Online retail is an industry constantly changing to keep up with growing consumer demands for convenience. Customer service is one of the last areas that physical stores has previously held the advantage over online stores, but that advantage is quickly eroding as technologies such as live chat are becoming more prevalent (and trusted).

Live Chat Highest Rated in Customer Satisfaction

According to Forrester Research, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.

And live chat boasts the highest satisfaction level of any customer service channel according to Econsultancy.com, with 73% noting that they were happy with their experience with live chat compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone. Zendesk had similar findings, noting that live chat had the highest rated customer satisfaction delivering a whopping 92% for live chat over voice, web forms, email and Facebook.

Live Chat Also Drives Sales

Not only does live chat result in customer satisfaction, but it can also lead to sales. Leading web-based shipping solution ShipStation shared that one of their customer's, Paleo Treats estimates that as much as 20% of their sales occur after a live chat conversation. And others, such as Vita Student, are seeing more than 42% conversion with people they are chatting with on their website.

5 Ways Live Chat Can Increase Your Online Sales

Here are 5 ways you can leverage live chat to benefit both both your customers and your business.

Be available when your visitors need you.​
Give help quickly.
Provide typing indicators.
Tread lightly.
Strategically choose how you show yourself.

Use these 5 insights to increase your customer satisfaction and profits on your site. By implementing live chat on to your own online store you can help keep your customers happy and increase your conversation rates. For more on ecommerce best practices, check out my related article on the Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms of 2017.

Published on: Apr 12, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.