Below is an excerpt from the book How to Sell More Online: 40 Tips for the Small Online Entrepreneur
Live chat is an effective tool in selling online. According to Forrester Research, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”
Live chat allows your customers to get to know your business. They get to talk with a real live person in your business and feel that you are responsive to their needs. Customers are more likely to buy and spend on websites that they know they can easily talk to.
Using live chat can give you the opportunity to engage a customer during the sales process. You can answer questions that are holding back your prospective buyers from making the purchase. With their questions answered, they are more likely to proceed with the purchase.
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Live chat has become affordable even to small online businesses starting as low as $16 per month. Here are some examples:
- LiveChatInc.com = starts at $16 per month
- LiveZilla.net = free for 1 operator and €149.90 one-time license fee for 2 operators
- Zopim.com = free to $44 per month
- Olark.com = lowest is $15 per month paid annually for 1 operator
- HelpFlow.com = more expensive at about $147 per week, but they chat with the customers for you
- ZazaChat.com = starts at $24.99 per operator per month
- SnapEngage.com = starts at $60 to $420 per month
- ClickDesk.com = from $12.99 to $33.99 per month
- PureChat.com = free for 15 chats per month; otherwise, starts at $10 per month for unlimited chats
- ZohoChat.com = free, but the basic account starts at $19 per user per month
- Casengo.com = €9 per month (yearly payment) or €19 per month (monthly payment) per agent.
It is important that you have the resources to actually support live chat on your site. Except for HelpFlow.com, you need to have a real live person who can maintain your live chat system. There’s nothing more annoying to customers than to wait for a customer service representative to answer their live chat request.
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Here are other things to consider when using live chat for your business:
- Set clear hours when live chat is available
- Train your team how to respond to customers
- Know how to handle irate and angry customers
- Help your team be extremely knowledgeable about your inventory, store policies and website navigation
- If you receive positive feedback during live chats, request these customers to like your social media page and follow your accounts
- Be warm, not robotic, during chats
- Be prepared to handle surges in chat volume