Getting people to use your web application depends primarily on the quality and usefulness of the application. If you don’t have a useful product, people won’t use it (even if you are giving it away for free).
However, having a great product is rarely enough. There are many great products competing to solve the same problems. If you want somebody to use your product, you have to do more than create a great application; you need to sell it.
In regard to web apps, sales is not a guy in a suit scheduling meetings on his blackberry and putting his contacts into his favorite CRM. The sales process for web applications usually begins when a user comes to your site and ends when the user registers (or completes some other significant action).
The sales process includes copy on your website, a big call to action, a beautiful design, an optimized signup flow, etc.
Most importantly, potential customers need to feel both engaged and safe. Most importantly, they need to feel like they can find help easily.
“Live person” customer support is the most effective ways to engage a user. People calling support are trying to use your product; they want to use it. Sometimes the difference between a lifelong and happy customer and a lost customer, is just a little attention from a real person. We always have folks ask about what service we use to offer live chat. We use Olark, and highly recommend it for you and your startup.
WePay provides a pretty serious service. We ask for your bank account number or credit card number. We keep your money safe. And we help you collect money online. Sometimes, our customers just want to be reminded that there are real people behind the magic.
With that said, the following are the three most important things I’ve learned about customer service from live chat:
1. Users Don’t Want to Ask Questions (but they do want the answers)
Most people, however, don’t ask anything at all. If they have a question that can’t be answered immediately, they simply leave. And most of the time, they blame themselves: “this seems complicated; it’s probably my fault, but I’m over it anyways.”
WePay prides itself on its customer service, but we’ve realized that you can’t depend on potential customers to call you or ask questions.
Chat is easy, anonymous and natural. It virtually removes all barriers to asking questions.
2. Live Chat Makes People Happy (and keeps them on your site)
Since users don’t like calling or emailing support, they don’t receive quick answers to easily answered questions. They go the “trial-and-error” route, get frustrated, and leave your website. A user will click on everything on the site to figure out how to change their password, get frustrated when they can’t find the button, and leave the site before they call or email. FAQs aren’t particularly effective because the majority of questions are random (i.e. non-frequently-asked) questions.
For whatever reason, customers are willing to open a chat window; in fact, they love it. I’m not sure whether it’s the novelty, or the simplicity, but people love it.
3. Some ‘common problems’ aren’t so common
Support issues that are frustrating for WePay (the company), are rarely the issues that are most important or frustrating to our users.
The problems that take the most time for WePay to fix or deal with naturally get prioritized.
However, we should dedicate most of our attention to the issues that cost the most frustration for the most users. Talking to more people paints a much better picture of where people are having the most problems.
Poor customer service is a grand disservice – both to you and your customers. Live Chat is a quick and simple way to learn more about your customers, learn more about your product, and improve the interaction between the two.