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The Next Wave in Improving Online Customer Interactions

By Michael L. LaBaw
President, Sound Telecom
Last Updated May, 2016

Abstract:

Web-Chat is a powerful customer interaction and support solution that offers substantial advantages to web shoppers and to ebusiness enterprises, alike. This article describes the nature of web-chat services provided by Sound Telecom and the positive role Web-chat plays in enhancing the customer care and sales efforts of both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar companies.

Background:

In today’s customer-centric marketplace, Web-Chat has quickly become an essential customer interaction tool that personalizes the Internet shopping experience and ensures your customers a positive outcome. This tool can help build sales and generate customer loyalty by enabling live, person-to-person communication.

The issues:

Recent research reveals that top ranked e-commerce sites either are taking longer than 5 days to respond to customer e-mail inquiries, never responding at all or simply are not accessible by email or phone. In addition, poor service was cited as the single most important factor contributing to abandoned online transactions. Customers expect the same level of service and response times with email as they currently get over the phone.

An NFO Interactive survey of 2,134 online shoppers, both buyers and non-buyers, reported that 41% of the respondents said they would be more confident about shopping on sites that allow them to e-mail a sales representative for service. Forty-five percent said they would visit a site more frequently if the company responded to e-mail within 12 hours. Moreover, E- mail is the most preferred method for communicating online-related complaints according to an Andersen survey.

Reality:

Many consumers browse online catalogs, place orders in a shopping cart, then cancel at the last moment. Let’s remember that a customer can walk out the door simply by clicking their mouse.

With Voice help or Chat help available only during the typical 8 AM to 5 PM range, many shoppers can’t get answers to questions at the very moment they are shopping online — precisely when they need this information. A recent study found that 63% of consumers surveyed did not complete an online transaction because they could not find necessary information. With less than adequate information, they frequently don’t buy at all, or end up buying the wrong product and ultimately, return it. In addition, abandoned web sites lose credibility as well as sales.

The biggest challenge is not getting customers to a site but getting them to actually make a purchase. We know they leave full shopping carts because they are frustrated and find the online checkout process difficult. We now have an excellent opportunity to remedy this situation and tap the true potential of e-commerce.

Nearly half of online shoppers visit three to five sites before making a purchase and 90% say they still prefer human interaction. Yet another study showed that 42% of 125 top-ranked e-commerce sites took more than five days to answer customer e- mail, never responded or were not accessible by e-mail at all.

It’s obvious that excellent customer service distinguishes a company with a successful e-commerce effort from its competitors.

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About Andrew Tillery

Born and raised in Oregon, Andrew has now put down roots in Seattle, because he refuses to call anywhere but the Pacific Northwest home. After graduating from Portland State University with a double major in Marketing and Advertising, he spent some time learning Spanish and experiencing all that South America has to offer. It was while he was south of the equator that he uncovered an interest in writing that he strives to develop whenever the opportunity is presented. When Andrew isn't taking care of business at the office, he is throwing fuel on his fiery passions for sports and the outdoors.