SOLVING ECOMMERCE BUSINESS CHALLENGES THROUGH PROACTIVE CHAT

In today’s global economy, businesses are doing all they can to stay relevant with expanding technology in an attempt to reach more customers. Forrester expects US online retail to reach $373 billion in 2016. That figure will grow to more than $500 billion by 2020. Increased internet usage, thanks to the convenience of tablets and smartphones, is driving this growth along with new e-commerce models like flash sales, daily deals and digital downloads. In fact, according to research published by Monetate, a provider of e-commerce solutions, tablets and smartphones accounted for 44% of e-commerce website traffic in q4 2015, up from 37% in Q4 2014.Tablets account for more traffic than smartphones do, and the conversion rate on tablets is much higher than it is on smartphones. The data suggests that tablet users actually make purchases on their device while smartphone users browse products and check prices on the go but turn to bigger devices or actual brick-and-mortar stores to make the purchase. These trends show no signs of stopping but rather it is expected online sales will eventually eclipse instore sales. However, this is not without its challenges.

Despite the fact that most have created streamlined, simplified web pages with excellent customer phone support, it is not enough to fight many of the common problems that are faced by those with a presence in e-commerce. High shopping cart abandonment rates, low CSAT, high bounce rates, and frequent application abandonment are some of the most common concerns haunting online retailers. More than those issues combined though, are the fear and frustration that set in when customers abandon a business’ site, only to purchase from a competitor.

According to Forrester Research, when it comes to online shopping, 22% of consumers do not want to make a phone call to have their questions answered. Even in the event that all of the information a customer needs is provided on the site, they often don’t have the time or patience to search for it. Instead, they desire the convenience of having their questions—regardless of complexity—answered concisely and instantaneously. If an answer to their question isn’t found quickly, 57% of customers will abandon their purchase. Luckily for companies wishing to keep in touch with and aid their evolving clientele, there’s a surprisingly simple solution.

WHAT IS PROACTIVE CHAT?

Proactive chat is a platform in which agents engage an automated chat window with potential customers based upon pre-defined rules, customer behavior metrics, or an agent’s observations. Unlike the 15% return on investment reactive chat (where customers find the chat link and begin a conversation themselves) earns, proactive chat gains 105% return on investment for the businesses that use it, as discovered by Forrester Research. Proactive chat is unique in that it can be regulated so it can perfectly match up with the goals of each business using it. In combination with the agents operating it, proactive chat can serve to create or strengthen a brand image. Forrester Research found that 44% of online shoppers declared that having a real person answer their question in the middle of a purchase is one of the most important features that a website can have. This innovative platform allows your business to meet the needs of your customers in a quick, intelligent, and efficient manner.

THE BENEFITS OF PROACTIVE CHAT

Many of the new problems facing businesses have arisen as a result of the way consumers have adapted to shopping on the Internet. Phone support and FAQ pages, although helpful to many, don’t appeal to those who are likely to abandon their shopping carts or take their business to a competitor. On the other hand, a study conducted by Forrester Research determined that 29% of customers appreciate the option of a chat service. They continued their research to discover the exact reasons why they like it. Their findings state that 51% of shoppers enjoy proactive chat because it allows them to multitask, 46% think it to be the most efficient method of communication, 38% realized its usefulness after using it once, 29% enjoyed that they were in control of the conversation, 21% liked that they could conduct chat conversations while at work, 15% believe that they received better information than if they had called, and 29% find it to be better than an email. Not only is proactive chat popular with customers, it is actually changing the way they shop (in the favor of online retailers).

Shopping cart abandonment is one of the major issues damaging online sales with an average of 75% of online shopping carts abandoned. This is even higher on key shopping days like Cyber Monday.
Customers can abandon their cart for a number of reasons, and many site visitors are “repeat abandoners”.
Forrester research has found that 88% of abandonment cases occur during the checkout stage. Some of the most
common questions involve shipping and tax rates, along with the forms regarding billing and shipping information.
Allowing chat windows to trigger when a customer seems confused is proactive chat’s greatest advantage in ending
shopping cart abandonment. In fact, one of the United States’ largest insurance and financial services companies
reported capturing 30%-40% of clients who had previously abandoned their carts after they implemented a proactive
chat program.

The most astonishing features of proactive chat are its cost effectiveness and ability to add to the bottom line. Unlike phone support, chat agents are left free to multi-task. They can handle up to four customers at a time, allowing fewer agents to assist more customers. Revenue will climb because customers finish orders, and tend to buy more(especially when agents upsell over chat) as well. Higher average order values, higher ROI, greater conversion, and a shortened sales cycle are coveted metrics that are easily attainable through the use of chat.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN IMPLEMENTING CHAT

While proactive chat is relatively simple to operate when put into action, merely sending out chat requests without regard to situation is a waste of the platform. Creating a set of rules is a necessity in order to create chat window triggers that will best fit your business, engage the right customers, and accomplish your goals. Creating a cohesive business case is the best place to start to determine objectives and focus upon the needs of target customers. With a plan in mind, determining the chat triggers is a cinch. The most common triggers include the amount of time spent idle on a page, attempts to back out of a form or payment, certain pages or items that contain complex content, pages with high drop-off rates, shopping cart value, and return shoppers who have a tendency to abandon their carts. It is important that the initiation of chat windows is not overused. Too many of those “Can I Help You?” windows can very quickly annoy and drive away customers who don’t require any assistance. At the same time, don’t keep customers waiting for a response for more than 30 seconds. For some customer service agents, operating chat windows can be more difficult than conversations over the phone. Ensure that your agents are knowledgeable, have extensive product and checkout knowledge, and that they never handle more than four customers at any one time. Keep in mind that proactive chat will support a brand image, and that the grammar and language used will reflect your business, for better or for worse.

SUMMARY

The rapidly evolving nature of e-commerce customers makes it necessary for businesses to adapt their web pages to these changes. Customer support over the phone is no longer a preferred method of communication, encouraging issues such as shopping cart abandonment and low average order values, rather than preventing them. The simple, yet highly effective solution lies within the application of proactive chat. In essence, this program stops unwanted consumer behavior before it starts while promoting brand loyalty, providing excellent customer service, encouraging higher average orders, lowering costs, and adding to the bottom line.

WHO IS ETECH GLOBAL SERVICES?

Etech Global Services is a leading provider of customer engagement solutions for many of the world’s most trusted brands. They trust us with their most precious assets: their customers. Why? Because Etech’s commitment to continuous improvement, next-generation technology and growing and empowering our people results in solutions

DELIVERING REMARKABLE SALES, SERVICE AND TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

At Etech, we understand the importance of the relationship between a company and its customers. That’s why all of our sales, service and technology solutions are driven by the ‘voice of the customer’. Etech believes in making a remarkable difference for you and your customers. The proven methodologies, systems and processes, and diversified experience allows us to provide you with innovative technology solutions, industry-leading service, stellar CSAT scores, and high performing sales solutions enabling you to build stronger brands, strengthen customer relationships, and gain market share.

PIONEER IN LIVE CHAT SALES AND SERVICE

Etech is the foremost expert in live chat services and has proven results in lead generation, sales and service. We provide a sophisticated chat solution that monitors web site visitors, identifies hot prospects, engages prospects with targeted offers, and converts hot prospects into customers. When you partner with Etech, you can rest assured that your online sales and service goals will be met and even exceeded right from the start.