One thing the Internet didn’t do away with is the demand for customer service. Even though some early e-retailing visionaries saw a brave, new world where customers didn’t need to talk to retailers, that hasn’t happened. And so the challenge to online retailers has been how to fill customer service needs at an acceptable cost. Offering live telephone support is an expensive step backward from the lower operating costs that were part of the web’s promise. And in most cases, pure self-service doesn’t work. The added trouble with online shopping is that many customers are further disconnected from someone who can answer their questions in real time with precision.
In addition, as the Internet has matured, online shoppers have become savvier and are expecting more from online sellers. Increasingly, they want their online transactions backed up with live customer support, just as they would have in a brick and mortar store. According to a poll by Andersen Consulting, almost 62 percent of Internet consumers said they would purchase more products online if live customer support were available.

Live chat services are no longer the novelty they once were; they’ve matured into a serious sales and support tool. These days, if you’re not using one of these services for your online store, it is possible you are missing out on valuable sales opportunities.

In this post we’re going to get into detail on the top 10 benefits of live chat, and how it can significantly improve your e-commerce business. We will also take a look at some of the best Live Chat Software in the market.

Top 10 Benefits of Live Chat

1) Increased Customer Satisfaction

In this era of increased customer expectations, lengthy delays in customer communications are becoming unacceptable. Many clients are hesitant to complete a purchase if they have even one unanswered question. Live support chat gives your customers answers to their questions on the spot in real-time, which increases customers’ satisfaction level.

A study called “Making Proactive Chat Work” that was conducted by Forrester Research found the following:
“Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 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.”
Live chat is an excellent tool to develop your customers satisfaction. Not only will customers appreciate the extra service, they will remember their buying experience and eventual positive impacts on loyalty and retention can be expected.
2) Live Chat Will Cut Down Your Expenses
The average interaction time of a phone call is substantially larger than a live chat exchange.  If a user has a question-it can usually be answered or resolved instantaneously with live chat, where as handling this issue in a call center environment is cumbersome.
Live chat representatives can easily handle multiple requests at once where as call center reps are only capable of one phone call at a time once.
Live chat requires fewer sales and support representatives, since their time is used more efficiently. The chat system allows representatives to send prewritten responses to frequently asked questions and direct the customer’s browser to pages containing requested information. With employees spending less time on the phone, they can multi-task during chat conversations and cut the waiting queue to a fraction of its former size when compared to a call center.

3) Increased Customer Confidence
Live chat fosters confidence in customers. If clients see a live chat button on your site, they will feel reassured that they will have easy access to a live person, even after the sale had been made. A chat button can be added to post-sales emails so that customers do not even have to return to your site to access your live support.

4) Better First Impression
Visitors who get quick answers to their questions stay longer, buy more products, and show more confidence in your company.
5) Increased Sales & Leads
There is a high percentage of visitors who abandon e-Commerce websites due to unanswered questions and sometimes for extremely easy clarifications, such as warranty extension or just for a payment system walk-through. In addition, many sales are lost at the point of ordering as clients become worried about providing personal information during the purchasing process, leading them to abandon their shopping cart. A meta study by the Baymard Institute shows that average shopping cart abandonment is 67.91%. People that clearly showed interest in a product, but then for some reason stopped the process.
By providing real-time support to your customers over the chat you will be claiming back a big portion of these unnecessary lost sales. Simultaneously, having a support agent on the other side of the chat adds value and trust, which might be the extra push some customers need to round up the purchase process.
Forrester Research recently reported on a study for Wells Fargo that live chat led to “High Customer satisfaction scores and a double-digit increase in converted shoppers”.
Most retailers put live chat to work as a selling tool by deploying it at crucial times, for example, when a shopper takes an excessive amount of time in checkout and appears to need help making a decision before abandoning a shopping cart.  The key is that customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break a sale. This helps eliminate bounces away from retail websites and ensure that full shopping carts make it through check out.
There’s a further way that live chat can act as a great sales tool. By using the live chat tool as part of a customer analytics system, you can build customer profiles based on shopping behavior, clickstream history and conversations recorded in past customer service live chat sessions and telephone calls. Then when, for example, the customer comes back, the system’s business rules proactively engage the customer with an appropriate offer in a live chat session. The offer might be a coupon for a product in which the customer has previously expressed an interest, or an offer for free shipping to satisfy a previous concern expressed about delivery costs.

Live Chat also enables you to increase your leads. Visitors who use your chat solution are usually highly interested and through chatting, you can ask for as much detail as you need to effectively service them. Some programs let you initiate a chat call to any website visitor or even add a live chat link to your email or Google ads!

6) Real Time Customer Feedback
The tracking component of chat applications can also help you to understand more about your site and how well it is serving your visitors. The best providers give real time stats that lets you quickly evaluate your customers by learning their referring URL, IP address, geographic location, and entrance points to help better understand their needs and expectations. You’ll be able to improve your website’s design, because you’ll be able to see where visitors are going and which pages are holding their attention-and which ones aren’t.

You can also create a post-chat survey to let visitors evaluate their experience or ask any questions about improving customer service and expanding quality support.

7) Better Brand Recognition
The leading programs allow you to custom design your chat icons, pop-up windows, and invitation screens with your company logo – and even include your own operators’ photos.

In addition, live chat software is an excellent tool to help with conveying your brand personality, as it represents a direct communication line between your staff (embodied culture) and your website visitors. Through the operators’ communication style, your brand personality will be easily transmitted to everyone knocking on your door.

8) International Expansion

Many Live Chat Software also have auto-translation features so you can impress foreign customers, and extend your reach to markets you couldn’t reach before.

9) Quick and Easy to Set up, and Scalable

Most of the leading Live Chat Software are cloud based apps, that can be quick and easily set up. Large capital investment is no longer a necessity to have an enterprise class infrastructure, and by using software on a utility-charged basis you will no longer have to pay out for expensive perpetual licenses, as most software as a service applications and other types of cloud offerings are available on a month to month basis with no long term contracts. The leading chat software providers also allow you to add chat operators as your business expands.

10) Live Chat Gives You An Edge of Your Competition
Interestingly its found that many top retail businesses are not offering live chat. In today’s highly competitive markets, any edge in sales or service you have over your competitors can make the difference in whether you gain or lose a sale. In this world of automated, touch-tone customer help systems, the ability to chat with a live person through a website is a standout feature. Having such a feature on your website, especially when a competitor doesn’t, may be the crucial selling point that compels a potential customer to choose you over a competitor

Live Chat Software Providers
There are several great options when it comes to live chat software, but here’s a small list of some of the best live chat solutions out there:
Zopim: creates amazingly simple and affordable customer engagement tools that helps online businesses engage their customers. Their award-winning flagship product Zopim Live Chat, is the most popular Live Chat software globally with more than 120,000+ websites actively using us. Zopim provides loads of real-time info, including webpath, country, web-browser, etc to help you know your customers inside out.

Olark: Olark has powerful features to give you access to visitors and their behaviors. For example, the “Olark Chat” console allows you to see who is on your site, including location, what they’re looking at on your site, where they’ve been and their time on site. “Targeted Chat” feature lets you set rules to interact only with customers who go to a specific page or perform specific behaviors (stop cart abandonment). “Olark Groups” feature allows you to direct chats to the right person for the job, and “Olark Cobrowsing” lets you see what’s on the customer’s screen and even control their browser, all without any extra downloads.

LiveChat: LiveChat provides intelligent customer engagement, real-time website monitoring and live help and support tools. It enables you to get in touch with people on your website and point them in the right direction. It also enables you to see how good you’re getting at customer service, as it allows for you to get a grade at the end of each chat and constantly improve the quality of your support.

HelpOnClick Live Chat: HelpOnClick Live Chat provides powerful tools for effective communication with your website visitors. It allows you to see who is browsing your website, where your visitors came from and what they are looking for and even helps you to choose the most promising visitors and help them make a decision.

So if you want to gain an edge on your competition, live chat is a key feature that is fast becoming a must have.

Article provided by Roaring. For more information on the great software to help your business work smarter, better, faster visit http://www.startroaring.com