Online businesses have been preparing for this time of year for months now, and as the most hectic shopping days draw near, ecommerce sites will finally get a chance to put their most recent improvements to the ultimate test. And, with shopping incentives starting as early as last month, those tests are happening much sooner than Black Friday and Cyber Monday – they’re happening right now. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to build competitive advantage. Consider these last minute tips to help your business stand out this shopping season and beyond:
Be Ready For Mobile Visitors. Like tweens to a Bieber concert, mobile shoppers are here. Google recently reported that 89% of shoppers plan to use the internet for holiday shopping this season and 79% of shoppers consider the internet the most useful resource for holiday shopping. There’s no time left to optimize your site for mobile if you haven’t already done so, but there’s still plenty of time for other measures. Consider offering a different phone number for mobile shoppers so phone agents know they are talking to shoppers on the go. If you have chat on your site, use mobile live chat invitations tailored for smaller screens and train chat agents to respond more briefly to mobile users.
Make Customer Service Agents Product Experts. Train agents across the contact center on the products and services you sell and support. There is nothing more important when interacting with customers than expertise.
Create goodwill. Tis’ the season for spreading joy and happiness. Look for any opportunity to avoid customer frustration. Responding to customer needs immediately can mean the difference between a satisfied and frustrated customer. Minimize wait times across all channels. Our own research shows that chats should be answered in less than 10 seconds, emails within one day, and social inquiries within 1 hour.
This season, consumers are looking to act fast. Engaging quickly with customers can not only earn a sale, but it might make someone a customer for life.
We read the results of a couple interesting research projects recently and it got us thinking about an apparent dichotomy faced by every business the world over. Our customers want what they want, when they want it, but are often nervous about giving us what we need in order to actually deliver against their desires.
One brand study, by Edelman, found that 90% of people want companies to more effectively share their brands. Depressingly, the same study showed that only 10% of people think any given brand does it well.
And it’s getting worse. The viral outbreak that is mobile technology are changing the expectations of all customers. Another study on universal commerce offered this quote from a participant which highlights the multiplicity of customer wants: “I want mobile shopping apps to be easy, secure, and very transparent. I want the user interface to be really simple. I want one click to confirm purchase, and I want an electronic receipt in my text or inbox, instantaneously.” That’s a lot of wants – 4 of them to be exact.
In order to deliver what customers want, when and how they want it, businesses need information from the customers they serve. Unfortunately, the customers are often unwilling to share it. In the same study from which the “wanting” customer is quoted above, participants were asked how much information they are willing to give up. Here are a sample of the questions, and the percent of respondents agreeing:
- “I’m willing to share interests/preferences to receive custom offers” – 23%
- “I’m willing to share credit card info on a website for faster checkout” – 19%
- I’m willing to let websites share info about usage to get relevant offers” – 12%
- “Let a company track my location through my mobile phone for deals/discounts” – 10%
The bar is so high and the gap is so wide one wonders if it’s even surmountable at all. But there’s hope.
We have this same problem in our personal relationships as well; we intrinsically want more than we are willing to give. But we have figured out a tried and true way to overcome it. We talk to each other. Yes, in a world overrun with technology the solution is often the most non-technical thing of all – one-on-one communication. But technology doesn’t have to be the enemy here either – it can facilitate communication, and often in ways not possible without technology. From communication comes trust and from trust comes a relationship.
Think not about “how can we get this information from our customers?” Think instead, “how can I maximize the communication I have with customers?” Only then can you both get what you need. And what you want.
To see how BoldChat can facilitate more conversations with an increasingly mobile consumer, read more about our mobile live chat solutions.
As we announced earlier this month, the new release of BoldChat (v7.6) is all about helping you connect with customers in the right way, at the right time. A key aspect of that is making sure you deliver the best mobile experience possible.
Over the last few years, we’ve all seen a tremendous shift in the way people shop, connect and engage with brands. As smartphone and mobile device usage continues to grow – mobile web browsing has doubled since 2009 – these channels have created both new opportunities and challenges for today’s businesses. And, it’s only going to increase.
According to Mary Meeker’s recent State of the Internet report, it’s predicted that mobile web usage will surpass desktop web usage by 2015. What’s more, eMarketer predicts that 16% of all U.S. online sales this upcoming holiday season will come from mobile shoppers. That makes sense when 79% of smartphone owners use their devices for shopping-related activities.
With more consumers going mobile than ever before, businesses can’t afford a bad mobile experience. In fact, according to an online study, 52% of consumers said a bad mobile experience would make them less likely to engage with a brand. That’s why creating a superior mobile chat experience has been one of our top priorities. So then you can engage mobile customers more efficiently and effectively, helping drive conversions and satisfaction. And that’s always better for your bottom line.
Our latest edition includes all-new proactive mobile chat invitations, now fully optimized for mobile screens, allowing customer service agents to aid mobile shoppers more effectively. New mobile-aware windows ensure proper sizing, even when a device is rotated, helping ensure the conversation is easy and effortless for consumers no matter where they are.
The end result is to help your business deliver better mobile engagements for better customer experiences. In today’s rapidly-growing mobile world, that’s more important ever.
Whether a customer is looking for a specific answer to a product-related question, or needs support for a technical issue, they want a good experience. Having the right tools at your fingertips can help make that possible.
With that in mind, we’re happy to announce that the latest release of BoldChat (v7.6) offers even more ways to help your business connect with customers in the right way, at the right time.
All-new mobile chat invitations & mobile-aware windows
With an estimated 30% of all web traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, it’s more important than ever to deliver a great mobile experience. That’s why we’ve optimized our proactive mobile chat invitations for today’s mobile devices, including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. New capabilities allow site owners to:
• Display images and form-based proactive mobile chat invitations with no custom HTML coding required
• Easily customize proactive mobile chat invitations to meet the needs of a customer’s mobile website strategies and unique branding requirements
• Establish granular invitation rules unique to mobile and/or desktop and laptop users
Enhanced integration with LogMeIn Rescue
Live chat can be a fast, effective way to resolve a simple issue. But if the problem is more complex, switching support channels can be a complicated and time-consuming process. By integrating Rescue into the chat experience, BoldChat lets technicians initiate an on-demand remote support session that is entirely seamless to the website visitor.
Advanced email management
With our advanced email management features, you can respond more effectively and efficiently than before. Access a customer’s full email history to deliver more informed responses, and ensure the right agent sees the right messages with advanced rule-based email routing.
Localized web reports
To better serve our international customers, you can now view web-based reports in one of 7 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Brazilian Portuguese.
This new release of BoldChat is all about giving you’re the features to help improve engagement and customer satisfaction. Keep an eye out for other posts detailing these new enhancements.
A new research report based on a survey of over 1,000 US-based online shoppers looks deeply at consumer behavior related to shopping cart abandonment. We’re big fans of research and consumed this document eagerly. We all come to data interpretation with our own set of filters so we encourage you to download the report and read it for yourself. That said, our set of “live-chat-focused-goggles” made three things stick out.
To do this stuff right, you need to approach it like a science.
The report highlights a seeming imbalance between consumers expectations of after-abandonment communication timing and known best practices that drive results. This fact, combined with the reality that cart abandonment rates range from 70-80% might cause businesses to simply despair. But the report points out that the seeming disparity is “…fertile ground for testing. “ We agree. Live chat is similar in that to do it right, it constantly must be tested – especially proactive live chat. And speaking of proactive chat…
As with any science, there is controversy.
We are constantly asked if the practice of inviting someone into a chat conversation (proactive chat) annoys visitors. This new cart abandonment report tackles the same annoyance question – but related to post-cart email messaging. 74% of consumers are open to receiving them, squashing the myth of annoyance. Our research is amazingly similar – we find that 2/3rds of the shopping population is open to being proactively invited into a chat. Despite both reports however, the debates are likely to continue.
As with any science, something new always comes along to muck things up.
Just when scientists get close to cracking the code, more often than not, something pops up to throw a wrench in the system. That thing in eCommerce? Mobile. Mobile is changing everything for all of us. The cart abandonment report stated that, “Being the most connected, nearly two-thirds of Frequent Shoppers (64%) own a smartphone and over half (54%) own a tablet.” A frequent shopper was defined in the report as a shopper making online purchases daily or weekly. That these high-value consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices is a game changer across industries and technologies. BoldChat recently released some new mobile live chat features with the intent to make customers more successful in reaching the mobile shopper.
Every chance you have to interact with your customers is an opportunity. Whether it’s an opportunity for a sale, to strengthen your brand, or to improve customer satisfaction, each engagement is important. A few weeks ago, we touched on Five Points to Consider for Live Chat, with point number five raising the question:
What is the cost of not having live chat on your website?
Today we consider some of the costs. Let’s take a look.
One-to-One? No, One-to-Many
If chat is one thing, it is efficient. Unlike a phone call, a chat agent can take on multiple interactions at once, with ease. This gain in efficiency helps allow for more engagements to take place with the resources you have available.
Conversion Control Whether you’re looking for more completed transactions or simply creating more interactions, every site has a conversion funnel. Trying to keep your site visitors in this funnel can be difficult and many find it difficult to stop shopping cart abandonment and premature site exits. Chat is a great way to engage with your traffic and to help them make their way through your site’s funnel, preventing lost sales and helping visitors find the information they’re looking for.
The experience a visitor has on your site is key to their satisfaction. If this experience is less than ideal, it can lead to lower customer satisfaction scores, which can impact your brand. By providing live chat, you give your visitors an additional way to get in contact with you, leading to quicker resolutions and the feeling that you can provide assistance to them in real-time.
What are your competitors doing? If they don’t offer live chat, it gives you the advantage of being able to provide a better experience than your competition and see results more quickly.
By providing live chat, you have the power to control more of what happens on your website. If you are interested in learning about what the cost of not having live chat is for your website, please reach out to the BoldChat team to find out more.
BoldChat is installed on thousands of websites all over the world, but for us, it’s still interesting to hear a use-case for BoldChat that is in an unexpected vertical. Today’s blog post is a guest post by Dallas attorney Michael Grossman.
The foundation of any good law firm is a team of lawyers who passionately advocate for their clients’ rights. However, just like any business, you need more than good intentions to succeed; you need innovative business strategies. At first, hearing the terms “law firm” and “business strategies” in the same sentence may seem somewhat counterintuitive. But in reality, the legal industry is precisely that: an industry. And just like every other business in every other industry, our firm faces significant competition which prompts us to cultivate news means of generating the cases that keep us at the forefront.
Dispensing legal advice (our stock and trade) in a general and indiscriminate fashion online is none too wise for ethical and liability reasons. You truly need to get feedback from a client to communicate the best strategy for their particular needs. Yet, most lawyers recognize that many prospective clients are not certain enough of their own rights, or they’re simply scared of the repercussions, to actively seek out advice via telephone. BoldChat has allowed us to bridge the gap and offer legal advice in real-time, while still offering the anonymity that a prospective client needs until we’ve built a rapport with them.
Here’s an example of how it works:
A dock worker is injured by an 18-wheeler. He searches for information related to his dilemma and he makes his way to our site.
He finds information on our site about filing a workers’ compensation claim but also about filing liability claims against a commercial vehicle operator. But which information is relevant to him?
We explain that he certainly has the right to file a work injury claim, yet since the 18-wheeler was operated by a third party, our best recommendation is to direct his claim toward that party, thereby allowing him to avoid souring the relationship he’s built with his employer.
Simply trying to communicate such a specific strategy in our web copy would be impossible; there are too many variables. Asking a prospective client to pick up the phone and call a lawyer when the client is worried that his employer may find out and retaliate (a common concern) is asking too much. Again, BoldChat bridges the gap and provides our clients with a solution that meets their needs.
Furthermore, we use BoldChat on our office computers as well as the iPhone app, meaning that our clients can chat with us nearly 24 hours a day. Using BoldChat to make ourselves available when, and in ways that other attorneys are not, has resulted in our firm being hired in several very important cases that we otherwise would have not obtained. Without BoldChat, those clients would have seen us as yet another unavailable law firm. With BoldChat, we’ve gained a legitimate advantage over our competitors.
When researching live chat, some vendors may tell you that a successful Enterprise implementation, with many business rules and departments, will take 60 – 90 days to be successfully rolled out. Having a rapid deployment of live chat can be a significant competitive advantage. Traditional channels like email and phone, may cost up to 3 times more than the cost per chat.
Today, businesses see a need to provide instant gratification for service or risk losing customers. With this in mind, it is crucial to quickly roll out a live chat solution and then focus on fine tuning business rules such as routing, effective proactive invitations, and measuring customer satisfaction. This process of rolling out and then fine tuning allows for the changes that are necessary in a business climate that constantly changes. With live chat, as with many other business tools, there is no perfect roll-out. It is a continuing effort to keep making changes, as needs change.
IT departments and web developers love BoldChat because of the simplicity. Initial implementation is as easy as clicking a button to copy the HTML code, and then pasting it onto a website. Updates to distribution rules, chat window and invitation designs, and proactive rule logic can be done within a matter of seconds within the BoldChat interface. The changes will apply in real-time.
For most companies, updates made after the initial implementation don’t require going back through an IT department. For example, if you want to do A/B testing of your proactive invitations, the process is simple and it’s built into the product.
That simplicity wouldn’t work without the ability to report on the findings and then take action. BoldChat’s robust reporting engine provides you with the proper data to make intelligent business decisions by determining return on investment and areas for cost reduction measures. Reports are available for all channels managed through BoldChat, including live chat, e-mail, click-to-call, Twitter and even SMS text.
BoldChat’s solution is quick to implement and scales up quickly without sacrificing quality. This scalability is how the solution has been implemented at many sites in less than 30 days, and for some, within a week. So how is an implementation possible within a week? It comes down to 2 main factors:
Dynamic, secure code that’s easy to implement.
Supportive Professional Services team (when needed) who are focused on customer success.
If you’re reading this post and want to learn more on how to have a rapid and successful deployment of live chat whether you have 2 agents or 100 agents, contact one of our chat specialists. We’ll be happy to discuss working together for a successful live chat implementation to meet your needs.
Live chat usage continues to grow year after year by companies across all verticals across the globe. The effectiveness of this real-time communication channel makes it a smart choice for businesses while providing an engaging experience to web visitors. If your company doesn’t offer live chat today and is looking to expand into this medium, you may not know where to start.
Here are five points that we recommend considering when building your live chat business plan:
Who is your target audience? – Depending on your business, you may decide to target your web traffic for sales-related chats or use chat as a support tool. You may even decide to do both. Knowing who you want to chat with and what the conversations will be based on will help establish goals.
What are your goals? – From increasing average order values and lead acquisition rates through sales chats or increasing the utilization of agents handling multiple engagements, there are a variety of reasons to consider.
Who is going to be answering chat? – Whether you have army of one or a call center of many, who staffs your chats is one of the most critical pieces to ensure a positive chat experience for your site visitors.
Where are you going to place chat? – Visibility of chat on your site is key to its success. Keeping your goals in mind, you will want to consider how you use chat in areas such as the shopping cart or support pages and where chat button placement works best.
What is the cost of not doing chat? – From missed revenue opportunities to being a competitive differentiator, there is a hidden cost of not providing chat on your site that may be greater than you think.
As you start to build your live chat business plan, we hope these considerations give you the necessary guidance to begin taking action. If you have questions as you begin, the BoldChat team would be happy to help. Call us at 866-753-9933 or email us.
If you’ll be at IRCE in Chicago next week, it’s not too late to register for our annual Appreciation Event. This year, it will be a night of nostalgia and networking. Join the party at the Emporium Arcade Bar on Tuesday, June 4. You can challenge the BoldChat team to more than 40 classic arcade games like Q*Bert, Pac-Man and Centipede. Plus, bring your appetite, we’ll have world-famous Giordano’s pizza waiting for you. Should we also mention the 26 beers and the extensive liquor offering at the Emporium? You get the picture! Now get registered!
Transportation from McCormick Place will be provided, as well as return trips to nearby hotels. We hope to see you there.