When you walk into a brick and mortar business, and the company is known for providing excellent service, what does that mean to you? For me, a store providing great service does a few of the following:
1) The clerk smiles at me and says hello when I enter
2) After saying hello, the clerk does not "pounce" on me, he/she allows me to browse, and confronts me to provide help after giving me some time to look.
3) When it's time to approach me, and I tell the clerk I'm just looking, he/she will simply say "OK, if you need any help my name is Martha and I will be happy to assist you."
Three simple steps. Being too intrusive makes me feel rushed and overwhelmed. By offering help only if I need it, I am happy. I trust that the store cares about my business and wants me to be comfortable.
On the web, don't we all want the same thing? Invite me into your site with a welcome message. Make it easy for me to navigate, so I can find what I'm looking for. Offer to help, but don't push me away. Most companies will say that they strive to re-create the brick and mortar experience for online shoppers.
Proactive chat is a good way to provide guidance through all steps of the sales cycle. Beginning with educate, advise, and up-sell to fulfill, support and maintaining a happy customer.
One noHold customer has recently transformed the traditional Virtual Agent experience into a proactive 'guided' conversation. The proactive agent comes in two forms:
1) A proactive pop-up will appear after 3 seconds on the page.
2) On another page, a proactive pop-up will appear the 3rd time you visit the page (click a link, then click back to see it in action). In this version, you can type in a question to start the virtual chat interaction.
The beauty of this experience is that the Virtual Agent will present itself, but the end user can decide to say yes or no, or simply close the window. The pop-up is a small window that does not intrude on the visitors navigation or block the view of the page.
What's that you say? Pop-ups have a bad wrap? It's true, but keep in mind that if it's done the right way most users prefer proactive chat. In fact, a leading analyst firm says, "Implementing proactive chat can be a complex process that requires aligning multiple business areas. However, a successful proactive chat implementation doesn't end with a check mark next to the word "done"; savvy eBusiness professionals understand that proactive chat success requires ongoing refinement of the business rules that will trigger chat invitations, staffing, and customer experience." Forrester, 2010, Diane Clarkson.
And with any business, online or brick and mortar, your customers and prospects are going to have questions. Choosing the tried and true method of the most successful retail stores in the nation, and recreating that experience online is what we all aim for. If you want to learn more about proactive chat and how leading brands do it today, my name is Sarah, and I will be right here if you need my assistance.
Cheers to the weekend!