The Power of Proactive Chat

January 21, 2013 Leave a Comment

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image17092323Proactive chat is not a new idea. Consider the following: when you go to a restaurant, do you prefer the waitress who comes around and fills your cup of coffee before it is empty or the waitress you have to hunt down long after the coffee residue at the bottom of the cup has turned ice cold? Unless you are one of the (non-scientifically researched) .03% of people who enjoy cold coffee residue, you probably prefer the first waitress. Proactive service is not a new solution; it’s a tried-and-true practice that has simply found its way to the digital arena in the form of proactive chat.

Proactive chat is a solution that allows you to engage with current customers and potential customers before there are issues that require customer service involvement. When you wait for issues to occur, you operate in a reactive environment, and that means you only reach the small percentage of customers who bother to reach out and ask for help (many will simply move on to another website). Taking control of your service with a proactive solution lets you make your customers aware that you are ready and available to assist them from the minute they arrive.

Why Is Proactive Chat Important for Engaging My Customers?

Besides improving the experience your customers have with your company, proactive chat opens the door to opportunities for engagement with customers you may otherwise never encounter. One of the primary benefits of live chat is that it allows you to gather information about your customer when they accept the invitation to chat. This information remains in a database to help you better assist the customer in the future. To be successful, business has to be personal. By using proactive chat, you initiate this request for information instead of relying on the customer to provide it to you.

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Because the Internet has ushered in an age of online convenience for shoppers, businesses are discovering that it’s far too easy for customers to move on with a click of the mouse when they encounter frustration, difficulty or other problems. Proactive chat provides your company with a way to minimize the interruption of the online shopping experience while still assuring your customers that you value them and showing them how ready you are to help if needed. You can be like that great waitress at the coffee shop who never lets your cup run dry.

How Proactive Chat Improves the Customer Experience

Velaro has been measuring how and why proactive chat contributes to success. This underused marketing platform can improve your customers’ overall online experience and increase your sales. Two of the biggest features of proactive chat include the pre-chat questionnaire and the ability to integrate information into ERM and CRM systems. The pre-chat questionnaire is a simple set of questions designed to both engage the consumer and also help you learn more about their shopping habits. Having the ability to integrate the data you gather into other company data systems, which occurs upon completion of the questionnaire, lets you provide more robust service to your customers in the future.

Proactive Chat Is Already Making a Difference

Proactive chat offers a proven solution for increasing customer service satisfaction and boosting sales. Proactive chat allows your business, no matter how large, to get personal with customers. Discover how businesses of all shapes–and-sizes are realizing better profits from proactive chat.

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Written by Jeff Mason | Jeff Mason is vice president of marketing at Velaro, where he oversees the company's entire marketing function. Previously, he served as vice president of marketing at Social Solutions and co-founded Artifact Software. He was also vice president of corporate communications and marketing at Sequoia Software.

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