The advent of live chat in e-commerce means that customers are now able to quickly and easily ask questions or submit complaints to retailers online . But is this a service your e-commerce site should offer?
By offering the option to interact with a living, breathing human being in real time, you are opening up a whole world of possibilities for converting prospects into sales and ensuring customer satisfaction. On the other hand, live chat support isn’t necessarily always plain sailing. There are a few drawbacks to the system and several things that can go wrong, which could ultimately make it detrimental to your business and your customer base.
However, every case is different, and the decision as to whether live chat support is appropriate for your particular e-commerce site ultimately lies with you. To help you decide whether it’s right for your online business, we’ve outlined a number of the major pros and cons of the service.
• Immediate access: No more “Please hold – your call is important to us” queued calls, no more waiting for an e-mail response. With live chat, your customers can contact you immediately and expect a response right away.
• Active engagement: With live chat, you have the option to initiate the conversation with any customers who might be trawling your site at that time.
• Convenience: Staff can quickly copy pre-prepared responses into the chat box for FAQs.
• Ease of understanding: Background noise has hampered customer service phone calls in the past. With live chat, it will never be a problem.
• Cost: Even if your customer is enquiring about your product from overseas, they will not incur the same high charges associated with a phone call.
• Efficiency: One responder can deal with multiple customers at the same time, increasing efficiency and reducing the necessary payroll.
• Quality control: Since all conversations will automatically be logged, it’s easy to see how high a level of customer service your employees are offering.
• Ability to turn it off: If you’re running your operation solo or are short on staff, you can simply shut down the chat option when you need to leave and transform it into a standard contact form.
• Confusion: Customers who are unfamiliar with live chat may be reluctant to try it.
• Mobile platforms: It’s much harder to type on a handheld device than it is on a laptop. Mobile users may still prefer to pick up the phone instead.
• 24/7 availability: While this may sound like an advantage, the reality is there will likely be times when you’re simply unable to offer 24/7 availability. If someone has come to expect such a service from your site (especially if they have used it before) they may become disgruntled when it disappears.
• Unwanted interruptions: Since you have the ability to respond to queries at any moment of the day, it can be tricky to tackle other important tasks.
• Staffing: If your site receives a high amount of traffic are certain times there is a likelihood that many of these people may want answers all at once. If you don’t have the staff to cope with such demand, you risk upsetting your customers.
• Lagging: The extra bandwidth commanded by live chat facilities can slow down the operations of the rest of your website, which could frustrate those users not participating in chat.
Chat to the Professionals
If you’re looking for some free, friendly advice, get in touch with the e-commerce experts at Fluid Digital today. Give us a call on 0161 762 4920 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get right back to you.