What is the Best Live Chat Software for eCommerce Customer Service?

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Live chat is pretty remarkable when you think about it. You can have a back-and-forth, real-time conversation with a business—all for no charge. Calling into a business comes with the maze of “press 1” menu options and endless strains of muzak. With live chat, you simply type your question and wait for a response.

With simplicity like this, it’s not surprising consumer demand for live chat grew 8.3% in 2017. In fact, recent surveys show more consumers (41%) now prefer live chat over calling (32%), email (23%), or a social media (3%).

Smart eCommerce owners want the best live chat software to meet customer demands.

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How Can Live Chat Help eCommerce Businesses?

Here are some ways live chat benefits your online business.

Increase Conversions

Online stores that use live chat convert more. Visitors who chat are 82% more likely to convert than customers who don’t. And chatters pay 13% more! Customers like having a direct channel for getting questions answered. The access and transparency increase trust in the brand and its products. Use live chat on landing pages to nudge visitors to explore a product, download a PDF, or subscribe to your newsletter.

Lower Cart Abandonment Rates

Around 70% of online shoppers will abandon a product in their carts. There are many cart abandonment solutions to recover lost revenue. And live chat is one of them. Use live chat to engage hesitant customers at checkout. For example, prompt idle customers with full carts the question: “May I answer any questions about the products you selected?”

Replace Lead Generation Forms

Customers hate filling out forms. They’re impersonal, confusing, and one-way communication. Forms with many options may not include a customer’s specific answer. Or a form may ask too much information or have confusing instructions. Live chat is a less formal, more direct way to gather the same customer information and provide instant feedback for questions. You can also integrate live chat software with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Export information you gather during the live chat to your CRM for lead gen purposes.

Chinese tour company MaxTour uses live chat to answer customer questions not addressed on their site.

Data Gathering

Use your live chat to gather customer feedback data. Customers are more likely to fill out a “moment of your time” survey if you’ve answered their question. Use post-chat surveys to rate/identify things like:

  • Your agents’ effectiveness at solving a problem
  • The live chat’s effect on the customer’s purchase decision
  • Customer interests and confusions
  • Specific ways to improve the live chat experience

Discount Offers

Offering incentives like discounts and coupon codes convert more visitors to customers. Online businesses like LogoDesign.net use their live chat software to deliver these incentives in real time. CEO and Founder Zaheer Dodhia says offering incentives through live chat helps them customize customer orders on the fly.

“For example, if our list price for a design is $100, we often offer a 50% discount. But the visitor might want some tweaks to the stock design. With live chat, we can immediately customize the package and give them a new quote on the spot. Instant customer conversion!”

And, if you’re willing to negotiate prices, live chat offers an effective communication channel. You need immediate feedback to win a retail price negotiation. Imagine price haggling through email. Direct back-and-forth negotiation raises the stakes for buyers, prompting them to buy. Live chat is the closest thing you can get to a real life, brick-and-mortar sales rep.

Logodesign.net uses their live chat to offer incentives like discounts.

Live Chat Software for eCommerce

Here are some of the best live chat software for eCommerce businesses today.

Nextiva

Nextiva chat software is a full-featured live chat software that works for any size eCommerce store. It includes a shortcut feature that lets you type out often-used responses with the stroke of a few keys. That can save your chat agents hours of time each week. Nextiva is a modular platform with add-on tools including CRM, analytics platform, and surveys. So, you can build your chat platform around your current needs, with pricing plans ranging from basic to enterprise.

Nextiva is a workable live chat solution for online businesses of any size.

Nextiva helps cut down on cart abandonment by offering proactive chat, letting you reach out to customers before they start chatting. Activate Nextiva’s proactive chat feature on specific web pages to engage customers at critical conversion moments. For example, set prompts to trigger a live chat message after a visitor has spent a minute on your homepage with the message: “What type of products are you looking for today?”

Bold360

If you need a 24/7 live chat service and/or full automation, Bold360 is a good option. The app uses chatbots to answer customer questions. So, you can use artificial intelligent (AI) to have realistic conversations with site visitors. Or, you can mix it up—using human agents during peak sales hours and chatbox support for slower times. The platform’s AI directs questions it can’t answer to a human agent. This mix of approaches keeps costs low while making sure your customers get the answers they need.

Bold360's AI-powered chatbots identify key query words to answer customer questions.

Bold360’s integration features make it ideal for your customer service teams. It connects to your email and text. So, your human or robotic agents can respond to multi-channel inquiries. Or you can set up automated responses. Bold360 also integrates with Facebook Messenger and Twitter. Agents can respond to questions inside social media accounts. No third-party software needed.

All three of Bold360’s pricing plans are “request a quote” options. So, they’re willing to work within your budget to a point. But AI and social media integration aren’t cheap. Also, you’ll need to opt for the more expensive plans to get high-end features like AI.

Tawk.to

Tawk.to is a free live chat app and service that is easy to get started with. The service can also staff you with call agents for $1/hour. So, it’s a workable solution for small startups with little or no customer service. Tawk.to offers automated messaging triggers so you can initiate live chats with visitors. Customize Tawk.to’s chat widget to match your store’s branding. Tawk.to has Android and iPhone apps for responding to customer questions on the go.

Tawk.to’s mascot, Mel the Parrot, explains why “Money is the Message!”

Tawk.to runs ads on your chat widget if you use their free service. But you can remove the ads for $12/month (annual payment) or $15/month (monthly payment). Tawk.to doesn’t have as many features as other chat services—it doesn’t include email, social media integration, or chatbots. But if you want a low-entry price and hiring flexibility, Tawk.to is worth considering.

SnapEngage

SnapEngage designed its live chat to connect your sales and customer support teams. It comes with features like reporting, website monitoring, and team chats. SnapEngage streamlines the lead generation process, too. Use the software to capture names and emails addresses through the chat box. SnapEngage will then deliver that lead data to your sales team. The chat platform works in an internet browser, so there’s no software to download.

SnapEngage's post-chat survey lets customers rate their experience.

SnapEngage integrates live chat with in-house team messaging. Help desk members can message customers while having open chat windows with other members of your organization. Cross-team integration gets your customers better answers. You can also use SnapEngage to conduct post-chat surveys to rate agents or ask about interests or product preferences.

ZenDesk Chat

It’s likely you’ve heard about ZenDesk or used this popular customer support software. But the company also offers a robust live chat feature you can use as a stand-alone service.

Like Bold360, Zendesk Chat lets agents engage customers through social media platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter. And it integrates with popular CRMs like Salesforce and website creation tools like WordPress.

ZenDesk chat lets you track agent metrics over time to see the impact of wait times and missed chats.

ZenDesk Chat excels in delivering in-platform analytics. Besides evaluating individual agent performance, you can also track visitor activity on your site. For example, you can track which product pages were driving higher chat rates, then optimize those pages to convert higher.

Use the same data to identify problem areas on your website. If a specific page is prompting similar questions, answer the question on the page. This will increase your page’s relevance rating and rank it higher in organic search.

The Rise of the Chatbots

The rise of the chatbot is going mainstream in eCommerce. AI improvements are making chatbot “talk” difficult to distinguish between human speech. And chatbots excel at completing simple, recurring tasks like answering basic product questions. This makes them a cost-effective alternative to human agents.

While enterprise-level companies are meeting consumer demands, smaller businesses are dropping the ball. Small online stores have seen a 19% increase in the number of missed chats in 2017. You may have a live chat service, but if you miss a quarter of your customer engagements, you’re not taking full advantage. Choosing the right live chat software helps you solve the missed call problem. Live chat isn’t just a tool for answering customer questions anymore. It’s becoming an important “voice” of your brand—robotic or otherwise.

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