In today’s highly competitive ecommerce marketplace, superior customer service is the standout. One value add that many savvy Internet entrepreneurs are exploring is real time chat to increase both the number of product sales and the conversion of first-time customers into repeat customers.
How Does Website Chat Software Work?
Website live chat software is a type of real-time, text-based communication between participants utilizing a network, most often the Internet. The companies that specialize in providing this service each work with their own proprietary clients, either third party client software applications or browser-based plug-ins. The most sophisticated website chat software options also offer other specialized functions such as file transfer (although often with limits on the file size) and the ability to hold several online communication sessions simultaneously.
Most ecommerce website chat providers provide subscription packages with prices that range from a few ten dolalrs to as high as a couple of hundred dollars per month, depending upon the size and needs of the business and the number of features that are bundled with the webchat software. Sizeable discounts are customarily offered for longer subscriptions.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Website Chat Software
Website chat software provides major benefits to ecommerce providers:
- Because communication takes place in real time, feedback is much faster than it is with email communications, often instantaneous.
- Communications generate a record which can be saved for later reference
- Communications are generally linked to a higher degree of customer satisfaction which leads to increased sales and conversion
Website chat software also has some disadvantages:
Hackers have been known to deliver malicious code through instant messaging (IM.) One of the advantages with dealing with a reputable website chat provider is that these providers are security conscious and take precautions
The United States has over 10,000 federal, state and local laws related to electronic messaging and records retention. Business related IMs must be archived in a retrievable form for a set period of time so that they may be accessed to satisfy governmental or judicial requests when applicable.
Website Live Chat Software and Customer Satisfaction
Let’s face it: on the Internet many ecommerce businesses offer duplicative products. Price point is a competitive factor, but there is always a limit to how low you can go – and chances are there are other vendors who can go just as low. The reason your repeat customers keep returning again and again is be cause they like the additional value you provide them with in the form of customer service.
The key to good customer service is receptivity. Your customers and prospective customers want to know that you are listening to them. If your customer has an issue, he or she wants it to be dealt with quickly. With a reliable website chat software in place, you can provide your customers with immediate answers to any questions they might have and instantaneous solutions to any problems they may have encountered in their business dealings with your company.
Consumer studies have shown that even after they initiate a sales transaction, many visitors will leave a website if they encounter unexplained charges or unanswered questions. By offering your customers the opportunity to resolve these difficulties quickly, you can retain the sale – and in the process convert a first time customer into a repeat customer.
Most website live chat software solutions blend seamlessly into your site, allowing you to retain your own branding. Additionally, some may offer data tracking functionalities allowing you to see who’s visiting your website, what pages they are viewing, where they were referred from and how many times they have utilized website chat functionalities previously. This gives you the opportunity to follow up with by email should the situation warrant it.