August 26, 2005, 12:00 AM

Where live chat makes the most sense

Online live chat must be offered only to an e-retailer’s most valuable customers to get the best results from the customer-service tool, experts say.

 

Online live chat should be offered only to an e-retailer’s most valuable customers to get the best results from the customer-service tool, says Gregg Freishtat, CEO of Proficient Systems Inc., a web analytics provider.

Retailers that put a “click live chat” button on every web page are wasting their resources, Freishtat says. “It’s like putting an 800 number on everything you do,” he says. “All of a sudden, you realize you’re losing money because people who are not valuable are calling just as much as people who are valuable.”

Retailers should offer live chat to customers who bring in the most money, Freishtat says. “If someone is looking at something where the most I can make is $1.50, I don’t want them to be able to chat with agents,” he says. “It’s costing me more than $1.50 to chat with them.”

Instead, merchants should put live chat buttons on pages with products that have the highest profit margin, he says.

 

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