Article | 6 min read

Beyond the bubble: How 3 brands are using live chat differently

Learn how successful brands are evolving their live chat strategy and turning browsers into buyers.

By Julia Luce, Sr. Manager, Content Marketing, Simplr

Published April 21, 2022
Last updated April 21, 2022

Live chat is a must-have customer support channel, but that doesn’t mean it’s one-size-fits-all. These three ecommerce companies–Mack Weldon, HUM Nutrition, and KEEN Footwear–have developed the live chat best practices that best support their customers. Compare and contrast for ideas on what might work for you.

Conversations are the foundation of great customer service. They offer connective points for customers to ask questions, get help, and feel confident about spending their money with your brand—this is the core of what CX is all about. Naturally then, live chat has become a critical piece of the experience puzzle, giving customers a way to engage with you in the moment.

Easy enough, right?

Not so much.

First steps in setting up a live chat strategy

using live chat

Deploying a successful chat strategy is a multi-step process that goes way beyond just sticking a chat bubble on your website. Brands must consider and implement best practices when it comes to everything from staffing to decision trees to button colors. In the era of the NOW Customer—always online and expecting an on-demand experience at every turn—a mediocre chat experience puts reputation and revenue at risk… a potential death blow in today’s hyper-competitive ecommerce space. According to the 2022 Zendesk Customer Experience Trends report, more than 60 percent of customers will defect after one bad experience, up 22 percent from the previous year.

With that in mind, why is it that 49 percent of ecommerce brands don’t offer live chat consistently on their websites during business hours? The choice to do so might be a no-brainer, but taking the leap can be daunting.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at three brands that have embraced the “NOW CX” approach to customer service and are using live chat not only as another channel, but as a powerful tool for turning browsers into buyers and customers into 5-star fans.

Messaging best practices for better customer service

Get your free guide on eight ways to transform your support strategy with messaging–from WhatsApp to live chat and everything in between.

Example #1
Mack Weldon: Live chat as conversational commerce

Men’s basics brand Mack Weldon wants its customers to feel comfortable; whether they’re shopping online, in-store, or lounging in a pair of their signature sweatpants.

Traditionally, ecommerce brands have used live chat to deflect customer service volume. While this approach can provide much-needed short-term relief for internal agents, constant deflection quickly becomes a hotbed of customer neglect and missed revenue.

Mack Weldon sees live chat as a powerful way to proactively engage with its website visitors. The brand couples its live chat with 24/7 coverage and outside agents (via Simplr’s human cloud network). This pre-sale strategy and live chat best practice is known as conversational commerce.

Mack Weldon taps into conversational commerce to mirror the brand’s in-store experience and convert more customers. “When buyers on our site have questions about our products, we really want to mirror those engagements that they would get in a store—letting customers have real conversations with us and making buying easier, ” explains customer service manager Pat Feehan. “Our goal isn’t to act as salespeople, but being able to recommend products [customers] might like based on what they’re asking about or what they’ve bought from us before often adds a lot of value to the experience.”

By embracing this NOW CX, revenue-first approach to live chat, Mack Weldon has escaped the “CX as a cost center” stigma and is proving its value as a contributor to revenue growth. Today, the brand converts 28 percent of its per-sale conversations into purchases–an eight point lift over conversion rates before introducing conversational commerce capabilities.

Example #2
HUM Nutrition: Reaching more customers with a blend of automation + human staffing

In a 2021 Simplr study, we found that 95 percent of shoppers interacting with chatbots said that their live chat experience would have been better with human help. There’s no doubt that having a human behind the chat bubble is a proven best practice.

Scaling high-quality agents alongside rising chat volume is notoriously difficult… particularly during seasonal surges. Without outside help, the problem can quickly devolve into employee burnout, email backlogs, and (you guessed it) customer neglect.

Fortunately, brands like HUM Nutrition have successfully taken the best practice of fully-supported live chat and turned it into a reality. The vitamin subscription company uses live chat to:

  • Process subscription cancellations
  • Give order statuses
  • Field general product inquiries
  • Provide product recommendations

Using a blend of automation and human staffing, HUM is able to reach more customers in a way that doesn’t put their brand reputation at risk. The automation tool can process cancellations and give order statuses, which frees up more live agents to handle high-touch, pre-sale inquiries. In the online health and wellness space, having a live human available on-hand to help with product questions or concerns can help increase subscriptions and reduce churn.

using live chat

Example #3
KEEN Footwear: Around-the-clock coverage

Anyone in ecommerce will tell you: there is no such thing as “business hours” on the internet. The NOW Customer has been conditioned by services like Amazon Prime Now or Netflix to get what they want when they want it. They expect that same experience from other brands, even the tiny ones.

KEEN Footwear knows the value of 24/7 live chat coverage. Since providing around-the-clock support with Zendesk Chat and Simplr’s Human Cloud Network, KEEN has seen a 15 percent improvement in CSAT since using Simplr. At all hours of the day, KEEN tickets are received and routed into the right Zendesk department, allowing the system to find the correct agent to assist each query.

KEEN’s investment in this live chat technology has also improved its employee experience. In partnership with Simplr and Zendesk, KEEN’s CX team was able to take the entire holiday season off and still maintain ongoing customer support. A season that usually throws CX teams into chaos was actually a time for rest and reflection. Fully recharged, the internal KEEN team was able to kick off 2022 with a clear focus on continuing to provide amazing customer experiences.

Zendesk + Simplr: Partners for the NOW CX era

Mack Weldon, HUM Nutrition, and KEEN Footwear were able to turn live chat dreams into reality thanks to Zendesk and Simplr. As an integral part of Zendesk’s Enterprise Suite, live chat enables companies to streamline conversations across platforms and provide a full omnichannel experience, giving agents and automation more information about the customer. Simplr’s platform integrates directly with Zendesk and combines automation with its Human Cloud Network to deliver instantly scalable, 24/7 pre-sale shopping assistance and customer support. Together, the two technologies provide ecommerce brands with a secret weapon for converting customers and increasing customer loyalty. Talk to Simplr to learn how you can get 24/7 coverage with real humans on all your digital channels.

Messaging best practices for better customer service

Get your free guide on eight ways to transform your support strategy with messaging–from WhatsApp to live chat and everything in between.

Messaging best practices for better customer service

Get your free guide on eight ways to transform your support strategy with messaging–from WhatsApp to live chat and everything in between.

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