Chances are good that you’ve seen the option to engage in a live chat while shopping online. There might be a static button that you can click to engage in live chat or a window might pop up to ask you if you need any assistance. At that point, you can choose whether or not you want to chat with a live person about any questions that you have about the products you are looking at or about the site you are on.
Could such technology improve the B2B ecommerce customer experience? I say yes. LivePerson.com reports that having a live chat service on a website:
- Increases on-site conversions by 20%.
- Reduces issue-handling costs by 25%, and that,
- Customers that chat have 35% higher average order size.
The statistics above are great–I mean, who wouldn’t want to increase average cart sizes by more than a third while simultaneously increasing on-site conversions and cutting customer service costs? But what can live chat do for your business? A lot. While live chat got it’s start on consumer-based sites, it can offer a lot to the B2B ecommerce experience.
Chat extends the personalized service B2B organizations offer their customers. B2B organizations thrive on personal relationships. (We all know that B2B success was originally built on the handshake between customer and sales representative.) You know your customers and they know your sales people, customer service reps, and support staff. They are probably used to placing orders with their favorite representative and look forward to those personalized interactions. Employing chat on your site will allow you to continue this personalized service in the digital world. Face it, calling into a company to ask a question is quickly falling by the wayside. Today’s customers are anxious to get answers to their questions and get on with their day’s work. Chat blends this need for a personalized touch with the high-speed demands of working in a digital world.
Chat provides immediate customer concern resolution. With live chat there is no need to search for a phone number or place a call to resolve customer service issues such as order status, product questions or to ask questions about the checkout process on the site. Customers who are online can simply engage with the representative wrangling the chat function and get their answer in no time at all.
Chat allows your customer service staff to manage more than one customer question at a time while maintaining personalized service. How many times have your customer services reps found themselves on hold while a customer looks for a product number, shipping address or some other bit of information? If that same inquiry was taking place via online chat, your rep could easily engage with another customer who had a question during the downtown with the first customer.
Chat allows after hours inquiries. Your customers are interested in doing business with you outside of regular business hours and probably are already placing orders at home after the kids are in bed. Having chat functionality on your ecommerce site allows that late night customer to pose a question or log a concern for follow up the next day without having to leave your website to draft an email. Customer service staff can follow up on these inquiries when the arrive at the office in the morning.
The Take Away
Chat is a powerful way to engage your customer during the ecommerce sales process. Utilizing such technology will not only make your organization more profitable, it will also keep your customers happy.
To learn more about how you can leverage the power of your B2B ecommerce site, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.
(Note: Insite Software has no relationship to LivePerson Live Chat Software as of the writing of this blog post.)