When it comes to e-commerce strategy, many companies are reluctant to invest in ‘extra’ elements such as live help. They want to design a perfect, automated process. They envision how effortlessly their customers will steer their imaginary shopping cart through their polished sales funnel. Then they just wait….and wait…and wait.
This thinking perfectly demonstrates the alarming difference between businesses sticking to non-assisted sales and other, customer-centric companies.
The latter have already realized the importance of assisted sales – including online and mobile shopping. (Overcoming the barrier that most customers prefer physical stores over purchasing online largely because of the real-time assistance provided.)
Why customer contact technology is crucial in online sales
One quick glance at shocking sales facts is enough to see why live support is essential:
- 54% of customers want reassurance from a person before completing a purchase.
- Half of shoppers tend to abandon shopping carts if they don’t receive live assistance.
- And the same percentage will either try only once or just give up when looking for help before purchasing online.
- On the other hand, 44% of online customers say that having their questions answered by a live person while making a purchase is one of the most important features a site can offer.
- One-third of those customers who do make it to the end of the purchase journey visit the same site between 3-9 times before buying a product.
In this context, facilitating engaging customer interactions in remote sales seems like a no-brainer. There are many contact possibilities, from live chat to hotline to click-to-call. But which solution to choose?
Customer interaction in online commerce – which solution do I need?
The number one aspect that you should consider when choosing a customer contact solution is the customer experience. Multi-tasking, multi-device customers of our times want to be able to switch between different channels and still enjoy the same terrific customer experience.
This is true for a wide range of customer needs, from learning more about the products to getting concerns allayed.
Bear in mind that modern customers are also quite impatient. More than half of them want to deal with problems during just one interaction. Otherwise, they tend to get frustrated and switch to a competitor – which is obviously the primary nightmare of every retailer.
After this, let’s take a look at the contact channel options themselves – from a sales point of view.
Traditionally, online forms go together with e-commerce like peanut butter and jelly. Experts have published countless pieces of advice helping companies optimize checkout conversion.
Despite efforts to make it easier for customers to fill such forms, almost two-thirds of of online shopping carts are abandoned.
Remember what we have said about the lack of live assistance and its consequences? If customers don’t receive a trigger at the critical moment to reach out to you, you can wave goodbye to them.
Offering your customers the opportunity to chat with you is a good step towards assisted sales.
Thanks to the simplicity of this tool, providers offer a wide range of chat solutions.
Some of the advantages of live chat are:
- It allows your web visitors to contact you anonymously – and for free.
- It usually includes basic tracking, such as what page the customer was coming from.
According to studies, reaching out to the retailer is especially appealing when it comes to complex products (with many options and styles to choose from or the product is technical). In such cases, customers usually have many potential questions before committing to a purchase.
There is one big problem with chat though: it is dangerously limited when it comes to the customer experience. It can easily seem ‘impersonal’, tedious, not to mention the painful lack of visual excitement.
Compared to chat, phone calls seem more ‘personal’ – disregarding the previously mentioned problem of the limited sensory experience.
But is phone important for e-commerce businesses in our digital-driven times? Even more so. The fact that customers are attached to their smartphones 24/7 seems to lead to quite a high number of them pushing that call button when in need.
- 64% of customers are frustrated if they only have the option to contact a company online – e.g. phone is not provided.
- 61% of mobile searches result in a phone call. BIA Kelsey estimates that mobile search itself will generate 70 billion calls to businesses by 2018.
No wonder that Google has also put great effort into enabling conversion tracking tied to business phone numbers in ads. The more phone calls triggered, the more sales opportunities – hence, the higher the value.
This leads us to the relevance of engaging Click-to-Call solutions in e-commerce and remote sales.
- If a Click-to-Call option is clearly displayed in a search result when browsing a product, 70% of customers will actually use it.
- It’s a great way to provide your customers with a convenient, free way to reach out to you (i.e. offering a free callback).
- On the other hand, you gain valuable contact data that you can use for lead nurturing and you can track how visits and sources convert into interaction.
Customer contact technology trend forecasts considers ‘click-to-action’ solutions to be one of the most exciting fields of innovation in 2015. What are the characteristics of this ‘next generation’?
The innovative new generation of advanced Click-to-Call technology
67% of customers have made purchases in the last 6 months that involved multiple channels. Thus, the main difference between precedent and progressive solutions is that these latter build on a deep understanding of what ‘omnichannel’ customers need.
Let’s take the example of Whisbi Professional. It includes an engaging Call-to-Action button integrated in your website, similar to Click-to-Call.
What’s unique about the approach is that it synchronizes the phone call with an interactive online experience (i.e. video, co-browsing, chat and tracking) all at once, in real time.
On one hand, the customer feels encouraged by the promise of a convenient free callback and live reassurance. Meanwhile, the company is provided with extended tools for assisted sales, e.g.
- Show selected products and offers via co-browsing (or even physical products, via real-time video streaming).
- Create trust by showing the face of the sales representative through video communication.
- Or, to eventually assist in filling out that tricky order form by sharing the screen, closing the purchase right away.
Another important aspect: the cloud-based technology allows customers to enjoy the same great customer experience on any internet-enabled device – no matter when, where, how.
Comparing conversion rates of customer contact solutions
To shed the light on the real effectiveness of alternatives, we compared typical conversion rate benchmarks:
Let’s make a quick calculation. Taking 100 potential customers, these conversion rates mean that:
- Out of 100, only 1-2 customers will fill out the order form on their own, completing the purchase.
- Out of 100 customers who start a chat with you, only an average 2-4 will actually buy.
- A sheer 7-8 customers out of 100 with whom you have a regular phone conversation will convert into buyers (whether it’s a normal phone call generated from Click-to-Call or a hotline solution).
- With omnichannel solutions like Whisbi (syncing the normal phone call with an interactive online experience) you can raise the sales conversion rate to at least 15-30%. Hence, out of 100 customers you’re interacting with, 15-30 actually become your customers!
Eventually, the sales uplift and improved customer engagement leads to a higher ROI of assisted sales than a self-service process.
Thinking about the $263 billion total value of online retail sales in 2014 (nearly one-quarter of that credited to mobile shopping only), making it easier for your customers to reach out to you to facilitate sales seems like a reasonable investment.
By the way, how many potential customers have you lost while reading this article as they have disappeared from your e-commerce site without a trace?
— WHISBI (@Whisbi) January 27, 2015