How To Use Live Chat To Improve Conversions

1 comment

What Are The Benefits of Live Chat?

Live chat can help improve visitor engagement, reduce bounce rates and cut operational costs by offering real-time interaction with customers whilst they are on your website. Why wait until visitors have left your site to try and contact them? This is a key tool for conversion rate optimisation and helps to improve your conversion rate in real-time.

Live Chat is the ideal solution for dealing with a number of issues with your website. There are six main benefits of integrating live chat on your site:

Benefits of Live Chat:

Pain points

  • When a customer has a frustration or an unmet need, live chat can help resolve these ‘pain points’ by giving them instant access to a company representative. Web forms are common pain point for many visitors. By adding live chat to forms you can often significantly improve your conversion rate.

Increased sales

  • Live chat is a proven tool for increasing sales because if a customer becomes confused or unsure about something they can be walked through the process. This helps reduce visitors dropping out of key revenue generating customer journeys and puts the company representative in a good position to recommend additional products.
image of live chat box on intuit.com homepage
Source: intuit.com

It gives you a competitive advantage

  • Many websites don’t offer live chat on their websites or only for a limited number of customers (e.g. registered customers). Given the benefits to your customers and your organisation you will be able to leverage it as a competitive advantage. Ensure it is available for new customers, whether on your sign-up form or on your homepage. They often need more assistance than existing customers.

It’s convenient and reassures customers

  • A live chat system provides immediate access to help for customers who may be struggling to find what they are looking for on your website. The presence of live chat also provides reassurance to visitors that they will be able to contact someone easily and conveniently if they do get into difficulties on your website.
image of live chat box on Microsoft.com
Source: Microsoft.com

 It reduces expenses

  • Live chat can save on staff time and phone expenses by lowering average interaction costs and improve contact centre efficiency by enabling employees to handle multiple chats. As staff spend less time on the phone because customers can use live chat to contact Customer Services this means that contact centre operators can multi-task during chat conversations and reduce the waiting queue significantly compared to a traditional call centre.

Live chat allows you to gather feedback about your website

  • Having the ability to communicate directly with visitors whilst they are browsing your website gives you the opportunity to gather feedback on your website and generate ideas for improving the user experience and revenues.

These services can lead to a significant uplift in revenues to provide a substantial return on investment. Here is a link to a great infographic that summarises many of the benefits of live chat.

All the providers listed below offer free trial periods and so you can test them out without making any financial commitment.

Live Chat Providers:

1. Boldchat:

An enterprise chat software that offers innovative features including an automated, tiered chat routing that manages chats between agents and has extensive monitoring and reporting capabilities.

The open API allows surveys, chat windows and promotional pop-ups to be extensively customised. It allows agents to assist visitors to fill out forms, complete purchases in the shopping cart and access technical support. The dashboard also allows agents to see the customer’s referring webpage, keywords they used, their geographical location and their chat history. Free demo.

Image of Boldchat.com home page
Source: Boldchat.com

2. Click4Assistance:

A fully customisable live-chat facility that offers a comprehensive range of features including extensive real-time monitoring, 1 or 2 way video chat, offer demonstrations, ask for feedback or gather leads, and design multiple fully configurable forms. Dashboard allows agents to view how visitor’s arrived at website, their location and much more. Offers full integration with CRM systems, social media platforms and Google Analytics. 21 day Free trial.

Source: click4assistance.co.uk
Source: click4assistance.co.uk

3. Crowdstream.io:

A relatively new live chat solution that also offers light CRM functionality to proactively target customer segments according to their online behaviour. The chat button is customisable, with email alerts to keep you up-to-date with activity and you can even respond to messages when offline as Crowdstream will email you any messages whilst you are away.

The solution allows you to create smart segments with triggers based upon customer behaviour and you can also broadcast messages in a non-intrusive way to all visitors or just to specific customer segments.

The Starter plan (up to 2,000 profiles) is available for just £35 per month, whilst the Growth plan (up to 5,000 profiles) costs £75 per month. A Business plan (up to 25,000 profiles) is also available for £195 per month. All plans include a 14 day Free trial.

Image of Crowdstream.io home page
Source: Crowdstream.io

4. Liveperson:

Offers an enterprise fully customisable live-chat facility including real-time monitoring, allowing chat windows and promotional pop-ups to be extensively tailored. Comprehensive dashboards at campaign-level for understanding how engagement is affecting your KPIs and operational level for how your agents are performing. 30 day Free trial.

Image of Liveperson.com homepage
Source: Liveperson.com

5. Moneypenny:

The UK’s leading small business telephone answering service provider also offers a live chat solution. It offers a 24 hour service and will email key chats directly to you so that you don’t miss out on any urgent business opportunities.

Image of Moneypenny.com Live Chat page
Source: Moneypenny.com

6. Velaro:

Enterprise and small business live chat software which is fully customisable allowing chat windows to be tailored to your business needs. Extensive dashboard enables behaviour of visitors to be tracked and monitored to improve engagement. The missed chat report allows you to view a list of all the times a chat request was made and how an agent responded to the request. Monitor agent login activity using an agent login report which tracks when agents are working, on a break or actively chatting. Has a Free trial offer.

Image of Velero.com homepage
Source: Velero.com

7. Whoson:

Provides a suite of plans from 1 user to enterprise. Provides intelligent targeting for a personalized experience. Dynamically invite visitors with a personalized message based on their predicted requirements. Allows you to create rules and triggers – based on visitor behaviour – with specific actions allowing you to segment visitors into categories such as geographic location and repeat visitors. A 30 day free trial .

Source: whoson.com
Source: whoson.com

8. Zopim + Zendesk:

Offers a unique chat design along with a wide range of contact options to help build customer engagement. Zopim’s services also give you analytical tools for understanding your customers’ needs and making better business decisions. The chat window customisation options are limited to changing your window to match company brand colours.

Source: zopim.com
Source: zopim.com

Conclusion:

Live chat solutions offer a win-win situation. Free trails give you the opportunity to work out which one works best for you and customers get a simple and instant means of contacting you when they need your help. That is not to say you don’t have to put the policies and procedures in place to manage live chat. However, live chat does give you an opportunity to engage with customers when it most matters and encourages a two-way conversation so that both parties benefit.

Can Video Mystery Shopping Protect Your Brand?

No comments yet

Using Research To Protect Brand Reputation:

Video mystery shopping is a contentious research methodology. However, rarely does a month go by without hearing about another mis-selling scandal in financial services or some other regulated sector. Given the ramifications of the 2008 financial crisis you would expect more monitoring of firms behaviour. This is especially important in retail financial services where poor advice can be very costly to customers, It may have long term consequences on their lifestyle.

Given reputation and good will is critical in all businesses. It is essential that your customers have confidence that you have the right controls in place to identify when service levels and advice are consistently below expected standards.

MONITORING CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS:

In one of my research roles I came across a company who assured me that they could measure real customer interactions by sitting next to advisers and recording their telephone conversation with customers. I was told that this would not influence their behaviour because the advisers were dealing with business transactions. Sales management were also comfortable with this approach.

This is clearly a fallacy. There is plenty of research that indicates it is human nature to behave differently, as people are more careful to follow standard procedures. They want to portray themselves in a good light with everyone concerned.

A number of years ago I had to establish a programme of research to monitor service standards and identify training needs for an insurance company’s direct sales force. Each sales person was already evaluated on a regular basis during a normal sales visit. The vast majority of sales people passed these assessments without much trouble. The question was whether these observations were a true reflection of their normal behaviour.

EVALUATING FACE-TO-FACE SERVICE & ADVICE:

  • To ensure an accurate and detailed evaluation of service standards and behaviour, I established a program of regular video mystery shopping surveys. We recruited people who met the basic customer profile and gave them a very simple scenario (customer need) to follow. This allowed the customer to use their own details as much as possible.

THE RESULTS:

  • Sales management and Legal were shocked by the findings. There was a total lack of consistency in the sales process and most advisers did not perform to expected standards. This was valuable feedback though. A great deal of effort went in to improving the customer experience and the standard of advice given.

IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH:

  • Only video mystery shopping (using a hidden camera) can accurately capture every element of customer interactions. This ensures there is no disagreement about what was said and done. The sales process in FS is too long and complex to be able to rely on the memory of a mystery shopper.
  • It is difficult for anyone to ignore video mystery shopping of poor or misleading advice. This is partly because video mystery shopping evidence can capture the whole sales experience. Regulators have access to material when they visit companies and they will expect to see evidence of corrective action.
  • There was no correlation between customer satisfaction and the adviser’s compliance with basic standards for advice giving. This is perhaps not surprising as why should a customer understand details of the advice process. It also confirms that Voice of the Customer research should not be used as an indicator of the quality of advice provided.
  • Video mystery shopping can be a powerful aid to change. The videos allow advisers to see the interaction from the customer’s point of view. They encourage changes in behaviour that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. Each adviser was able to view their video with their manager and agree a detailed personal development plan to address any issues identified.
  • To evaluate the output from video mystery shopping you need the input of trainers to assess the quality of service. Each company has its own standards. You need a good understanding of regulatory requirements to accurately evaluate the service and advice.

OVERALL CONCLUSION:

  • The findings suggested to me that the regulatory framework is too complex and prescriptive. The focus should be on giving customers good service and advice rather than ticking boxes and following set procedures. Video mystery shopping is the most effective way of demonstrating how complex the process is from the customer and adviser’s perspective.
  • People need to be able to trust advisers, particularly when dealing with money issues. However, a minority of people will always have a tendency to cheat or cut corners. There also needs to be controls in place to spot such rogue behaviours. It is human nature and it happens in every sector. Video mystery shopping is an excellent tool it can capture the reality of the customer experience and the nature of advice given. With the correct controls in place it can be a catalyst for positive change in an organisation. It is a means for identifying potential mis-selling.

Featured image: lv.com