What Live Chat Can Do For eCommerce Businesses

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Live Chat Software

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Modern eCommerce businesses are suffering, namely from the inability of online stores to offer real customer service. The vast majority of online shops leave visitors to figure out things themselves, which offers an experience quite similar to walking into an empty store! No one is there to welcome you, and if you have a problem or question, no expert advice is available.  One solution to this could be to use live chat software!

Although web users are used to this ’empty shop feeling’, it does result in a number of problems that aren’t present in normal businesses. In some instances, customers are leaving the site because they couldn’t find a specific product that was actually there, or customers leaving the shopping cart right before they checkout because they couldn’t get an answer to a specific question they had. These are all too common situations for most online shops.

These are your most expensive exit percentages as well, since they come from visitors that were genuinely interested in your products, and on the verge of buying, only to be stopped by what was probably just a minor question or doubt.

Live Chat

eCommerce sites could implement live chat software into their website. By integrating live chat software, the website owner can chat with his online visitors, providing answers, guidance, and boosting the overall trustworthiness and personality of the website.

By implementing live chat software on your site, you can reach your website visitors and they can reach you.

Advantages Of Live Chat

An increase in conversions

Only implementing live chat in the checkout page can already bring great improvements in your conversion rates. At this point of the buying process, you want all your eggs to remain in the basket. Any egg that jumps out with questions, for example your delivery terms, can be caught and consolidated through the live chat. Traditional solutions like email or phone are not applicable here, since they include a media-switch with a high possibility of the customer abandoning the buying process.

A decrease in service costs

Concerning time and effort, live chat is much more efficient than either phone or email. Quality providers of live chat software allow multiple chats to be handled simultaneously. Furthermore, because people are used to a more informal language in chats than in emails and because live chat is on-the-spot and relevant to the problem at hand, the time spent per customer issue tends to be much lower.

An Increase in Personality and Trust for your Website

So much in online business comes down to trust. Google bases most of its search algorithm on ‘trust factors’, and whether people buy from your website also largely depends on whether they trust you or not. Factors that generate trust for websites are:

  • A Strong Brand Name
  • An Advanced Web Design
  • Website Technology (e.g. speed of the website)

But just imagine that your name is not Amazon and you don’t have a 6-digit budget at your disposal for your monthly marketing and website development activities. Is it still possible to generate trust and accumulate a loyal customer base? Yes it is, but you do have to take on a different approach.

What you have to do is build up meaningful relationships with your customers. Live chat allows small to medium sized online businesses to successfully take on the role of the friendly baker from around the corner. You give a face to your website and provide it with a person that can vow for its products.

Disadvantages of Live Chat

Need Someone To Be Present

Well, there is of course that one prerequisite that to answer the chats, there actually has to be a person present behind the scenes. This might be an issue if you are a one-man business and only check your orders at the end of the day and do things away from the computer for the rest of the time.

The quality live chat providers however offer several solutions to this, like an offline form when no operator is online, or the possibility to answer chats form your Smartphone.

If you really want nothing to do with the chat interactions, but you do want to reap the benefits, it might be interesting to look into the possibility of outsourcing the chat process. Some live chat providers have partnerships with affordable and reliable service partners. It would then be a matter of balancing the costs versus the benefits.

Overall, live chat should be a point of interest for anyone selling products or services over the internet. The fact that it is on-the-spot, relevant, convenient, and personal makes live chat an optimal tool to increase your revenue while decreasing your costs.
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Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Pascal van Opzeeland

Pascal is in charge of the online marketing activities of Userlike, a company offering live chat software in a Software-as-a-Service form. The company is located in Cologne, Germany, and was founded by Timoor Taufig and David Voswinkel in 2011. Pascal writes the Userlike blog that talks more about live chat features and for tips on how to deploy live chat on your site!
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  • Before BuildMyRank was deindexed I had a BMR post outsourcing service which made me $1000/month the first month with very little promotion – the reason being was that I had excellent customer service. Not only did I have live chat on my site but I also made an effort to reply to each email from potential customers within the hour. Yes, it wasn’t passive, but it did convert very well and made people like the service a lot better!

    I definitely recommend having live chat even if you won’t be monitoring your computer 24/7 – like you mentioned, most live chat services will have an “offline” feature which will allow the user to send you an email instead.

    Thomas

    • Hi Thomas! Great example that shows that live chat can work. That little extra customer service makes it much more appealing for visitors to buy.

  • A very interesting post, I think the reason many people want to become bloggers or Internet Marketers is to avoid dealing with customers and hide behind the website, this post shows that even today that isn’t good enough.

    Affiliate marketing perhaps can still be faceless, but consider this, people need to be reassured that what they are buying is good, imagine a 2 minute chat to someone who might buy a product you are promoting that pays you 75% commission. That honest and face to face approach may just push your conversions up. Something to consider I think.

    @Thomas the Mobile App Tycoon, inspiring story too thanks. 🙂

    Cheers
    Andi

    • Hi Andi! I never really thought of internet marketers hiding behind a website to avoid dealing with customers. Thinking about it, I’m sure many DO do this, at least initially, but I’ve found that as a site grows you end up speaking to more customers.

      I think this post suggests some interesting points. I’d never even thought of live chat being used in this way, but you can see the benefits.

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    • Thanks Kitson! Glad you liked the post