Imagine for a moment that you are in a retail store. What’s the first thing that happens? In most cases, a sales person approaches you and asks you if you need help with anything. You could answer “no, thank you,” and choose to browse on your own, but you may also decide to interact with the sales person. He or she might then guide you through your purchase by helping you find an item, teaching you about the product, showing you related products, and even suggesting additional items that would complement the purchase. With the guidance of a quality salesperson, you’re likely to not only spend more money, but to leave the store feeling more confident in your purchase.
Brick-and-mortar stores have an advantage that online stores don’t: They can see every time a person walks into their establishment. On the web, visits are often anonymous and, in many cases, you won’t have an opportunity to reach out to a visitor or customer unless they leave you their contact information. All that changes when you use live chat.
Live chat software not only lets you see when people are on your site, it also lets you proactively invite them to chat. Essentially, you get the opportunity to “walk up” to a visitor on your website and say, “Can I help you?” You don’t need to wait for a user to ask you a question or to watch a visitor give up if he or she is unable to find the answer alone. You can initiate the conversation just like a salesperson in a brick-and-mortar store would.
For your website visitors, this is also good news. Forty-four percent of customers said that having a live chat specialist available during an online purchase was one of the most important features a company can offer. In another study, 63 percent of respondents said that they were more likely to return to a site with live chat, and 62 percent reported being more likely to purchase from the site again. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they had made their purchase due to the chat session itself.
How can you make this happen?
By using automated chat invitations, you can program live chat boxes to pop up on your website according to various criteria that indicate when a customer should be contacted. This can be as simple as a visitor landing on a specific web page (think of this as being similar to an in-store sales person who greets you as soon as you walk through the door).
You can also set up proactive live chat invitations to happen only after a customer has been on a certain page for a set amount of time (think of this as being similar to a salesperson who smiles at you when you enter the door, but who doesn’t “bother” you until it’s clear that you may need some help). With live chat, you can implement the same personalized, proactive sales techniques that retail locations rely on.
Let’s look at an example of how automated chat invitations can be used by a real company. Let’s say that you run a business that sells lawn care services. People come to your website for several reasons, however, two of the most common motives are to see what types of lawn care services you offer or to get a price quote.
To effectively serve your customers, your website has two main pages: “Services” and “Pricing.” On one page, you explain the kinds of services that you offer; on the other page, you list your prices. It’s possible that a person who visits your “Services” page is still in the Operators issue personal chat invitations to visitors Visitors can accept or decline invitations THE TOP TEN WAYS THAT LIVE CHAT CAN INCREASE SALES 6 preliminary stages of research, and isn’t ready to ask for a price quote yet. However, you still want to reach out and begin to build a relationship by starting a dialogue with that lead.
To do this, you can create a live chat invitation that automatically pops up for visitors who have been on your “Services” page for longer than one minute. This live chat invitation might say, “Do you have questions about the best type of lawn care service for your turf or grass? Let us help you!” This lets the customer know that you are present and ready to help, while giving them space to browse and get comfortable on their own first.
On the other hand, a person who visits your “Pricing” page is prone to be a “hot” lead. This type of visitor is more likely to be interested in making a purchase, and should be contacted quickly before he or she navigates away. To best address these kinds of leads, you can set an automated live chat invitation to appear as soon as a visitor lands on your “Pricing” page. This chat window might say, “Chat with us to get a customized price quote that fits your specific needs!” By approaching the customer quickly and proactively, you can capture his or her attention – and business – before he or she moves on to the competition. Proactive chat will deliver a significantly higher ROI than passive chat. Take the time to structure proactive chat invitations that are respectful of the user experience, and are similar to what an in-person sales rep would do in a retail environment. You can use metrics such as your proactive chat response rate to adjust your automated chat strategy and optimize visitor engagement and conversion.