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Live chat can have a big impact on your bottom line. Here’s why:

1. You can be human.

We’re all seeing that the robot apocalypse hasn’t exactly won people’s hearts online (unless you are selling Robot Apocalypse T-shirts, which are very cool). People don’t want to feel manipulated or sent into obvious automation. They like talking to actual people and getting to know more about who’s behind the site. From tests we’ve run at Olark, plus research from other companies, we’ve found that chatting with customers can increase retention by anywhere from 3–7.5 times.

2. You can be effective.

People don’t want to wait around for an email to get answers. They like getting immediate service. They also like doing this from work and not having their conversations public (64% of employees admit they visit non-work related websites every day at work). A recent survey done by LivePerson found that 82% of respondents rated “getting my issue resolved quickly” as the top element of a great online experience. Customers enjoy an easy, frictionless experience.

3. You can strike while the iron is hot.

We have found that it’s pretty powerful to talk to customers while they’re in the decision-making process. It’s like having a real-life store. You can talk to shoppers face to face instead of just sending email after they’ve left your site. JRS Consulting, creators of AVShop.ca, told us they “saw an increase in conversions, a lower amount of emails and our customers are happier that they can talk to sales reps in person.”

4. Your most important customers can get your full attention.

You can set up targeting rules so that you’ll know when your most valuable customers are on your site so you can proactively reach out to them. Keep track of your customers in a CRM like Salesforce (hopefully your chat transcripts are automatically associated with the right customer) and follow up with a phone call or note after the purchase to build your relationship.

5. Your most effective upselling starts way before customers reach the register.

Advice and recommendations are useful while shopping; not as much when paying. Customers in a trial we did last year added 48% more to their carts using Olark. You can see which pages a customer visits. If they don’t move to checkout, you can reach out to them.

6. You’re available for the right customers.

You might not want to staff a support center 24/7, but if your big sales usually occur on Saturday, that’s the time to have someone around to answer questions.  Chat makes it easy to talk to people from wherever you are. One of our customers recently told us he makes deals with European customers from his iPhone in bed! You may want to wear pants, but the choice is yours.

7. You’re the most helpful person in the world.

Pass along links to tutorials or knowledge base articles specific to your customers’ needs. Support is simple when you can share your existing solutions with customers instantly. Or you can pass along codes for special offers only available to that special person. You can also give people your Aunt Janice’s recipe for peppermint jam. Mmm.

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