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Online Customer Chat
Posted 18 September 2007 - 03:06 PM
I prominently feature a toll free number on each of my sales pages for this purpose. I get some calls, but not a lot. And of those who do call, most then do purchase.
But I'm wondering if some people are too shy to call and would feel more secure in using an online chat. Has anyone on this forum added this functionality to their website?
And if so, has it increased conversions and sales?
If it has, do you also offer a toll free line?
Which is producing more conversions, the chat or the toll free line?
Posted 18 September 2007 - 03:38 PM
- Marketing Profs - www.marketingprofs.com/casestudy/49 (need a subscription)
- Marketing Sherpa - www.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.html?ident=22623; www.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.html?ident=23845 (need a subscription but offers free trial)
Most online chat programs will also offer case studies but they tend to be rather biased. Hope this helps.
Posted 18 September 2007 - 06:50 PM
Because, you need someone on hand to chat.
If, for example, you sell products online with a marginal cost that is low, you wouldn't justify the manpower, which will probably be more expensive then the software or installation. Also, you may find consumer resistence to an online salesman pushing products.
If you are prospecting for high value leads, it might work really well.
Another ineresting (related) concept is webaster initiated chat and real time website monitoring. I have relatively limited experience here but I definitely want to expirement a little. The potential value is huge, if it works well.
Posted 18 September 2007 - 08:14 PM
I did test the chat thing for about a year or so a few years ago with some of my sites Alan. For my own test sites (none a high dollar, but not high cost for me either) it just didn't pan out. Even though either I or one of my peeps was available to help out 12+ hours per day there just weren't many questions that came through. Maybe 2 per week. Those did typically result in sales, which would have made a difference if I had a $5,000 or other high level price point, but I didn't and don't.
Having the chat didn't seem to make that much difference with the toll free number I offer either. I got about the same number of calls. And the conversion rate when someone calls has always been up there in the high 90th percentile region, regardless of site.
The chat thing might also make sense if you have a highly technical offer, something that is difficult to get across on a static web page. Depending upon how your people are trained to answer those. Canned answers don't do much for me, because that can simply be put on a web page. Someone needs to actually read, understand and answer the question being put forward.
There's really no way to tell without testing it for your product/service. But IMHO you don't want to spend a ton of money or manpower testing it either if your price point, profit margins, etc.
Posted 18 September 2007 - 09:58 PM
Another place chats may work well is when if you have -complex-form application product or application. Insurance, loans, contactual things like utilities, book club, pro-active solution, etc. Online users get weary fast. If they have to ask their wife or look in a drawer for a detail they may leave you forever. If chat was used smartly it may get completion rates up. But you would probably want to test the effect of this against say a give-us-your-numer-and-we'll-call-in-a-minute mechanism.
I have heard that just having chat can raise conversion rates for an ecommerce site. I'm skeptical but if its true in some circumstance I'd probably nail it to the confidence factor.
So, I can think of two uses for chat:
1. its purpose is to answer questions is another way of offering customer service. Online marketers, being younger and more vir.. uh... innocent are prone to the seductions of an absolute. "chat make conversions. Conversions good. Me make chat." It is useful if there is a gap in customer service. So if their are questions in the first place chat is a possible way of answering them.
This may be useful with technical products, confusing processes, high value sales (assisting in overcoming the resistence associated with high value products)
2.Another use is actually getting in front of a customer to push the close.
-when customers are in a shop, they do not lose thewill to go on when the rgiter gives theprice. Some one is standing in front of their face waiting for payment, they don't turn and run. Online they do.
Chat can put someone in their face.
Posted 18 September 2007 - 10:35 PM
But it also makes good sense to ask others for their experiences because if the consensus of opinion is that it isn't worth it, you need to save your time and not go ahead with tests. Sometimes you can test yourself right into bankruptcy.
And the converse is also true. So I'm still open to additional feedback from others on this forum who have some experience with this issue
Posted 19 September 2007 - 12:32 AM
Posted 23 November 2007 - 08:09 AM
As far as I know, live chat significantly decrease your own expenses. I read this in a good marketing article. The article doesn't really compare the phone calls and the live chat from customer's point of view. Still, you may find it useful for deciding about livechat.
the articlet is here: www.work.com/ecommerce-marketing-tools-2278
Posted 27 December 2007 - 10:19 AM
Anyone have any opinions on this?
Posted 27 December 2007 - 11:01 AM
The first two are pretty site/market specific so are tough to generalize about.
The last one --your chat implementation-- is easier. I can sum it up in one thing I absolutely hate about some sites I run across.
If your chat client window pops up automatically, you need to be very careful with it. Places who pop up a chat client over and over rankle me to no end. Especially when being a code junkie I know it would be so easy for them to tell I'm coming from another page on their site and/or simply set a cookie on my machine to keep the chat popup from appearing every time I load a new page.
As a general rule my personal limit for sites who do the constant chat popup thing is maybe 3 pages. Meaning if I'm looking for something, see it on your site and am deciding whether it's what I really need and whether I want to buy from you, I'm going to leave if you pop up your chat box at me on three consecutive pages.
Now if you pop it up once and then make it easily available via a link if I have a question, or don't pop it up at all I think chat can be a good thing. It may even help to capture a few sales that might have otherwise gotten away. But it needs to be both easily available and unobtrusive.
Posted 27 December 2007 - 11:13 AM
Thanks for your input. My chat doesn't pop-up automatically - although that is an option. It just sits in the menu on the upper left side of every page, and designates if "Live Support" is online or offline. If it's off, it lets you input an email message. And that is how I intend to leave it.
There are lots of options, you can see who is on your site, and where they are from, and what page they are on. You can manually decide to pop-up the chat at any point. You can push pages to them if they ask for them, and on, and on, and on.
But again, I only intend to leave it there without using it unless a visitor initiates a chat. I have much better things to do with my time.
PS. I'm still interested in more opinions from anyone. Especially if you have used chat on your site.
Posted 30 December 2007 - 03:29 PM
Posted 30 December 2007 - 06:08 PM
Since thist thread went up I looked into chat a good bit more and have seen it in action with incredible results. I think that its worth noting that there is a great deal of difference in putting a link to your chat in somewhere in your template (which is good & I also would not be surprised if it increases customer confidence) and really directing visitors to use it. You can use operator initiated chat or in context calls to action with a particular purpose implied for the chat.
That is a different ballgame altogether. Chat can really become part of your funel. I've seen some insurance vendors working wonders with this sort of chat. Miles ahead of any policy selector, fact sheets, 'choosing your insurancce policy' articles. Simple I am... I need... replied to with We have... We recomend.
Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:54 AM
I've had a few people ask to chat, and for the most part they then went on to make a purchase. But as nethy suggested, I think that the real value is the confidence the sight of it creates. I have my chat client at the top of my left hand column navigation, which is on every page on the site.
There's a lot of bells and whistles on the chat I'm using, and I use many of them. So I'd say that it's a well spent $99.00 per year and I intend to renew it when the time comes due.
Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:30 AM
What chat program are you using. It sounds pretty good for the price.
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