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Game Change: Marketing In The Digital Age

As the owner of a successful chain of restaurants, including some outlets in China, I have become increasingly involved with the marketing aspects of my business. Since the expansion of our business overseas, I have become acutely aware of cultural and social media aspects that affect a marketing promotion. Even within Australia, I realise our marketing tactics have failed to appeal to particular consumer groups. Twenty years ago, it was possible to get “buzz” simply by offering free samples and having a low-key television campaign. Digital media has proved to be a game changer for marketers as consumers can instantly post reviews of their experience. This blog should help you to ascertain whether or not your marketing strategy is optimising positive exposure for your business. Hopefully, the pointers contained within these pages will add a new and exciting dimension to your marketing campaigns.

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Game Change: Marketing In The Digital Age

Why a Website Live Chat Function Gives an "After Hours" Edge

by Warren Edwards

In the digital age, many businesses no longer fit neatly into the Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm model. The fact is the Internet has made many ventures able to operate 356 days a year and many of these businesses rely on this round-the-clock trading for their operational success. Unfortunately issues occur when customers have problems or questions outside of regular business hours, with the risk that potential leads instead go to another company who is available to answer their questions then and there.

A live chat function can provide 24-hour support and ensure continuing sales while nurturing new leads and helping to retain existing customers. Here's why else having a live chat function can represent a unique selling point for your business:

Applications for Live Chat

Depending on your business and the service that is provided, live chat can be useful to help customers and encourage sales in a number of ways. The ways live chat can help with include:

  • Booking or reservation errors, questions or assistance
  • Providing assistance, assurance and better online customer service.
  • Answering product inquiries and facilitating the sales process with a two- way conversation.
  • Provide service and support to customers in international time zones
  • Facilitating relationships with new visitors to the site and building trust about the business
  • Providing customers who don't like using the phone with an alternative way to contact the business and giving customers a way to contact speak to someone inside the business outside of regular trading hours.

Because live chat operates remotely, inquiries can be monitored from a mobile phone, tablet or computer wherever there is an Internet connection. Sure, you'll still need to be available (or hire someone) to take inquiries, but this investment to your business can be worth its weight in gold.

Depending on peak business times the level of support can be coordinated accordingly, and there are always options to outsource live chat to a third party provider if certain schedules may not be possible for your existing workforce.

Even if a live chat function can't solve all problems or answer every question that new and existing customers have, often customers just appreciate the assurance that speaking to someone provides. Knowing that there is someone listening to concerns and that these will be followed up in regular business hours can boost trust and satisfaction levels in the business and help to avoid customers taking there business elsewhere.

Research shows 44 per cent online customers rated live chat one the most important features for a business website to have, with a live chat function also being cited as one of the best ways to convert potential customers who may be on the fence. When you add this to the customer service benefits of providing round the clock assistance, live chat can allow you run a true 24/7 business, bringing a competitive advantage that your business could be missing.

To learn more, or for more help, contact a company like The Message Centre.