Virtual Shopping Assistants Enhance Customer Communication to Boost Sales
Getting more online shoppers to visit your website is really important, but there’s no point in all the work you put in to get that traffic if you can’t convert it.
Perhaps the quickest and most powerful way to boost conversion is through improved communication with your customers. Most customer questions are questions about products, or your company’s sales policies, and are part of a customer’s purchasing decision process.
When customers can get good answers to their questions quickly, they are more likely to buy. The harder it is for them to find answers, the more likely it is they will move to another site.
Five ways to improve customer communication and boost sales
ONE – Redefine customer service as a sales opportunity. The most important, easiest, and cheapest way to improve customer communications is to change how you think about it. Specifically, stop considering it “admin.”
Yes, some customers will be asking about returns, cancelling an order, or even making a complaint, but this will not be the majority.
According to research conducted by Envolve Tech, 60% of customer enquiries are related to a purchase they are considering.
If a customer asks if you have an item in stock, if you have it in a particular size, what your refund policy is, or how soon it will take them to receive an order, they are considering a purchase.
These enquiries are not only an opportunity to close a sale, but to upsell or sell additional products.
The more questions your customers send you, the more opportunities you have to convert sales, so be sure to encourage as many questions as you can!
TWO – Maximise communication options. Since customer questions are sales opportunities, it is important to provide as many ways for customers to ask questions as possible. This means online chat, email, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, or anything else that comes along.
Some smaller retailers, worried about being overwhelmed by messages, go the opposite way and restrict customer questions to just email or something similar.
That’s an understandable instinct, but remember – customers will not follow your rules. If they can’t see an easy way to ask their question, they will simply shop somewhere else.
Instead of seeing multiple communication channels as a burden, see them as an opportunity.
THREE – Don’t rely on search. Most websites have some sort of search function on them, and it might be tempting to think customers who have questions can just type them into the search bar and will find an answer in the results.
This is an understandable assumption, especially as the entire world is so used to Google providing instant answers to pretty much any question we can think of.
But providing such helpful search results is really, really difficult. That’s why Google is worth hundreds of billion dollars.
Whatever search tech your site has installed on it, you can’t rely on it to answer customer questions. And if it can’t answer your customers’ questions, you’re losing sales.
FOUR – Include online chat. For smaller online retailers, adding online chat to your site can seem intimidating. If you have a very small team, having someone on call 24/7 to answer questions can be impossible.
But the hard truth is that customers now expect some sort of online chat option, and are increasingly relying on it as part of their purchasing cycle. Not having a chat window means losing sales.
The good news is, online chat can be much easier to include as a communications option than you think!
FIVE – Automate online chat. From simple chatbots to sophisticated AI-driven virtual shopping assistants, more and more websites are automating their online chat windows.
Automated responses tend to be best for simpler, initial customer questions, and some platforms are able to handover more difficult questions to human customer service agents. But even when an online chat window is fully automated, it provides another valuable communication option for customers.
Recent breakthroughs in AI technology mean that automated chat is moving beyond just simple FAQ-style questions. More and more online retailers have automated chat functions which can also make product recommendations and close sales.
Virtual shopping assistants are becoming more important in improving sales conversions and helping clients to make their purchase decisions faster and with more information than ever before. Whilst the technology is not perfect yet, it is rapidly improving and is now available for all businesses – no matter their budget or size.