The Most Effective Way to Use Live Chat
Most business owners today know what it takes to provide a unique, personal, and positive customer experience when physically interacting with the customer. Unfortunately, many business owners can’t mimic that same success when dealing with customers online.
If you’ve been struggling to find success in this area of your business, offering live chat options can certainly help. Some studies suggest that customers who use live chat during the sales cycle are three times more likely to purchase something from your business.
As effective as it is, many online stores and online business owners don’t feel they have the time, money, or energy to keep their customer service lines open 24/7. The good news is you don’t have to offer live chat 24/7 and you don’t even have to offer it more than a few hours every week.
Of course, you’ll have to be careful about what times you pick, but that’s easy to figure out when you have the right strategies to implement. Don’t worry, we’re going to discuss three of the most beneficial ways your business can start offering live chat without spending too much time or money.
Let’s get started!
1. Utilize Live Chat During Peak Hours
The first way you can make live chat work for you and your staff is by only offering it during peak hours. Since most customers are going to have questions during certain times of the day, those are the times you should target when launching live chat services.
You can already gauge this by looking at the amount of questions you currently receive and when you receive them. Google Analytics is another great tool you can use when learning your customer's traffic patterns on your website.
You also want to account for all the customers you receive when running certain promotions, newsletters, or marketing campaigns. Since these are sure to bring traffic to your website, it’s best to have your live chat open for any questions you might receive.
Once you can find those peak hours to launch your live chat, experiment with 1-2 hour shifts and record your observations so you can reassess how everything is operating after a week or two. In due time, you’ll learn what works best for your customers and they’ll get the service they need -- when they need it.
2. Take Customer Feedback Seriously
When offering live chat to your customers, you’re going to want to make sure your chat queue doesn’t get crowded with questions, comments, and concerns. It adds stress to the situation, results in customers having to wait (which defeats the purpose of live chat), and makes your business look bad on all ends.
So, what does this have to do with customer feedback?
Believe it or not, those negative comments and bad reviews you get mean more to your business than you think. They are your opportunity to improve your business and offer an even greater service than you did before -- to everyone and anyone.
When you listen to your customer’s feedback and implement the changes they want to see, you effectively limit the amount of similar inquiries that are sure to flood your inbox.
Let’s take a glitch on your website for example. When one customer sees it, another one is bound to eventually. And when one customer reaches out to you about it, that means another one will unless you take care of that glitch.
The same goes for those frequently asked questions you get asked every single day. By offering a FAQ page prior to reaching out to live chat, you can eliminate those basic questions from flooding your inbox.
All of this is designed to keep your live chat tailored for those custom inquiries and difficult questions that actually matter.
3. Focus On the Inquiries That Matter
The moment you start marketing or promoting the fact that you offer live chat, there are going to be a lot of people that have questions and suddenly want to know more about what your business does -- especially when you place it at the bottom of every page on your website.
The truth is, not all inquiries are going to be worth your time and some of them are going to come from people that aren’t really that interested in what you have to offer. At the same time, you have to accept their question and give them your time.
Instead, you should be strategic about how you display your live chat, where you showcase it on your website, and at what times you make it available. This will put your business in a position to succeed with live chat.
For example, only showing the live chat option when visitors land on your ‘contact me’ page or the ‘checkout’ page. You can also tailor it to only show on certain product or service pages, which comes in handy if you get a lot of questions about one product in particular.
While you want to help anyone that comes your way, it’s best to focus on the inquiries that matter most and are more time-sensitive than other questions. All the other questions can be answered via email or a support ticket.
If you need further assistance when introducing live chat to your customers for the first time, then Consultants In-A-Box is prepared to help! We know this is something many business owners are scared to offer due to how tedious it can be, but we can help make it easy for you and your staff members.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business better interact with its customers -- after all, what’s more important than their satisfaction?
Ways to Earn Trust When Your Online Business is New
If there’s one thing all new business owners face when attempting to grow their customer base, it’s the lack of trust and lack of track record. It can be difficult to gain trust with customers that know nothing about who you are, what you do, and how passionate you are about your product.
That leaves us with the burning question on every new business owner’s mind, “How do I gain customer trust when I haven’t earned any reviews for them to go off of?”
Don’t worry, you’re not alone when asking this question. In fact, it’s something most business owners are faced with -- especially since it’s difficult to gain customer trust when you don’t have any customers.
That’s why we’re going to discuss nine of our favorite ways to earn trust with potential customers before they purchase your product. What you’ll get in return is interested buyers ready to make that purchase.
Let’s get started!
1. Find the Errors
If you want to build trust with potential customers that don’t know much about your brand, then you have to take a nice, long look at your website to determine whether or not it meets your customers’ standards.
Find the errors, fix them, and search for ways to improve it top-to-bottom. And before you ask, yes those grammar mistakes and punctuation errors do matter.
This includes making sure the website and shop are easy to navigate, making sure your homepage clearly states what your business does, and ensuring you give the customer as much information as possible.
To ensure everything is working properly, go through your site as if you’re a customer and experience it how they would experience it. You can also have your friends and family do the same to get their opinion of it.
2. Take Advantage of FAQs
Having a page dedicated to frequently asked questions is an extremely good practice when building a trustworthy website. There’s a reason why these questions get asked frequently and it’s because they’re the questions your customers are dying to get answers to.
A FAQ page does several things for your business and its customers. It informs the customer about who you are, what you do, and how you do it, as well as giving you an opportunity to display your expertise and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
Finally, they give you a chance to limit the amount of inquiries that get flooded into your email inbox and phone support lines. This means a more streamlined process for you and the customer, which always leads to more trust when first starting out.
Don’t forget to include specific information about your company that wasn’t a good fit for the About page, information about products you sell, your return policy, shipping information, licenses or certifications, and anything else that might help the customer learn more about your business.
3. Hand Out Samples
When you’re truly having a difficult time grabbing the attention of customers and getting them interested enough to buy your products, it might be time to consider handing out free samples to a select few customers. Not only does this gauge interest, but it gets people using the product.
After all, who wouldn’t try something that’s free?
It’s a price you’ll have to pay in the beginning, but it can pay off dramatically when done right. You’ll not only gain positive reviews and repeat customers when they try the sample, but you’ll give others more reason to buy the real product when they miss out on the sample.
Here are some ideas you can try when handing out samples to potential customers:
- Use the power of a sample to request a review, testimonial, or survey from potential customers.
- Send a sample to a social media influencer related to your industry and have them market the product on their page.
- Do it the old-fashioned way and set up shop at a convention or art show and hand out samples there. Any event that’s related to your industry will work.
Since there will be an up-front cost to doing this, you’ll want to be strategic when preparing to hand out the samples. Don’t give them away like candy on Halloween. Instead, be precise about who gets one and make sure it also benefits you in some way.
4. Accurate, Yet Catchy Descriptions
You’d be surprised at how many online stores fail to utilize the product description when marketing their products. In fact, many business owners don’t write a product description at all.
If you want your customers to feel more comfortable when shopping for your products and browsing through your store, you need to make sure your product descriptions are detailed, creative, catchy, and specific.
You should be listing the measurements of the product, what they receive (if it comes in a box), how much it weighs, any disclaimers, warranty information, and ways the customer can enhance the product. Of course, images and video certainly help add to the experience for the customer.
5. Customer Service & Support
When you open your online store, you’ll likely have a lot of people that visit your store and immediately have questions. While most of these questions can easily be listed in a FAQ section on your website, that doesn’t always mean the customer sees it.
With that being said, it’s important to make yourself as available as possible to your customers. When they have a question, comment, or concern, you need to accommodate them immediately. Failing to do so could push them away and create a negative experience between you and the customer -- something they’ll tell their friends and family about.
There are two things you need to pay attention to here -- time and attitude. The longer you make customers wait, the more time you give them to find what they’re looking for elsewhere. Having a bad attitude with the customer won’t help the situation, either.
To solve this, many businesses are utilizing live chat and support chatbots that make itself available 24/7.
6. Return Policies
Building trust with customers that have yet to purchase your product or try your service is difficult, but offering a return policy that makes it easy for the customer is one of the best things you can do to soften the investment they’re making.
When they know they can return it if it’s not what they were expecting, they feel much more comfortable and almost view it as a sample because there’s no risk involved on their end. In addition to that, you gain customer insight when they tell you why they’re returning the product.
Since offering a return policy can become expensive for new businesses, you can always make the policy exclusive to loyalty members -- that way you also incentivize them to sign up with your loyalty program.
Once you have the return policy made up, make sure you post it everywhere for the customer to see. On product pages, the about page, contact page, FAQ page, and even the homepage of your site. Social media is another great tool for letting customers know.
7. Make Security a Priority
We live in a digital world and with that, we need to change the way we think. For those with brick-and-mortar shops, you understand how important it is to keep your customers safe when they enter through your doors -- it helps build trust with the customer.
The same thing needs to be done with online stores. With privacy being a huge concern on the internet and customer’s identity at stake, they need to feel safe when they visit your website. Making sure you use an HTTPS website, as well as use apps and plugins to further the security of your website is essential.
8. Content Is King -- Still
While many business owners have given up on content, it continues to be one of the single-most beneficial tools your business has on the internet today. It shows that your business is active, it gives the customers more value, and establishes yourself as a leader in your industry.
Building trust with content is extremely easy when you know what your customer wants and how to get it to them. Blogs are very popular today because it gives brands a chance to display their voice, vision, and expertise in a unique way.
Your content on social media is important too. Making sure you not only give the customers the content they need, but also interact with them and spark conversations to keep the connecting going is crucial to building trust with new customers.
Don’t give up on content. In fact, double it or even triple it. Your customers will notice, you’ll start to build an online presence, and you’ll start to see the customers flowing in.
9. Be Yourself!
When’s the last time you interacted with a company and felt like you were talking to a robot the whole time? This happens often in business today and it’s as unfortunate as it is ineffective.
Customers like doing business with real people. They want to feel heard, they want to know they’re being thought of, and they want to feel like they’re being helped. Those are three things most customers don’t get today.
You can change that. Don’t be scared to be yourself and let your customers see the personality or character in your business. Be human -- it’s what the customers want and it’s what your business needs.
Make your company feel real and your customers will reward you. They’ll connect with you and support your business through thick and thin.
If you need further assistance with building customer trust, don’t panic. Our team at Consultants In-A-Box is prepared to help you find success when getting your business started. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business grow!
Here’s How Testimonials Help Boost Your Sales
Customer behavior is one of the many things in business that are always changing. Especially in today’s digital world, which presents a wide range of new opportunities every year, the way your customers shop is bound to be different from one year to the next.
Today, there’s nothing more important than testimonials from past customers. Positive ones help attract new customers and build a sense of customer loyalty, while negative ones are known to drive those customers away.
That’s why it’s important to collect, respond to, nurture, and monitor your customer reviews and testimonials regularly to ensure you’re meeting your customer’s needs.
Don’t worry, we understand this is something most business owners aren’t keen on. We’re going to run through everything you need to know about testimonials -- including how to use them, how to get them, how to display them, and how to find success with them.
Are Testimonials Worth the Hassle?
Customers today are extremely interested in the experiences other customers had when interacting with your business. In fact, 90% of consumers say online reviews from other customers help influence their decisions when shopping.
The thing about testimonials is it gives the customer a sense of confidence before purchasing an item or signing up for a service. They have a better idea of what to expect, which is important because a lot of businesses go out of their way to make their product seem better than it really is.
Testimonials help build trust with customers before they commit to your product, which heavily increases conversions and sales. These conversions become even more beneficial to your business when the testimonial is coming from someone famous, well-known, or popular in your industry.
As long as the testimonial is authentic, customers are going to appreciate it and utilize it every time -- and this is proven. One study by Econsultancy discovered that testimonials increase the likelihood of a purchase by more than 60% and even increase sales by nearly 20%.
Another study by Reevoo proved that having 50+ testimonials can increase nearly 5% of your sales and a study by Brightlocal found that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as reviews from friends and family.
The numbers don’t lie -- testimonials work and are necessary for any business.
Receiving Testimonials From Customers
One of the best ways to get testimonials from your customers is by asking them -- after all, that’s the key to getting most things in business. If you need numbers to prove this, the same study by Brightlocal we mentioned earlier also found that 68% of customers leave a testimonial when asked.
Since there are so many ways to initiate this, we’re going to detail some of the most popular and effective ways:
1. Utilizing Surveys
Customer surveys are such an easy way to get a feel for how your business is perceived by others. It’s your chance to group together a wide range of questions that require a yes/no answer or a rating.
You can ask questions that describe their use of the product or service, questions about their demographic, questions about their satisfaction, and even questions that require a typed-out answer. Some popular questions to include are:
- How often did you use the product or service?
- What did you like most about the product or service?
- What is your age, gender, employment status, and marital status?
- How satisfied are you with this product on a scale of 1-10?
- If you could change anything about the product or service, what would you change?
- Will you be using this product or service again in the future?
A survey is versatile and can be used to gain valuable insight and data about your customers, while also giving you valuable content to showcase online -- that way other customers can read their answers.
2. Automating Emails
Emails are a great way to ask for testimonials. They can be used to send out the survey, but they can also be used to simply ask for a written testimonial about their experience with your product or service.
With the way technology is built in your favor, you can even automate these emails to be sent to the customer a week after receiving the product or service. This not only gives them a chance to try the product first, but it gives them a reminder to tell you what they thought of it.
Of course, you’ll want to make it worth their while by offering some type of incentive for completing the survey or writing the testimonial. It can even be something as simple as a one-time drawing where there’s only one winner -- don’t be afraid to get creative!
3. Integrate Apps
There are also a wide range of apps out there designed to help you collect and display testimonials or reviews. For example, you can use Yotpo, Stamped.io, Loox, or Shopify’s own Product Review app to integrate testimonials directly on your Shopify site.
You can also use apps like Yelp and Google to ask customers for reviews. It’s simple to do and there are already a wide range of people doing it -- sometimes they just need that extra push!
Should You Ask Anyone for a Testimonial?
To be fair, you should always leave the door open for anyone to leave a review or testimonial for your business. Even the negative ones give you an opportunity to grow and become better.
At the same time, you also want to make sure you have as many positive reviews as possible. That’s why you have to know where to go for that positive review and more important, how to get it!
First, you’re going to want to locate your most loyal customers. These are the customers you see frequently, the customers who spend the most money, and the customers that have been with you the longest. You can label them your MVS -- Most Valuable Shoppers.
Once you’ve asked them for a testimonial, you can start to venture out to other areas. Social media is a great place to start because a majority of your customers are already on there. You can easily search hashtags and even look at your own messages or replies.
Stay on the lookout for social media followers that have already posted something positive about your product. Repost their shoutout and respond to them!
Reach out to them and thank them for using your product. That’s when you can kindly slip in, “Would you mind leaving us a testimonial of your experience with us so far?”
Lastly, you can use what’s called a Net Promoter Score survey. This is where you send out an initial survey that asks, “Would you recommend this product or service to someone you know?” Those that answer positively should be reached out to for a follow-up survey or reached out to for a testimonial.
What Should Testimonials Contain?
While it’s important to know how to ask and who to ask for a testimonial, you also have to know what to ask. As much as you want hundreds of reviews and testimonials, you don’t necessarily want them to to all be, “Great product!” or “Love it!”
The truth is, those don’t provide other customers with any valuable information and often come across as spam or fake.
The key when avoiding this is to search for customers willing to give specific, clear, and detailed reviews of your product or service. This doesn’t need to be hundreds of words, but it should be more than the generic reviews you’re used to getting.
In order to encourage more specific and detailed reviews from your customers, consider the following:
- Ask for photos or videos from the customer to provide further supporting material for other customers.
- Be honest and be specific with them as far as what you’re looking for in your testimonial.
- Give them examples of other reviews that you thought resembled what you wanted in a testimonial.
- If there are any key words you want the customer to mention in their testimonial, try using them in your own verbage to inspire the customer.
- Send them a history of products they bought or services they utilized.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure the customer knows you want descriptive testimonials. If you have to, don’t be afraid to tell them you’ll display their testimonial on your website if they write a glowing review.
You Have the Testimonial, Now What?
There are so many different places you can display your testimonials for others to see. Making sure you display them in the right places is essential to making sure they produce the results you were hoping for when you collected them.
Here are some of the most popular and effective places to showcase them:
- Social Media - a simple retweet of a customer’s testimonial or positive review can go a long way because all your followers will see it. You can also shout out customers yourself on social media, they’ll appreciate the 15 minutes of fame.
- Testimonial Page - having a page on your website dedicated to displaying testimonials is a great way to hold all your testimonials in one place.
- Product/Service Page - if you have testimonials about certain products or services, displaying them on their corresponding product or service page can help drive conversions.
- Case Studies - when you build a case study, you should always include testimonials from clients in that industry.
Once you can figure out where to display them and how to get other customers to read them, you’ll start to see the testimonials take effect on your business. Soon enough, you’ll see your sales start to increase and you’ll even start to see more testimonials come in!
Need Extra Help With Testimonials?
Asking, collecting, monitoring, managing, nurturing, and showcasing testimonials to potential customers is extremely beneficial to the future of your business. At the same time, it’s extremely time-consuming and something not every business owner has the time to do.
You might be wondering if it’s worth it to outsource this process to a professional. Like anything else, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. The pros, for instance, include having someone with experience lead the way, freeing up your time to focus on what’s most important, and increasing the amount of testimonials you receive on a monthly basis.
On the other hand, the cons include having to do it yourself, risking not having enough time to do it properly or effectively, and a loss of quality.
Whether you want to find a professional, search for a software program to help, or do it all yourself, the important thing is that you’re doing it. Eventually, you’ll start to see results and learn that it was all worth it.
If you need help, contact Consultants In-A-Box today. We can’t wait to assist you with the growth of your business and help you get more quality reviews.
Top Ways to Build Customer Loyalty
There are so many different ways to build customer loyalty in your business, but it generally boils down to whether or not your customer has a positive experience when interacting with your business. Once you can build that loyalty, you’ll have customers that are willing to go out of their way for your business.
The best part is they’ll show this support and love in a variety of ways. Whether it be through glowing reviews on social media, wonderful recommendations to friends and family, or even through continuing to purchase your product/service, your customers will stand by you.
Without these customers, your business, brand, or idea will struggle to gain steam and grow into the powerhouse you imagined it could be. That’s why we like to call these customers your “VIP customers” or “brand champions,” but you can call them whatever you’d like.
Why Do We Need Loyal Customers?
One of the things we’ve heard many business owners ask is, “Why should I care how loyal they are? I already made money off them.” First off, it’s not all about making money off of them. Like we mentioned above, you also have to provide a positive experience.
Secondly, it’s not just one loyal customer you’re dealing with. With the way customers shop today, one loyal customer turns into another loyal customer -- which eventually grows into a loyal customer base that keeps your business running and growing.
Lastly, you can’t have customers that think bad about your business. Again, this isn’t just one customer because that customer will multiply. Eventually, you’ll have a lot of customers that are avoiding your business due to warnings from other customers.
In a recent study by Jay Baer, he concluded that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, while 70% trust reviews from anonymous consumers online. This high-trust rate means you need to rethink your strategy when interacting with customers.
That’s why it’s important to treat every customer your best, that way you’re constantly building and nurturing a culture of loyal customers.
So, How Do You Build Customer Loyalty?
Most business owners expect loyal customers to come as a result from being open for a long time or just through luck alone. Instead, loyal customers come as a result of hard work, dedication, commitment, and genuine gratitude toward the customer.
If you’ve been trying to build a loyal customer base, but haven’t had the luck you were hoping for, we’ve got several tips that will help you on your way:
1. Ask Your Customers
Never be afraid to reach out to your customers or clients and ask them for feedback about how they were treated, how their experience was, and what your business could’ve done better to provide a more memorable experience.
This can be done through surveys or by having a specified place on your website to accept suggestions/feedback. You can also make use of those emails you’ve been collecting and start a campaign. If customers truly want to see change in your company, they’ll let you know.
Ignite that change, and you’ll start to gain trust!
2. Respond to Reviews
While customers like to read the reviews of other customers before purchasing a product or signing up for a service, they also like to know how the business responded to that review -- if they responded to it. That’s why it’s important to always monitor your reputation online and respond to customers in a timely manner.
The key is to always stay positive when responding, always apologize, and always present a solution to the issue. This will show them that you’re here for them, not for yourself.
3. Incentivize Referrals
If you were wondering why you aren’t getting that many referrals, it might be because your customers aren’t being pushed to doing so. Sometimes, that’s all they need -- a little incentive to make it that much more worth it for them.
Get creative with this, but it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Give them each a discount on their next purchase, or a free meal the next time they come in. Something that won’t cost you that much on the back-end, but something that they’ll appreciate nonetheless.
4. Loyalty Programs Work
In addition to incentivizing referrals, introducing a loyalty program can help increase your ability to build trust with customers. Offer a free meal after the purchase of five or a free item after spending a certain amount -- trust us, it works.
Those people that would normally only visit you once will suddenly start visiting you monthly and even weekly. This gives you more time to nurture their experience with your business and keep them interested in doing business with you long-term.
5. Give Back to the Community
Especially in a day and age like this, it’s extremely important to give back to your community and show that you’re more than just a business -- you’re here to help make life better for others in any way possible.
When there’s a local event going on, find a way to participate. If there’s a charity you have respect for, make a donation. You should always be looking for new ways to give back and show your business’ true colors so the rest of the community can see with their own eyes.
6. Customer Service Is Key
Of course, there’s nothing customers like more than being treated well. When you interact with a customer, you have to make them feel special and turn all your attention towards them. If you don’t, they’ll easily take their business elsewhere and talk bad about yours in the process.
Take the time to train your employees correctly and make sure you’re following all the right protocols when interacting with customers. You should also reassess those protocols often to make sure they meet evolving standards.
7. Consistency Helps
Another thing that’s essential to building a loyal customer base is being consistent. You can’t expect to keep a customer engaged with your business if you can’t consistently give them good products or service. They want to rely on you long-term, but only if you can prove it to them.
To solve this, make sure you and your employees are always following the best practices and protocols we discussed in the previous section. You should also ensure your employees know how to handle themselves in a high-pressure situation to avoid any mishaps.
8. Quality Over Everything
Last but not least, focusing on quality never hurts anyone or any business. It’s what the customers want, it’s what they expect, and it’s the only thing you should think about delivering when they need you.
Don’t cut any corners and always find ways to improve your company -- from top to bottom. Every little improvement will benefit the overall experience by the customer, so don’t take anything for granted here.
Don’t Stop There!
Once you start implementing the right strategies, you’ll see loyalty rise with customers. They’ll start engaging with your business more often and be more willing to spend their hard-earned money at your business.
If you want to enhance your connection with customers, social media can be a huge help. Your customers are already on there, they already use it frequently, and they likely already want you on there. Furthermore, it gives you an opportunity to show your business’ true colors and personality.
Ultimately, you have to figure out what your customers want and what they expect out of a company like yours. Once you can figure that out, you’ll know what needs to be done to satisfy them day-in and day-out.
Of course, you can always contact Consultants In-A-Box for more strategies, tips, advice, and assistance when building customer loyalty in your business. We can’t wait to help you find success with your customers and build a lasting relationship with them!