Why do Chinese Websites Use Chat Boxes So Much?

Sun, 09/30/2012 - 10:58

On Chinese websites, chat boxes are ubiquitous. Chinese consumers are accustomed to having a chat feature available, and they expect customer service very quickly, if not instantly.

In most cases, the consumers can find the information they want on the website… So why do consumers still want to chat with online support staff?

Think of it like this: On-site customer support staff are just like the support staff in physical stores. Even though you could find what you want in the store by yourself, with help you may be able to find it quicker, have your questions resolved more accurately or gain trust in the business.

As the number of Chinese Internet users is increasing very quickly, a lot of them are still newer to the Internet. They don’t necessarily trust a website, so they like talking to a real person. Plus, Chinese websites can be tougher to navigate, and have tons of information on one page. Some people prefer to skip the search process by just asking the sales staff.

For most businesses, I think that it is essential for B2B and B2C websites to have customer support staff available via on-site chat.

Screenshot of a Chinese chat box tool

So, that’s why consumers like on-site chat service. As a business owner, what would you have to gain?

By providing support via an on-site chat feature on your website, you can:
  1. Provide timely service to users.
    Speak to users right when they are likely close to buying. Remember, Chinese consumers want support now, not sometime later.
  2. Provide focused service to users.
    Via chat application analytics, online sales staff can see what the potential customer was searching for and what they have viewed on the website. This allows them to ascertain the consumer’s intentions better than if they were to provide support via phone or standalone messenger app.
  3. Provide convenient service to users.
    It`s very easy for a user to click and open a chat box. They can do it right within the browser without having to install anything or jump through any extra hoops.
  4. Reduce company expenses.
    Offering on-site chat can be cheaper than using phone chat, because the tools are free (no need to buy extra phone lines) and one support staff can sometimes hold multiple conversations at the same time.

When implementing a chat box, webmasters should make sure not to configure it to annoy users. Providing them real-time service is one thing, but trying to shove it down their throat is another. I`m talking about chat boxes that fly around the screen or open up again even after a consumer has closed them.



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