customer service reps to calling them up on the phone. And this percentage is only going to grow, as online technologies such as live chat become more popular across generations.

The takeaway: Chat can be more appropriate for some customers, but is increasingly popular among everyone.

The reality: 44% of customers have indicated in surveys that questions answered by a person is the most important feature of a website.

And if this doesn't convince you, then here's one more thing: Chat has higher satisfaction levels than any other customer service channel. 73% of customers are satisfied after chat, compared with 61% for email, and 44% for phone interactions. And exceptional chat takes this one step further: Real people using personality can satisfy customers and turn an angry customer into a brand advocate. We know, we've got a 99% satisfaction rate.

3.5: Tips and hints for a successful chat service

Live Chat is a fantastic service that puts your business over the edge in the eyes of your customers and brings you one step closer to omni-channel dominance.

There are a few basic principles, however, that you can follow to ensure your live chat service has the biggest possible impact on your website visitors.

  1. Chat shouldn’t be limited to normal working hours. Your customers have jobs - and unless they have the most laid-back bosses in the world, they are unlikely to have the opportunity to chat during business hours. Making your chat available for as many hours of the day as possible (even out of hours) is going to ensure that you harness all the benefits outlined in this article. Evenings and weekends are when chat's most popular. Why? It's when your call centres are closed, your support team is out, and you're at the pub!
  2. Engage your customers. They'll have questions that could easily be found if they read your website. But don't make the mistake of thinking this makes chat a waste of time and money. The point of Live Chat is to give customers a more convenient service, and, when you leverage it correctly, the results can be amazing. We know that basic FAQs don’t cut it if you want to create a meaningful interaction, especially when you’re chatting about diamonds and the biggest day of that customer's life. Yes, they could just read through your website, but why spend time doing that when they could just ask you - or your competitor’s live chat agents - directly?! Questions will be tedious - but answering them will prevent customers from abandoning their purchase and can build a trusting relationship that encourages conversion.
  3. Chat needs to be proactive. The majority of people won’t click a button to ask a question - but they will talk with a live chat agent who pops up automatically on their screen asking if they need help. Make sure that your greeting is relevant to the customer’s journey. A returning visitor might be greeted with “Welcome back, do you need any help today?” A new visitor might instead be greeted with “Welcome to [Company], just to let you know I’m here to answer any questions you may have."
  4. Hire live chat agents who are quick off the mark and care about providing excellent service. At its core, chat is supposed to be fast and convenient. Having slow typists answering question is thus a big turn off for customers expecting a speedy resolution to their problem. Having fast and well-trained agents (like ours at The Chat Shop) will give your chat service the edge.

Live Chat - Your Key to E-com Success

Live Chat support is without a doubt the most useful and productive communication tool you can have on an ecommerce site (we promise we aren’t biased).

Customers have time and again told us how much they like live chatting, and have proven how much more they are willing to buy from, and trust, businesses that offer it on their website.

So next time you are considering how to improve your online experience for customers? Give chat a go.

 

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