12 August 2013
The Evolution of Website Chat Software
Let’s start at the beginning. Ever since humans began walking the earth they have found ways to communicate. Over the last several thousand years, symbols, drawings and speech were the three ways in which we communicated.
Then came the written word and enormous and incredibly speedy development followed
In evolutionary terms we’ve gone from pictures on walls, to words, to books, to newspapers, to phones, to computers, to the internet all in the blink of an eye - finally we’ve arrived at this point, but judging by what’s gone before, we probably won’t be here for very long!
Consumers and Communication
For a while now consumers have used three main ways to communicate with retailers, namely the telephone, email and face to face (i.e. going into a shop). But more recently another form of communication has joined the ranks and is becoming increasingly popular – using website chat facilities.
The Benefits of Website Chat Software
So why are consumers bypassing other methods and utilising chat facilities instead, the reason is simple – it’s more beneficial to them. By chatting to a real human directly they can avoid queuing on the phone, get a real time response to a question and avoid being automatically routed around the net. In other words it’s quicker and easier, leading to happier customers and higher conversion rates for the retailer.
In the past if you were selling a product, you opened a shop, the consumer visited the shop, you may have told them a little about the product, they bought the product, and left satisfied. Today, when people make a purchase their first port of call is the net and once they reach a site, if the retailer wishes to keep hold of them and get that all important sale they must engender loyalty and provide a service that the consumer wants. The most effective way to do that is to develop a good relationship between the consumer and the retailer.
Whereas a decade ago it was all about computer driven experiences, such as automated phone calls and generic email replies, it quickly became clear that humans prefer to communicate with other humans and now consumers are demanding a much more personal service.
Provided you actually use it and aren’t offline when people visit your site, website chat software can have huge benefits in terms of sales. Studies have shown that online chat increases conversion rates, increases sales volume, increases efficiency, reduces costs and builds customer loyalty.
The Future of Website Live Chat
Last year the use of desktop video increased by 15% and 25% of retailers or companies offering services said they would use video chat more in the future.
The positive effects of live chat have shown that consumers prefer to be able to talk directly to the people they’re planning on buying from. In the near future, this will be taken one step further and more companies will be utilising live video chat as part of their service.
This will engender:
• Improved communication with the consumer
• Improved collaboration with colleagues
• Better time management
• More efficient spending
However, it’s essential to note that as with any service offered, if the consumer can see it but can’t utilise it (for example if you have live chat but are always offline) it can have a negative effect, so the most important thing to consider when installing website chat software is whether you have the capacity to make the most of it. If it’s there but not being used it really won’t improve your customer service levels or offer any benefits to your company.