Bonobos/Olark: Live Chat on Cyber Monday

This week, men’s fashion retailer Bonobos sat down with Olark, who powers the retailer’s live chat support, to talk about Cyber Monday. Live chat has grown substantially since pre-holiday last year. The channel offers a way to interact with customers immediately, while they are in buying mode.

The Olark Cyber Monday Webinar with Bonobos can be found here.

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation that may help other e-tailers gear up for the biggest online shopping day of the year:

Live chat makes up about 20-30% of Bonobos total contacts, but on Cyber Monday, when the channel’s volumes are 10x higher than a normal day, that percentage rises to over 50%. The company’s own analysis found that of those customers reaching out on live chat, the vast majority are pre-purchase and that about 38% end up making a purchase. This evidence strongly supports the case for offering chat as an alternate channel during the holidays, even if it’s not offered at other times of the year.

The company has used chat to alleviate high call and email volumes, and particularly during the busy season has increased the number of operators on it’s live chat team. In it’s early days, Bonobos agents were sometimes live chatting with over ten customers at once, but the company soon realized that service quality was suffering. StellaService indicates that agents have often struggled with issue resolution in the chat channel during past holiday periods, so this lesson offered by Bonobos may serve as an important reminder to retailers to maintain a focus on quality, even during busy periods.  

Adam Covalt, Manager of Customer Service at Bonobos, said Cyber Monday is one of the most intense days of the year. “You’ve got 50 to 60 people who don’t have customer service training chatting with customers in real time,” he said. Training of seasonal staff, which is well underway for big retailers, is a common obstacle shared by most customer care teams. Starting training programs early and backing them up with rich internal resources can often prove helpful in ensuring quality support.

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