Live chat is still a fairly new phenomenon, but in a relatively brief span of time, it has impacted both sales and customer service operations in the world of e-commerce, B2B, and beyond. By nestling itself into unexpected industries and taking up unforeseen applications, one thing’s for sure: live chat has stretched far beyond the box in which it once resided.
Here are three persistent pieces of conventional live chat wisdom that deserve a second thought.
#1. Live chat’s only purpose is to reduce cart abandonment.
While it is true that live chat serves to troubleshoot issues or questions that could break a sale, its influence extends beyond the purchase at hand. When customers share their pain points directly, companies have the opportunity to not only help eliminate barriers to immediate purchase but to potentially affect future buying habits. Recommendations made by live chat representatives may lead to an upsell or a future purchase. Yet on the flip side, knowing your customers’ unresolvable pain points allows your company to effectively develop content to address industry challenges and/or refine and innovate products that address unmet needs.
2. Live chat is a burden on staff.
While launching new processes and aligning multiple business areas is never easy, once fully implemented, live chat has consistently been shown to save on employee task time when compared with call centers. That being said, it’s important to train your staff thoroughly to confirm their knowledge of both your live chat software as well as your website and product portfolio. Once up and running, your live chat program will work more efficiently than phone support, which will lower average interaction costs, reduce wait times, and allow live chat representatives to multi-task, rather than working through an overwhelming queue – something both your customers and your reps can get behind.
#3. Live chat users are annoyed by pop-ups and proactive invitations.
According to a recent study by Forrester Research called “Making Proactive Chat Work,” 44 percent of US online consumers reported that they like seeing a chat invitation pop up to help answer questions during online research or purchase – up from 33 percent in 2012 and 27 percent in 2009. While this is an encouraging trend, and proactive chat has demonstrated numerous benefits, including increased average order value and a boost in conversion rate, you can optimize its value through smart implementation. Leverage data analytics and predictive modeling tools to ensure you are delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time.
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