By Beth Negus Viveiros
May 20, 2008
Just because a customer prefers the experience of shopping online over talking to a live person on the phone doesn't mean you can skimp on the customer service. Marketers from Chinaberry Inc., WrappedHersheys.com and HP discussed how they're connecting with consumers – and boosting their online ROI – during a session at ACCM on Tuesday.
Offering live chat online may seem like an obvious way to get personal, but it doesn't always make sense. Stephen Fuller-Rowell, director of e-commerce for Chinaberry Inc., noted that his company looked at adding chat but the numbers just didn't add up for the potential return.
In 2006, WrappedHersheys.com tried a live chat feature in the checkout phase, as well as on the homepage and other locations. The thinking was that live chat would result in higher conversions and reduce call center volume. But, said Scott Frederick, President, the company found that use of the feature was minimal and the questions asked were not all that urgent. The solution? Live chat was replaced with an e-mail us button, which gave the customer a quick and ultimately more efficient link to help.
WrappedHersheys.com has also begun offering alternative payment methods. PayPal is used by 4% to 5% of online customers, while 1% to 2% use Google Checkout. When the latter was first implemented on the site, the Google logo was featured. Surprisingly, up to 20% of customers a day started using Google Checkout. When the logo was taken down, use of the feature dropped like a rock. This, says Frederick, was a great example of how customers will interact with your site in ways you wouldn't expect.
Another example happened when, at checkout, the company found that the same source code number – from a several year old catalog – was popping up frequently. A little investigation found that customers were simply typing in the number in the example of what a source code looked like, which was coincidentally the same number as that old catalog.
HP Home and Home Office Store has seen success with a "help me choose" button, give people help choosing a laptop based on factors like whether they travel often or are a frequent player of online games. The feature used by over 400,000 shoppers since it launched overt the holidays, says Catherine Paschkewitz, director, acquisition and retention. A similar feature to help people find the right ink and toner for their printer has also been successful. Abandonment rates dropped 20% and conversions are up 10%.