The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing — from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses.
Marketing Strategies Revealed in this Episode:
Welcome to the E Commerce marketing podcast today’s guest is John Tucker, John is the founder and CEO of help flow.net health flow is a down for you ecommerce stores they are available to chat with your visitors all day everyday twice a day to help you browse your sight which helps visitors and increase conversations for your business welcome to the pod cast John, how are you doing.
JON: Thank you so much for having me Robert I am excited.
ROBERT: If you can just give us a quick background on health flow how you started the service you know, what was your motivation?
JON: Yes definitely I ran a marketing agency an internet marketing agency for many years and started in 2005 did website design and driving traffic and conversions and help flow was kind of was born out of that experience we got to the point about three or four years ago where we did well in driving traffic for people but we got to the point where we really wanted to focus on increasing conversions and we tested having launch out on a couple of our clients website at the time you know we installed I think it was Live Chat inga .org on one of the many soft ware that are out there.
We installed it on the client site the client ran it for a couple days it worked really, really well they really happy and then they start running it and they didn’t use live chat service and so we kind of got to a point where the couple client they knew live chat was effective but they didn’t want to run it but with one client in articular they didn’t have time to run it was the issue.
With one client in particular I said mark let me run this for you for a week so I could just like build the results and show you like you guys need to hire somebody to do this and he said alright we will give you a shot you know and he said how are you going to answer the questions, how are you possible know what you are doing and I said don’t worry about that I will figure that out.
We had a good relationship so he gave me a shot and it worked really well, I ran it for a week answer the questions generated a ton of leads he saw the data and I come to the next meeting and I tell them alright you guys got to hire somebody this clearly works and he said why can’t you just run it for us, like why can’t you just do this for us ever and so helpful came out of situations like that and multiple clients ended up in that same exact spot where they say great you can run it what do you charge, what will you charge us additional to run this.
So I said you know let me come back to you in a couple of week we built a team kind of figured some things out from there and help flow was born that was, you know we started doing chats probably about 3 or 4 years ago for clients launch help flow as a standalone brand in 2014 and have been focused on that ever since so we do a ton of chat for ecommerce stores it is a done for you chat service.
ROBERT: Wow so it really that kind of work out for your company when you started out with one service and from this major able to fulfil and have this major where you can go after people so it really worked out for you and worked out for your customers and just for the listeners today we actually going to be talking about life chart and how it is going to help your business, but go back to your story you say you are trying to get traffic to the business, trying to get people to visit but to help increase the conversions from all the traffic you are generating from the business Life Chart prove to be one the tools that really helped increase those conversions, or why did you stick to life charts are there other method that you looked at or was life chart more successful.
JON: I mean there was a lot of methods you got a tone of episode so I know you guys have gone into a lot of different topics that with life chats specifically it just make sense right in the real world like off line right like the real human world if you walked into it the department store like Nordstrom’s you know high end place and you looked confused or you were kind of walking around looking kind of lost.
An employee of the store is going to see that they are going to notice that you probably have a question and they walk up and say hey, can I help you with anything you know I can show you around right and then you are going to feel well taken care of and then you are probably going to make the purchase that you came in there to make.
Live chat is the way you do that on the website it is human help through a website so the reason why we focused in on live chat is you know first of all it makes sense and then as we start to track it, we track the results within Google analytics and we were able to see just insane conversion increase from this and so the data backed it up as well.
But I think the answer to question as why we focused on live chat at the time it just made sense and it was pretty easy to get started and say let’s just do this with a client and the results was just great and now 2 or 3 years later and we are still doing chats so it was a good choice for us.
ROBERT: Okay another thing that I am going to mention for the listeners right now is a help flow you guys came up with this definitive guide on live chat and people can find it when they visit the live chat guide .com and they a lot of the things that we are going to be today are things that have already detailed extensively in that guide.
Again the guide is the live chat guide.com with the tracking that you did with Google analytics you said you got some you are looking at the conversions too, what type of results did you see or have you seen when handled thousands of chats for all of your customers.
JON: Yeah which have seen some really cool results and just for the listeners to understand how this is tract every chat that we do is sent to Google analytics of our customers of our events and basically what that means you can filter all of your Google analytics reports to say show me the people that chatted versus the people that didn’t chat so the specific metric that we looked at is the conversion rate for people that we chatted with compared to the conversion rate for people that did not chat and across the board we see an average of 3 to 9 or 10 times the conversion rate for people we chat with compared to people that don’t chat so what that means is that if we chat with somebody they are 3 to 10 times more likely to purchase than for somebody that doesn’t purchase.
So that’s one metric we look at is that actually help people converting the answer is a clear yes and the data we have, another data point that we look at is you know what does this do to your entire site conversion rate you know and every site is different your traffic sources are different your product you sell are different so you know everyone is going to see different type of increase but we see situations all the time where a conversion rate is a certain percent before we start work with somebody and then as enough data gathers and sample size is big enough we see the conversation rate for the entire site not just people we chatted with but for the whole site increase by one or two X .
So 100 to 200% increase per site wide conversion rate just by using chat so the data we see is really, really strong but to answer the question that people who we chat with are 3 to 10 times more likely to purchase and you know depending on where you are starting from you can double your conversation rates for using chats.
And I want to be really clear I want to be super promotional here all we do is chat so these are the results that we see that you will see in the live chats guide or by using live chats yourself you will see results it works helping your visitors when they are on your sites so you don’t have to help flow but the concept you use to chat increase conversions on ecommerce stores.
ROBERT: So what is about live chat that actually drives the sales into conversions?
JON: I think the main thing is just it just makes sense, people have questions when they are on your website you already get people coming to your website an if the only option is for them to pick up the phone and say hey i got a question about you know the specifications about this product or find a contact form or to make it really easy to submit an email through the sight those are the only two options.
Only the most dedicated people that are going to do that it is fairly high friction to expect somebody to pick up the phone and ask you a really simple question. The reason why chat works really well is it is really easy for them to click the chat box and ask the question but one of the things that we do and everybody that does live chat should do is that we invite people to chat based on what they are doing on the site.
So if we see that the visitor has question based on what they are doing on the site we will invite them to chat and they will respond and say actually I have a quick question like you know what is the specifications on this product and that product? So it works because people have questions and it is a lot to ask visitors to call if they have any questions or just buy today. You lose a lot of people if you don’t have an easy way to get those answers.
ROBERT: So with help flow you guys don’t tell customers you don’t tell business hey just add the live chat and if somebody visit a pop up will immediately comes up and that will increase sales, you are not saying that you are saying that it is like a secret sauce or method or this is certain things that you guys are doing with live chat that is actually going to help increase sales.
One thing you just mentioned was you invite them to chat when you see they have a problem because, I guess I am asking you this question because I have gone to websites and immediately a chat pops up indentifying I haven’t taken any action and sometimes I immediately closed the window because I need to take some time to look at the website to see what I am looking at so I am asking what are the secret sauce, what are the things the business need to be doing with the live chat system and what are the rules what are the requirements of live chat.
JON: Honestly the rules are really simple and for the listener they are going to look at this and say wow, like that’s the secret I will explain like why this matters. Our entre focus as a company is just to make the experience for your visitor absolutely awesome make it as awesome as possible make it so they feel really well taken care of and we know from our data that if we do that everything takes care of its self.
Our conversations work our sales work visitors come back all the sales data point takes care of themselves if you make sure that the visitors are really happy and it is an awesome experience. A couple of things that you mentioned there is that you have been to websites where chat box pops up right away that’s is not an awesome experience for you because you don’t even have time to come up with a question or look at a site and already these pop ups happening.
And so that’s one thing that is important you have you get right is use pops up invite people to chat for sure but be careful when you do it make sure it is like the right time for the visitor, same thing is if you walked in to Nordstrom’s to get back to that example you might walked into a department store and if somebody immediately appear out of thin air right when you opening the door and say.
Hey can I help you it would be like kind of weird right when you not able to get in there yet and so again awesome experience make it an awesome experience everything else takes care of its self. Other examples of that is the messaging you use when you invite somebody to chat do not you know I am having a sale today if you buy today you will get 50% off or something integrate this hard core sales to into honestly into any of the conversation but definitely not into that greeting.
Because if somebody walked up to you on the street and say buy this, buy this you probably not going to buy it and so again awesome visitor experience so, everything that we do and everything that you do when you use chat it is just, keep in mind that these are not website visitors these are not hits in Google analytics these are not page these are human beings on the other end of the chat that are interested in your products.
so if you just take good care of them like you would face to face when you see somebody all the other stuff would take care of itself so that’s kind of the secret sauce I guess of what we do is focus on making the visitors experience awesome when you invite people to chat when you conduct the chat the way you answer some of the questions that’s really the key things to focus on here.
ROBERT: Okay and what about technical support do you also do technical support as a service for some of these business or you just focusing mainly on sales questions and trying to provide a good customer experience mainly for sales.
JON: So it depends on the extent of technical support needed most of what we do most of the value we provide is pre sales service and support so anything before they purchase or while they are purchasing but we do handle a lot of the front end questions when people come back and they say hey, I ordered last week and I never got my order so you know we can check order status we can get tracking numbers we can do all range of things.
If somebody comes back and they purchase a product and they are like trying to put it together at their house and there are some technical questions at that point we usually have a processing place to hand that off to the customers team because you know at a certain point it got to be customer you know really doing certain in depth type of stuff but we are definitely the front lines really for all of our customers questions, but most of what we do is before the sale while the sales is happening and while they are waiting for the actual package to arrive wondering where this thing is at.
So all ecommerce stores fits in well with them but we do, do some post purchase technical support as well.
ROBERT: Okay and how long does it take you, it sounds like you know if business approached you and say hey, can you guys do the live chant for me how long does it take you guys to train to learn that business specific software so that you will be able to answer the question or understand the website visitor.
JON: That is the most common question we get like how are you possible going to help my visitors like you don’t know anything about my business and that is the most important part of this business right that the hardest part is the most important part and that’s where we focus all of our time from literally day one in the business and I mean I could say that it is a secret sauce is really not it’s just really hard to get right but we have a couple things that we learned and then away that we do that.
We have the ongoing process which is basically from sign up to launch we do a number of different things, one of those things is we know what question is going to get asked regardless of what you sell, we do chat for a ton of ecommerce stores and we tract all of the questions that is going to get asked so we know that regardless of what you sell, whether you sell coffee mugs or computers you are going to get asked about shipping times warranties free shipping return policies material possible maybe for the coffee mugs not for the computer, specifications.
You are going to be asked a whole range of questions we already know those questions in advance so we make sure we get those in the on boarding process and then we also have a deep way that we dig in to do specific product and questions related to your business so we would poll in any FAQ for knowledge based information that you may already have, we pull that into our system.
We go through some direct questions during the on boarding questions with you related to different categories and products on your site and then we also ask some really specific indirect questions. so rather than saying you know if somebody buys you know custom computer screen covers or something rather than saying what questions are they going to ask us.
We will ask you know what factors matters when somebody chooses between these different covers you know if somebody is using it outdoor versus indoor is a certain cover better than another. We will asked a lot of indirect questions kind of like what a customer would to you and that helps to cipher what some of the customer’s specific questions are so there is a ton of stuff that goes on during that customer on boarding process and all of that happens within 5 business days it didn’t always happen that quickly but we have gotten really good at that during our time in this business you know making it really comprehensive very methodical but also very stream line for the customer.
So it happens very quickly 5 business days and then after we launch we are always updating that knowledge base so anytime we refer a question to one of our customers when the customer answers that question for the visitor they will BCC our system and that will actually update knowledge base so anytime that you have to answer you are feeding us additional information in a pretty passive way and then we also ask for FAQ updates we give you resources that you use to give us more FAQ updates so that knowledge base is a constantly updated resource that we use but we have been very methodical about this from day one to make sure that we have the resources we need to do an awesome job for your visitors and the ultimate vision for us honestly is to be able to do this service for any ecommerce store better than you could do internally with your team.
We are working on a lot of technology to make it so that we have more comprehensive information and we have the information at the right time and we can basically do it better than you would be able to do it internally for most of the questions that you get because not most of the questions are not really in dept technical related things so we are on our way to answer your question as fast and very methodical.
ROBERT: And for businesses that decide not to use a service like yours they want to do it internally are you guys generous where you provide those questions from your knowledge base as a download or a PDF, I mean some of those FQA and then maybe some of ecommerce type business can use that some or that template for their company.
JON: That’s actually something that we are actually looking at doing we are getting into a lot of paid traffic you know and other ways to grow the business and it just basically scale off now that we kind of figured things out and that’s one of the things that we are looking at is you know creating resources for the ecommerce stores to use to provide great customer service visitors and to kind of indirectly showing the value of what we do so providing a FAQ data base potentially providing some DAQ storage tools.
You know providing a lot of tools that we use so that you can see you know how magical this can be for your business and then as part of that it will be clear that we do this as a service, what we found is that once business see that live chat works they usually don’t have the resources to run it internally all day every day so it kind of logically leave to having a service like our use it.
So definitely that is something that we are looking at and if any audience members are interested you can shoot me an email through help flow.net and we can get you some additional resources that we are going to be creating some cool campaigns doing that in the near future.
ROBERT: Okay and going back to handling live chat for your website, what are some best practices that people should follow when they are dealing in or when they go with live chat is increasing sales and just providing a better customer experience.
JON: Yes there is a number of different things, I will start with some of the mistakes that stores make so that you can be sure you are not making those mistakes and also some of the more advance things that you can do so these are all best practices that will come out from two angles.
The first things that really, really like super doper important to get right is make sure that you respond quickly when people ask you a question and this sound super basic but remember that the visitors experience is really important.
You mentioned that automatic pop up that happened to you on another website right when you visited if somebody gets that invite to chat and they reply and say actually yes I have a question what’s this specification or something if you don’t respond like within as few seconds like 6 to 10 seconds maximum it is a really bad experience for the visitor and a lot of companies when they start using live chat they really don’t take this into consideration they set up all the automatic pop ups but they don’t have the ream ready to manage things.
They don’t sign out of the live chat when they are not available and so they end up in a situation where like people are trying to chat with them and then nobody is responding or they are taking like 30 to 45 seconds to respond that actually hurts the experience for the visitor and so a lot of people have bad experience with live chat because of that.
So the first best practice is make sure you track your response times to that first message in all response times and make sure your first response time which is the time it takes you to reply to visitors first question is less than 10 seconds that is really, really important.
Couple other things as you know make sure you are inviting people to chat based on what they are doing on your site so when somebody browsing your site when they hit certain pages if they put something in the shopping cart and back our you can get pretty advance with this but a lot of companies that use live chant they just have this really small click to chat box somewhere on the side or button and so that is going to miss out on a lot of person who want chat and definitely invite people to chat.
On that not don’t manually invite people to chat that’s something you can do in almost any live chat tool but we encounter a lot of business they are using live chat and I just watch people when they are on the site I watch my computer screen I click the invite button but like nobody respond, it is not enough responses it is absolutely crazy to sit there and spend your time manually watching people on the site and then invite them.
You can do this automatically in a way that it doesn’t look automatic to your customers so you know configure rules when to invite people, don’t invite them more than once if they close the chat box don’t invite them on the same visit even if they go to other pages because it just gets kind of annoying and so those are like some of the basics make sure that you respond really quickly make you invite people to chat based on what they are doing on the site.
Make sure that you are not annoying people with how you are doing with those invites, doing those responses those are some of the basic things to get right and as far as advance tactics you know, couple different things that matters I mentioned inviting people to chat based on what they are doing another thing that is important is make your automatic meeting really you know low pressure and personal, you can also use chat templates pretty well it is important that your visitors don’t know that these are just like templates but it is also important for your efficiency to be able to do that.
So whether it is you or your team doing you want o have some template and answers that the team can use as a starting point and then modify because you will notice you will get asked the same questions pretty consistently, so if you are manually typing those out that is definitely not the most efficiently way to do it.
Use the chat toll that enables you to see some of the past chats from a visitor that way you have contacts from when you can see oh they asked Joe that questions from yesterday and now they are chatting with Robert but you can see all of the history.
A lot of systems will enable you to integrate order numbers and ecommerce data that that person has purchased on your shop advice for example you can integrate their purchase history in there so that way you could see you know when they say that my order hasn’t arrive what’s going on and that’s all they told you.
Oh you talking about the coffee mug you ordered on Monday I see that just arrived in Tampa Florida I know you are based in Tampa it should get to your house today and that way when they say where is my order you already have all the context at that point and answer the question they might not even notice like how did you know all of that stuff.
Bust again awesome is their experience because you are helping them answering the questions and you are doing it with technology so, I mean that’s kind of a laundry list of all the different things to consider and the live chat guy that you mentioned earlier on our website the live chat guy .com there is no email optin or and weird way to get that it is just on our site and that goes into a lot of details stuff and those are the basics.
ROBERT: You just mentioned some tools and technology for live chat so what tools would you recommend that you think that business should be using for their live chat.
JON: There are tons of different tools and there is always new one coming out but the ones that I recommend are basically tools that have a really specific features that every live chat offers has these features but first of all can you invite people to chat automatically that’s number one.
No chat systems offer that so that’s an important feature can you rout chats to different people based on who they chatted with before or based on what pages they are on, on the site so when they comes back to the site and they chatted with me 10 minutes ago you as my team member should not get the chat I should get the chat because I am still here.
So that’s super important not all systems offer that and then all the chats are optimized for mobile devices there is a lot of factor that matters but those are some of the main ones and as far as the various specific tools the ones that I would look at if you going to use this is livechatinc.com that one from our research and what we have dug into is the best one if you want to start doing more advance things so live chat inc.com is one, zopim.com is another and then olark those three are kind of industry standard tools but frankly like unless you are doing some really advance stuff or you chatting on a ton of different sites all 3 of those are going to solve your problems and you probably 20 other tools that will solve your problems don’t get too hung up on the soft ware just make sure that you are making it a good experience for your visitors.
ROBERT: Okay any final thoughts on just live chats and ecommerce business and just providing the best experience for customers.
JON: Yea in general just keep in mind that you are trying to help your visitors we encounter so many sites and everybody has been in this situation where like they just get sold they get pushed they push on products just remember they chatting with humans and that is humans that are interested in your business so you don’t want that to annoy them, make the visitors experience awesome and definitely if you haven’t used live chat before give it a try yourself.
You do not immediately need to go to a service like ours I think you will eventually but you can do this stuff yourself or you can do this internally with your team, we believe that every ecommerce store should have chat should have a real person on it helping visitors because that’s just a way business is done off line and there is no reason why it should be done online like that.
So definitely use live chat and this is one of those things if you get it right this is something that can set you apart from your competitors this is something that can set you apart from Amazon if you are niche where Amazon is strong in your industry, Amazon can’t do customer service in real time the same way that other business can so this is one of those things that Amazon might able to undercut you on price but they will not be able to undercut you on real time service.
So that’s another thing to consider as far as just final though try live chat the live chat guide.com there is a lot of resources you can use to have a road map on how to do this all of the live chat offers that I just recommended have pretty generous free trials for 30 days I think and honestly there are free live chat offers out there too so as far as money is a concern there are free ones usually they are pretty limited but try it out get it going on your site and just remember you are chatting with real people make it an awesome experience for then and you will awesome conversion results.
ROBERT: Thanks John for coming on the show and covering everything on live chat if people wanted to reach you how can they reach you.
JON: The best way to reach me is at help flow .net we got a lot of resources on there you can contact us through the contact page or chat with us obviously and yes that’s the best way to reach me and if anyone has any you know direct questions about this episode you know you can contact me there and I will monitor the comments on this episode on the show notes as well but I am pretty easy to reach help flow.net or in the comments in this post I am happy to help with any comments that people have.
ROBERT: Okay and the last question what is the one thing ecommerce business can do right now to grow.
JON: I think the one thing that ecommerce store can do right now is sign up for a free trial for one of the live chats offers that I mentioned get it on to your sight have your web developer get it on the site it is really easy. If you use shopper ecommerce or any other big platforms there is tools there is these chat offers use you can get like one or two clicks to put it on your site but get it on your site and start chatting with your visitors and kind of see what’s on their minds you are already getting traffic to your store you are already generating sales there are more people that would buy on your site if you help them with their sales.
So I would say the thing to do today is sign up for a free trial on one of these tools live chat in or get it on your site and star chatting with people and see where it goes from there take action you know on implementing this.
ROBERT: Okay John, again thanks for coming on the show and providing resources on live chat.
JON: Thank you so much Robert I really appreciate it.
The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing — from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses.
Marketing Strategies Revealed in this Episode: