In nearly any scenario, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. Being proactive puts you in the driver’s seat, positioning you to achieve the outcome you want from the situation rather than merely responding to the cards you’ve been dealt.
What does this have to do with customer service? Well, quite a bit. When you approach customer service proactively, you can customize your message to be unique and timely, reduce your overall support volume and head off issues before they cost you business.
Proactive chat is an automated customer support tool that can help you achieve all of the above while providing a personalized experience that’s determined by the user’s actions.
What is proactive chat?
Proactive chat is a digital tool that allows you to engage visitors to your website based on the actions they take on a given page. Proactive chat can be based on the URL a user visited, the amount of time they’ve spent on the page, the source of the visit, and more.
Proactive chat can also be triggered based on a customer’s characteristics:
- The device they’re using
- Whether they’re a new or repeat visitor
- Whether they’re a prospect or an existing customer
- Geographical location.
That’s just to name a few! Proactive chat is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling you to have an interaction with your customers even when a human agent cannot.
Contact centers can guide the conversations that take place over proactive chat based on a customer’s individual profile and journey. This is a highly effective tactic for driving conversions and providing personalized experiences at scale. The more closely you can address the buyer’s exact needs at the right moment, the more likely you are to close the deal.
Benefits of using proactive chat
Proactive chat offers many upsides that are good for business. It can help you:
Increase engagement with a personalized customer experience. According to research by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. A whopping 90% of people find such experiences appealing.
Boost conversion rates by addressing the customer’s specific pain points. Deep down, customers don’t shop for products; they shop for solutions to problems. Using proactive chat conversations to speak directly to how you solve the problem the customer is experiencing will help you win more sales.
Reduce abandoned carts by overcoming objections. When a person experiences doubt about buying—uncertainty about the product’s features, hesitancy about your claims, and so on—their most common action isn’t to go looking for information that will clear up their doubt. It’s to exit the transaction. Proactive chat allows you to address and overcome purchasing objections before the customer can bounce, decreasing the number of abandoned carts.
Retain more customers by staying top of mind. Proactive chat isn’t just for prospective buyers. It’s also useful for engaging your existing customers. When they visit your website or social media channels, proactive chat can be used to send a personalized message welcoming them back and thus, building loyalty to your brand.
Proactive chat examples for customer service
1. Answer frequently asked questions
Even if you have an FAQ page on your website, most prospects are busy and aren’t going to hunt it down. Take a proactive approach to address their queries by displaying an open-ended chat message like ‘what questions can I answer for you?’
This not only helps overcome buyer objections, as we touched on above; it allows your chat client to tackle the easy questions before routing customers with more complex inquiries to a live agent, reducing your support tickets in the process.
2. Increase average order value
Boosting the cart size of customers you’ve already hooked is a low-hanging fruit that can make a meaningful impact on your bottom line. Use proactive chat to make personalized recommendations for upsells, like a service package, based on what’s in your shopper’s cart, or cross-sell complementary products that similar shoppers have purchased.
3. Accelerate the sales cycle
The buyer’s journey can be a long process, typically ranging from a couple of months to a year or more for B2B sales. You can use automated chat to speed it up by informing customers about your product’s features proactively.
Arming prospects with all the necessary information they need can speed up the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey and make the decision process easier for the various stakeholders involved.
4. Capture early-stage buyers
Most buyers won’t be ready to purchase on their first interaction with your brand. The average customer makes between two and five website visits before reaching the checkout page. So, it makes sense to adjust your call to action for first-time website visitors versus repeat ones.
Use proactive chat to trigger a lower-stakes offer, like a free sample or no-risk consultation, for new visitors rather than pushing them to buy now.
5. Sweeten the deal
One of the most novel features of proactive chat is its ability to be customized not only by the existence of an item in the shopping cart but the value of the cart. For high-value customers who’ve not yet checked out, offer an incentive for them to complete the purchase, like a discount code, an extended warranty, or an exclusive onboarding consultation.
6. Handoff for a human touch
Proactive chat isn’t meant to replace your live agents; there will always be some deals that require a human touch to close. Maximize the value of your automated systems by using proactive chat as the precursor before handing customers through to a service agent.
Some good chat triggers for a human handoff include an extended site visit duration, repeat visits to your pricing or product pages, or asking multiple product-related questions via the chat interface.
By using webchat software to proactively interact with users, you’ll provide a customer experience tailored to your visitor’s mindset, reducing your bounce rate and maximizing revenue.