The bar has been set - higher than ever. It's all about creating amazingly exceptional customer experiences. Online sales have grown exponentially and will continue to do so. In fact, 81% of sales processes start online. What’s more, when it comes to making a purchase, 64 percent of customers find customer experience more important than price. Online sales and customer service - how do you marry the two? The answer can be found with online chat features.
According to Hubspot, "a remarkable customer experience promotes loyalty, increases customer retention, and encourages brand advocacy. The benefit of upping your customer service game is invaluable. Customer expectations are changing, leaving little tolerance for slow or delayed response. A hallmark of an exceptional customer service experience is being there when they need you. And in the digital world, that means immediately.
Enter the world of virtual chat. They are little windows that pop up when you go onto social media platforms and websites. "Hello and welcome. My name is Lori, How may I help you today?" Integrating chat features into your website and social media platforms is the bridge between a customer and a business that provides instant response. Chat features can boost your business and bolster your online reputation. There are two types of chat - live chat and chat bots - and both are important in your customer's buying journey.
First, we'll discuss live chat. Live chat gives visitors, potential customers the opportunity to engage in a real conversation with a live customer service professional directly without leaving your website or social media page. Visitors can type into the chat box feature and ask questions, make comments and gather information. Customers prefer live chat because it feels like they are dealing with a real person, building trust and confidence. Visitors are more likely to stay on your website longer when chatting with a real person. The only potential downside is that live chat is usually only available during business hours and requires constant monitoring by a staff member. If that person goes out to lunch, is sick or takes a vacation, then a backup person must be trained and available to take over. If a customer has a question or issue that is outside business hours, they will typically have to wait until the next day for a response. While not unreasonable, customers may expect immediate assistance. You can overcome this obstacle with a chat bot.
Let's chat about chat bots. These amazing artificial intelligence (AI) tools help us help our customers get the answers they need 24/7. Imagine laying on the beach soaking in the sun while a trusty chatbot is continually on the clock covering for you. (sorry they can't provide the SPF, but they probably can remind you to reapply!)
Chatting up a chatbot might sound a little creepy, but we're here to tell you this feature works...and they're smart. In many cases, much smarter than a live human! This technology isn't brand new. A little history...the first chatbot was created by computer pioneer Alan Turing in 1950. He suggested that a computer program can think and talk like a human and initiated an experiment he coined the Imitation Game, known today as the Turing Experiment. Get this. He predicted that by 2020, computers would be so advanced that they would be able to simulate human communication with ease. Talk about seeing into the future. Turing knew that our robo-go-to virtual friends, Alexa and Siri and our chat bot BFFs would happen.
Chat bot customer service provides a much different experience than live chat but will fill in the gaps outside business hours, or help collect needed information prior to transferring the conversation to a person for a live chat response. Chat bots are programmed to answer questions that arise on a regular basis. They can provide options for someone to select or collect important information like a person’s name, email address or phone number for follow-up. Chat bots, although becoming more and more accepted in the business world, lack the human element that customers prefer, but can be designed to resemble a live chat to the point that a website visitor may not be able to tell the difference. You can program your chat bot to let someone know that a service technician will follow up with them first thing the next business day. They can also recognize keywords and point someone to resources like blogs or articles on your website that may help answer their questions.
If you want to bolster your customer experience, improve your personalized marketing, chat is the answer. You can choose one or the other, or create a blend of both. Regardless of which you choose, chat functionality is a great way of meeting your customer’s expectations of immediate response. Chat functions can also be programmed to send a follow-up email after the conversation, providing one more element to impress a potential customer...or wow an existing one. Keep up or ahead of your competition and keep your customers happy by putting technology to work for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Let's chat about how we can help you improve your customer experience. Fuze32 has a team of experts who are ready to help you rock your marketing. Contact us today and let's get started!