I can’t get no satisfaction – Mick Jagger

While Mick (and Keith) may have written the song with other intentions in mind, this pretty much sums up the feeling of a lot of consumers. Even though there are billions of articles on how to provide “great” customer service, people are still mostly unsatisfied. That’s why it’s time to rethink your customer service strategy.

The way companies handle customer service is changing . People are busy and they don’t want to waste time by calling or emailing. Offering new channels of customer service, such as live chat, is just another way to help your customers out. Not to mention, it’s quickly becoming the most desired method of contact. Especially amongst those of the millennial generation.

It’s quick and proves to be quite informative. I was recently browsing swimsuits and came across a website that had live chat. I was able to quickly ask the customer service rep a few questions and after being satisfied with the answers given, I bought the swimsuit. Not something I would usually do as swimsuits are one of those items I prefer to try on before I buy.

I’m not the only one who has had success with live chat though. Lets take a closer look at 4 different reasons you need to implement live chat.

1. Millennials Prefer Live Chat

Millennials, those born from 1980-2000, have enormous amounts of money to spend. According to Accenture, there are 80 million of them in the US alone. These 80 million are spending over 600 billion dollars each year. It is expected that by 2020 Millennials will be spending over 1.4 trillion dollars and will contribute to 30% of annual retail sales. With a percentage that high, millennials cannot be ignored.

Software Advice, the online tech consultancy, recently surveyed consumers to learn more about their preferences towards live chat. They found that millennials prefer live chat. Take a look at this chart.

live chat

When presented with the choice of phoning or using live chat, over 60% of millennials preferred to use live chat when wanting to ask a question. They found that when surveying millennials, live chat was their preferred channel because of two main reasons: no hold times and convenience. Almost 40% of Millennials said they liked the no hold times and nearly 30% sited convenience.

Live chat

Could you be driving away millennials from your store simply because you don’t have live chat? For additional information read:

Stop Driving Away Millennials From Your eCommerce Store

2. Satisfaction Rates

According to econsultancy live chat has the highest satisfaction levels of any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.  These stats come from eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark. They surveyed 2,000 consumers on their experiences of various customer service channels.

Live Chat

Live chat allows customers to chat with an actual person, right now, without having to pick up the phone or wait for a reply. Many of the highest rated companies using live chat allow consumers to remain anonymous, which makes people feel more comfortable talking openly about their question or complaint. They also provide an answer or resolution immediately. Due to this immediate response people expect an immediate response whether by phone or email.

Live chat allows for a problem to be dealt with and solved in a timely manner. Which in turn leaves customers feeling satisfied with the response.

3. Another Means Of Communication

Imagine you’re in a store and you have a question or complaint. But instead of asking a sales associate they make you either call or write an email. You then have to wait for a rep on the phone or an approximate 12-24 hrs for an email. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Chances are you’ll get fed up and go to a store that doesn’t do this. So why are merchants doing this to their online customers?

Ok, so this may seem a bit extreme, as some people still do prefer to email or call, but not everyone wants to. In fact, there are many individuals of all ages starting to appreciate and use live chat just as much as millennials.

live chat

Software Advice asked many different businesses using live chat about age and preference. They found that those who are middle aged seem to utilize live chat quite a bit.

They interviewed Roy Reyer, owner of Radar Roy Enterprises Inc., an online car accessories company. Roy has been using live chat on his site since 2005. His customers are between the ages of 35-55 and consist of mostly men.

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Reyer says “They use live chat all the time.” When asked to compare live chat to phone he states “They both work equally well, but our live chat is quicker, and people are more apt to use it as they instantly get their questions answered.”

live chat

Another company in which Software Advice interviewed is Everblue, a company who’s audience is also primarily men aged 35 to 55. They provide sustainability training and certification. On using live chat Lesley states “I don’t believe that there has been too much of a learning curve for our audience to use live chat. We’ve been pleased with the number of individuals who reach out to us through live chat on a daily basis.”

live chat

Not only those who are middle aged are finding live chat useful. Patrick Freuler, founder of Audicus, an online hearing aid vendor, found that his customers who are of an older age demographic, make good use of their live chat.”They often use live chat to ask obvious questions that are usually right in front of them, [such as], ‘How do I get a hearing aid?” Patrick says.

For the full study go to Software Advice.

Merchants often forget that for the generations that didn’t grow up on computers, the internet can seem like a scary, intimidating place. That’s why being able to easily ask a question without any added effort is so appealing. Not to mention it creates a great user experience.

4. Increase Conversions

What merchant doesn’t want to see their revenue increase? A study conducted by Forrester Research reveals “Around 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”

Marketing Sherpa recently had a case study involving Total Gym Fitness and live chat. Over the last few years Total Gym Fitness noticed that their phone orders were decreasing, while their website kept seeing traffic increase. While their team worked to optimize their site in terms of structure, usability and design as well as offers to consumers, they found there was still something missing.

For a more personal feel, they turned to live chat. They came up with a 5 step system to increase conversions.

  1. First, implement live chat
  2. Train agents to speak with customers
  3. Understand common scenarios of users in live chat
  4. Analyze transcripts for optimizing live chat conversations
  5. Optimize live chat for mobile traffic

Since implementing live chat in October 2009, their team has worked with their solution provider to continually optimize the experience for customers. Not only has Live chat and online engagement yielded 39% of Total Gym’s overall online orders across desktop, tablet and smartphone devices but they’ve also gained some incredibly valuable insights.

live chat

“You could almost say it was a focus group of our customers on our actual website. It gave us the opportunity to get insights that we weren’t able to glean from analytics before. Analytics is great. You can see the data and the trends, but here are your customers giving you feedback on your website through the chat” said Joe Crowley, Vice President of Marketing, Total Gym Fitness.

They also found two more remarkable stats:

  • 92% of live chat engagement occurs prior to the user reaching the cart, proving that live chat and online engagement will help move potential customers through the conversion funnel
  • During testing of the quick reply option on the tablet audience, the team discovered that response times from the customer were 71% faster, facilitating a better experience.

While their stats and feedback have been great, Total Gym Fitness says they plan to continue to test and improve their live chat in 2015.

The evidence is there. If you’re looking for a way to increase your conversion rates, try testing out live chat.

Implement Live Chat

Implementing live chat into your eCommerce store isn’t hard. There are plenty of live chat options that should easily integrate with your eCommerce platform. Companies like Olark and Live Chat Inc are great and easy to use. Just remember to ensure you are using live chat best practices. Have you used live chat? Let us know your experiences with it.

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