How live chat on your website can improve conversions

April 12th, 2016
How live chat on your website can improve conversions

When customers are shopping in a store, they can turn to an attendant to get the information they need about a product in order to make a purchasing decision. Online shoppers need the same care and assistance and livechat provides it. With this facility, customers can ask a question and get an answer right away.

Before chat was introduced, customers would waste time making calls to a call center that would put them on hold for long periods. The other options were to dial a 1-800 number or to navigate through a maze of numeric options of pressing this and that digit to access the required service.

Live chat improves conversions in five ways;

    1) In a study carried out by Forrester Research...
    Finds out how to make proactive chat work, 44% of online consumers who had their questions answered when they were buying something online said that it was the most helpful feature on the website. Another study done by ATG Global Consumer Trend established that 90% of consumers found chat helpful, and one by emarketer.com found that 63% of shoppers were more likely to go back and shop if a website had chat.

    2) Chat reduces expenses by eliminating employee task time and call center phone expenses.
    Average interaction costs also go down because chat representatives can handle more than one chat at a time reducing the number of representatives required.

    3) Chat increases sales.
    A Forbes magazine article reported that in 2008, chat worked to leverage the Wells Fargo sales with a double-digit increase thanks to high customer satisfaction scores. Immediate response improved sales, and cases of customers bouncing away to alternative sites were greatly reduced.

    4) Chat gives you a competitive edge.
    Surprisingly, a lot of leading retailers do not offer chat as TELUS International found out in a study. Those who do, have a competitive advantage over their competitors by providing instant support and assistance to their consumers.

    5) Chat gives you helpful feedback.
    If you keep getting the same questions, then you know you need to give more information about a certain aspect of a product. These pain points or weaknesses can guide you through building a better website that gives required information. Keeping issues on a private chat with a customer rather than social media is also a great way to handle any complains or questions.

Tread carefully

Chat does improve conversions. However, it can hinder rather than help if a website outperforms a live chat agent. For instance, a homepage may have a high conversion rate but not the contact us, about us or pricing pages which may not be converting well.

You can get it right by;

    1) Creating a list of every main page on your site that customers are most likely to go to such as the about us page.

    2) Finding out the conversion rate for every one of these pages and dividing the conversions between those that come in during hours and those that come afterwards.

    3) Finding out the average time taken to complete a query form and to submit it.

This information can be found on apps like Formisimo and through Google Analytics.
Depending on the findings...

  • Don't use chat until your website has a conversion rate of 5% or higher.
  • Delay the introduction of chat if the website conversion rate is 2 to 5%.
  • Launch chat if the website has a conversion rate of less than 2%.

Making the most of chat, the following tips will help you make the most of chat;

  • Train your chat representatives by ensuring they understand your products well and the way your website is structured. This will ensure they have answers to customers queries ready.
  • Keep shopping hours in mind. Make use of analytics tools to determine when you get the highest number of visitors and factor in time differences in all the areas where you are targeting customers.
  • Be flexible and make customers feel like they are dealing with someone on the other end rather than a robot.
  • Hire people with sales experience for the benefit of their experience in nudging customers towards making a sale.
  • Boost your presence on social media by urging your representatives to remind customers to comment on your social media pages and share to bolster your marketing efforts.
  • Be ready for a surge in chat volume. Train representatives to deal with customers quickly but without rushing them and to deal with more than one customer at a time.
  • Add helpful features for your customers like increasing font size and saving a transcript of the chat.

Rise and rise

Chat is becoming more and more popular everyday. In the 2015 holiday season when Cyber Monday was on, LivePerson, a chat services company played host to over 860,000 chats for the 8,500 retail and business clients it serves. Chat is soon expected to be introduced on mobile devices as responsive web design is developed.

When used strategically, live chat will improve the experiences customers have on your website, which will make for more conversions and greater brand loyalty.


17 SEO myths you should leave behind

Dispel the mistruths and find out what you really need to know about SEO

Download your free copy


Tim Kelsey

Tim Kelsey

As the Director of Client Marketing Services at Pronto, Tim works closely with our clients to help them build and strengthen their online presence through a wide range of digital marketing channels.