Corporate Eye

Does Your Brand Website Need Live Chat?

live chatAdding a live chat feature to your website can improve customer service and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates. While not every customer that visits your brand website will want to use a live chat feature, there are many who will look for it. They’ll expect that they’ll be given multiple choices to get the help they need, and they’ll want the freedom to choose their preferred method for getting answers to their questions within the timeframe they require.

Research from LivePerson revealed that not including a live chat function on your brand website can cause far-reaching and long-lasting negative results. Here are some of the highlights from the survey of 6,000 consumers across the globe who shared what they expect from brand websites:

  • Online consumers won’t wait longer than 76 seconds to get help.
  • 88% believe that having a live chat improves their experience on a brand website.
  • 60% are more likely to complete an online purchase if they can get help from a real person via a live chat during the purchase process.
  • 41% would prefer to get help via live chat when they’re in the process of making a purchase on a brand website over any other customer service option.
  • 50% of online consumers want brand website purchase issues resolved in a single transaction.
  • 77% of online consumers want things done as quickly as possible when they’re on a brand website.
  • 78% of online consumers will return to a brand website (which means increased loyalty) if their needs are met in a simple and efficient way.

Furthermore, LivePerson identified three key stops along the online purchase path that are critical moments where brands must provide adequate help: when consumers have a question about a specific product or purchase (42%), when they have a problem completing an online purchase (35%), and when they have a post-purchase question (35%). Live chat is just one more way to meet the demand for customer service in a manner that more consumers are becoming comfortable with and actively using every day.

The trick to successfully implement a live chat feature on your website is to make it easily accessible without being intrusive. Automated pop-up live chat windows could annoy consumers so much that they’ll leave your brand website entirely. However, effectively placed links and messages that make it easy for a customer to open a live chat at anytime (particularly during those times that research shows they most often seek help) can significantly improve customer service, completed purchases, and loyalty.

Offer options and let consumers decide how they want to interact with your brand. Every customer service opportunity is a direct or indirect marketing opportunity, so let consumers control their buying experience, including choosing to communicate with your brand representatives via live chat.

Image: Flavio Takemoto

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
Comments

Thanks for the great summary Susan. We’ve found that almost 83% of customers need some degree of online support and live chat is often the best way to provide such support

Abhiroop, Thanks for sharing the link to your presentation of live chat tips. There is some great info in it!

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