Jim Iyoob is Chief Customer Officer for Etech Global Services. Jim has 20+ years of contact center outsourcing experience in inbound, outbound, chat and social media operations, and is a respected speaker, author and subject-matter expert for call center solutions.

How Live Chat Support Can Transform Your Business

Live Chat SupportAs the tide continues to shift toward e-commerce, more companies are looking for ways to replicate the types of services and customer benefits which exist naturally in brick-and-mortar stores. One of the greatest challenges remains the delivery of basic customer service itself, a cornerstone of any sales outlet. Email and web forms provide convenient avenues for communication, but they typically lack the immediate feedback many patrons desire.

Live chat software has become a true game-changer in this regard, affording online retailers the ability to communicate directly with active shoppers to answer questions and encourage sales. It’s convenient for them, cost-effective for you and it helps to clear up the logjams which can inhibit business. Learn more about the advantages of live chat customer support your company could be missing out on.

Keep the Customer Happy

Today’s e-commerce buyers demand service more like what they’re accustomed to in the physical world—agents at the ready when they have questions or concerns. Forrester Research’s own studies suggest that nearly 45% of online shoppers consider live chat to be one of the deciding factors in their web-based purchases. ATG Global Consumer Trend similarly states that over 60% of customers would be more inclined to return to websites which offered this type of service, highlighting its value and importance.

Affordable Assistance

Call centers are difficult to manage for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the expense involved. Phone support is not usually favorable for your customers any more than your staff, and it’s generally much more difficult to accommodate large queues when request volume is high. Live chat software provides the notable benefit of allowing agents to multitask, aiding numerous customers simultaneously by staggering their responses. With fewer missed inquiries, you’re likely to experience fewer missed sales.

Evolve Your Business

Staying ahead of the competition is essential to success in any industry. Live chat software doesn’t just allow you to better serve your customers in the moment, but also helps you to learn about more general opportunities. By having a better communication tool to understand the feelings and frustrations of your clientele, you’re better able to address those issues early and effectively. In the ATG survey described above, consider that nearly 40% of those who responded chose to make a purchase solely on the strength of a live chat interaction. How’s that for being heard?

The Makings of Success

Once you’ve made the decision to implement live customer support for your website, it’s important to take steps to ensure the effectiveness of your program. Make sure to tailor your chat’s operating hours to your highest periods of online business, which may or may not be standard business hours in your own time zone. Furthermore, quality staffing is essential; consider pursuing candidates with existing sales experience or knowledge of the products you deal in. If you must go with more generally-skilled employees, be sure to train them well so they can properly assist your customers.

Final Thoughts

Supporting customers online is no different than a walk-in business: You need to make sure that representatives are available, knowledgeable and able to keep up with the volume of requests. When executed properly, live chat is a proven way to improve the customer experience while reducing overhead and lowering your abandoned cart count—not to mention boosting your bottom line.

This post is first published on LinkedIn

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