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Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones by Joseph Jaffe

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LIVE CHAT—THE FUSION OF HUMANS AND ROBOTS

Let’s go back to the iconic “markets are conversations” assertion. In the ancient bazaars of the past, the marketplace was teeming with life. All five senses were in full effect: You could smell the endless varieties of food being cooked, and taste it as well; you could see snake charmers, fire breathers, sword-swallowers; you could touch and inspect the merchandise firsthand; you could hear all sorts of music and, in particular, the constant haggling and ensuing negotiations. People were excited to buy and sell stuff. But today, the marketplace is serene, sterile, silent. The shopping malls are so clean you could eat off their floors.
And web sites are not much better—in fact, they’re decidedly worse.
There’s no music. No greeters. No buzz from the presence of online shoppers. Nothing more than a one-dimensional cover page. It’s a shame, really.
Whether browsing, buying, or trying to log in a problem, there’s really not much in the form of service or support that adds any depth or emotion to a fairly cold transaction. Finding the right FAQ is tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack and is no guarantee of success. And more often than not, using the search functionality to find a solution results in answering the question “Did this solve your problem?” with a big, fat “No.”
That’s where live chat comes into play. Companies like Liveperson are using predictive modeling mixed in with actual customer behavior to force the issue. ...

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