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Alongside traditional methods of customer service, many ecommerce brands are now turning to social media to solve user queries and concerns.
While this is an effective way of tapping into customer pain points, brands shouldn't overlook the opportunities afforded by live chat.
In fact, 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use a live chat feature compared to other modes of communication. And with 55% of US adults also likely to abandon a site if they can’t find the answer to a question, live chat can be an effective key way of keeping customers happy and more likely to make a purchase.
Offering immediacy, one-to-one interaction and potentially resulting in greater levels of customer satisfaction – here are a few examples of online retailers utilising the technology.
ModCloth is well-known for its tone of voice, however it’s just as friendly when it comes to customer care. With its live chat functionality, consumers can chat one-to-one with staff – or a Modcloth ‘advocate’, as they’re also known.
The fact that the service includes a photo and the first name of the person makes it much more personal – users really feel like they’re talking to a real life person rather than to a faceless brand. Similarly, this also serves to emphasise the brand’s customer-centric reputation.
While fashion retailers might use live chat to drive the path to purchase, technology brands like Nikon use it to speed up the customer care process. After all, with 42% of people saying that not having to wait on hold is one of the biggest benefits of using it, the immediacy of the service is key.
For brands that have a commitment to customers when products go wrong, live chat can be utilised to troubleshoot common issues, also saving on the hassle of sending back products for repair.
Nikon is a great example of this, offering help and advice on how to fix specific problems with its cameras.
While many retailers might offer live chat, it’s often buried within a website’s help and support pages. In contrast, mountain bike retailer Canyon Bikes puts the service front and centre on its homepage.
Not only does this instil an instant sense of trust – reassuring people that help and information is at hand throughout the path to purchase – but it also ensures that customers are less likely to abandon their journey due to difficulty in finding it.
Eyewear brand Warby Parker also puts live chat at the forefront of its customer service, promoting it alongside email and telephone help.
However, with live chat resulting in 73% satisfaction levels - the highest for any customer service channel - compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone, it’s likely to be the service that consumers are drawn to the most.
This mainly looks to be due to its time-saving nature, providing instant results in comparison to calling up or writing out an email.
Nordstrom ensures that its online customer service covers all bases by separating its live chat service into categories such as 'designer specialist' and 'beauty stylist'.
Even better, its live chat stays open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Not only does this improve levels of customer satisfaction, but it also helps to prevent customers from being disappointed and potentially abandoning a purchase due to an unavailable service.
Toys R Us
While I am including Toys R Us on the list, this is not necessarily a good example of how to use live chat online. This is mainly because the service looks to be automated, sending consumers pre-programmed answers based on the query they select.
So, even though the ‘Ask Emma’ service appears to be a real person, it’s actually not.
This is a dangerous move, as instead of improving the customer experience, it could potentially harm it – leading users to feel frustrated and even duped if they realise ‘Emma’ is a bot.
Finally, Goldsmiths is a good example of a brand going one step further and making use of live chat with sound and video as opposed to just text.
The jewellery retailer recently introduced this feature in order to mimic the personal service that it offers in its physical stores. With consumers potentially preferring an in-store experience – and therefore avoiding shopping on the website in the past – this is a great way to fuse the physical and digital experience and encourage online purchases.