A proactive approach from a company is becoming more important for consumers. One of the ways to do that is through proactive chat. Proactive chat means that there is the possibility to chat with an employee of a webshop, where a chat window is proactively displayed with certain promotions or customers who exhibit certain behaviour. Someone who knows a lot about proactive chat, is Jeroen Leenders, co-founder of Salesupply. We asked him a couple of questions about this subject.


In what way have you engaged in proactive chat?

“We started with a pilot in Spain, where we proactively approach visitors of a webshop for the first time. When a visitor is looking around, we can see what that visitor is looking for and then to join in with the proactive chat. We basically go back to the basics of a brick and mortar store, where someone often comes to you asking if you need help. This is not yet available in a webshop. Our first tests indicate that people also would like to be helped online. For example, they cannot find something or do not know how the payment process works. Webshops can also be actively assisted with sales, and the visitors of the webshops also like it, so it basically cuts both ways."


So it's not a chatbot? There is an employee behind it?

“Yes, but the platform also has a chatbot function. For example, when the customer care department of a webshop is open until 8 pm, after 8 pm you can turn on the chatbot. You can use that chatbot to answer the frequently asked questions, and the bot is self-learning. If the bot often gets the same question, it saves that information. This makes the boat increasingly intelligent. However, this is still reactive, while the employee can help proactively, and go more deeply into subjects." 

Jeroen Leenders


What are the real benefits of a proactive approach?

“First of all, you get useful information about visitors, and with that information, you can adapt your product range and optimize your webshop. In addition, you can really help people to buy something and possibly even upsell. Because of this, for a webshop, both the conversion rate and the value per order will increase."


And pitfalls?

“Just like in a physical store, a webshop also has people who don't like it when anyone comes to them with the question if he or she needs help. Some consumers prefer to shop anonymously, and do not want to be helped by a seller. However, I do not find this outweigh the benefits that are proactive chat entails.”


What do you expect from a proactive approach in the future?

“We are currently in the first phase. Initially, I was afraid that proactive chat would eventually disappear because of chatbots. Now I think it is not going to disappear at all. I expect that real people who actively help on a webshop will become increasingly important. After all, everything in the field of the internet is about the customer experience. Offering more and more service to the customer, I think that that will be the key factor to success and staying ahead of the competition."


And in a popular webshop, can employees handle that workload?

“If a webshop has a lot of traffic, there are tools to divide the workload. Just like we already see with the reactive approach, there is the first-line and second-line service. So someone picks up the first line chat, and if the question is very specific or technical the second-line chat can take over. Things like that are all included in the platform. In addition, the platform is clearly arranged, so that you are with several people can chat at the same time without losing the overview."