Customer support is one of the important things that customers look for when doing purchases — both for services and products. One of the key features of a website is having a person who can help resolve issues immediately while customers are in the middle of an online purchase.
Good support will gain customers’ trust and can generate customers who will keep coming back to the site. Customers tend to return to a company that makes them feel secure, such as by providing easy, straightforward, and immediate support.
Live chat is a tool that allows customers to have real-time conversations with the site’s agents. You may not be available all the time to answer customer concerns — in this case, you can acquire services from a separate company that provides real human chat agents who can support your visitors on your behalf 24/7.
(Figure 1: A live chat used on 1902 Software’s websites, powered by Weply.)
Another emerging technology for customer support is the use of a chatbot. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation, either via voice or text communication.
Chatbot systems have become more sophisticated with the advances of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Chatbots with AI have the ability to understand the intentions of the statements they receive. It is still at an early stage but is continuously evolving, so it is safe to use it to fulfill simple commands. For instance, it can give answers to repetitive questions, or collect customer inquiries 24/7.
Benefits of having a live chat
A live chat is easily accessible since the chat dialog box can be opened through a link.
(Figure 2: The image above is a website footer where a live chat link, “Chat with us” is available. The dialog message box will open by simply clicking this link.)
(Figure 3: The dialog message box. Customers can simply send a message and the site’s agent will answer.)
Instead of filling out a contact form, sending an email, or grabbing a phone, it is easier and more hassle-free to open a live chat dialog if a user wants to reach out for support. Further, customers can continue online shopping while waiting for the chat support’s response. This reduces the risk of users leaving the product page where they’re making a purchase just to contact support through forms or calls (and then perhaps forgetting to come back and complete their purchase).
(Figure 4: In the image, observe how the agent quickly replied to address the user’s concern.)
3. Rapid solutions and real-time customer support
Since this is a live chat, users receive real-time responses and don’t need to wait long unlike when the message is sent through an email or a contact form.
It is frustrating for users to deal with delayed responses. This may lead users to exit the website, look for other solutions elsewhere, or worse, look for a competitor site who can provide the same item they are looking for without problems.
4. Increase in sales
When confused users who are making purchases can communicate to someone, they share their trust and loyalty to that website. Because of the live chat feature, there is a big chance that the users will return and purchase again. Aside from making sure that the users can make successful checkouts, a live chat agent can respond to user’s questions, understand their needs, and recommend the right products. This will lead to an increase in sales and a decrease of cart abandonment.
5. Addressing user’s frustrations
With the live chat histories, usual and recurring problems from the users on their shopping experience can be analyzed. Using this data, effective solutions can be implemented so that returning and new users can no longer encounter them.
Live chat implementation guide
1. Open the live chat dialog only when user-initiated and not automatically. Automatically-opened live chats will be perceived as irritation by the users. Place the static links on the header, footer, or help sections.
(Figure 5: The image shows that this site places the static link, ‘Chat with us’, in its footer area near other important links.)
2. Do not make it sticky on the page, it can interrupt the important elements the users need to see and click.
(Figure 6: This image is from a site’s footer in mobile view, observe how the blue-green sticky live chat icon is overlapping with the Twitter icon, making it hard to click.)
So, which live chat software is best for your site?
The answer – it depends on your needs.
There are a lot of live chat software online that you can choose from (some of them offer a free trial and some offer a demo). You may give them a try and create a shortlist of the ones with features that best fit your needs.
Another important factor to consider is pricing. It is useless to find a great software that does everything if the price makes it completely impractical. Consider relevant factors like how many chats you can have per month, the reports you can get, the payment terms, discounts if any, etc. Then, do a calculation to show how much you get in return for the price you are going to pay. Lastly, make sure that you understand the vendor’s pricing plan properly to avoid unexpected additional costs down the road.