How a Simple Shift in Focus Can Improve Your Conversions Many Times Over

by George Mathew

Last updated on January 9th, 2018

Scores of articles have been written about improving conversions—articles that discuss seemingly mundane details like button size, headline length, brand color and even typography.

Yet even after testing these suggestions, you may not see a lift in conversions. In fact, tables may turn and you could actually see lower conversion rates. (That’s why you need to know a couple of things before a/b testing.)

However, today I am going to show you, along with proofs and examples, something that’s proven to increase conversions every single time.

Can’t wait? Let’s jump in.

Excellent customer support creates a positive vibe

Let me first share this story that I found on Quora.

This was the question that was posed.

“Shouldn’t Indians buy products from Flipkart or Snapdeal only to help it beat Amazon in India, at least?”

And the answer.

“I’m sorry but I disagree. My father recently wrote a book on Hijackings of Indian Airlines aircraft called IA’s Terror Trail, and self-published it.

As a self-claimed Digital Marketer, I went on to create a website for it and make it live on different social media. I did that, and then proceeded to Flipkart and asked them if they could upload my book there. They replied saying that they do not accept first time authors, and that we should contact an independent publisher. Those publishers demanded 50% of our proceeds, which obviously wasn’t feasible.

I then approached Amazon, who went step-by-step with me on how to upload it. They use our book as a personalized ad where relevant to the audience, and provide feedback as and when needed.

Flipkart, despite being supposedly an Indian company, refused to help out a newbie like us, while an e-commerce giant helped when it mattered.” – Quora

It seems, at least in this case, that good customer service beats patriotism. This answer went on to receive over 7,500 upvotes on Quora. Although, Amazon is a giant and doesn’t need this kind of publicity, imagine what it could do for a small and upcoming company.

It isn’t an isolated incident. According to Oracle’s Customer Experience Report,

  • 86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience.
  • 89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
  • 79 percent of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored.
  • 50 percent of consumers give a brand only one week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them.

86 percent is a big number, especially since those customers seem to value customer service infinitely more than price or other factors.

To put it another way,

customer support quote

Now let’s go over some ways by which we can deliver excellent customer service with practical examples of the same.

World’s second-largest home improvement retailer triples conversions with a FAQ section

The trouble with being the second-largest home improvement retailer is that you get lots of customer support questions. LOTS.

Two hundred employees handled over 130,000 inquiries every month for Build.com, but out of all those calls and chats, questions submitted through the website’s contact form received the lowest priority.

So much so that replies to those questions took 9 hours. Needless to say, customers left miffed.

Upon reviewing this issue, Build.com discovered that customer support personnel were answering the same questions again and again. There was a need for a centralized system that customers could make use of.

That’s when Build.com used NanoRep’s product knowledgebase software to install product FAQ pages on their product pages.

Along with FAQs, question boxes were also placed so that the customers could search for queries.

build faq search box

Image Source

As a result of these changes in answering customer queries, the company saw significant improvements over the following months:

  • Conversion rates more than tripled as a result of the improved customer experience
  • 40% increase in the number of questions asked by potential customers
  • 70% fewer questions answered by humans
  • Agents personally answered an average of six times fewer questions each day
  • Product FAQ was managed automatically, with minimal human involvement
  • Improved business intelligence and analytics

Excellent support gives 156% lift in conversions for Proposify

As part of their commitment to become a customer-friendly company, Proposify invested in Groove’s help desk software. Customer support widgets, examples of which are shown below, were added all over the site.

proposify-widget customer support

Image Source

Not only did their trial-to-paid conversion rate improve to 9.85%, they also found that users who clicked on Proposify’s help widgets converted at 25.23%.

2-times-higher-conversions with help widget customer support

All of this implies an important fact: Simply by making customer support more accessible, that they doubled their conversions.

Customer support through Livechat puts conversions on steroids

Livechat is the proverbial cherry on top when it comes to customer support.

How?

A survey conducted by Forrester Research reports that,

“Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”

Also according to the Oracle Survey I quoted earlier in the article, 73% of customers want friendly support executives while only 33% care about brand reputation.

customer support through chat

But surveys alone aren’t enough proof. So I decided to reach out to customer support personnel at PowerUpHosting and MaxCDN, since I am a customer of both these services. Interestingly, in both cases I purchased the services because they had LiveChat and I had tons of questions.

However, when I asked them to provide me stats regarding how (or if) LiveChat improved their conversions, it took a lot of convincing.

Persistence finally paid off.

Your chat transcript - Gmail - customer support

Finally Udit Goenka from PowerUpHosting got in touch with me. Earlier on they used only Skype to provide customer support but it took a lot of time and most customers weren’t happy using Skype. They wanted something spot-on and finally decided to implement LiveChat.

As with everything, they also split tested to see if their results were pure luck or if LiveChat, in fact, made a difference. Here’s the mail excerpt:

“On an average we talk to around 140-150 people on website’s LiveChat every single day (Until March 2015). A whopping 30% who contact us through LiveChat purchase instantly. We capture rest of the 70% as potential leads out of which around 57% sign up eventually.

The above Sales purely come from LiveChat Sales (There are customers who comes to our website and purchase right away). Another pattern we have seen is, most of the customers prefer to talk to someone before making the purchase. We have seen an average retention percentage of 82% of those customers who had a talk over chat versus 37% of people who purchased directly.

We decided to do some split testing then.

We decided to turn off our LiveChat for a period of 7 days, and saw a huge sales drop of around 55% on a weekly basis, this number was nasty and massive, so we decided to have chat on 24/7.

For $35/month worth of investment per Sales Agent, this is one of the best investments you can ever make in your business. Once you start getting traffic, I would recommend anyone having a website to embed a livechat right away.”

Didn’t read it fully? No problem, here’s TL;DR version:

  • 30% of users who contact through Livechat make a purchase instantly.
  • Over 82% of the users who contact through LiveChat have a lower attrition rate.
  • Plus it costs just $35/mo per LiveChat representative.

According to Kris from MaxCDN

“We received about a 34% conversion improvement due to live chat. We have 24/7 live chat coverage as well. 24-hour coverage makes a big difference”

Concluding thoughts

Improving customer support and answering customer queries using LiveChat is one of the best things that you can do TODAY to improve your conversions. User studies, live stats, everything points toward this.

When are you planning to add one?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by George Mathew.

6 Comments

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George Mathew

George has marketed million dollar startups with his skills and has contributed to ace Conversion Optimization blogs like ConversionXL. You can hire him for your content marketing needs.

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  1. Gaurav Sethi says:
    April 29, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Wow! Excellent ! But I have a question. I own a blog that basically talks about other companies, their services. I am likely to get queries about the services that those other companies offer. How can I serve such customers. Do I answer on behalf of those other companies or simply tell them to ask the companies directly. I fear If I keep teling then to go to that URL of company to post your questions, they might get angry and never return to my blog.

    • George Mathew says:
      April 29, 2015 at 9:16 am

      As a blogger who writes about services, it’s your duty to study everything possible about the service and answer questions. Despite that there may be some questions for which you don’t find any reference links or straightforward answers. In that case, ask them to contact the customer support.

  2. Urvi Patel says:
    April 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Good explainantion of how customer support plays a major role in converting users. Thanks for provinding insights on how important “live chat” is for a website whose goal is to make sales online.

  3. Ivan Burmistrov says:
    April 22, 2015 at 9:24 am

    It seems PowerUpHosting removed livechat from their website. Now they use contact form instead of livechat. Could you ask them why they did so, please?

    • George Mathew says:
      April 22, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      May be they are running another split test. I have contacted them and will update you.

    • George Mathew says:
      April 29, 2015 at 9:18 am

      I had a reply from the support team at Poweruphosting and it seems they are overhauling their entire system. Earlier they had livechat support only for US working hours but now they are moving towards a 24*7 livechat system and hiring even more personnel. However, I couldn’t get a timeline in which the changes would be implemented.

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