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While shopping for bluetooth speakers on Fugoo.com, I noticed a little something extra amazing: a live chat feature! What’s surprising is that, despite it’s incredible funtionality to help you connect with your customers, I see loads of online stores everyday that don’t use live chat. When I ask store owners why they don’t take advantage of this great tool, they say it’s not trendy or they feel their small staff cannot balance a live chat channel.

Seriously, folks? How can providing a personalized experience speaking with your customers not be “in?”

Live chat is a great way to get a leg up on your online competition, stay competitive against the in-store experience, tap into your client base to get them from research-mode (which happens a lot) and convert them into buyers or possibly upsell them.

The bottom line is: Live chat = selling more. Period.

Not sure where to start? In today’s #SellMore video, we take a look at  Bigcommerce client Fugoo.com’s beautiful site to find 5 sure-fire ways to have an effective live chat feature that boosts sales and increases conversion. After you watch the video, scroll down for a deeper dive of each of these elements.


Be aware of your business hours.

Don’t assume 9am-5pm chat hours will work, especially if you are selling internationally. First, I recommend using analytics to determine what time of day (or night) most of your visitors are using your site. If you’ve got trouble covering certain hours you can outsource or just have a submission form like Fugoo so you may contact customers later on when you’re ready and provide that “wow” experience.

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No robots allowed.

The whole point of having live chat available is to provide warm, human help to a customer’s shopping experience. Having robotic greetings or responses can kill the effectiveness of live chat. Plus, it’s your opportunity to showcase your rad personality, which is a huge part of building your brand.

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Sales experience can make for a great chat rep.

For the most effective use of live chat, consider using inside sales people and not just customer service representatives. People who have sales experience will more likely lead customers towards sales and increase the possibility of upselling, which can hugely impact your businesses bottom line.

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Train your chat  team!

Of course your live chat representatives should be knowledgeable about your inventory and website navigation. However, I highly recommend you formally train your team around soft-skills. You might even provide cheat sheets or FAQs to improve their performance. Training will also make it easier for chat reps to answer customer’s questions quickly which will in turn drive down “chat time.”

If it’s just you running your live chat as a moonlighter, remember that no one knows your business better than you. However, a little training for you can go a long way to make sure that you’re being efficient, friendly, and answering the right questions in the right way to satisfy clients.

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Take the opportunity to boost your social.

This is something most live chats don’t do. When your live chat representatives receive positive feedback from online visitors and customers, consider instructing your representatives (or sales people) kindly remind your visitors to “like” your Facebook page and leave a comment on it.

How do you use live chat to boost sales?

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Leave a Comment
  • Still a great and relevant article Katey! Just to expand on the ‘Be aware of your business hours’ section, a business can run reports within their live chat solution that will be able to inform them if they are missing opportunities, they can then identify whether its because they are offline after hours, or that they need more representatives available during operating hours. For more information take a look at our reports page http://ow.ly/xsJl30bg35u

  • Great post, Katey. We couldn’t agree more about the impact of live chat…but it’s not just for big e-commerce. We’re especially effective at engaging elective medical practice website visitors where the buying process is highly emotional. There is no substitute for the human element when dealing with matters of the heart, be it plastic surgery, fertility, even cosmetic dentistry. Creating an emotional connection with the visitor is paramount.

    Jonathan Bryant
    National Director, Partner
    SiteStaff

  • Sean Dawes

    Doing it outside business hours is awesome. I can’t tell you how many people I shock when I am stepping in and the one who is on live chat for our store at 1-2am. Live chat has converted plenty of sales when our CS reps are engaging people. We also use triggered pop ups for certain behaviors. ie. If someone is on a product page for more than site average for product pages, it triggers “Is there a question on product fitment you need help with?” (we sell automotive parts). And we constantly a/b test targeting/messaging.

  • Private message sent via Twitter. Speak with you soon!

  • Hi Katey,

    You’re very welcome! Couldn’t agree more.

    Sounds like a great idea. How about we write something on it together? I’ve followed you on Twitter, follow me back and I can DM my email if you are interested.

    Thanks!

  • Gary,

    You’re so very welcome! Always happy to give kuddos to clients. Congratulations on being rated #1, that’s huge news. I’m going to be sure to share with my team here at Bigcommerce.

    Additionally, thanks so much for taking the time to write and to confirm that having a live chat feature is a rarity for online stores these days. It’s so nice to hear that it’s been such a great tool for boosting your businesses bottom line. That’s always the goal we should have in mine.

    Be well, thanks and congrats again!

  • Hi Miles,

    Thanks for your comment, and the content share! You are so very right, having that direct-line of communication opens up the opportunity to have a great conversations with your customers. Also, who doesn’t want their feedback and opinions heard and then implemented?

    Stellar add, thanks! Sounds like a great post, “How to best gather client feedback for your online store.” What do ya think?

  • Katey,

    Thanks for mentioning FUGOO! We do love live chat and your completely right about the opportunity for sales. Many times I jump on chat, being able to answer the two or three lingering concerns or unknowns often ends up with “Thanks so much, i’m ordering now!” Can’t get much better than that. Also, FUGOO was just rated by TopTenReviews.com, http://bluetooth-speakers-review.toptenreviews.com/ and in this review, FUGOO rated #1 with 100/100 points. Notable was the Help/Support portion of our review where we were called out positively as being only 1 of 2 out of 10 companies that offered live chat. So not only are our customers happy we can help them in real time, but editorial notices as well! Highly recommenced and thanks for the shout out!

    Gary Elsasser
    CEO, FUGOO
    http://www.fugoo.com

  • Great post Katey! I’m from The Chat Shop, a live chat strategy and managed service company. One point which we’d like to add is to really listen to your customers. Don’t just use live chat to sell to more people on a one-to-one basis but also use customers’ feedback to improve your service and product offering.

    Are there any products which you don’t stock but your customers keep asking for through live chat? Would they like a wider range of delivery options? etc.

    Because of live chat’s slightly more casual nature (compared to phone and email support), customers are much more likely to tell you what they think and therefore it’s a great source for valuable feedback.

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