Five Ways to Get the Most from Your Sales Chat Efforts

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The world has adopted a new buying paradigm: Customers research products across myriad sites and devices before making a buying decision. In response, organizations must be present and proactively listening for customers in search of information, and then be ready to respond with answers where and when they are needed.

In response to this new world order, companies are in search of an “in-the-moment” solution and strategy that can increase conversion rates, improve performance of multichannel engagement, and convert prospects into qualified leads—all while keeping costs low.

Many organizations have discovered Web and mobile chat as the most optimal solution to easily engage with customers and prospects at critical moments in the buying cycle. While sales chat is a nascent market, analysts are just beginning to forecast spend. In fact, Gartner expects BPO Web chat for customer acquisition, extension, and retention to approach $2 billion in 2018 in North America alone.

Such forecasted growth isn’t a surprise, as chat serves as a unique entry point with a prospect or existing customer which can drive increased revenue and customer satisfaction. Chat’s reliance on customer journey insights for proactive engagement in the channel of their choice also leads to increased conversions and sales.

Here are five rules for optimizing your chat efforts to drive more sales, increase revenue, and reduce the cost of customer acquisition.

1. Optimize chat positioning

The placement or positioning of chat on your website has a bigger impact on success or failure than almost any other factor. It affects traffic, conversions, and user-friendliness. To ensure customers and prospects can easily locate chat, or are presented with the chat option immediately when they need it, consider these options: chat versus a scrolling option, the button design analysis, productive triggers like time on site versus time on page, proactive placement, and how the chat functionality fits with the overall Web navigation.

2. Hire and train specifically for sales chat

Chat adds a whole new element to communication so it’s a good idea when hiring sales chat associates to screen the applicants in a way that determines the best fit for the chat environment. One of the strengths and opportunities to evaluate is the importance of maintaining a neutral or happy tone in their writing. It’s easy to come across as rude or annoyed through chat. They also need to be very clear, succinct, and descriptive in their writing. Empathy is also important to convey when engaging in chat interactions.

On the technical side, sales chat associates must have the ability to simultaneously conduct concurrent transactions and efficiently use response libraries, escalation paths, and peer-to-peer collaboration rooms.

3. Build a chat library

You will also want to make sure they have a library of content and links at their fingertips to offer to the customer. The quicker they can provide these, the happier the customer will be. Most tools include the space to build a marketing library. Whatever the method you use, it is vital to be organized and have a system to quickly retrieve it.

Additionally, chat administrators should structure the chat library to follow the chat flow and also provide value statements for each product offering. For ease of finding subject matter and to gain a holistic view of the customer’s history, create data pull formulas to pull customer information into chat and to personalize the messaging.

4. Optimize voice of the customer using chat

The people speaking to your customers day after day know exactly what is causing recurring frustration and issues. Managers should encourage and entice sales chat reps to provide feedback on what customers are saying on a daily basis in meetings or through digital mechanisms that allow them to funnel the feedback to management or throughout the enterprise.

Such proactive data collection will help diagnose problems—both organizationally and within the chat functionality—and determine root causes quickly. To encourage real change, customer experience metrics should then align to sales outcomes and KPIs for better business insights.

5. Enhance chat performance

The general trend among users in marketing forums and on blogs is that live chat on a website can generally lead to higher satisfaction and improved sales numbers.

The key is that customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break a sale. This helps eliminate bounces away from retail websites, ensures that full shopping carts make it through check out, and helps with upsells, as these employees are in the best position to recommend additional purchases that may be the perfect fit for that particular person.

To ensure sales reps are well equipped to deliver high-performance results from chat efforts, develop a rewards and recognition program for reps and managers, establish input and output targets, and build ongoing coaching sessions to keep sales reps abreast of any product or technology changes. You may also want to create a customized sales playbook that marries sales processes and tools with content. Sales playbooks and these other ideas will provide the sales chat teams with the tools they need to succeed, and the compass to prevent them from getting lost on their journey.

To listen to our 1to1 Media webinar, “Five Rules for Getting the Most Out of Sales Chat,” click here

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