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How does real time support in an online environment help boost CRO and ensure a purchase sticks?

An introduction by Kilian Auray, Professional Services Director,

When it comes to online retail, a conversion should be defined as a purchase that sticks. By providing real-time support via chat, web callback or video chat, online businesses are able to remove that element of uncertainty which might lead to a return and a purchase that therefore has no value in the long run.

Online visitors are frequently faced with a number of obstacles. These include not being able to find the product they are looking for, not understanding the product they are viewing or questions about how the goods will be received.

The use of real-time customer support to help online visitors in all these situations can reassure and facilitate the purchase process, overcoming the obstacles that can otherwise be a barrier to conversion. Indeed, research carried out by Forrester Research in “Making Proactive Chat Work” found that 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. Furthermore, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels of all customer service channels with 73% compared to only 44% via phone and 48% via social media according to a 2013 report from eDigital Research.

The first scenario is that of an online visitor who is having difficulties finding the right product. Once you have identified what kinds of browsing behaviour are indicative of this, you can set rules to proactively engage in real-time with those visitors. If for example, a visitor has viewed more than five different product pages, seen a sold-out or product unavailable notification, or is on the third page of a list of products after a search, then real-time advice from a human being can make a big difference.

For visitors who have found the product they want but who still need information and reassurance, real-time support options can increase conversion by removing any drawbacks. For example it is likely that visitors viewing the terms and conditions page will appreciate the help of an agent who can give them the specific piece of information they are looking for. Similarly, a visitor who has spent more than three minutes browsing the delivery options page reveals the behaviour of someone who will welcome guidance, thereby also increasing the likelihood of conversion.

According to IMRG, the average online conversion rate for the UK market (excluding travel) was 4.6% between January and July 2014. Conversion rates after chat in the eCommerce sector tend to vary from 15 to 25% depending on the proactive engagement strategy which is implemented. The impact of real-time communication channels on the global conversion rate of your website depends largely on the number of agents your business is able to dedicate to these channels as this determines the number of online visitors you can engage with.

The combination of different real-time communication channels can also contribute to optimising conversion rates. For high value products or services which entail high levels of commitment, the conversation might start via chat and then move to the Click to Call channel when the visitor’s interest in the product is confirmed. Optimising conversion rates is also about communicating via the channel that suits the visitor best.

Click to Chat can also be used as a way to gather customer feedback about the website’s usability. Frequent comments about information being hard to find enables businesses to learn and rectify any shortcomings. These optimisations will in turn optimise the website conversion rate.

Finally, the capacity of real-time communication channels to impact conversion rates is also strongly dependant on the skills and knowledge of your customer support agents. With the right sales techniques and customer service approach, your agents can become true brand ambassadors who will not only seal the deal and boost conversion rates but also contribute to creating a memorable experience for the customer and positively impacting customer loyalty.

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