With customers increasingly wanting to shop online, and retailers responding by constantly improving and enhancing their eCommerce offering, any advantage, or unique selling point that a business can gain over their competitors has the potential to impact significantly on sales. And while retailers have, until recently, sought to gain this with enhanced user experiences, tailored offerings, discounts, returns etc. the industry is now starting to turn its eye to other value-add technologies.
One such tool that is being used by retailers is webchat, the value of which was recently discussed at the DCA Annual Summit by Angela Downes, Webchat Channel Manager at Dixons Carphone. The retailer is currently midway through a major project to implement webchat as a key sales channel.
It was instigated after research suggested customers preferred it to calling a customer service channel and a year into the project the business has already seen some impressive results. These include:
- 16,000 chat interactions per week
- Conversion rates are 1258% better than phone
- Average order value is 58% better than phone
The positive impact on sales is certainly impressive but the benefits of introducing the service have been far wider reaching within the business. Angela reported that webchat offers Dixons Carphone their lowest customer acquisition cost because an agent can deal with three concurrent conversations, delivering cost savings through reduced staffing levels and office space requirements.
In her presentation Angela outlined that she believed that webchat services should mirror the experience you would receive in store. When out shopping customers don’t want to be accosted by a sales assistant straight away, they want time to browse first – the same should apply when visiting an online shop. Customers then generally want to be approached, or be able to approach a member of staff who’s knowledgeable and friendly – again this should be mirrored online and is where webchat comes into play. Angela put forward, that however impressive a store is, both bricks and mortar and online, customers will always want help, so retailers shouldn’t be afraid to offer it.
In the last part of her presentation Angela outlined her top tips for webchat success. These included:
- Review transcripts and feed back lessons to the team
- Use insights to focus webchat services on what your customers want it to offer them
- Ensure you look after agents and provide them with appropriate training
- Set clear strategic goals for your webchat project – if it is to be a sales channel, ensure it becomes a sales channel
- Make the opening line of any conversation tailored and relevant to the customer’s online browsing
- Align the webchat activity with any ongoing marketing activity
In her career Angela has implemented more than thirty webchat programs, using this experience as the foundations for her success. While all of this has come in the consumer retail market, as wholesalers continue to adopt eCommerce solutions, there is no reason why the same principles couldn’t apply to the B2B market. As we have blogged about previously, the inevitable entry to the B2B market of Amazon will demand that established businesses innovate to find ways of competing with the behemoth and ensure that they continue to deliver excellent customer service.
Perhaps offering web chat to customers is one way of staying ahead of Amazon Business? More information about the potential impact of Amazon entering the Wholesale Distribution market and how you can compete with them can be found here.
If you would like help either in taking your business online or in further developing your existing eCommerce offering please get in touch.