Scott Carlin is a student of the “Magic Moment” in online retailing. He knows when a shopper needs to be left alone and when she wants help – knowing that difference makes all the difference.
Scott is Regional Vice President, North American Sales, Optimization Solutions, for ATG. Formerly Scott was VP of Sales for Instantservice, a company whose technology platform supports live chat interaction for online customers. Instantservice was recently acquired by ATG. As the leading provider of personalized cross-channel commerce software and services, ATG works with more than 900 leading brands to maximize sales and create lifetime customers across the Web, contact center, mobile, social media, and in-store channels.
GR: Scott, you have been at the center of the so-called Chat revolution since it began. Tell us a little about how it has evolved and where it is now.
SC: Well, as with many things that are technology-based, the capability was there before the user was ready for it.
GR: Sounds like a technology variation on the old adage about being able to lead a horse to water but not being able to make him drink.
SC: In this case we needed a critical mass, enough users comfortable with the idea and the technology, to participate.
GR: So there was a learning curve involved.
SC: Yes, there was, but there was another factor accelerating acceptance on the part of the user – the simultaneous explosion of the mobile application.
GR: Suddenly everyone began texting each other.
SC: And chatting with a sales or customer service rep online became simply an extension of that phenomenon. Chat has become expected by the customer as a routine part of the sales and service process. The exception to the rule has become the rule.
GR: Talk some about that “Magic Moment.”
SC: Here is what we have learned about click behavior. When you look at how people shop online you begin to notice certain patterns and you learn when a potential customer will welcome help and when they feel it is intrusive.
GR:The way an observant sales clerk in a shop might let a person shop unassisted until it becomes obvious in some way that help would be welcomed.
SC: Exactly. When that shopper appears online they want to be left alone to browse or search on their own for awhile. There is an art to knowing when the moment to offer help arrives. There is also a science to it, the study of click behavior can predict pretty accurately how long the customer wants to be left alone and when an offer to chat will be welcomed.
GR: And that’s the “Magic Moment?”
SC: It is when the “Magic Moment” begins. Again, studying click behavior tells you how long the moment lasts – it will be different for different kinds of shopping.
GR: So longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the product?
SC: And on other variables as well. Studying click behavior for a particular type of product and the kinds of shopper that the product attracts will reveal overall patterns that can be used to determine when the moment is right.
GR:I think we have just uncovered the tip of the iceberg. Can we continue this conversation for another episode?
SC: Be glad to.