How to Deploy Live Chat When Resources Are Slim [Small Business Series]

Posted by
Sivan Raam
Mobile Product Manager
Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 16:51

For the small business, meaningful customer relationships are the differentiator that larger chains envy—and the reason loyal customers last a lifetime. Consumers turn to their local neighborhood boutiques and niche online shops typically because they enjoy the personal and knowledgeable service typically found there.  As more consumers go online and mobile to research and complete purchases, it’s critical that a small businesses keep up with innovations in digital marketing while still preserving that human touch.

At first, the responsibility of 24/7 digital service and support may seem daunting, but with the right solution, small businesses can meet best-in-class customer expectations without breaking the budget. Apply the small business charm and human touch to digital storefronts and you’ll drive even greater value to your business.

Live Chat With Limited Support

Can you have have a successful chat deployment with one part-time employee dedicated to running it?

In short: 100% yes.

The key for small businesses with limited resources is to be as strategic as possible with live engagements. Here are four key steps in maximizing your resources:

1) Maintain a simple, intuitive website with optimized content.

Simple websites are easier to search and therefore won’t require as much of your time on chat. In this case, more is not necessarily better.  LivePerson found that 74% chose one website over another due to ease of browsing and searching.  One way to simplify the experience is to optimize content based on what visitors are already searching for. Create targeted content based on relevant data, like time on your site, geolocation, popular keywords, visitor history, etc. 

Transparent navigation and a simple checkout process facilitate self-service, and ultimately, saves both time and frustration. Plus, an easy-to-use site and positive first experience will keep customers coming back for more.

2.) Identify your highest-value customers.

If resources are slim, you want to make sure you’re allocating them toward your VIP customers, right? As my colleague, Amir Shub, said, “…your platinum customer has great potential for high lifetime value.” Pinpoint behaviors that might indicate higher-value (i.e. returning customer, high cart value, etc.) and deploy smart, targeted chats with those customers who show the most potential to ensure they have no trouble completing their purchase.

Not sure where to start in how to target these VIPs? Check out our Connect Community where LivePerson product experts provide how-to-guides on a variety of topics, including segmentation. Using these techniques, you can group, prioritize and target visitors based on individual behaviors and interests.

3) Prioritize scenarios that demand high touch engagements.

Discover those critical stages in your buyer’s journey and offer real time, two-way engagement. Two impactful moments include product research and checkout.  According to LivePerson research, 53% have abandoned an online purchase because they couldn't find what they were looking for. Another 45% abandoned due to problems at checkout. You can proactively anticipate these fundamental stages and offer support via chat.

4). Optimize and prioritize chat agent performance.

Designated chat agents have an important job; they can make or break the customer experience in just a few words (or lack thereof). Ensure that your employees (or yourself) are properly trained to deliver your particular brand of service and support. We suggest starting with S.U.R.A. Agent Training, which stands for:

  • Set the tone.
  • Understand the customer.
  • Relay the solution.
  • Achieve the sale / resolution.

Visit the full guide to get your training started (includes tips for successful chats). Plus, keep tabs on agent performance by setting customer experience KPIs (like average wait time, availability, etc.), and holding your agents accountable.

Live Chat’s Longer-Term Payoffs

In the long run, offering support with chat will save you money.

Consumers appreciate the on-time, in-channel experience of chat. They don’t have to move from device to the next, or click away from the product or content at hand. According to the 2013 eDigital Customer Service Benchmark survey, live chat ranked higher (73%) than email (61%) or phone (44%) for satisfaction with customer service channels. Chat offers the immediacy that today’s customer not only expects, but demands.

Plus, resolving customer inquiries via chat actually costs your business less than a phone call. Thanks to the cloud, the infrastructure is inexpensive, and without the complications of dialing in, the cost per interaction is quicker. Social Media Today noted, “Voice support requires more local infrastructure, is more complicated to deploy, and represents a larger upfront investment.”

Another long-term benefit: actionable insights.

With intelligence on your side, you can use consumer behavior on your site to fuel smarter marketing campaigns. Below are a few ways to get started:

  • Create more targeted search ads by using the words satisfied customers use in chats to attract that future type of customer.
  • Optimize content offers around commonly used keywords.
  • Identify commonly asked questions and update FAQs, or product pages, accordingly.
  • Offer special offers based on previously visited pages.

The bottom-line? Small businesses make more intimate connections with customers. Chat makes your growing digital audience feel like they have a meaningful connection and relationship with your shop.

Learn more about LivePerson’s small business community, and bring more meaningful connections to your customers online:

We want to hear from other small businesses out there: what tips do you have for those thinking about bringing a chat solution onboard? What wisdom can you offer from your own experience?

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