A short story about how to use (or not) live chat for e-commerce
Instead of the usual statistics-packed blog post, I decided to write about a personal experience related to live chat and purchasing stuff online. My friend recently sent me this story.
I love escape rooms. I have played more than 95% of escape room games in my city. I went on trips to play escape rooms all around Europe. I haven’t entered the Sagrada Familia cathedral, I haven’t yet climbed the Eiffel Tower or stood on the steps of the Coliseum, but I have escaped rooms (is that even a proper term?) in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Lisbon, Prague or Warsaw.
After a few dozen such adventures, me and my best friend created and operated our own escape room and we have been doing this as a business for a few years. Needless to say we have spent hundreds of hours researching all sorts of gizmos, traps and scenarios, not to mention all the building and tinkering, in order to create a great experience for our customers (and for ourselves as well).
I guess it would be safe to say that I know the ins and outs of this business. You could say I am a premium escape room customer.
So when I saw an ad for a Spanish company organizing escape room trips to Madrid, I immediately clicked it, impatient to have a new adventure, especially after Covid restrictions were lifted at the beginning of this summer.
What does this have to do with live chat and e-commerce?
The website was, at its core, an online shop selling travel packages that included visits to various escape room games in Madrid. One of the packages was distinctly awesome: half a day was dedicated to playing escape room games, the other to visiting landmarks in the Spanish capital, all seasoned with various stops for tapas, wine or coffee. The perfect trip for an escape-room-and-travel-junkie like me.
At least that’s what I got from reading the content on the website, which was only in Spanish. I’m not going to brag I speak good Spanish; I don’t. Google Translate did most of the heavy lifting.
When the time came to add a travel package to the cart and make the purchase, I realized I needed help. I needed to figure out which package was the most convenient for me and various other specific things related to the escape rooms themselves. Google Translate could only do so much.
Live chat and e-commerce – not a luxury, but a necessity
My first instinct was to try to get an instant response to my questions. I was looking for a live chat button on the website but I couldn’t find any. I was still so excited to find out all the details and I was waiting for a quick response. I even had my card details prepared. I looked on the contact page. Nothing. Elsewhere around the shop. Still nothing resembling a live chat button.
I reluctantly clicked on the Facebook icon on the website. I saw on their page that the average response time was around 30 minutes. I was hoping there was someone online that could give me some quick answers. Sure enough, the Facebook Messenger window popped up along with the welcome message and some pre-defined questions…all of them in Spanish. I patiently wrote my questions in English, hoping the person answering spoke Shakespeare’s language (since my knowledge of the language of Cervantes was precarious, to say the least).
My excitement grew when I saw the message “someone is typing” in the messenger window. However, the feeling got damped as a few minutes had passed and no answer was coming. After 7 minutes, I got a response. It was very poorly written in English (since it had probably been poorly translated via Google). They gave me an e-mail address to write all my queries, along with the assurance that the answer will come as soon as possible and it will be written by someone who spoke English.
Would you like to have to go through all this?
A bit annoyed by this new hurdle, but still excited that soon I would be able to book my trip to lovely Madrid to play escape rooms, see the Spanish capital and eat tapas, I wrote the e-mail. I figured the answer will take a few minutes so I went back to the website to check out what the other travel packages had in store for me.
I read the entire website (using Google Translate, of course). I was getting frustrated when, after half an hour, an e-mail came. “Finally”, I thought, “let the trip begin”. I once again took out my card, preparing to make a purchase. However, the answer was more than disappointing. The e-mail read: “Due to low demand, the escape room travel packs are now cancelled”.
I was infuriated. What do you mean low demand? This looks great, I want this trip!
Disappointed, I decided to postpone my Madrid escape room vacation plans and just go to Greece later in the year. At least I would be able spend some time at the seaside and get a tan.
Live chat – lessons for e-commerce
What can we learn from the situation my friend went through? Let’s see.
Take care of customers with specific demands who know what they want
My friend was both an escape room enthusiast and a seasoned traveler so her interest was piqued. Moreover, she was ready to make the purchase on the spot, since she was already excited about the offer. Such customers are usually either well-to-do, or are willing to shift budgets from other areas in order to satisfy a need so specific.
Also, such customers are enthusiastic and are willing to let a few mistakes slide, especially if they know they are a few clicks away from something exciting. By keeping them waiting, you’re going to frustrate them and they are going to give up on the purchase and on your website.
Use a live chat solution like Live Guide Chat – customers can get instant responses to their questions and can hasten the purchase
The only reason my friend waited for half an hour to get a response to her queries was because she was excited about the prospect of that trip. From our experience, users usually have a hard time maintaining 30 seconds worth of interest if no sort of communication means is available.
Live Guide Chat offers a canned messages feature that can provide quick answers to frequently asked questions. Moreover, if there is no operator available, Lilli the chatbot can take over a conversation and pass it on to a human customer support agent. That way, a user is always engaged.
With a chat solution like Live Guide Chat, language is not a barrier anymore
With Live Guide, agents can offer customer support in any language. They can work on the same version of Live Guide and still have the help of spell check.
This was a fairly light-hearted situation, involving an impulse purchase – imagine a more difficult one
What would have happened if the situation was more serious – like a washing machine breaking down or a fridge malfunctioning – and the product needed would be really important and its purchase urgent?
That’s right; the user would have just gone to another website, where instant help would be available. Make sure your users get help as soon as possible.
Hope this was helpful and you will give Live Guide Chat a try.
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Netop develops and sells market leading software solutions, enabling quick, secure and easy transfer of video, sound and data between two or more computers. We have done this for more than 30 years and we have used this knowledge to make Live Guide the most secure and reliable solution on the market. Live Guide helps companies deliver excellent customer service, reduce support costs comply with strict security demands.