Trading Advice

Should Your Wholesale Business Offer Live Support?

If you run a wholesale business online or are familiar with using wholesale directories or shopping on websites you will probably already know what live support is. But if you don’t, read on to find out what live support entails and whether it’s worth investing in it for your wholesale business.

What is Live Support?

Live support allows you to interact with customers on your site instantly via an instant messenger platform (think MSN communication). Different companies operate in different ways. Some companies will have live support pop up when the customer has been browsing on the site for a certain amount of time and others will just have it as a form of contact. Either way, live support enables you to speak to your customers instantly via the internet and it is designed to solve customer issues and increase sales.

What Are The Pros?

There are a lot of pros when it comes to live support. Live support can offer a more bespoke customer journey. Imagine a customer is on your competitor’s website browsing the product selection but they have a question that needs answering before they place an order. They contact your competitor but the only way they can is via email. After they send an email they continue browsing the internet for the product and come across your website. They want to ask the same question but see that you have a live support function. They message you, you reply almost instantly and a conversation begins with the customer. After you have successfully answered their question – who do you think they are going to buy from? A quick glance in their email inbox will probably show them that they have had no response from your competitor. You however have managed to answer their questions immediately and keep them on your website so are more likely to get a sale. Not only can live support boost your sales but it can improve your customer service. If a customer is unsure about a product or has a query, they are likely to be very frustrated if they have to wait days for a response. Providing instant support allows them to interact with you more freely. Live support can also boost buyer confidence, keep customers on your website for longer and help you to determine customer buying patterns.

What Are The Cons?

Depending on the customer, this can be an unnecessary piece of software. Some customers just want to land on a website, make a purchase and leave. If you have a live support function that keeps messaging them and asking them if they need any help, some customers may find this frustrating and could disengage with your brand. Live support is also another technical piece of software on your site and it could go wrong. If live support isn’t working and a customer is trying to use it this can be very frustrating and may result in the customer leaving your site. Using live support can also be expensive. As well as the cost of installing this software you also need to have the manpower to run it – which means you either sit behind the desk and reply to customers or you outsource it. Although outsourcing can be effective, you need to bear in mind that the person you are using knows nothing about your business, products or customers so they could hinder your support offering.

Whether you use live support or not, ensure you do your research and constantly evaluate the service in order to find out if it is effective.

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