Have you heard of the age-old sales mantra, “People buy from people.”? Even in a hyper-digital world where brick-and-mortar shops are increasingly being replaced by their digital counterparts, this holds more relevance than ever before.
If your aim is to simply create a website funnel and optimise it for the best possible conversions, you have a flawed strategy. Why? Simply because it doesn’t matter how optimised your website sales funnel is if your cart abandonment rate is high. In fact, here is how the average cart abandonment rate stands today for different devices:
Hence, you need to do everything in your power to provide that final push to online shoppers, one that can increase your conversions overnight. Enter Live Chat – a communication channel that e-commerce companies can no longer afford to ignore. As a reliable sales and customer support vertical, Live Chat can offer live support to your e-commerce customers. By instantly connecting customers with support agents, queries can be addressed and solved in real-time.
How does this affect businesses? Here’s a look at some relevant statistics:
- Live chat for support has now become the leading contact method for digital customers, with as many as 42% preferring them over other channels.
- 92% of the customers today feel satisfied after a live chat session.
- Customers who engage with the company through Live Chat are worth 4.5 times more than visitors that don’t.
And the list goes on.
So, let’s get to the chase and understand how you can implement Live Chat for your e-commerce business for higher sales volumes:
1. A/B Test Your Live Chat
Proactive testing is where every digital story should begin. A/B testing every element of your Live Chat will help you narrow down your choices to the best tactics, acting as a means that optimises your optimisation strategy! There are four fundamental verticals that you need to test before calling it a day – targeting, testing, engagement, and measurement.
And before you even begin, you should be ready with the answers to the following questions:
- What do customers in your industry expect from Live Chat support?
- What type of queries do they generally encounter?
- What complains are they likely to come up with while navigating through your website?
Once you have the right foundation in place, begin A/B testing every live chat element. This includes:
- Display Time
- Display Duration
- Display Animation
Effective A/B testing is a scientific method that can be broken down into some key steps:
- Ask a question.
- Do background research.
- Form a hypothesis.
- Test that hypothesis through an experiment.
- Analyse your data to draw a conclusion.
Some key performance metrics and optimisation goals that you can aim to test or improve through testing sprints include:
- Conversion Rate
- Average Order Value
- Accept Rates
- RPV Uplift
Tools in the space of Live Chat for sales and support, such as Acquire, include provisions for split testing every variation to reach the best conversion rates.
2. Optimise According to Your E-Commerce Store
Live Chat can help you stay competitive against the in-store shopping experience, but only if you get it right. The idea is to tap into the mindset of customers while they are casually strolling about your digital store and tell them that you are there to solve their queries (while upselling at the backend). But to do that, you need to optimise your strategy to realise the maximum possible bang for your buck. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Time it Correctly: Be aware of your business hours. 9-5 chat availability will not work. In fact, people are more likely to shop on online stores during or after office hours. The best way to determine your peak traffic hours is to leverage website analytics.
- Humanise Support: While chatbots are a great alternative, they may not be an ideal use case for e-commerce stores who are aiming to humanise their customer support activities. Instead, focus on connecting support teams with your customers in a way that showcases the personality of your brand.
- Sales + Support: Consider using inside sales reps instead of typical support agents. They are more oriented towards selling and can leave behind a tremendous impact on your upselling and cross-selling initiatives.
- Boost Your Social: The moment your live chat representatives receive positive feedback about your customers, engage them on social media to spread the word. Inculcate the habit of motivating customers to follow the social media accounts of the company and leave positive feedback.
3. Train Your E-commerce Customer Support Team
Your customer support reps should be more than support agents. They should be engaged in active sales training to understand how they can effectively engage customers in a way that walks them through the entire sales funnel. Training modules should be designed in a way that by the end of it, customer support teams should be able to:
- Provide support to customers who have trouble navigating through your website or finding the product that they are looking for.
- At a macro scale, help increase your average cart value.
- Help increase your conversion rates for better and braver revenues.
- Instantly answer questions about products whilst users are navigating through the site in a way that encourages them to avoid checkout abandonment.
- Understand the requirements of customers and upsell/cross-sell them additional related products.
- Gather reliable sales and customer support data for better insights that can optimize live chat for marketing and support even further.
4. Offer Responsive Live Chat
Live chat for e-commerce can be effective only when it is ‘live’. Statistics reveal that about a quarter of the customers are frustrated by long wait times on chat and about 38% of them do not like to receive scripted responses by agents.
This is a tough boat for businesses to be in. To make support fast, they need to leverage scripted responses. But to make interactions more personalised, they need to make sessions increasingly personalised and engaging. The truth is, communication at scale always gets clunky. One of the foremost issues that customer support teams struggle with is quickly and efficiently pulling past customer data and relevant support history. Here’s how you can better navigate through such issues:
- Stay organised and keep the data in the right buckets.
- Make your support proactive by:
- Making generic information easily accessible to customers through FAQs.
- Being transparent about waiting time and queues.
- Adding relevant self-help apps to the website, such as Shopify updates on recent orders.
- Show customers which support agent is online.
- Choose a live chat tool that scales with your business. For instance, Acquire comes with tiered packages and chatbot support.
5. Provide 24/7 live chat support
As mentioned earlier, digital customers do not operate like their brick-and-mortar counterparts. B2C e-commerce businesses need to think beyond the traditional 9-5 outlook since their customers are more likely to be active during after-office hours. Providing 24/7 live chat support is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.
Some tips that will help you implement it include:
- Pinpoint hours of prime digital activity on your store and optimize resource utilisation accordingly.
- Leverage mobile devices/apps to extend chat on the go.
- Outsource to the right support partner to manage your support service more efficiently.
- Leverage ‘Canned Response’ to save time.
6. Offer Pro-Active Chat Options
Making your live chat efforts proactive means walking the thin line between genuine help and annoyance. Here is how reactive and proactive chats differ from one another:
Some handy tips to make your live chat proactive include:
- Eliminate all pop-ups from the website with the sole exception of the live chat window.
- The goal of live chat is not to gather customer information but solve their queries. Prioritise accordingly.
- Make canned responses or automated openers as natural and specific as possible.
- Time the chat perfectly to make come across as a welcome interruption, not an annoying meddle.
7. Offer In-Chat Product Recommendations
One of the strengths of an e-commerce store is that there can be tons of options for customers to shop from. But this can quickly turn into a weakness if they are not able to find what they are looking for. Live chat can effectively intervene here with personalised product recommendations based on the search history of the customers.
Indecision on the part of customers can be one of the primary reasons for your high cart abandonment rates. Here’s how relevant product recommendations can affect the bottom line of your company:
- Developing real connections with customers, resulting in higher satisfaction levels.
- Exploring wants, identifying needs and matching customers to the perfect product.
- Reducing the instances of product returns from unhappy customers.
The right customer agent would be able to instantly understand the motives behind the customer’s choices, what the customer wants to get out of the product and identify highly relevant opportunities of cross-selling and up-selling.
With the ability to extend a host of benefits for e-commerce websites, live chat is only set to grow in popularity in the future. So, if you are not yet leveraging the technology for your online store, it is high time that you do so to stay ahead of your competition.
What are your views about the Live Chat? Share your views with us in the comments section below!
Sam Makad is an experienced marketing consultant and writer. His expertise lies in advertising and marketing. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their business and overall ROI. You can reach out to Sam Makad on Twitter or LinkedIn