Live Up to Live Chat Expectations
For ecommerce retailers, marketing and advertising play a big role in getting new customers to visit and shop around on their websites. But without the proper customer service channels in place to assist those customers, many of them leave without actually making a purchase. Offering live chat as a customer service option increases not only purchase and conversion rates, but customer satisfaction as well.
Some quick stats that speak to the value of live chat:
- 92% of customers are satisfied after using live chat, the highest satisfaction rate of all customer channels surveyed (source: Zendesk)
- 79% of customers say they prefer live chat, primarily for its immediacy and efficiency (source: Econsultancy)
- 44% of customers believe having live chat available during their purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer (source: Forrester)
And now some surprising stats that show just how few e-tailers are meeting their customers’ expectations:
- 61% of brands do not provide online chat options for customer service (source: IBM)
- 65% of online shoppers are more likely to visit a site again if the site offers live chat (source: eMarketer)
- 1 in 5 live chat requests go entirely unanswered, and many of the requests answered receive very slow responses (source: eMarketer)
If live chat is in such high demand, why aren’t more brands offering it as a service? The biggest issue for many companies is staffing. While it isn’t complicated to set up live chat technology, it does require agents to be available at a moment’s notice. Wait time is one of the biggest factors in customer satisfaction, and most customers won’t wait longer than a few minutes for a response — after all, they are often choosing live chat to avoid waiting on hold for a phone representative.
Time zones and peak shopping periods can add even further complexity to staffing. How do you ensure an agent is available to answer live chat requests during evenings and weekends, or enough agents to handle increased traffic during holiday and back-to-school seasons?
The answer to these live chat staffing conundrums lies in a reliable, flexible outsource partner. The right outsourcer will work with you to fill in the gaps your internal staff can’t — evenings, overnight, weekends, and holidays, as well as any big marketing pushes that drive sudden spikes in customer traffic.
For any brand questioning the value of investing in 24/7 live chat support and agents that are ready to respond around the clock, the statistics speak for themselves:
78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.* Many factors can play into a poor support experience, but very often they include: not being able to easily contact support, not being able to find an answer or speak to a real person person, or being stuck on hold (or waiting for a response via social, chat, or email).
75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent.** For brands that do offer live support, either via phone or chat, customers’ satisfaction decreases significantly if they can’t speak to a live person within 2 minutes.
On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.*** A customer’s support experience plays a major factor in whether they’ll do business with you again. The monetary value of a loyal customer is the more reason to ensure their first experience is a good one.
Helpful and responsive live chat is not only a welcome service from the customer’s perspective, but it makes good business sense. By investing in and properly staffing live chat, your returns will be higher through greater completed transactions and higher lifetime value of each satisfied customer.
The world of ecommerce is live 24/7; your support staff should be, too.
*source: American Express Survey, 2011
**source: Harris Interactive’s Customer Experience Impact Report
***source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs
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