Hello, I?m from Adobe.com. Can I help you?

Adobe needed a key question answered: How many abandoned shopping cart transactions could be averted by proactively using an online chat system to intervene in the process?

According to CRM magazine, Adobe.com hired a decision-modeling tool from SalesNext in 2009 to find out, and see if conversions could be improved upon.

The chat software was triggered in one of two ways:

  • When a customer backed out of a shopping cart due to a change of heart
  • When the customer experienced a technical or product problem

The results? Visitors who engaged with chat were converted at a rate of 22% versus 8% for a control group. Purchases went up by as much as 18%.

If chat software had not been present, customers? surveys indicate that call center traffic would have increased by about 35%.

This means that the cost per engagement via chat is 50% less than normal engagement via a call center.

The chat software also spat out valuable tracking and analytics data that allowed Adobe to track trends and identify bottlenecks or holes in the presentation of content or the overall navigation structure of the site.

According to Internet Retailer, consumers are relying more on Twitter and live chat more than they did two years ago, with Twitter rising to 19% from 1% and live chat 37% from 19%.

But there are some dragons to slay when deploying chat through your online support personnel.

?Customers said they felt like they were talking to a computer. A lot of customers said the person on the other side of the chat session was robotic,? reported ApplianceZone, who had recently seen a huge surge in chat sessions.

The volume was thus not being matched by quality on their website, an obvious problem for any high-traffic website that uses chat to decrease e-commerce abandonment rates and elevate purchases.

Many of us instinctively realize that a probable reason for the loss of quality may be related to canned answers residing in online knowledge database.? If the support rep does not display some creativity and problem solving skills when dealing with the customer, it may well turn out to be counterproductive.

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