May 9, 2017

By Paul LaRochelle

Serving the Underserved: Real-time, Live Visitor Engagement Turns Revenue Lost Into Revenue Lift

In our blog series “Serving the Underserved,” we’ve been discussing the untapped opportunity for e-commerce businesses to convert more visitors on their websites and drive upwards of 20% more revenue by providing real-time, live sales assistance to the right visitors, when the digital experience alone just isn’t enough.

We identified 4 key considerations in “serving the underserved,” and in our last blog we discussed Website Visitor Qualification – not all visitors are created equal.To recap, the first key to success in being able to convert more visitors on your e-commerce site is predicting and detecting which “underserved” visitors need help, and of those, which can be profitably offered real-time sales assistance.

To qualify visitors for real-time sales engagement, you must begin tracking the visitor and the hundreds of available profile and behavior attributes the moment they hit your site and use that information to create a comprehensive, dynamic visitor profile in real time. At the highest level, you need to segment your visitor traffic into three major segments to ensure you’re investing your efforts where you’ll get a positive return:

  • Self-Converters: This segment of visitors will convert without live sales assistance.
  • Non/low Converters: This segment of visitors has no or low potential so you want to exclude this group.
  • High Potential Underserved: This is the group you want to engage. They aren’t likely to convert on their own, or won’t convert at the same rate or AOV as the self-converters. The incremental investment to engage them will provide a significant ROI.

There are two parts to effectively engaging visitors who qualify for live sales assistance.  The first is the invitation to the visitor to provide assistance which we call “digital engagement”.  Once a visitor accepts the invitation then we move to “live engagement via chat, phone or text.  The efficiency, performance and integration of both engagement approaches is key to profitably converting those visitors.

Digital Engagement – Extending the offer to help

If done properly, you will maximize the number of visitors that accept live sales assistance providing you the greatest opportunity to maximize conversion and revenue lift.  Further, if done properly, you will positively impact revenue for the group of visitors who say “no thanks”.

On the other hand if not done properly you risk irritating the visitor (chat spam) and can negatively impact revenue. We track performance of those that accept vs. those that don’t.  We know we have our approach right when the segment of visitors that say “no thanks” are out performing the control group that is not offered help. Conversely, we know we have to make adjustments (message, graphics, timing, frequency, placement, etc) when the segment that says “no thanks” is underperforming vs. control.

To ensure your digital engagement approach maximizes conversion and generates lift for even those that decline, you need the following capabilities:

  • Deep Segmentation: Advanced segmentation leveraging the hundreds of available profile, site and behavior attribute to establish micro-segments of “like” visitors. This is the foundation for;
    • Establishing and implementing your engagement strategies – who, when and how; and
    • accurate incremental revenue reporting by ensuring test and control groups are alike.
  • Control group methodology: The only way you can determine revenue lift from your efforts is to ALWAYS maintain a control group of “like” visitors in the same flows that are not offered sales assistance. Many vendors don’t do this at all or will take a test once and roll out globally approach. Your website and market are very dynamic so what is effective one day may not be the next.
  • Context driven engagement: An important factor for maximizing visitors accepting help is to make the invitation relevant to their experience at that moment you engage them. Tailor your messaging, imagery and engagement rules to each visitor segment based on the campaign and where the visitor is in their web journey.  Simple things like referencing the product they are looking at in the message and graphics make a difference.
  • Optimization: To profitably maximize revenue lift, you need to be constantly testing approaches. While simple A/B testing will go a long way to helping you optimize your approach you need the ability to conduct multivariate tests with multiple segments in parallel if you want to effectively scale your program.

Live Engagement – Delivering on the Promise
Once a visitor accepts the invitation for assistance you need to deliver on the promise to help them, and ensure you capitalize on the opportunity to convert that visitor. The more options you have to engage with your visitors, the more likely you are to convert them to a paying customer. We typically start with chat however most of the time, based on visitor preference, we move to telephone. Some considerations for the live engagement center.

  • Expert sales resources: Your agents need to be SALES people because the goal is driving more revenue. We see some companies putting their support or customer success teams as the first point of contact and this ends up being an expensive and less effective lead qualification function (see next point).
  • Real time lead qualification: Before committing your expensive sales resources to engage with a visitor you need to ensure they are a qualified lead.  This can be achieved by having a lower cost “concierge” resource as first point of contact, chat bots or even have the invite provide options for “support, sales, or service” that automatically routes the visitor to the correct group.
  • Skills & performance based routing: This provides the ability to select agents with the best skills to help a visitors based on their needs and allows you to feed the reps with the best performance. It’s a win/win as the customer gets the best help and you get your most effective reps soaking up the highest volume of visitors.
  • Visitor intelligence:  Sales agents need real-time information about the visitor (where they were on the site, where they came from, products interest, conversation with lead qualifier, etc) when they begin a conversation with a visitor to ensure the visitor isn’t frustrated by having to repeat information and enabling the rep to tailor their sales approach and personalize offers
  • Multi-mode engagement capability: You want to be able to engage with the visitor in whatever mode they prefer (chat or phone) and need to maintain continuity with the visitor when shifting modes. For example, if the visitor wants to shift from chat to phone, it should be seamless and they must continue with the same agent.  We’ve seen situations where the chat agent can’t shift to phone and provides no other option or points the visitor to the generic 1-800 on the page and the visitor starts all over again with a phone based agent.
  • Assisted secure checkout: Whether it is shopping fatigue, technical obstacles or just preference, some shoppers just want it done for them. After helping customers overcome purchase decision obstacles, you want to be able to take it one step further and make the point of purchase easy by providing a co-browse enabled secure checkout option.

It’s important to remember that not all visitors are created alike. Some visitors have questions, concerns or doubts that are best handled with real-time, live sales assistance. If you get the website visitor qualification model right, and have the associated engagement capabilities, it’s possible to profitably provide live sales assistance to the underserved segment of your visitors and drive a massive lift in overall revenue.

About MarketLinc
Learn how MarketLinc’s customer engagement solution delivers powerful website visitor qualification functionality as part of an end to end solution that will convert more of your underserved visitors and capture up to 20% more revenue.
Our proven solution delivers measurable results, requires no upfront budget investment or additional resources and you pay only for the incremental revenue we generate, nothing more. That’s our guarantee.
Sound too good to be true? We can prove it. Contact us for a free Revenue Loss Analysis to discover precisely how much money your business is leaving on the table.

About the Author
Paul LaRochelle – SVP Business Development, MarketLinc
Paul is responsible for corporate strategy, sales and marketing at MarketLinc.  He has over 25 years’ senior management experience leading sales, operations, business development and marketing functions within the Marketing Services and Software space including his most recent role leading global field enablement at SAP, the world’s largest application software company.