5 strategies to transform your live chat service into a sales channel
Jan 04, 2012 | 3 comments
Live chat is becoming a part of the online shopping experience as research point indicates that interacting with a visitor on a site real time can boost conversions.
But merely installing a chat software and assigning an intern or a low level employee is not going to make your cash register go ka-ching.
Selling online is still selling with the added obstacle of salespersons not being able to rely on non-verbal cues during interaction with prospects to make their case.
If you want live chat to make a positive difference to your sales figures you will have to invest in sales training for your operators.
You will also have to look out for traits like savviness with technology and ability to connect online without the benefit of body language.
And while a single blog post is not enough to cover the intricacies of selling successfully through chat here are a few pointers to get you started.
1. Understand your business
This point is crucial and can’t be stated enough. More than anything else, if you want to start a conversation which culminates in your visitor giving you their money the person doing the chatting on your end has to know each and every part of your business. They have to understand what services or products you offer, what is the pricing and what is the best fit for the visitor’s needs.
Think of them as real life shopping assistants. Would you buy an expensive lens from a camera store if the guy at the counter didn’t know what was in stock or doesn’t ask what kind of camera you have?
2. Understand your customers
Selling anything also requires that you need to understand the motivations of your customers. In the context of online selling you have to understand what drives visitors to your page, which pages are the stickiest, what are the top referring pages and keywords and what prompts visitors to click away.
If you are running an online store you have to be particularly careful about shopping cart abandonment and attempt to understand the reasons behind it. If you are talking with your customers via chat, try asking open ended questions that are not designed to sell- sometimes you will get insights that outweigh the value of a single sale.
3. Know when to start a chat
All visitors on your site are not equal. Some are just browsing idly, some are shopping around and comparing and some are primed to buy but have difficulty in making up their minds. Knowing who is what is how you run an efficient live chat selling machine.
When you send out a invite for a chat don’t send it to anyone who is on your site for 10 minutes or more. Use the tracking features on your chat software and target those visitors that are on pages that have calls to action (Our Live Chat System provides you real time information about all visitors).
So, if you are selling a software ping the visitors who have been on the demo page or are browsing the plans and pricing page. If you are running an online store, ping those who are on a product page for sometime but not yet clicked on the shopping cart button. These are the people who can convert.
4. Don’t be pushy
While taking initiative and being proactive is well and good, too much of it can be a bad thing. Because of the nature of chat a virtual store assistant does not have the benefit of interpreting body language when interacting with site visitors.
Therefore virtual sales assistants have to extra sensitive to visitor responses. If a polite question asking whether they need any assistance is declined or ignored, the rep has to withdraw themselves from the conversation immediately while assuring the visitor that they will be around if needed.
5. Personalize connections
People like talking to people, period. And when it comes to buying, people like going to a place where they are recognized. That’s why you have your favorite coffee shop.
Online, you can take this concept by personalizing your interactions with your visitors. Contrary to what you might think, facelessness of the medium is not that much of a obstacle in establishing one on one relationships. You can use a variety of tactics from analyzing the past purchases of signed in visitors to providing more localized options based on their IP address to appear more attuned to their needs.
You can also add to the human touch by having a photograph of your chat operator in the window,using an appropriate greeting (open the chat with Buenos Dias if the IP is from a Spanish speaking country) or addressing the visitor by name (where available).
Closing sales online is not luck nor black magic. It’s a mixture of sales training, site analysis and old fashioned conversation skills mixed with online chatting smarts. If you have that, you will be a star seller.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to chat with customers, you can employ a live chat answering service with agents that will quickly learn your business and turn those browsers into buyers.