Despite the financial challenges brought by the pandemic that affected hundreds and thousands of companies, the eCommerce sector remains strong and stable. The industry is enjoying a great boost in popularity and more and more businesses are starting to try on different platforms for marketing and selling their products, and at the same time, communicating with their customers.
Since customer communication is an important factor that affects a company’s branding and reputation, entrepreneurs are slowly transitioning into more advanced and interactive communication channels to provide seamless 24/7 support and assistance to their customers. These platforms improve customer experience and minimize complaints that might result in low satisfaction and retention rates.
Live chat is one of the most popular ways to interact with clients, and for online business owners, real-time communication is their lifeline. This is also the reason why the demand for eCommerce websites is increasing. Customers need good service. But to stand out, companies should be able to provide services that are convenient, quick, reliable, and of superb quality.
What is Ecommerce?
E-commerce is defined as the process of buying and selling products and services with the use of the internet. People tend to misinterpret eCommerce as exclusive for physical goods, but businesses and consumers are slowly gaining interest in selling and buying of intangible items such as music, apps, stock photos, e-books, and online courses for continuing education. Compared to physical goods, digital products are much easier to store, and the waiting time before the customer receives them is usually very short or often, instant.
Experts see bigger growth in the eCommerce sector, with a forecast stating that 95% of purchases will already be made through eCommerce by 2040. This is not impossible, since customers prefer a convenient experience through one-stop shopping platforms.
How Big is the Global E-commerce Market?
The global eCommerce market is HUGE. Market experts predicted that the value of the global eCommerce market will hit $55.5 trillion this year.
What are the Most Important Communication Channels for E-commerce?
Communication channels guarantee an enhanced shopping experience for customers and business owners have plenty of choices to try:
- Social media
- Live chat
- In-app messaging
- SMS marketing
In this article, we will focus on live chat and how it helps improve customer service and support in eCommerce.
What is Live Chat?
Live chat is a form of customer support that businesses use to quickly resolve customer service and product-related concerns. Live chat is an ideal platform that eCommerce business owners recommend due to its simple, convenient, and effective interface. Aside from quick resolution and increased rapport and trust between customer support representatives and clients, live chat offers more benefits including minimized costs, increased efficiency and productivity, and the opportunity to promote self-service support. Continue reading to learn how live chat benefits eCommerce.
16 Key Benefits of Live Chat to Ecommerce and Customer Experience
1. Quick Support and Assistance to Customers
When there is a high influx of messages from customers, support agents might struggle in answering every customer query and concern while working on other sales-related tasks. Online shoppers who inquire about specific products and services want immediate answers before they decide to check out certain items that captured their interest.
Having a friendly chat box can minimize the waiting time of customers since most chat solutions nowadays allow business page managers to save responses for common questions. When a customer selects a quick question, the answer will automatically appear, thus, they can already resume with their shopping instead of waiting for answers from the customer support agents.
In a study conducted by Invesp, live chat received a 73% satisfaction rate, with response time being the top contributor to this result. Through shorter response times, you can make your customers feel that they are prioritized and valued, so quick support and assistance is very crucial to customer service.
2. It Enables Multitasking
Aside from handling product and service-related inquiries and complaints from customers, chat support team agents are also trained to prepare and submit sales reports, check stocks, and boost promotions. Without a one-stop communication channel, performing all these duties can be very exhausting for your agents. With live chat’s simple and easy-to-navigate interface, agents can continue doing other tasks while meeting the different needs of many customers. For repetitive questions, chat agents can save answers that customers could easily access through shortcuts. These answers are called canned responses.
Canned responses give live chat agents more time to do more urgent tasks needing immediate action without making customers feel abandoned. And you know what’s more impressive? 92% of customers feel satisfied with the answers that they get from canned messaging features of eCommerce live chats, so it’s safe to say that a well-designed and updated canned response system is a must for every business.
3. Helps in Delivering Personalized Services
Without in-person contact, identifying and analyzing consumer behavior can be challenging for business owners and sales representatives. For years, we got used to the impression that consumer trust can only be established through physical interaction. Thanks to technology, device and chat software developers came up with ways to track the consumer behavior of online consumers by reviewing chat history.
Currently, the best live chat apps for eCommerce have advanced features that let agents and business owners check customers’ online activities such as purchase history, frequently visited pages, and even the time that they spend on those platforms! This information can prompt agents to start proactive chats to properly guide customers in their concerns, just in case they are having a hard time searching for a certain product, or medium where they can forward their complaints. Customers appreciate agents who know their preferences and are offering items similar to their previous purchases.
Service personalization can help you and your support team have a deeper and more intimate understanding of your customers’ exact wants and needs, paving the way to more valuable relationships with them.
4. Better Team Performance Analysis
Meaningful conversations between agents and customers do not just satisfy customers, but also inspire chat support agents to perform better. There are many ways to assess if your support team is doing well, but evaluation using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is the most common.
Through live chat, business owners can easily monitor and evaluate staff performance through these data:
- First response time (FRT)
- Resolution rate
- Average handling time (AHT)
These indicators are used to measure their efficiency as support agents by checking how they quickly and effectively resolve complaints of customers, and how much time they spend handling important communication relayed to them by customers. An agent’s ability to handle and resolve issues as quickly as possible is an indicator that he/she observes customer activities and carefully analyzes them to provide genuine and personalized service. In any customer communication platform, a shorter handling time is better.
5. Provides 24/7 Support
If your business wants to reach the global market, you need to be prepared for a round the clock type of service. Potential customers coming from different countries and active under different time zones might be browsing your website and adding items to their carts but when a detail or two is missing, expect them to contact your customer care desk.
With the help of automated responses in live chats, your business can virtually respond to their queries, and you’ll see customers adding more items to their carts because of satisfaction and good customer service. Moreover, customers can ask quick questions and receive answers instantly even after your chat support team’s working hours, which leads us to the next benefit.
6. Reduces Agent Burnout
Using chat for customer service is a practical way to serve customers better and at the same time, make agents’ tasks more convenient. Customer service agents spend the entire day answering queries, resolving complaints, trying to appease irate clients, and basically absorbing hundreds and thousands of new information without negatively affecting the company’s branding and reputation. Simply put, being a customer service professional can be very exhausting if companies will stick to traditional communication platforms.
Live chat is convenient for both agents and customers because chat triggers can help start conversations and maintain the interest levels of customers, even with minimal effort from both parties. Chat platforms have great integration features that can help agents manage communication sent using different channels, and they can easily access past conversations and file attachments by searching specific keywords in a chat session with a customer.
Compared to phone support where several departments and staff are involved in receiving, escalating, answering, and resolving complex queries, live chat offers direct solutions that save time and give agents the necessary break to avoid burnout.
7. Increases Conversion Rates
For companies with active websites where they can showcase their products and services and at the same time guide clients in the entire buying process, the number of website visitors per day is important in determining the effectiveness of their campaigns and promotions. Visiting or plain browsing has no actual value, none until the customers decide to take their items to their carts, check them out and pay for every product. Converting customer interest and initial activity into sales is an indicator of excellent customer service and effective client support.
Live chat is acknowledged by business owners and eCommerce experts because of the help it brings to improve conversion rates and boost sales. In fact, setting up interactive live chat features on your website can increase conversion rates by 20%. You can observe customer engagement rates and analyze which particular element in a chat session makes them want to avail of your products and services again. The next major benefit will give you a smart and easy way to evaluate chat quality.
8. Increased e-commerce Sales
Using live chat services helps businesses to time optimize their sales processes by providing customers with quick and easy access to customer service. This is because live chat provides customers with the ability to get their questions answered in real time, which can help increase confidence and reduce buyer’s remorse. In addition, live chat helps businesses communicate with customers more effectively, personalize the brand, and reduce bounce rates. Live chat can also help build trust and rapport between a customer and a company. All of these factors can lead to increased sales for businesses.
9. Higher customer lifetime value
Customer lifetime value is the total value of all the revenue a customer generates over the lifetime of their relationship with your company. Live chat can increase customer lifetime value by increasing conversions, increasing order values, and providing great service.
By increasing conversions, live chat can help you turn more prospects into paying customers. And increasing order values can help you get more revenue from each customer. Plus, live chat provides an excellent opportunity to provide great customer service. By providing quick and helpful answers to your customers’ questions, you can build strong relationships that keep them coming back.
10. Help customers find the best products for their needs
One of the key benefits of live chat for eCommerce businesses is that it can help customers find the best products for their needs. This is especially important if you sell a wide range of products or if your products are complex and require some explanation.
With live chat, you can have a conversation with the customer to understand their needs and then recommend the best product for them. This personal touch can make a big difference in the customer’s decision-making process, and it can lead to more sales and happier customers.
11. Reduce bounce rate
Reducing the bounce rate on your eCommerce website is essential for improving your customer experience and driving conversions. Live chat can be a powerful tool for reducing the bounce rate by engaging visitors and helping them find the information they need. By providing prompt, relevant assistance, live chat can help visitors overcome any obstacles that might cause them to leave your site.
Using live chat can help reduce the bounce rate by sending automated messages to new visitors. Pop-ups that ask “What are you looking for?” or “How may I help you” can help convert average customers into leads, and eventually, sales.
12. Identifies Areas for Improvement
As a modern customer service tool, live chats provide instant service and a rapid boost in profit, but no matter how perfect-looking a chat session was, lapses are inevitable. This is the reason why chat interactions should be thoroughly analyzed. Some chat services have automatic post-chat surveys sent to customers after every live chat session with the purpose of knowing if they are satisfied with the quality of the conversation that they had with an agent.
It is a great way to measure customer satisfaction and agent performance and identify areas that are in need of improvement. There are many factors that influence customer satisfaction ratings after every chat session. Here are some:
Chat Support Agent’s Knowledge
The best chat support agents are not just good negotiators and communicators, they are also expected to be knowledgeable. There is nothing more satisfying than talking to agents who have vast knowledge about the company’s products and services. Interested customers ask questions, and when agents cannot answer them, some will just opt to end the conversation and transfer to other businesses offering similar products and services.
Clients value their time, and they value companies that do the same. For live chat software with powerful automation features, speed should never be an issue. However, speed will still depend on the agent’s skills and the complexity of the problem that needs to be resolved.
Live chat adds a more human touch to eCommerce communication, but when agent scripts and canned responses are being used, customer service representatives tend to be too robotic and stiff. Canned responses are sometimes inappropriate to certain questions and this scenario can be very frustrating for customers.
Sending actual responses instead of tapping system-generated ones can lead to genuine conversations that will maintain the personalized touch in all customer to agent chat sessions.
13. Advantage Over Competitors
If your competitors are still sticking with the traditional customer service communication platforms, then that’s a sign for you to level up your game. Live chat support boasts a relatively higher satisfaction rate than email (61%) and phone (44%) and frankly, customers would always prefer instant responses to their queries to avoid long queues and waiting times. Having a strong chat support team can give you a competitive edge over other businesses, without spending too much on resources.
14. Ability to upsell and cross-sell
The most significant advantage of live chat is that it can help you boost sales and revenue. You can use this tool to upsell and cross-sell your products. For example, if a customer is buying a pair of shoes from your online store, you can suggest they buy a belt or wallet that goes along with it. This way, you will be able to increase your Average Order Value (AOV).
15. Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
Another significant advantage of live chat is that it can help reduce shopping cart abandonment. Studies have shown that almost 70% of customers abandon their shopping carts because of various reasons such as high shipping costs, lack of payment options, and complicated checkout processes.
With live chat, you will be able to address these concerns in real time and help reduce shopping cart abandonment on your eCommerce website.
16. Cost Savings
Search for the benefits of customer service platforms in businesses, and you’ll see this on top of the lists, so we saved the best for last.
Businesses integrate live chat tools on their websites to minimize costs, and it is really effective. There are many studies and surveys suggesting that the use of live chat software works well to reduce call center costs. Additionally, live chat is much easier to run and 17% to 30% cheaper than phone calls.
Small businesses can save more in labor and recruitment costs with an excellent live chat software since the management may choose to hire few employees to act as chat operators and make their customer service department fully automated.
Ways to Improve Live Chat Performance
1. Check queries via chat for easier tracking.
2. Train agents in live chat etiquette and communication skills (proper salutation, negotiation, conflict resolution, and use of positive language). Set rules for chat sessions.
3. Limit the use of scripts and canned responses.
4. Update canned responses with additional answers to common questions.
5. Deliver personalized service based on customers’ shopping history.
6. Use a filter to check unread and unanswered chat messages.
7. For unclosed transactions and conversations, send a follow-up message after 2 business days.
8. Keep a regular website maintenance schedule to avoid crashes and troubleshoot basic problems.
9. Turn on all chat-related notifications.
10. Choose live chat plans that have unlimited messaging access to unique clients.
11. Review customer feedback from post-chat surveys.
How do you measure the success of your Live Chat support efforts?
There are a few key metrics you can focus on:
1. First contact resolution rate – This measures how often customers who start a chat are able to resolve their issue without having to contact another support channel. A high first contact resolution rate means that your team is doing a good job of resolving issues quickly and efficiently.
2. Chat satisfaction score – This metric measures how satisfied customers are with the overall chat experience, from start to finish. A high chat satisfaction score means that customers are happy with the service they’re receiving.
3. Chat response time – This measures how quickly your team is able to respond to customer inquiries. A fast chat response time is crucial for providing a good customer experience.
4. Chat conversion rate – This measures how often customers who start a chat session end up making a purchase. A high chat conversion rate means that your team is doing a good job of providing valuable assistance to customers.
5. Chat abandonment rate – This measures how often customers who start a chat session end up leaving without completing their purchase. A low chat abandonment rate means that your team is doing a good job of keeping customers engaged.
6. Net Promoter Score – This measures how likely customers are to recommend your chat service to others. A high NPS score means that your team is doing a good job of providing a valuable chat experience.
E-commerce live chat is an excellent investment if you are a business owner who wants a one-stop channel to sell and promote your products and services while interacting with existing clients and potential customers. It is important to select a live chat software that will help you deliver outstanding customer experiences without breaking the bank.
In choosing a live chat tool, consider the benefits that it will bring to your business, to your customers, and to your employees. With convenience and cost-effectiveness being its top advantages, hiring a team of experienced customer service professionals can bring a great boost to your company’s branding and reputation. Most importantly, customers will still choose the type of service that is intimate, personalized, and sincere, and only humans can deliver that.
Digital Minds BPO offers superb live chat support services with the best agents and tools to kick-start your business. Request a quote and start your journey to a globally competitive customer support!
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