October 2006 - Internet Talk

It’s a Wellspring of Knowledge

By Nichole Baiel

The information that fits on a landing page is limited. You only can give visitors so many product facts before a site becomes overwhelming and unwieldy. If a site is too complex, customer fatigue wins out and sales drop. When building sites, clients, project managers and designers must take a guess at what kinds of questions visitors will have. However, even with careful planning, not all questions are answered. Unanswered questions can lead to a drop in sales as well. It’s a catch-22. How can you design a landing page that is concise, effective and aesthetically pleasing, while you make it double as a wellspring of product knowledge?

By installing live chat, it’s a way to answer consumer questions that impede the order process, while keeping a website clean and concise. Simple consumer questions often take only a minute to answer and can be the difference between a sale and site abandonment.

Live chat makes the online shopping experience a personal one, and visitors take comfort in knowing they can access a living, breathing person on the other side to fully assist them-whether it be to answer questions or to help them through the order process.

Companies use live chat as a means to establish connections between their websites and consumers. Because live chat operators hear straight from customers the questions or problems they are having with either website or product, companies take this information and use it to make alterations. Adding new questions to the FAQ section, including product testimonials or making the call to action a bit more clear, takes little time and the end results are huge. Little changes can greatly impact a site’s conversion rate. Taking the information straight from consumers is like having your own focus group…without hiring an advertising psychologist to do the work!

Live chat also has means of tracking where visitors come from. In many live chat programs, when a visitor enters a site, a visitor profile is automatically made. This profile tracks everything from the IP address, city and state of the connection, web or search referrals and total time spent on-site. This information is invaluable to not only the client, but also to chat operators-as it gives them a better idea on how to approach a sale.

Many live chat programs also are capable of engaging chat with tentative, would-be customers. These chat invitations are non-obtrusive in that it gives the visitor an option to fully engage in chat or not, while the chat operator serves up an enticing offer. Thus, this pushes visitors toward completing a sale. (“Find out how to save 25 percent off your order,” anyone?)

The benefits of running live chat on your website are numerous, leading to faster and better site optimization and product redesigns, while increasing overall site conversion, since chat operators are speaking directly with consumers. This invaluable tool should not be overlooked by anyone. To do so could cost you much more than a live chat licensing fee.
You don’t make money by making guesses.

Nichole Baiel handles web analytics at Livemercial in Valparaiso, Ind. She can be reached at (219) 477-3900, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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