Live Chat: The New Black for Customer Service

A recent research report from Boldchat reveals that live chat technologies have now reached a tipping point in adoption among consumers; it is now so favoured in fact, that retailers that employ it effectively are able to create meaningful relationships with customers on par with those evidenced by the local corner store of years gone by.

The report, entitled Live Chat Effectiveness: A Survey of Internet Shoppers 2012, involved the use of a third party opt-in panel, with 75 percent of volunteers located in the US and 25 percent from the UK. The survey population totalled 2,027 people all told.

“The customers that every merchant covets are tapping into live chat today,” writes Lauren Freedman, President of The E-tailing Group in the report. “Live chat is chosen as the preferred method of communication emanating from support issues such as general questions or checkout errors, but also serving shoppers when they have trouble finding items, comparing products of interest or being on the hunt for promo codes that save them money.”

Key findings of the report:

  • Roughly 20% of the shopping population prefers live chat above any other communication method
  • Live chat fans are more likely to have higher household income, shop more frequently and are aged 31-50
  • 65% or more shoppers have engaged with a retailer via live chat platforms
  • 79% prefer live chat because they have had questions answered quickly, while 51% say it’s because they are able to multitask

The report also reveals the discerning nature of consumers that use live chat. Consumers are coming to expect excellent customer service at every level and stage of the online shopping experience, and this means providing real advice from real people. Having poorly trained chat personnel or attempting to automate chat processes can have dire repercussions, but for those retailers that get it right; live chat not only has the potential to increase conversions, but also increase the average value of your sales.

As today’s traditional retailers struggle to maintain the relevance of the in-store experience, live chat continues to make their job even harder. Enabling chat on an e-commerce store brings humanity back into the online shopping experience, converting the traditional day at the shops into a pleasurable online experience.

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