As an online professional who spends hours viewing websites each day, you probably hate the chat invitation popups which seem to have taken over the web recently.
However, if you’re involved with online business, you’re not likely to share the profile of a typical surfer. The fact is, these chat invitations have spread so widely because they offer excellent commercial benefits, whatever your own reactions to them.
Here are eight compelling reasons you should consider adding chat to your e-commerce site.
1) Ease of Communication
Plenty of potential customers either dislike using the telephone, or they don’t want to break up their surfing session to ask for further information. A chat option offers a seamless way of communicating which many people prefer. If it’s not a channel you offer, there are plenty of competitor sites who’ll be more accommodating.
2) Instant Support
An online chat facility can provide instant support to a customer, answering their queries while they’re still fully engaged in the buying journey.
What’s more, with today’s chat technology, simple interactions can often be carried out fully automatically before seamlessly passing the customer onto a live operator for more complicated conversations.
Real-time support is no longer a perk for customers, it’s an expectation. According to a recent post on Salesforce.com titled, “How Salesforce Increases Its 360° Customer View With Google,” CMO Stephanie Buscemi notes the following about modern customer expectations, “They expect you to be extremely nimble, transparent, and available to hear from them and then respond accordingly.”
3) Increased Sales Opportunities
As well as improving support, a chat facility also offers opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling. The operator knows exactly which pages and products the customer has been viewing and can make suggestions and recommendations that the customer will find genuinely helpful.
4) Stronger Engagement from Visitors
After even a short chat session, a visitor will feel a greater connection with your brand compared to a standard, non-interactive session. Even if they leave your site without a purchase, this increased engagement can only help conversion chances on future visits.
Chat sessions also enable prospective customers an opportunity to provide information that will enable more personalized experiences. A recent Salesforce presentation titled, “How to Know Your Customer: A Look into the Future of Customer Experience,” states that “91 of retail customers prefer brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations.”
5) Better Search Rankings for Higher Traffic
Increased engagement is important in another sense, too. A chat feature will keep many visitors on your site for longer, decreasing bounce rates and improving dwell times. Both of these metrics can feed through into better rankings on Google and other search engines.
6) Less Expensive Support
It’s much easier and less expensive to install a chat feature compared to running a call center. Operatives can work remotely, and it’s not difficult to provide 24-7 support if your customers need it.
Alternatively, chatbots can provide an effective and even more cost-efficient solution that is preferred by customers over web-based forms. In a recent article on AdAge titled, “The 3 keys to really knowing your customers,” it was noted that “new research found that only 14 percent of consumers would prefer to fill out a form than engage with a chatbot.”
7) Lower Returns Costs
An improved support function also lowers costs by reducing returns. Customers are much less likely to send their purchases back for a refund if they’ve been given closer support just before they buy.
8) Improve User Experience and Optimize Conversion Rates
Lastly, you can use your chat logs to improve the user experience extremely effectively. Once a chat facility has been running for long enough to gather data, it’s easy to see which pages generate the most interactions, and which queries are the most common on each page. Optimizing your pages using this valuable data can have a strong impact on conversions.
There are many off-the-shelf chat products which you can easily add to your site. You can even work with service companies to provide the whole feature without increasing the workload on you or your staff.
And with benefits like these which are so quick, easy, and inexpensive to generate, it’s clear to see why chat has taken over the commercial web.