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Best Chat Practices for Ecommerce Brands

Live chat is more than just a customer service trend, it’s a pillar of business communication. It’s typically the best way for an online customer to get immediate help when they have a question or problem. Emails can take hours to answer, but chat is an ongoing, trackable conversation with file-sharing and linking capabilities.

In fact, three quarters of consumers select live chat as their preferred communication method, and 42% expect to see it on their favorite brand’s site. With the rise of millennials, who famously prefer live chat to other forms of communication, and 9 out of 10 customers citing the importance of immediate responses, the need for live chat is strong. Signs point to an even greater demand in the near future, when phone systems redirect callers to SMS support with greater frequency; this effectively turns a voice call into a chat. Keep up with this demand and put your chat infrastructure to use on every layer of service. Here are a few tips on how your ecommerce brand can make the most of live chat.

Archive every chat transcript. As a business, you’ll have many uses for chat transcripts. So save, archive, and back up every chat conversation with customers or vendors. Customer support chat transcripts make great CRM notes and create a history with which your agents can better serve returning customers. Use transcripts of great chat-explanation answers when creating help pages. In addition, transcripts can even serve as legal records in a liability case. It pays to keep those old chats archived.

Ensure intuitive chat search results. When a customer searches for something on your site and doesn’t immediately see what they want, what happens next? Ideally, your site will offer them a chat with customer service to help make their shopping experience complete. Whether customers can’t find the right product or can’t find the right help page, chat is there to fill in any service gaps. Offer chat to keep customers from hitting a dead end on your site and showcase it next to search results, in case a customer needs more than the search can provide. But there’s a way to use chat to go beyond the standard search result…

Offer personal shopper chat. For e-tail sales, nothing beats a personal shopper service. Search bars are reactive by definition, so proactively make chat associates available to help shoppers find what they’re looking for. Offer shoppers the opportunity to explain what they want and have your chat associate product experts guide them to the best selections. Like personal shoppers in an upscale boutique, focus on personalization and quality of care. Your chat associates can match favorite styles, colors, and sizes, with a great chance to upsell and cross-sell — all while making customers feel truly catered to.

Use chatbot features strategically. Chatbots are far more valuable than many brands realize. At its most basic, a chatbot can greet and engage customers instantly, asking basic questions to pre-qualify a consumer. AI-powered bots can serve as a supplemental chat associate who can engage with infinite customers and provide helpful answers to common questions. Make full use of your chatbot software to truly enhance the quality and coverage of your chat support system.

Build your help section with chat data. Customers tend to engage with chat when they can’t find what they’re looking for. This is especially true in your help section. Customers looking for a how-to or a way to report a problem often jump onto chat when they can’t find an automated or self-service solution. When this happens, customers are indicating to you that your help section is incomplete. After your chat associate has rocked at helping the customer, build their answer into a new help page. Use your chat data (the questions asked and the answers given) to cover all possible customer concerns in your help section.

CRM as you chat. Remember to engage your CRM. A chat-ready CRM should keep track of every customer’s chat history so that past conversations can be referenced to provide better and more informed customer service in the future. Your chat associates should be encouraged to take notes on customers as they chat, logging such info as stated favorites, preferences, and buying patterns. These notes will inform future customer service and fuel your automated marketing engine with more useful CRM info.

Chat is an incredibly powerful customer service feature for ecommerce if you know how to use it. In addition to the speed and convenience it offers, you can enhance your customer chat experience with features like personal shopping and put that data to use. Meet your customers where they are and make chat an integral part of your customer service offerings.

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