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Conversational Commerce: Optimize Your Live Chat Sales Strategy

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Use of live chat for customer care and online sales is on the rise. Recent projections show that if it’s not ubiquitous yet, it’s going to be. 80% of businesses already use or plan to integrate 

Optimize Your Live Chat Sales Strategy

AI into their live chat by 2020 according to Business Insider. We’re humans living in a human world with the ability to use artificial intelligence to help us talk to each other better. For businesses, this means increasing sales, boosting customer satisfaction, and cutting costs. Just like with traditional sales support role that takes place over the phone, there’s no definitive script of protocol for the agent’s interaction with the customer. The same goes for conversational commerce. Our products at RapportBoost.AI take the most guesswork out of the equation, and when combined with a trained sales support staff, can help your company optimize your live chat sales strategy.

Human + Machine Approach to Conversational Commerce

Here at RapportBoost.AI, we recommend using a combination of human chat agents and our custom designed artificial intelligence applications to maximize the efficacy of your websites live chat operations. While human agents excel with the intuitive, emotional, and contextual aspects of a support or sales interaction, the ability to gauge how the interaction is progressing, what type of language to use, and tailor-made suggestions is most easily achieved by AI. With such synchronicity, it’s no wonder customer service and sales automation rank as the top applications for AI today. Rather than to replace human representatives with machine representatives - a distant prospect due to both the developmental stage of AI software applications in customer service - letting machine learning solutions help live chat agents is the best strategy for making a foray into conversational commerce.

Improve Customer Experience and Engagement

Millennials are a significant force in today’s e-commerce sphere, numbering nearly 80 million and possessing 600 billion dollars in spending power. Millennials want their customer service to be as instantaneous as the instant messaging program they grew up with. According to Forrester, 72% of customers say that valuing their time is the best thing a company can do to improve service. It’s not just accessibility that makes live chat + agents a favorable equation for conversational commerce - it’s customization, predictive success, and corrective suggestions offered in realtime that help the agent to carry out a successful transaction. Conversational commerce is a new arena for now, but it will soon be ubiquitous. By 2017, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. Successful efforts by companies to keep up with the competition while maintaining a competitive edge hinges on the human interaction customers can derive from the digital commerce interface.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the Human + Machine approach and the indispensability of customer care, let’s take a look at the specifics of how to optimize your live chat sales strategy. Just like with traditional customer support, face-to-face salespeople or phone agents the most important success factor is the skill of your agents. Conversational commerce is the implementation of AI to provide an informative, interactive service to sales agents who are often handling multiple interactions simultaneously. The foundation of sales and customer care interactions is the agent training and language skills of your agents. With RapportBoost.AI services, the skills and training of your live chat sales agents can be adjusted to each interaction, supplementing the more traditional natural language and product based training of your agents. It's more efficient to optimize your live chat sales strategy with a platform that learns from each customer to agent interaction.

While charisma is hard to teach, research into customer care shows that there are key tactics to improving the quality and satisfaction of agent to customer interactions. To buffer talent and job training, live chat agents need to stay on top of response times to queries, use positive keywords, and provide concise answers using direct language. Research shows that response time is one of the most important drivers of a successful customer-company chat outcome, but that it has diminishing returns after a certain point.

Methods of Implementation

Although the introduction of personal assistants and chatbots into popular platforms like Facebook and Slack has garnered the most press of AI implementations in sales, but conversational commerce actually provides a much larger umbrella. Conversational commerce gives innovative companies trying to meet customer demand new opportunities to proactively offer assistance to customers and build relationships with them like never before. Historical sales and promotions that occupied the space of signs, banners, and visual ad space can now be pitched to customers through a personable, friendly, proactive chat interaction. The product recommendations that typically occupy the bottom panel of a product page as suggestions can now be offered up on a case-by-case basis, according to the consumer's specific behavior rather than the similarity of one product to another.

Conversational commerce can, of course, be used to provide advice and sales support to customers, who typically rely on Google or search engines to buffer their experience of shopping online. Lastly - and perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of conversational commerce with the most potential to impact the lifetime value of customers - is how live chat enables agents to be either proactive or reactive with website visitors. From the timing of specific sales conversations to monitoring the time a consumer spends on a page and the time that lapses from adding an item to a shopping cart and completing a purchase, live chat sales agents can utilize the appropriate tactics and communication style to increase the probability of creating a happy and loyal customer and most effectively optimize your live chat sales strategy.

Learn more about the live chat sales optimization solutions from the team at RapportBoost.

By Tony Medrano & Meredith Lackey

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Tony Medrano

About Tony Medrano

Tony started his career as a technology entrepreneur out of his Stanford University dorm as co-founder and President of DoDots, the first desktop-to-mobile app platform. He built the company to 100+ employees, raised $25M in venture capital and managed all company operations, personnel and deals. He was most recently CEO of Boopsie, a mobile Platform-as-a-Service company that he grew for 4 years and successfully sold to a strategic partner in 2015. Tony has also served as Vice President of Sales / Business Development at Reply! and SmartDrive Systems. Tony has dedicated his career in technology to leading sales teams and understands the need for automation tools that help sales reps increase efficiency, close more business and increase margins. Tony received his MBA and JD from Stanford, M.A. from Columbia and B.A. from Harvard.

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