April 12, 2006, 12:00 AM

EverythingFurniture.com and live chat: Let’s try this again

The company is giving live chat a second chance; this time, exchanging live text messages with customers is paying dividends, says CEO Scott Perry.

EverythingFurniture.com is giving live chat a second chance; this time, exchanging live text messages with customers is paying dividends, says CEO Scott Perry.

The company, No. 311 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, tried live chat on a trial basis three years ago but found customers were only using it to follow up on earlier e-mail or phone inquiries. “I don’t think people understood what live chat was supposed to do three years ago,” Perry says. “Back then it was actually creating double the amount of work.”

EveryThingFurniture.com is giving live chat another try because customers wanted more ways to interact with customer service and ask more detailed pricing and product questions. Earlier this month EverythingFurniture.com rolled out a live chat program from LivePerson Inc. and now is conducting between 75 and 100 chats per day. “A lot of customers shop from work and have questions about a particular style or product specification,” Perry says. “They would rather do a live chat than a phone call, and with a live chat we can answer their questions right away.”

Because EverythingFurniture.com has integrated live chat throughout its home and product pages, Perry contends the new marketing tool already has resulted in more sales. “We have people that click on the live chat button when they are on the checkout page and ask if we carry a certain fabric,” he says. “When we can carry a dialogue that far into the transaction and provide the customer with instant information, it’s a big plus in helping to close the sale.”

The LiveChat application also enables one rep to instantly hand off a chat to a second rep if the other employee has superior product knowledge or can better answer a specific question. “The live chat is seamless to the customer,” Perry says. “We can go back and forth on our end and give the customer instant answers without disrupting the dialogue.”

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