Reviewing the champion online chat solutions for online stores and how to leverage them properly
The world of e-commerce is booming. As more people, due to the pandemic or simply out of convenience, shop online instead of visiting brick-and-mortar stores, according to Grand View Research the volume of online sales is projected to reach $27.15 trillion by 2027. While the biggest market share is held by such giants as Amazon and Taobao, there are thousands of thousands of smaller-scale online shops and marketplaces.
Making it to the top in such a highly competitive market requires perfecting every aspect of your e-commerce platform, from product selection and shipping options to customer support. Live chats that enable customers to connect to a support agent right on a website can have a significant effect on conversion rate and sales volume. In the article, we’ll review the benefits of using live chat solutions for e-commerce, their main features, and top providers.
Introducing live chat software to an e-commerce platform, such as an online store or marketplace, comes with numerous benefits. As a result, customers are more satisfied with the support they get, become more loyal and drive up sales.
According to researchers, almost 70% of visitors tend to abandon their online shopping cart during checkout. The reasons for such a high abandonment rate include unavailability of a particular payment method, website errors, extra costs, as well as unsatisfactory shipping & return policy, and so on.
It is safe to say that at least some cart abandonment cases can be prevented if a visitor has an ability to instantly discuss their concerns with a support team member. While sending an email or making a phone call inevitably forces a visitor to divert attention from a checkout page, leaving no guarantee of coming back to it, live chat happens right on the checkout page — if their problem gets solved, a visitor is likely to go through with the checkout.
What is so appealing about brick-and-mortar stores? There is always a person ready to help pick the right size, provide product details and explain how to use a tool. While shopping online, a customer might be unsure about a product and feel like there is no one to help. Live chat effectively eliminates this problem, providing instant personalized help that can range from pre-purchase consultations to placing an order for a customer. As a result, your platform gets more loyal and satisfied customers.
Knowing your audience is one of the strongest advantages in e-commerce that helps to attract new customers, increase sales and retention rate. Today, online chats come with extensive tools for analytics. Not only do they help to measure the quality of support agents’ work, but also provide insights about customers: what are the most frequent questions; what page or action triggers a particular support request. Using this data, you can optimize user experience, improve product cards, descriptions, check out, and other aspects of your e-commerce platform.
Live chats show the highest customer satisfaction level across all support channels. This is mainly explained by two main factors that make live chat standout among other alternatives: convenience together with quick response — a customer does not have to leave a website page while receiving an answer even faster than with a phone call; and knowledgeable and expert support, thanks to seamless and quick routing of a client's request to the right agent, possible with a live chat only.
Choosing a live chat solution based on available features is subjective to some degree and depends on your business. However, some of the functionality is a must-have for any e-commerce project.
These days many people live in messengers, being in touch with relatives, discussing work projects, reading news feeds, and participating in group chats. So, why not let them connect with your business through these same messengers? Of course, this will mean an increased number of channels to support, but an online live chat with social messaging integration effectively solves this problem: it routes all customer requests to a single interface where support agents can interact with them easily.
For instance, Umnico allows you to include links to your instant messaging services and social networks in a live chat interface. The visitors will be able to send messages via the online chat or use one of the available messengers, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. All messages from various channels are gathered in a single window.
Using automatic greetings, replies, and follow-up surveys dramatically increases the productivity of support agents, allowing them to focus on complex issues and solve them better. Templated messages or macros are also very useful for typical support requests. However, they need to be 100% tailored to a particular user’s requests, otherwise, such auto-replies might look like a business pays little attention to their customers’ problems and negatively impact its reputation.
The next level of automation, chatbots, can effectively solve trivial issues without any involvement of human operators. The more complex they are, the wider the spectrum of requests they can satisfy. Nonetheless, even the smartest chatbots are not perfect, so always leave customers a quick option to connect with a human agent. Moreover, hi-end product customers usually prefer to have a dialogue with real humans, not bots.
When choosing a live chat solution, inspect what possibilities it has in terms of analytics of both the support team’s performance and sales. The former includes agent stats, such as average response time, number of tickets solved daily, and customers’ satisfaction rate, while the latter provides insights into the popularity of certain products, number of chats ending up with a customer buying an item, and so on.
To make support more convenient and flexible, a live chat should support the exchange of media files. The most popular of them are of course pictures, which can be used in many scenarios, from a customer sending a screenshot of their computer screen to a support agent sharing an image tutorial on how to assemble a recently bought item.
Live chat on a website must look harmoniously with the rest of it, complementing it visually. This can hardly be done without customization. Using brand colors and typefaces in live chat not only makes it appear an integral part of the website experience but also enhances your brand's image. For example, with Umnico you can customize chat widget location, color, background, agent avatars, welcome text, size, and the location of its button.
In today’s world, where remote working is a new norm, the ability for managers to continue conversations with clients on the go can be a strong business advantage. To make things more convenient, look for a solution that provides mobile live chat apps. This way you can decrease the chances that an urgent request or a VIP customer is kept waiting if their account manager is out of the office.
Having explored the essential features of live chat for e-commerce, let’s take a look at some of the most popular solutions and what they offer.
Umnico is an omnichannel communication platform for improving customer support quality and increasing sales. The platform comes with a multifunctional online chat where customers can leave a question and receive an instant reply or get contacted by a support agent in an instant messenger of their choice.
Price: Free for a basic version. Premium subscription adds advanced features and support of social media plus instant messengers integrations.
One of the most popular live chat platforms, aptly named LiveChat, provides plenty of tools to increase customer support efficiency and boost sales.
Price: After a 14-day trial, a customer can select one of the plans depending on the team’s size and features required. The price starts from $19 per month for one support agent for the most basic version. Extra LiveChat features can be bought via the platform’s marketplace for an additional fee.
Created by Zendesk, one of the leading companies in the customer service software industry, Zendesk Chat is made with bigger companies in mind. The platform offers extensive tools for support ticket routing, knowledge management, and automation.
Price: New customers can explore Zendesk Chat possibilities during a trial period and then pick one of the paid plans, which start from $19/month for one agent.
Created with a bigger focus on small-scale business, Tidio is a live chat software that allows integrating chat, email, and social messaging into one multichannel window.
Price: Tidio’s free live chat version has a limit of 50 user conversations in live chat and 100 user conversations with chatbots. Premium plans start from $19 per month for one support agent.
Olark is another popular live chat tool to set up omnichannel customer support, used by small-to-medium-sized companies and universities.
Price: Olark’s full-featured live chat plans start from $29 per agent billed monthly.
While live chat has undeniable benefits for e-commerce business, adhering to some of the useful tips can help you gain the most from its implementation.
Since a quick response is the main advantage of live chats, aim to maintain a short response time and high customer satisfaction even in complex situations or surge in the number of support requests. This can be done with the help of automatic responses, which can downplay a feeling of waiting until an agent connects to a chat, as well as learn more about the request and forward it to a relevant specialist. Also, using live chats that provide customers’ profiles and history of past interactions helps agents to gain as many details as possible without asking the same questions once again.
Support requests can be categorized according to type (general info, quality complaint, help with an order, etc.), related products, and types of customers (wholesale, individuals, loyalty program members). Categorizing chats with tags allows the support team to route customer requests more effectively as well as get valuable insights on average resolve time and satisfaction rate for different types of issues.
For a great live chat support experience it is important to make customers feel cared about and the importance of their request. Adding personal touches, such as greeting by name and using responses, tailored to customers’ requests helps to increase the brand’s trust and their loyalty. Require your agents to always maintain a positive tone, especially with disgruntled customers, who tend to be highly attentive to any signs of rudeness in agent replies. A polite feedback request is a nice final touch to a live chat interaction, which once again emphasizes to a customer how important it is for them to be satisfied.
Smart use of text templates and quick responses, together with chatbots, can make a difference in live chat customer service, both in terms of response times and resources required to maintain high-quality support. It is important to base any automation on thorough research to tailor automatic replies to particular situations and achieve better personalization. While chatbots are a great addition to your support team, always leave a quick and easy option for a customer to switch to a human agent.
Integrating a live chat option on a website is likely to increase the number of support requests, since even those customers who are reluctant to write an email or make a call get an opportunity to easily contact support. If you’re an emerging business, carefully consider how live chat may impact your spending on the support team. For a tight budget, it can be a good option to add a live chat button only on the most important pages or for VIP customers only because no live chat at all is better than a live chat where users wait hours for a reply.
In a highly competitive field of e-commerce, a live chat feature is essential for growing your business and improving customer satisfaction. Short response time, personalized approach, and convenience are characteristics that make live chats so appealing to customers, making them prefer this communication channel to emails or phone calls, for example. A live chat solution also helps e-commerce platforms to optimize their support team’s workflow, unifying requests from other channels, automating solving of frequent issues, and providing valuable customer insights.
When choosing a live chat provider, it is important to carefully review available features and how they satisfy your business needs. A balance between price and functionality should be the main factor when arriving at a decision.
Starting with a free software can be a wise move to assess how live chat support can help your particular business. Set up Umnico’s free live chat widget on your website and take your customer support to a whole new level.
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