LivePerson Asks B2B Customers, “May I Help You?”

By now, we’re used to seeing “live chat” buttons on consumer Web sites. They serve a similar function as the information desk at the front of a brick-and-mortar store.

You may have noticed something new popping up on business-to-business (B2B) Web sites, especially if you’re a corporate buyer. Say you’re browsing the “Enterprise Server” section of the Hewlett-Packard site. Depending on what products you’re viewing, you might suddenly see a message: “Our enterprise specialists are here to help. Do you have any questions?”

This is “Proactive Chat” offered by LivePerson. It’s akin to a salesperson popping up next to you while you’re browsing in a store. During this real-time interaction, the salesperson can answer your questions, cross-sell you other products, and guide you through the sales process.

HP uses LivePerson for enterprise-product lead generation, as well as on the small business side of its Web site to drive sales of lower-priced items, such as printers and digital cameras. When LivePerson senses a small business buyer is contemplating a purchase, this message appears, “Our small business specialists are here to help you.” When the customer clicks to chat with a sales consultant, she receives answers to questions and additional product information. The agent also suggests service warranties, printer cartridges, and special promotions to up-sell and close the sale.

Microsoft bCentral also uses LivePerson to sell small business software to high-volume users. It’s finding the chat channel outperforms inbound telesales (and far exceeds outbound telesales) from both a sales and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) standpoint.

Maximizing E-Mail Effectiveness

Companies such as HP and Microsoft spend a lot of money on email and direct mail to drive people to their Web sites. By adding LivePerson to those sites, these companies have a way to interact with visitors and maximize the value of the visit.

According to Tony Pante, LivePerson’s senior VP of marketing and product development, conversion rates are noteworthy. Thirty to forty percent of visitors who engage in proactive chat will purchase. And the CPA is 30 percent to 40 percent lower than telesales, as agents can handle multiple interactions simultaneously.

Embedding “Click to Chat” Buttons in E-Mail

Other companies successfully send email that contains LivePerson’s “Click to Chat” buttons. When the reader clicks, she’s brought to a microsite where the LivePerson chat takes place. Such email can be used as part of the sales process or customer service. Customer queries are answered more quickly by LivePerson in real time than they would be via email.

Of course, since we don’t buy at a high-enough volume to be noticed by LivePerson’s B2B agents, our reply is usually, “Just looking!”

We’re always looking for more case studies on innovative technology as well as your company’s B2B email success stories. Send them to Karen.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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