Overcoming basket abandonment through effective implementation of real-time communications services.

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1 Overcoming basket abandonment through effective implementation of real-time communications services. The benefits of real-time customer engagement For the vast majority of online retailers, converting more visitors into valuable customers is the number one primary objective. Marketing plans, SEO and affiliate campaigns, painstakingly co-ordinated to bring millions of visitors to your website have done their job, and yet on average more than 80% of these hard earned visitors, leave without trace. At the high street, shopping assistants capitalise on browsing customers, directing attention to bestselling products, and suggesting items based on the individual. Online, the vast majority of retailers are void of such engagement. Given that buyers are 70% more likely to make a purchase as a direct result of having a live conversation, what has prevented e-commerce from delivering enhanced communications services online? (emetrics; NetGenesis, 2009, Forrester Research, 2008, Holloway & Beatty 2008.) Many companies have already tested basic online customer service tools, the most common being live chat sessions in which customers can contact agents via instant messenger. To engage with customers effectively however, live chat should be used alongside scalable communications functionality such as call-back, co-browsing, video and voice chat sessions, where valuable customers can be identified and escalated to a direct voice-based connection with an advisor. This increases the number and value of sales, leaving low value enquiries to be handled by chat sessions, thus optimising contact centre costs. The new generation of intuitive, real-time help systems, such as those provided by Klick2Contact, offers precisely this level of scalable communication. Consumers have the ability to communicate in real-time with a live agent at key points during the process of making an online purchase. Companies that offer such communications services are providing potential customers with the personal contact, extra information and the confidence required to complete a purchase, precisely when they need it. As a result, these customer-centric organisations are accessing a number of important benefits, including: Reduced site & basket abandonment. Increased sales and form conversion rates. Increased average order sizes. Increased customer value. Reduced contact centre costs. Consumer opinion on enhanced e-commerce communications Customer opinion polls show that consumers prefer real-time assistance over other online customer service options. (Forrester Research, 2008) 77% of European consumers ranked live chat as useful to extremely useful 83% of European consumers ranked instant call-back as useful to extremely useful 1

2 66% of consumers do not apply for financial services online, for example, because they prefer to apply in person or over the phone, while 52% want human assistance to validate their decision. Getting More Financial Services Shoppers to Apply Online Forrester Research, Inc., September The data proves it. Today s increasingly crowded e-commerce highway is littered with abandoned shopping carts, online forms, travel itineraries, insurance quotes, and financial services applications. According to Marketing Sherpa, consumers abandon nearly 60% of all online transactions before they hit submit. For businesses serious about selling online, each abandoned transaction reduces revenue, increases acquisition costs, and most importantly, represents a lost opportunity to secure a long-term, loyal customer. There are countless reasons why customers abandon a site once they ve started the transaction process. In some cases they may not feel they have all the information they need to answer their questions and make a purchase decision. In others they may have concerns about the security of personal information. And sometimes, especially with the most costly and complex transactions, customers just feel better taking the final steps with the comfort of some human assistance. For companies looking to maximize their online sales opportunity, live interaction with contact centre agents is now a must have, not just a nice to have. With near ubiquitous internet access, a smartphone or netbook in every pocket or bag, and a never-ending expansion of online choices, it is increasingly easy to window-shop online. Encouraging voice-based help Voice-based help brings much more value than simply inviting visitors to place a phone call to a toll-free phone number. It ensures a personalised, highly contextual cross-channel sales and support experience, allowing customers to stay on the web while engaging with a contact centre agent as if that agent were right there with them to answer questions and provide the comfort and security to complete a transaction. Advanced voice-based help solutions offer a complete feature set that allows organisations to maximise impact and ROI, including: Selectively and proactively offering voice help only to the right customers at the right time. Routing and prioritizing calls dynamically based on the customer s need or location, their potential value to the business, and the availability of agents. Showing agents customer data including current Web activity and all known purchase and account information to personalize interactions, upsell and cross-sell effectively, and minimize call handling times. Collaborative browsing tools that allow agents to push Web pages to and complete forms for in-bound Web callers with high security. When implemented strategically, voice-based help improves customers overall experiences and enables organisations to provide sales assistance when and where it is needed most to increase revenue and build on-going customer loyalty. It also has been shown to reduce contact centre costs by reducing call length. 2

3 Comparing functionality Because voice and chat share similarities, some companies feel one or the other is sufficient to address all their visitors needs. Offering both services may appear to be a redundant expense for solving the same business goals. A recent article from a world leading technology provider noted that, whilst online chat and live voice services are sometimes equated, they serve different business goals. A growing number of successful online businesses across a range of industries are discovering that voice vs. chat isn t an either/or decision. These e-commerce leaders recognise that combining live voice AND text chat services - offered selectively, proactively, and in an integrated manner to the right customers at the right time - maximises online sales and profits whilst boosting customer satisfaction and retention to new levels. We added both voice and chat to help us take more reservations from the traffic on our new site. Whether people use Call Back or Chat, our goal is to ask them how we can assist in making a reservation. People who choose chat usually are looking for the answer to a specific question about the hotel, something they can t find on the website. Those choosing Click to Call are generally ready to make a reservation with us at that moment. Each helps move someone to that point of purchase in a different way. Red Lion Hotels In addition to addressing different types of sales and service interactions, chat and voice functions appeal to different customer audiences. Technology Research company, Gartner Inc. has seen that 8-10% of chat sessions are initiated by a new audience that has never engaged with a company before. Independent research shows that website visitors may use different online help services based on their demographics. Older customers are shown to be more comfortable with voice-based services, whereas younger customers tend to prefer chat. Other buyers, regardless of demographic, may prefer a text chat in the early phase of a purchase with perhaps a single question on product details, whereas a call may be preferred when ready to buy but have encountered an error or need to ask a complicated question. For businesses with a simple sales process, such as a shoe retailer, chat can be a low-cost solution to handle common questions. Providing assistance with chat addresses customer needs and helps convert the sale, but allows agents to handle multiple sessions at once. For complex sales, however, such as insurance companies or high-end retailers, the cost of calls is justified to secure high-profit sales and keep valuable customers satisfied. According to Gartner, web chats are only more cost-effective than voice calls when an agent can handle three or more chats at a time. Due to the perceived increase in contact centre costs, some e-business and contact centre decision makers opt for voice help solutions only for sales situations, where the incremental lift of converting an online sale outweighs the cost of the phone call. Conversely, chat, with its perceived low cost, may be deployed only for service-oriented help and offered only to known customers. With today s innovative live help solutions, these assumptions no longer apply. 3

4 Risky business: Why providing a chat-only service may lose customers It s important for serious e-businesses to understand that deploying chat alone comes with significant risk. Companies that deploy chat as a standalone solution risk losing thousands of conversions and opportunities to upsell because chatters often struggle to articulate their concerns quickly and clearly. Language barriers, differences in education levels, the use of slang and so on can all impact an agent s ability to satisfy the needs of text chatter and increase the likelihood of abandonment. It s also a risk to deploy chat from one vendor and voice-based help from another. As cited above, the conversion rate of live chat nearly triples when escalated to a phone call. With a combined voice and chat solution from a single provider, agents can quickly escalate a chat session to a voice call with a single click, without losing the context and continuity of the help session. This seamless escalation allows agents to rescue a significant percentage of potential customers, whose needs are not met via chat. Web chat should not be seen as a stand-alone option but rather as part of an overall multichannel interaction strategy. Organizations should not look at Web chat as a stand-alone component of customer interactions, because they risk buying a point solution focused only on this functionality. Grow your customers and customer service through a web chat channel Gartner, October 2008 Recipe for Success tried and tested implementation When considering stages of implementation, voice-based help is the logical place to start. Analysis of help service usage statistics is recommended before enabling multi-functional services. Gauging consumer demand - By starting with voice, businesses can work with us to forecast the future operational requirements of chat requests. This way, companies can ensure their software and training investments are consistent with demand and avoid getting caught off guard or investing too heavily in additional agents. Seamless integration - Some voice-based help solutions require that calls be routed directly to the PCs of contact centre agents, requiring costly desktop software and training. Today s next-generation voice help solutions, however, do not require any changes to a company s existing contact centre infrastructure or agent training. Calls can easily be routed directly through the contact centre s existing phone network, either to specific phone numbers as set by the business, or into a pre-configured interactive voice response (IVR) system. It is recommended that calls be prioritized and pushed to the top of the queue to drive the highest level of online sales. Refining deployment rules and triggers - In general, it is not recommended that companies offer customers live help on every page. Instead, live help should be offered at critical points in the online experience before the customer has a chance to abandon the site. For example, if a customer is spending lots of time on certain pages like shipping costs, reservations, or personal information, companies can offer the opportunity to chat or call on the exact web-page where abandonment commonly occurs. Escalation of service - What makes Klick2Contact unique is the ability to escalate communications through several mediums dependant on the given situation. Escalating chat sessions to instant call-backs, cobrowsing, VOIP and video provide the agent with all the tools necessary to provide prompt assistance. Following the analysis of consumer demand on a given site, deployment variables and standard operating procedures can be put into place to target high value customers with direct communication, whilst low value browsers can be assisted through a simple chat session. 4

5 Conclusion In order to gain competitive advantage and effectively capture the potential of online commerce, businesses must implement strategies that integrate with existing sales and customer service channels, and recognize the unique characteristics of the online experience. Klick2Contacts scalable, cloud-based help solutions bridge the gap between the online convenience of self-service and the personal assistance of the high street. Optimising the online experience to meet the unique needs of different customers is shown to significantly increase conversions, order size, and customer retention. Scalable communications - escalating chat sessions to calls, voice, video and co-browsing - mitigates time and cost spent on lower value consumers by assisting them through basic chat sessions, whilst also enabling companies to target high value consumers with a free, instant call-back. Together, they can help your business offer a more satisfying and successful customer experience and help you close more sales. Representation of the effects of scalable communications services on revenue and costs: Klick2Contact offers the most innovative real-time live help services on the market today. We provide you with the ability to seamlessly escalate customers through levels of communication. Advanced, cloud-based services such as Klick2Chat, Klick2Call-Back, Klick2Co-Browse, Klick2VOIP and Klick2Video are the next logical step in e-commerce business. Visit us at and see how world leading organisations are realising their true online potential. Increase online sales and decrease abandonment, Klick2Contact. 5

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