The True Cost of Free Chat Software

Posted by
Dustin Dean
Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Customer Success
03/11/2014 - 16:28

2013 Forrester Research cites customer experience as more important than price when it comes to fostering loyalty, especially in financial and retail industries. As more and more customers prefer to engage with brands online via live chat, it’s critical that brands offer their high impact customers an effortless connection to sales and service teams in order to remain competitive in today’s online marketplace.

Though the notion of free engagement software is undeniably an attractive solution at first glance, decision makers need to understand that free software isn’t always the money-saver it appears to be. For example, most chat providers lack the most important component of digital engagement technology: intelligence.

Intelligence provides necessary insights to engage the appropriate visitors, at the right time, through the right channel (i.e. chat, voice, video).   Without intelligence to guide these engagements, companies will be throwing away dollar after dollar in wasted agent hours spent chatting with low-impact customers, not to mention the lost conversion opportunities. 

Brands need intelligent engagement to meet high consumer expectations and close the gap between in-store and online experiences—and businesses are moving in that direction. In fact, according to newly released research from Transparency Market Research, the predictive analytics market will likely grow 17.9% by 2019.

Intelligent Engagement Can Trump Freeware in Three Ways (and more):

1. Target high-impact customers.

Certain customers have a greater impact on your business; let’s call them high impact. These customers may be your most frequent shoppers, biggest brand advocates, or those who show they’re likely to convert (with a large order), but need live help to complete a transaction. Target high-impact customers at pivotal moments in the customer journey.

Intelligent engagement platforms are able to recognize a high-impact customer from the many visitors on your site, using algorithmic based targeting. Intelligent engagement platforms are then able to put this real-time insight into action— prioritizing engagements for top customers, and aligning your best high-touch resources with prospects most likely to convert.

2. Guide consumers to (and through) conversion.

In our 2013 survey, LivePerson found that 35% of consumers have trouble while making a purchase. Simplify the checkout process by offering intelligent, live engagement when customers need it most.

Intelligent engagement platforms go beyond chat-- they can serve up help videos, FAQs, or personalized content—all while making the distinction which channel your customer is most likely to prefer based on past purchase or browsing history, and current digital behaviors. When brands are able to connect with customer via their channel of choice, they’re more likely to foster a helpful, intuitive customer experience, which leads to the ultimate goal: brand loyalty.

3. Humanize your engagement.

Intelligent engagement software arms live chat respondents with comprehensive information that can personalize and improve the overall customer experience.

For example, intelligent software gives chat representatives access to how the customer came to the site (keywords searched, referral link, etc.); lists recent web or product pages viewed; timelines engagement history; and from all of this, predicts the right type of engagement or message to best resonate with that individual.

“Personalization extends to much more than just welcoming back a returning customer or showing recommendations based on their previous purchases. It’s about using what data you have to create a compelling experience that encourages the customer to take action and come back again.”

- KISSMetrics, 2013

With LivePerson intelligence, you’ll have an opportunity to deliver more incremental orders, more incremental revenue, and less cost per order. It’s clear that “free” is actually quite costly... once you look at the big picture.

Is intelligent engagement part of your digital strategy? If the answer is no, we’d like to invite you to demo LiveEngage—the leading cloud-based customer engagement solution.

How is your brand engaging with its customers online, and what tips do you have when it comes to live chat as a way to foster more meaningful, lasting relationships? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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