Shop Assistant Blog

The perils of online chat support

Is a live chat support system the best tool to support complex product sales?

Live chat on a website is kind of like a blind date. It can go spectacularly well, or spectacularly badly. And if it goes badly, you are likely to end up with a worse opinion of a company than if you had never used the chat feature to start with.

According to Forrester Research, only about 18% of web users ever use live chat support. They are also more likely to request it than to respond to a pop-up box. What can go wrong, besides poor uptake? Slow responses, sub-standard answers, and bad spelling by online chat assistants can make a negative impression. Some customers hate live typed conversations as they’re self-conscious about their own poor spelling or slow typing.

Additionally, online sales staff need tip-top training so they can respond quickly and accurately. This can be a tall order if the company has a large and complex product range, or high staff turnover.

Slow or unhelpful online chat responses can infuriate and alienate customers like nothing else. Google “bad live chat support” and you’ll find transcripts aplenty to prove it. Live chat support can be limited by a company’s business hours, and is dependent on staff being available.

Website live chat software works best for relatively simple enquiries, such as travel bookings. Anything more complex, and results tend to be highly variable, with the online conversation taking too long for customers’ comfort.

Guided Selling may be the answer for a business wanting to guide online customers through a complex or technical decision process.

Guided Selling tools, such as Wired Internet Group’s Shop Assistant, is designed to help customers reach a quick and clear product choice from large or complex lines. It brings manufacturers one step closer to their customers without alienating retailers, and can even be plugged into a retailers’ site. It can easily be kept up to date with new product lines, is available 24/7, and gives genuine recommendations – based on product facts, not demographics, or what other people bought.

Website live chat software is not a silver bullet solution for helping customers to buy or do research.

Guided Selling, on the other hand, gives the clearest and most helpful advice on purchase decisions with multiple factors. And unlike online chat, Guided Selling is reliable, cost-effective, always has the best product knowledge, and never pops up to chat when it’s not wanted.

Experience Guided Selling: try a Live Shop Assistant Demo

Photo by Anna Saccheri