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Why Retailers Choose Live Chat to Connect with Customers during COVID-19

Convenience and instant access are still desired by customers, even in our current climate. Customers wish to choose when and how they interact with their favourite brands both online and in store. Live chat functionality provides retailers with additional communication channels to interact with customers through their ecommerce platform, as well as the customer’s preferred social messaging platform. It provides customers with the same feeling of importance they get from their personalized in-store experience while they are practicing social distancing and shopping online.

Instant messaging and video chat continue to increase in adoption among consumers globally. China’s WeChat and Japan’s LINE have increased the number of its users up to over 500 million within two years of their launch. Retailers and other businesses are now investing in these popular platforms so that they can better connect to, engage with and serve today’s customers.

By adopting live chat as part of their omnichannel communications strategy with customers, retailers can stay ahead in building rich customer experiences and targeting a global customer base. Live chat provides the next best thing to an in-store experience today, helping to increase customer engagement, develop new relationships and build incremental sales. As cities and stores slowly reopen, retailers will need to be by their customer’s side, providing a personalized experience every step of the way, as customers become more comfortable with returning to the physical store. 

Live chat enables continuous growth in associate-customer relationships

At Tulip, we are supporting well-known global brands in expanding their current clienteling and eCommerce capabilities with Tulip LiveConnect. Our solution lets store associates and customers connect in real-time over web chat and popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp, FaceBook and WeChat. Through live chat, customers are in control of how they want to communicate with their favourite brand, with the store of their choosing, and by which preferred chat channels. Sales associates can continue to provide clienteling experiences remotely using secure and compliant (GDPR and CCPA) channels in real-time, helping to build customer trust and loyalty, while increasing customer convenience.  

Features and functionality that elevate the customer experience:

  • Instant messaging – customers connect with associates over popular social messaging channels to receive product information including: fit, style advice, availability, and overall personalized product recommendations.
  • Web chat – new and existing customers connect with a store associate using a chat widget directly from the retailers’ ecommerce page. Store associates can share product photos while interacting with customers and help better answer product questions instantly.
  • Video chat – sales associates and customers interact in real-time and continue the personalized shopping experience online through video on their preferred social messaging platform.

Live chat opens up communication windows to help new and existing customers move seamlessly through the entire omnichannel shopping journey, resulting in increased conversion rates and generating new sales leads from outside of the store.

Advantages of omnichannel live chat

Live chat provides many benefits for catering an engaging customer experience:

  • Beyond customer support – live chat enables sales associates to create a conversational customer experience. It stops being about resolving a single issue, and instead becomes a more unique and personalized experience designed specifically to understand that customer and their needs.
  • Faster response times – Customers can more quickly and easily connect with sales associates compared to traditional channels. Live chat removes the frustration of  navigating clunky IVR phone systems only to be put on hold, or waiting a day or more for an email response.
  • Rich chat experiences – live chat apps support chat experiences beyond plain text, such as stickers, photos, videos, emojis and file sharing, so sales associates can tailor their responses to meet the customers specific communication style or needs. Live chat empowers sales associates to provide customers with a richer and more engaging chat experience.
  • Long-term customer relationships – live chat builds lasting connections with customers, allowing for personal and trusted customer satisfaction.

Making live chat a success

Live chat solutions enhance retailers’ omnichannel systems and grow their connected stores of the future. These best practices help elevate live chat brand experiences: 

  • Increase responsiveness – ensuring associates are available and able to respond to customers in a timely manner is key to providing better customer experience. Unlike traditional channels, customers expect almost instant response times through social messaging.
  • Enhance personalization – conversations on social messaging channels are generally more personal and conversational than traditional channels, so retailers should use any relevant information and past context they have on existing customers to provide a more personalized and positive customer experience.
  • Maintain brand identity – a strong brand is as important as customer service in helping attract new customers and increase customer loyalty. Interacting with customers using branded messaging and templates will help deliver a consistent brand experience.

Customers have become accustomed to instantaneous access to information they desire. Technology has made it easier than ever to meet these needs, however, retailers need to continuously adapt to the new demand in experience. Utilizing live chat functionality to provide concierge style experiences that guide customers, can help boost brand and overall sales, while also easing customers back into the stores as they begin to reopen. Conveniently providing customers with their preferred communication channel gives customers control of their shopping experience and builds customer loyalty into the future.

Tulip is committed to guiding connected stores through uncertain times by helping them adapt and move forward successfully. We continue to work with some of our trusted partners to help our customers expand functionality of their existing solutions and help them find new innovative solutions, such as LiveConnect and Web Chat, to drive sales and stay connected with their customers. 

To learn more about how Tulip is helping retailers navigate COVID-19, speak to a consultant today.

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