February 24, 2005, 12:00 AM

To build on a strong ’04, CompactAppliance improves customer service

Following more than 20% growth in sales last year over 2003, Compact- Appliance.com is stepping up its live chat customer service as one way to keep customers happy and sales growing, says Jason Roussos, senior vice president for strategic development.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Following more than 20% growth in sales last year over 2003, CompactAppliance.com is stepping up its live chat customer service as one way to keep customers happy and sales growing, says Jason Roussos, senior vice president for strategic development. “We’ve doubled our number of live chat sessions,” he tells InternetRetailer.com.

CompactAppliance, which specializes in selling appliances like refrigerators and wine coolers designed for small spaces, has offered live chat as a customer service option for about two years. Although live chat has proven effective in converting shoppers to buyers, the retailer recently launched a proactive version of it from InstantService Inc. to offer live chat sessions when they’re most likely to provide assistance that can lead to sales, Roussos says.

The goal is to also present live chat as an option when shoppers reach a point likely to result in site abandonment, such as spending a certain length of time clicking for information without placing anything in a shopping cart. “A lot of statistics show that visitors will abandon a site after 10 seconds if they don’t find what they want,” he says.

Since it began testing the proactive live chat tool earlier this month, CompactAppliance has doubled the number of live chat sessions shoppers have entered. Although he couldn’t give the impact on conversion rates, Roussos says that increased customer service interactions with shoppers usually leads to increased sales. “We want to offer as many ways as possible for consumers to communicate with us,” he says. “The more information we can give shoppers, the more likely they are to buy.”

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