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Make your products always available in the right place at the right time with live help

posted on 2011-02-15

For e-retail companies, the following scenario is very common: a customer loads their shopping cart up with items and then goes idle on the check out page; at this point they are either looking for a credit card or rethinking their purchases. According to statistics, about seven of every ten consumers abandon full shopping cars once they reach the checkout, which is when your live help support comes into play.

One way to keep their attention is by offering visitors to engage in a website chat with you. You can do this via live chat software that allows an agent to ask questions back and forth through an instant messaging service that is built onto the website. Ironically, although the usefulness of website chat is well accepted throughout the e-retail society, only about 12% of all retailers offer proactive chat in which the agent reaches out, even though 43% of merchants off users the option to ask for help by clicking on a built in live support button at will.

It turns out however that online consumers actually enjoy being offered live support instead of having to ask for it with about 91% of consumers in a recent survey accepting the invitation to chat and responding that their questions were answered promptly versus the 85% who reported they had their questions answered once they chose to initiate a helpdesk chat session on their own. While this may seem like a small discrepancy, when you are talking sales that may mean the difference between seeing a rise in profits and barely making enough to cover your operating costs which is why live support software may be worth a second look.

Over the course of 2010, a Forester Research study discovered that a small 19% of online consumers had actually use a live website chat over the year, but out of that group the customer satisfaction level averaged out to be about 63% higher than those who chose other customer service outlets such as email or FAQ website answers. However, the customer satisfaction does come with a down side as well as Forrester suggested that every website chat costs the retailer about five dollars which is why it is important to make sure that you have proper agents to work your helpdesk chat software that know how to effectively get sales made.

One rule that seems to be working out well for businesses that have proven how effective live help can be is the one minute rule. By following this system the live chat operator follows browsers and waits until they have been idle for a minute on any webpage and then a chat is initiated. The live chat software automatically counts the time for the agent and then signals a chat agent to address the customer. If they answer then the purpose of the live help is to see if there is a problem and how it can be alleviated.

However, keep in mind that the type of products or services you offer may alter the average idle time of consumers so it is important to take the rule as a guideline and then experiment by finding your own medium. For instance, pages with plenty of specs may take browsers longer to read, so it may be appropriate to wait ninety or so seconds before offering helpdesk chat. Experiment and gauge average customer reactions until you get the balance right and you can then start to experience the perks of coaching customers into making their final purchases.

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