If email or phone support is your only channel of customer service, your business may be missing out. Learn how to set up Live Chat software on your site and make the most out of this essential support tool in this post.
Shopping online is all about convenience and efficiency, and the same should ring true for customer service. Although phone and email support are here to stay, it’s crucial to understand Live Chat as a third line of support for your online business. Live Chat allows customers and prospects to have a real-time virtual conversation with your company representatives while they shop. This tool effectively combines the convenience of email with the instant response of a phone call, and is quickly becoming the preferred form of support for many online retailers and shoppers.
Keep your business in the support ‘know’ by checking out this step-by-step guide to using the Volusion Live Chat software and learn crucial tips to effectively support your customers and grow your online business!
Choosing and installing a Live Chat client
Volusion offers two different types Live Chat software, Basic and Premium. The basic chat is free to use and includes one operator and up to 5 different concurrent chats. The premium Live Chat is $29.95 per operator and includes unlimited chats, departments and much more. The software you choose depends on your business needs. If you’ve just started a small business, then the basic version is probably an ideal fit for you. However, if you have an established business with multiple employees and departments, it may be beneficial to opt for the premium chat to support your customer base.
Note: Although all customers can interact with Live Chat once it’s active on your site, it can only be installed on your site while on a PC.
Whichever option you choose, get started by installing Volusion’s Live Chat software. (If you purchased Premium Live Chat, you’ll be prompted to enter an ID number for your subscription. As always, you can upgrade from basic to premium at any time.)
Once you’ve installed Live Chat, you’ll be asked to log in with your my.volusion.com email and password, or create a new account. After you login, you’ll create a screen name and then be able to test the software before installing it on your online store. We recommend taking some time to familiarize yourself with the dashboard to be fully prepared for your first customer interaction.
Adding Live Chat to your site and making yourself available
Note: Although you can place the link on any page of your site, we highly recommend keeping it in your template so your customers can access it from all areas of your site.
After adding the chat button to your site, you’re ready to get started! Simply open the chat program on your computer and wait for the questions to roll in. Keep in mind that you can leave this program running during normal work activities, and you’ll be notified whenever a new chat begins. As long as you stay signed into the program on your computer, your customers will see you as online, and can click the chat button to add their name, email and submit a question to be sent to you as a chat notification.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the program open, no need to worry – your customers will see an offline button, receive a message that you’re offline and have the option to email their query.
Customizing Live Chat for your business
As you begin offering support with Live Chat, it’s important to create a design that’s consistent with your brand. A custom chat design helps instill confidence in your customers and assure them that they’re speaking with actual representatives from your business.
Fortunately, there are several customizable areas with both basic and premium Live Chat. Simply click the “Customize Design” link to alter the following:
Company name and logo
You can add your logo or company name to the chat window that customers see after clicking the chat button.
Online and offline buttons
These buttons will appear on your site template when visitors are browsing through your online store. You can use a Volusion pre-designed chat button or upload your own design. You can also specify a specific image for online and offline Live Chat.
Online and offline messaging
These messages will appear in the chat window while your customer is waiting for an operator to join the chat. The software comes with default messages, but you can also customize them. As before, you can specify an online and offline version.
Best practices for Live Chat support
Now that you have your Live Chat set up and ready to go, let’s discuss a few best practices for using the tool. Here are a few ways to get the most out of Live Chat:
Make an accessible schedule and share it with your customers
Because you’re now providing multiple channels of customer service, it’s wise to specify the times that you’re available via phone and chat. These times can be the same or different, depending on what works best for your business. For example, some businesses choose to offer full support during regular business hours, while others choose to offer phone support during the day and chat support in the evening. When deciding on a schedule, remember that you’re serving both current customers and new prospects. Pick a schedule that caters to the majority of current and future customers, and make sure you add this information to your site template and contact page.
Offer Live Chat as a compliment to phone support, not a replacement
Although Live Chat offers many multi-tasking benefits over a phone call, there are many interactions that benefit from speaking to a person. Your customers may have complex questions regarding your product, or they may want to get a better idea about your company. A simple phone call speaks volumes to the validity of your online business, and the ability to contact you directly instills a sense confidence in your shoppers.
Keep your brand in mind and always use proper chat etiquette
Always remember that Live Chat support is an extension of your brand. Your chat personality needs to remain professional, timely and energetic. This means you should always use proper grammar, spelling and ask active questions to engage your customer. In other words, this isn’t a casual talk with your friend here, it’s a line of support for your online business, so always put your best face forward.
Live Chat is one of the best customer service tools of the ecommerce industry, so it’s important to understand how to use it to grow your online business. Your customers will thank you for providing a convenient service to improve their shopping experience, and they’ll show their appreciation with their wallets!
-Anjuli Desai, Volusion