|Live Customer Service|
I recently came across a site that offers a greeting service. After installing some code on your site they will greet the visitor and ask if they can help.
They claim that it dramatically increases conversions as they can guide a customer through the buying process. However, they charge a fee of $1 + per successful sale.
This sounds to me like walking into a shop and getting asked questions from an annoying sales assistanct, but does it work? How would you feel browsing a store and all of a sudden a popup opens and someone asks if they can help?!
NO NO NO.
Verisign does this sometimes, and I can't stand it.
Popups are bad enough, but having someone initiate chat is awful. The 'chat with us' button is enough - if they want info - then the visitor can click on the button.
I just read an article about the buying cycle, and when people are early in the cycle, they like their anonymity. Its not until they're ready to buy, they wish to reveal who they are.
I think you'll scare more people away by this tactic then you will induce to buy.
It freaks me out a bit when I'm surfing a site and suddenly a popup appears and says, "Hi, I'm Bruce, can I help you?" What's next? "I see you're looking at our Blastux pharmaceutical product. Do you suffer from the condition it treats? What stage of the disease are you in?"
Then again, perhaps I'm just not used to someone looking over my shoulder and talking to me yet.
I have occasionally found it helpful, though. A major software maker uses it in one portion of its massive site, and I've asked the rep to help me locate a resource I was struggling to find.
I'm not in any way considering adding this 'feature' to any of my sites, it's far too much like spyware in the eyes of the customer.
Also, every customer gets greeted when they come onto your site. So repeat customers would inevitably get fed up with the 'greeting' and go elsewhere.
However, I can imagine there are certain types of sites where such a greeting service would be appropriate.
Andy, you could set a cookie on the visitor's computer and tie the cookie into your CRM system. Instead of just another greeting, you could say, "Welcome back, Bill. It's me, Bruce. It's been a week since you last visited. Have you decided to purchase the product we discussed, or are you considering another form of treatment?" ;) Spooky, but some people would be impressed.
And it's only 20 years after 1984... ;)
I would hate to see widespread adoption of this greeting software, it's just extremely annoying and very intrusive.
My sites are built on a reputation of being family owned and run, running this kind of greeting software would definitely annoy customers and give them all the wrong signals.
This isn't just software, Andy, there's a human there - it could even be a family member, or someone seeming to be a family member. I'm sure parts could be automated, though, like the initial greeting.
Scenario: DavesCorvetteParts.com - "Hey, thanks for dropping by. I'm Dave. If you've got any questions, let me know. You a 'Vette owner?"
It really could be a plus if it was done well. Scaling this could get kind of expensive, though. A button for "Live Help" or similar would greatly reduce the load vs. trying to interact with everyone.
I do believe that 'Live Help' is a very useful tool - it is something I plan to add to my site in the future. I would add a phone number to my site, but I hate talking to strangers on the phone! I think there are many people using the web that would rather communicate in this way. As soon as I can affort to pay someone else to answer the phone for me, the better!
I can also understand that some people (probably most ) would find this intrusive, but without doing this I think many people would not actually use it. Is there a way for it to stand out without being intrusive?
I hate the idea ...It almost smacks of hacking my box ...
In the days when shop assistants used to pop up in stores and ask this kind of thing it always but always made me head straight for the door ...
In France they still do this .....hate it ..hate it..
I want help ..I'll ask ...
otherwise don't bug me!
<one of my "sensitive toes" this subject>
You guys are right--some of those applications are a little spooky.
From an ecom POV, we have tried them out, starting with LivePerson, and then on down to phpLIVE once the sticker shock from LivePerson set in. :)
Surprisingly, hardly anyone used it, and ditto for other sites with drastically different consumer bases. I thought it would--goes to show how much I know.
The old fashioned toll free number always out-performed live chat applications, so we ditched it. Between all the chat apps, phpLIVE was our top pick for pricing and features.
It's worth a try, though. LivePerson and Groopz seem to the be the only ultra-invasive ones.
I got exposed to this the last time while looking for a dedicated server. For that type of product, it likely makes sense- you're dealing with people that know the technology (won't be spooked), and a high percentage of people that will buy, only needing that little extra nudge.
Definitely not for every site, but in some cases I can see where this would be a great tool.
This type of service can work for certain buisness models. The company [inq.com...] has a service that allows you to do a live chat on your site.
This works very well when the visitor "looks" confused.
i.e. coming back from shopping cart,long time on faq page, At this point if a helpful agents offers help, this works.
i have recently started this on my 5 year old site and am myself sitting to gauge response. the result is not yet out and would be happy to discuss details in a month.