July 23, 2012, 3:33 PM

A new live chat tool helps identify customers in need

Retailers can reach out to customers rather than waiting for them to ask.

Amy Dusto

Associate Editor

Lead Photo

James Lee, owner of Replacementlaptopkeys.com, which sells individual keyboard parts like a “J” or “7,” had a panicked customer on the phone. The online store sells thousands of products, but the customer couldn’t find the right keys because she was using the wrong product number. So, while still talking to her on the phone, Lee opened a chat window that flashed on her computer screen with a direct link to what she needed. “She was kind of surprised at first that we could do that,” he says.

Lee was using Quick Chat from marketing technology developer Lexity. The tool, launched last week, is based on the Lexity Live platform, which allows retailers to see in their web browsers a list of all the customers in their online stores along with what they’re looking at and what else they’ve viewed or put in their carts in their current sessions. Then, with Quick Chat, rather than waiting for a customer to click on a live chat button or call the store, associates can instead identify who needs help, and then reach out to them preemptively. Customers see a message with an introduction and a request to chat—for example, “James Lee, store owner, wants to talk to you.”

“A lot of times I see customers on the web site with Lexity Live and, when they can’t find a product, I chime in and say ‘Hey, do you need some help?’” Lee says. “Without having to describe where to go, like over the phone, with live chat I can just send them a direct link. That leads to sales for me.”

MyReplacementLaptopKeys.com sees between 75 and 100 customers an hour, which Lee and three store associate take turns monitoring with Lexity Live, he says. “I’m on it religiously, kind of watching over my store and making sure all the people are getting what they need, and live chat really helps,” he says. “The last thing I want to see is a customer who can’t find a product and leaves our page for another.” The most attractive aspect of the Quick Chat app compared with other live chat products, Lee adds, is that it is browser-based—no software to license or install, he can take it with him anywhere.

Quick Chat starts at $10 per month for small web sites and comes pre-integrated with more than 20 e-commerce platforms, including Magento and Shopify, Lexity says. In a few months, the company plans to add a free upgrade that will provide historical customer data in addition to information about their current web store visits, says Lexity CEO Amit Kumar. “Customer support people who are basically waiting to take calls can do it proactively in their downtime,” he says.

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