WikiHow Chat Support help for eCommerce Store Owners

How Chat Support help for eCommerce Store Owners

Aug 23, 2023

With the increasing demand and trend for online shopping, the need to provide immediate and real-time customer support is also on an upward trend. 63% of customers favor live chat as a support communication channel.

Chat support is ideal for understanding your customers and meeting their needs efficiently through your e-commerce platform. Even a few minutes delay in resolving customer problems can lead to losing potential customers for your business. 

Chat support, also known as live chat, is a valuable customer service tool that can greatly benefit e-commerce store owners in several ways. But, first things first.

What is chat support?

With chat support services in place, customers can communicate with a customer representative or a e-commerce virtual assistant via text-based messaging. As a result, customers can get help for their queries and problems without having to make a phone call.

How does chat support work for e-commerce stores?

  • The Technology: Chat support software integrates seamlessly into your e-commerce website. This software typically displays a chat icon or button on your store’s product pages or checkout process.
  • Initiating a Chat: Customers can click on the chat icon to start a conversation directly with a customer service representative (CSR) on your website. As a result, your customers need not switch to email or phone calls and receive a more convenient experience.
  • Real-Time Interaction: Unlike email or phone support, chat allows for real-time back-and-forth communication. This will enable customers to get their questions answered quickly and efficiently, minimizing frustration and keeping them engaged with their purchase journey.

Benefits of chat support for e-commerce store owners

Real-time Customer Assistance

Chat support allows for instant communication between customers and support agents. This real-time interaction is beneficial for addressing urgent queries, guiding customers through shopping, and providing immediate assistance.

Reduced Cart Abandonment

Many customers abandon their shopping carts due to uncertainties or concerns. Chat support can help alleviate these concerns by providing quick answers to questions about products, pricing, shipping, and other factors that might be causing hesitation.

Multitasking and Convenience

Chat support enables customers to multitask while seeking assistance. They can continue browsing the site or performing other tasks while waiting for a response, making it a convenient option for busy shoppers.

Problem Resolution

Customers encountering technical issues or facing challenges during checkout can receive step-by-step guidance through chat support. This can lead to faster problem resolution and a smoother shopping experience.


A chat virtual assistant for e-commerce stores can use customer data and browsing history to provide personalized recommendations and assistance. This personalized touch can enhance customer satisfaction and increase the likelihood of conversion.


Chat support can be more cost-effective than phone support, as agents can handle multiple chats simultaneously, reducing the need for a large support team.

Analytics and Insights

Chat support platforms often provide analytics that offer insights into customer behavior and common pain points. This data can help store owners identify trends and areas for improvement.

Global Reach

With this, you or your e-commerce VA can provide assistance to customers from around the world without concerns about time zone differences or language barriers, thanks to features like automated translations.

Self-Service Options

Chatbots can be integrated into chat support systems, providing automated responses to common queries and freeing up human agents to handle more complex issues.

After-Hours Support

Customers can leave messages through chat support even when your business is closed. Your support team can then respond during business hours, extending your availability and improving customer satisfaction.

Integration with CRM

Just like phone support, chat support can be integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system to maintain a comprehensive record of customer interactions.

Customer Feedback

Chat interactions can provide insights into customer sentiment and feedback, helping you improve your products, services, and user experience.

What are the key features of an effective chat support system?

Seamless User Experience

  • Easy-to-Find Chat Button: A prominent and easily identifiable chat icon or button should be strategically placed on your website (e.g., product pages, checkout process, main navigation bar).
  • Mobile-Friendly Interface: Ensure the chat window functions flawlessly on all devices, especially mobile phones, where a significant portion of e-commerce browsing occurs.
  • Offline Messaging Option: Even during off-hours, offer a way for customers to leave messages that can be addressed by CSRs when they come online.

Efficient Communication Tools

  • Real-Time Chat Functionality: The core function should allow for real-time back-and-forth communication between customers and CSRs for prompt issue resolution.
  • Canned Responses: Pre-written responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) can save CSR’s time and ensure that consistent information is delivered to customers.
  • File Sharing Capability: Secure file sharing allows customers to send screenshots, documents, or order information relevant to their inquiry.

Enhanced Functionality for CSRs

  • Customer Information Access: CSRs should be able to access essential customer information like order history or past interactions to personalize their support and resolve issues efficiently.
  • Internal Chat Features: Allow CSRs to collaborate internally through chat functions for complex inquiries or situations requiring teamwork.
  • Co-browsing Functionality (Optional): Advanced systems might offer co-browsing, where CSRs can virtually navigate the customer’s screen to guide them through the website or troubleshoot issues visually.

Additional Features to Consider

  • Chat Transcript History: Logged conversations provide valuable insights into customer interactions and can be used for training purposes or improving your e-commerce platform.
  • Sentiment Analysis (Optional): Some advanced chat support systems offer sentiment analysis tools that can gauge customer emotions during chats, allowing CSRs to tailor their approach and potentially identify areas for improvement.
  • Multilingual Support (Optional): If you cater to a global audience, consider offering chat support in multiple languages to ensure a smooth customer experience.

What should you consider when creating chat support?

To effectively leverage chat support for your e-commerce store, consider the following tips:

Responsive Design: Ensure your chat widget is mobile-friendly and integrates well with your website’s design.

Trained Agents: Provide thorough training to your chat support agents to ensure they are knowledgeable and skilled in assisting customers.

Availability: Clearly display your chat support’s operating hours and availability status to manage customer expectations

Chatbot Integration: Integrate chatbots to handle routine queries and offer instant responses, especially during peak hours or when live agents are unavailable.

Personalization: Use customer data and history to provide personalized recommendations and assistance.

Quick Responses: Aim for prompt responses to ensure customers don’t have to wait for extended periods. If you cannot provide a prompt response, employ a dedicated e-commerce VA, especially for customer support.

Which mistakes should you avoid when creating chat support?

Unavailability and Slow Response Times

  • Limited Hours: Don’t restrict chat support to just business hours. Consider offering chat support during peak browsing times, even if it means having limited coverage outside core business days.
  • Slow Response Times: Set realistic expectations for response times based on your staffing levels. But aim to respond to inquiries within minutes whenever possible. Long wait times can frustrate customers and lead them to abandon their purchases.

Unprepared and Unprofessional Staff

  • Inadequate Training: Invest in proper training for your CSRs. Ensure they deeply understand your products and return policies and can navigate your e-commerce platform efficiently. They should also be trained in effective communication techniques through chat for a professional and helpful demeanor.
  • Lack of Empathy: Even through text-based chat, empathy is crucial. Train your CSRs to acknowledge customer frustrations, actively listen to concerns, and offer solutions in a friendly and understanding manner.

Technical Glitches and Unclear Communication

  • Software Issues: Choose reliable chat support software and ensure it integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform. Test the chat functionality thoroughly before going live to avoid technical glitches that disrupt customer interactions.
  • Unclear Language: Avoid technical jargon or overly complex sentences. CSRs should communicate clearly and use language that the customer easily understands.

Missed Opportunities and Unutilized Features

  • Passive Approach: Don’t wait for customers to initiate chats. Proactive chat pop-ups or greetings during specific browsing moments (e.g., when adding an item to a cart or lingering on a product page) can offer timely assistance and address potential purchase roadblocks.
  • Underutilized Features: Explore the full potential of your chat support software. Utilize features like canned responses for common questions, co-browsing to guide customers through your website, or file sharing for troubleshooting purposes.

Chat support can significantly enhance the customer experience on your e-commerce website, leading to increased customer satisfaction, higher conversion rates, and improved brand loyalty.

When you are looking for the right methods to engage with your customers and get to know them better, chat support gives you all the right opportunities. Your customers will share their concerns, which helps improve your store performance and deliver the best e-commerce experience. Contact us for the best e-commerce store management services.

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