​6 Ways Live Chat Can Increase Online Sales

JT Ripton  |

The small business world, when it comes to e-commerce, is always evolving, growing, and in constant competition with each other. Customer service is crucial but delivering on quality can become more and more difficult to do in an increasingly electronic world.

Thankfully, courtesy of new features such as live Chat, your representatives can get back out in front of a customer quicker and with ease, juggle multiple requests at once, and increase that customer satisfaction score – and therefore the amount, frequency, and speed of transactions.

The best part? Live chat is not a one-note only tool: there are actually a variety of ways small businesses can implement live chat features to boost online sales.

Pain Point Precision

Unbeknownst to yourself, your customers may be experiencing frustrations or hiccups in their client experience that are giving them pause or driving them away altogether. A friendly, easy chat can instantaneously allow a customer, who may not be inclined to write an email or make a phone call and would instead just walk away, the chance to quickly mention what is bothering them. You cannot underestimate the importance of customer feedback when it comes to growing your business.

Giving the client the chance to, in the moment, get their problems off their chest not only increases your likelihood of being able to retain them as a customer but dramatically improves your chance of hearing this valuable information in the first place. In fact, about 44% of online customers report that merely having their questions answered by a live person while making an online purchase is among a website’s most important feature.

Leveraging Leads

Prospects, at the end of the day, do not mean much if you are not able to leverage your leads and convert them into customers. Did you know that the average conversion rate is actually pretty low? That stat hovers between a mere 2 – 3% in most cases, with the top 25% of e-commerce sites averaging just over 5%. A recent study, however, shows that live chat can increase that conversion rate by a whopping 40% increase!

Just imagine how much greater your business health would be with a 40% increase in sales! When customers feel they are being paid attention to, whether it is in a physical store or via personalized chats with fast response times, they will be much likelier to remain customers, and potential customers will be that much more inclined to make their first purchase.

Cutting Costs – Smartly!

When you factor in not only live chat’s ability to allow for multitasking and answering multiple clients at once with less infrastructure, overhead – and a lower body count on employees, live chat is much more cost-effective than traditional call centers or phone operators. And when it comes to management and maintenance, the savings really add up.

Consider the cost efficiencies of consolidation alone. Issue ticketing, social media interaction, incoming calls and customer support requests can all be integrated into one hub. Something like Live Agent’s customer support chat software builds and manages that flow for you, bringing together all multiple customer requests, consolidating them and distributing them among agents.

Rather than the outdated – and, frankly, costly – system of one call to one agent, live chat allows multiple customer requests to funnel through to one agent, thus increasing the amount of work done and customers helped in the same amount of time, which not only increases your purchase profits, but decreases labor costs as you will not need a fleet of phone operators.

Skyrocket Average Order Value

Taking the idea of converting leads a step further, not only does live chat allow you to increase the number of orders, but it has proven to actually increase the value of orders as well – more money per transaction as well as more sales overall. The idea of upselling is a tool that should never be lost from the wheelhouse, whether in a brick and mortar store or in the digital world. With the convenience of immediate operator access in live chat, your customer service personnel can suggest similar items, add-on purchase, or even talk up a better (more expensive) model of a product.

Virgin Airlines, for example, increase their average transactions by 15% with their live chat tool. They were successful in multiplying the typical purchase value by a staggering 3.5 times, thanks to the ability of live chat operators to suggest add-ons while engaging the customer quickly, efficiently, and pleasantly. That is quite a return on investment.

There Are (in Theory) No Off Hours

It is a purely physical fact that you cannot be at work and online literally 24/7. And while you can hire a team of customer support agents, you may not be at the point where you can afford to have real, live people on and working every second of the day. That’s where live chat’s customized help desk features – personalization and preprogrammed bots – come in handy. Once a word spoken with disdain and reserved for the idea of something entirely unhelpful, bots have come a long way and can make customers feel heard within moments, even if a real person can’t get to them quite yet.

With the ability to program canned responses and keep conversation flowing, bots may actually be able to point your clients in the right direction even when an agent is not there. A well-programmed bot can often address problems that can be easily solved or issues that pop up quite frequently, not only eliminating the need for a person when one isn’t available but also freeing up your agents to tackle more detailed, more complex asks themselves.

Undeniable Documentation

With live chat, everything is integrated and logged. Compared to an old-fashioned phone call, chat features provide the ability to have a physical transcription of everything said on both ends. This in itself can be a lifesaver for the future if further questions, issues, or discrepancies arise.

Further, these transcripts can be quite helpful for future retraining tools, as new agents can get a real sense of what their jobs will be and current employees have references to look back on as refreshers. Whether as reminders of what a great job looks like or even as an idea of maybe what not to do when a conversation goes south. And for repeat customers? All interactions are logged right there so if and when they come back with follow up asks; the entire conversation history is right at the fingertips.

Live chat has become not only a preferable tool but something rather essential to small business across the web. From faster communication to operational efficiencies to bottom line increases, can you really afford not to have it?

DISCLOSURE: The author hass not been compensated by, nor do they own any shares in, any of the companies mentioned in this article.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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