Tsz-Chiu Au wrote a detailed report for the University of Maryland Computer Department on “Guidelines of Online Help Design, E-mail Help Methods and Online Customer Service for Website Developers.” What does this have to do with you? Well, your website hawking 17th century sideboards, reproduction spats or 1950s bowling shoes should not be antiquated in its FAQ or ordering process. According to the paper, an important goal of any website is to “Anticipate problems users may encounter and prepare solutions.” If folks ask the same question over and over about how they pay for that snazzy sharkskin suit, don’t take on an indignant attitude. There is probably something lacking from your written instructions or FAQ. In the cases that it things are quite well spelled out, providing a clear method for a customer to receive additional assistance is imperative. Don’t just say “If they really want it, they’ll email me.”
A few websites I frequent have a “chat” feature. There is no communication with a live person. Rather, a question is punched in and information from the FAQ and Help sections spit back at you. Usually, the site “names” the fake representative, such as PayPal’s Sarah.
I had a little fun with Sarah earlier today.
Unlike the PayPal set up, there is software for customer support that offers a more interactive chat feature where a live person can actually come on the line I learned a lot about what actually goes on behind the scenes today. Could it be something that would help with conversion for your clothing or vintage retail site? Read on to decide.
Usually, the interactive feature is designated by a phone icon or a photo of a female or male operator. Once a site visitor clicks, they are automatically greeted. An automated message might welcome the visitor to the site. What happens next is determined by the questions asked. If the question is simple and fairly standard, pre-scripted information might be returned. However, if the question is not typical, a live person could come on the line seamlessly. In fact, a live person may already be there monitoring the conversation, but the automated messages such as “Let me look that up for you…” or even the canned info buys a rep the time they need to talk to two customers at once.
In a dashboard panel, a website owner or customer service officer can see who is visiting their site. They don’t know your name, but they know what terms you searched to arrive at the site, what country or state you are in and what page you are viewing. If you have filled your online cart, but appear to be walking away from the site, a rep can chime in and ask if you have any questions.
If the site owner is you, you might be able to answer a question or two that might help close the sale or at least remove any frustration a potential customer has about not finding their size or with navigation. Is it annoying to a customer or does this sort of software for customer support help your shoppers out? Try it next time you are on a retail site that offers the feature, looking at it now knowing how it works. If I sprung for that on this blog, the fashion tips might be dangerous. It is sort of old fashioned — actually talking to your customers.
This is completely nontraditional for a site that sells antiques or retro or collectible clothing, but could you imagine tapping away at the keyboard and being open and available to go grab that extra measurement for that customer? Sure, you might think they would email you, but some folks want instant gratification or they just are too timid to ask. Or they are having problem with their email server at the moment. Simple questions could be immediately answered without your involvement at all, but you could step in at a moment’s notice.
Some merchants give out their Skype or their cell phone, but they can easily be caught off guard on a family picnic. Would a chat assistant that is “on” when you are “on” give you a better work/life or better shop for vintage clothing and antiques/sell vintage clothing and antiques balance?shop talk, the business of vintage | Comment (0)
When I was more active as a vintage clothing merchant (still am, re-launch coming soon), I wondered why more shops and online sellers didn’t take advantage of promotional or advertising opportunities. While some of my colleagues really only wanted their business to be a small hobby they could choose to work on or not, and they couldn’t handle the increased demand, others came across with either a poverty mentality or an elitist attitude. They just didn’t want the “public” to paw through their wares, or more so, thought people just wouldn’t know how to appreciate them properly. Well, I’ve got some news. Vintage clothing has become very popular either from the perspective of being a frugal option, or to mimic the selections of the stars. What better way to educate people to NOT stuff themselves in a fragile antique World War I flight suit that is ten sizes too small, or to appreciate the workmanship of a forty year old designer gown than to create your own platform.
Of course, except for the occasional upscale consignment slash vintage shop slash antique store in a highly commercial touristy formerly quaint village, the niche is absent from the airwaves. It is daunting, I will admit, once you search talent and put some sort of script together. There are media production companies, such as Studio Center, that pull it all together for you. The field is wide-open being that no antique establishment or antique shop has really come up with a memorable ad campaign locally or otherwise.
Did you know that there is such thing as an “Anti-Announcer?” An “Anti-Announcer”-type sounds like a regular person rather than a Don Pardo/Ed McMahon/Don LaFontaine type. (You know the late Don LaFontaine for his dramatic move trailer work). Don’t confuse this with pulling your neighbor’s attractive granddaughter into the shop. What we may think of as a “normal/regular voice” doesn’t always translate the same on the reel. We all have different speaking habits, some of which are unnoticeable to us in daily speech, but are glaring on play-back. A voice actor (or actress, though I consider “actor” unisex) classified as a “non announcer” is articulate, but doesn’t have the timber or formality of delivery as a traditional announcer.
So, take a plunge? Being “traditional” and “classic” doesn’t mean people shouldn’t know who you are.entertainment, shop talk | Comment (0)