Get Your Chat Ready for the Holidays —There’s No Time Like the Present

Kevin Payne | August 24, 2015

Warning: Your competitors are getting chat ready for the holidays. When your customers start shopping for the holidays, more of them than ever will use chat for help with their purchases. According to Forrester Research, chat customers already purchase at nearly 3.5 times the rate of non-chatters. And 38 percent of online shoppers buy because of a chat session. The percentage of people that use chat has increased as 58% of survey respondents said they use chat. Are you ready for this year’s holiday chat rush?

It doesn’t take as much as you might think to prepare your chat for the holidays. And, of course, what you do will be carried over to Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s days and so on.

Check out these four areas for making your chat holiday-ready.

Be Smart about Smartphones

Make your chat mobile-capable as a powerful way to boost your results in sales and satisfaction. Customers expect their experiences on smaller screens to be effectively the same as on traditional computers. The good news is that it’s not very difficult to make desktop chat available on mobile. That includes automatically formatting content for virtually all devices. To go all-in, you can even add predictive analytics that anticipate your customers’ intent which helps chat agents provide faster service.

Add a Dash of Holiday Spirit

Start the chat with a holiday greeting such as “Happy Holidays! Can I help with your purchase?” Follow with similar customer-friendly information like “If you order by December XX, we guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve.” Those are good starts, and it’s nearly as easy to add graphic touches that make the customer experience more festive. For example (with appropriate restraint, of course) you could add stars, greenery or similar touches to your chat window. Or change a Send button’s background or shape to a star or a snowman. Those simple things show that your company is into the holiday spirit.

Make the Season Brighter with the Right Amount of Chat

Be smart with chat. Use big data and predictive analytics to determine which shoppers to offer chat. Target the ones that are likely to buy, the ones that are likely to buy higher-priced products, or the ones that have the propensity to buy with the help from chat.

It’s also important that your agents are just as ready for questions as your in-store staff, if not more so. Because online customers can’t see real products, they’re likely to ask a broader range of questions, so training is even more crucial during high-traffic holidays.

Customers will also repeatedly ask routine questions about purchases, such as “how long will it take to arrive?” If you haven’t found a way to deflect some of those to your FAQ, consider adding a Virtual Agent solution. It lets shoppers quickly self-serve to find “the one right answer,” based on intelligently parsing their questions.

Start Building for Future Holidays

Put in chat now and it will be the gift that keeps giving. If you thought it was unrealistic to implement now, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The advanced “big data” platforms—and in the particular the predictive analytics that put that data to use—can be deployed quickly. You have just enough to be ready for the holidays but you need to act fast.

Whether you focus on simple things, like message tweaks, or go for the smart chat, your efforts can add some sparkle this year. And there’s no time like the present to get started.

Learn more about how predictive sales can make the 2015 holiday season your best ever.