Chat with Strida Canada, this year I have added a chat service to Strida Canada West’s web site.  Before this addition I had never used a web site chat line. I was one of those web users who when confronted with a pop-up asking me to chat would immediately click the X and say, be gone.   This “no I don’t need help attitude” changed for me when I began investigating chat services and how I could add one to my web site.

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Easy to install

A quick search of Word Press plug-ins offering chat provided me with a short list of options.  Some of these options provided a level of free service or a free trial. So what’s to lose let’s give it a try I thought. I installed the first no cost option and tried to set it up. Here is where I learned this takes some thought and with this plugin some code. I deleted that option and tried number two. Option two was going to cost but by this time. But with some research, I had a better understanding of the features I would need. I found the home page of Jivochat, and up popped an invitation to ask a question.  So I started typing and was pleasantly surprised how painless the experience was.

Now that I was an experienced web site chat user, I installed the plug-in. I configured a couple of options, tested and was pleased with myself that it worked! But I must say I was taken by surprise when less than five minutes later a customer asked me a question.  I was so excited that after exchanging a few questions and answers, I mentioned to the customer that my chat service was new and I was inexperienced and that they were my first. Well the customer admitted that this was their first chat as well.

Hooked on chat

After my first chat I was hooked, I spend a lot of time online and often have Google Analytics running so that I can keep an eye on my website, so being available to chat is not difficult.  Jivochat also have an App for my phone so being available to my customers while doing other things like riding my Strida is possible.

When that first chat customer ordered a bike, then I was really hooked and paid for a year’s license.  I now have short chats with customers every day and I have learned how to use some of the provided tools, tools like a highlighter that make it easy to direct a customer to a point in my web site.  When I am not online, the pop up chat box becomes a contact forum that connects to my email. I have discovered customers use this more than my traditional contact page within the web site.  Another nice feature is a complete copy of the chat is emailed to me for future reference.

More thoughts on chat

If you have a web site and are considering adding a chat feature here are more of my thoughts.

I have years of experience as a sales person and I think a good salesperson is one that helps customers make good buying decisions. To do this well I need to know my customer’s needs and wants. I usually find this information with a discussion involving questions and answers.  A relationship is built where I get to know my customer’s needs and the customer gains trust that I am able to provide the necessary information, service and product.  Online chat is similar to a person walking into my store and asking a question, but has some advantages.  The fact the customer can be anywhere in the world, sitting in the comfort of their home, anonymous without disclosing gender or age, may make asking a question an easier experience. Because of these advantages I think a chat function can take online sales to another level.

For me this is a good thing, if a customer can ask me a question.  With the only requirements being access to the internet.

Try it, you may like it

So if you see my chat line pop up, say hi, I would love to hear from you.

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