Can Live Chat on a Website Help Increase Conversion Rate?

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Today’s Internet searchers expect instantaneous service. If a business isn’t prepared to respond to searcher’s needs immediately, they’re likely to find a business that is. And most of the time, it’s not even personal; it’s just a fact.

If you want to keep up with competition, or better yet – blow them out of the water – you need a system in place to keep your website visitors from wandering away from your site. And, the longer they stay on your site, the more likely they are to convert.
Did you know that, according to Marketo, “96% of visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to buy quite yet?” Is live chat the answer to nurturing your leads each time they visit your site to consider making a purchase? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Live Chat

While live chat pop-ups can sometimes be distracting, and even frustrating to us as users, they do serve a valid purpose. But are the benefits worth the disruption they cause?

  • PRO: Live Chat Provides a Friendly Greeting

When you visit a website without a live chat feature, it’s almost like entering a store without being greeted by a sales associate. While some people may prefer to shop without being acknowledged by a friendly sales associate, it’s always nice to know there’s someone there if we need them. Live-Chat-4

Live chat functionality provides a way to greet customers as soon as they land on your site. Whether they need assistance or not, the live chat application shows visitors that there is someone there to help them if they need it.

  • CON: Live Chat Creates a Shopping Interruption/Distraction

While live chat features can be helpful to consumers, it also creates an undeniable interruption and distraction. When help is warranted or needed, we are more accepting of interruptions, but what about when a customer is trying to figure out something on their own?

Imagine that a potential customer is in the middle of reading about a product, just about to click on a call-to-action, or otherwise navigating your website, when they are interrupted by a live chat pop-up. This could deter them from continuing with the action they are in the process of making or lead them away from your website altogether.

  • CON: Live Chat is Less Personal than Audio

While live chat does allow you to connect with someone during your shopping visit, the lack of audio that exists on a phone call or during an in-person conversation does make it feel a little less personal. It can be difficult to get a sense of someone’s personality or any sort of warmth through digital conversation. For consumers looking for something more personal, live chat doesn’t quite cut it.

  • PRO: Live Chat is Convenient

Today’s consumers are multitaskers. Live chat allows visitors to browse information and services, while also having a conversation with a live representative. Live chat also eliminates the need to dial an 800 number and wait on hold to speak with a live person. Today’s consumers don’t have the time or patience to do one thing at a time, and live chat provides the perfect solution for that.

Consumers Like Live Chat

What matters most is what consumers have to say about live chat, and the actions they take when live chat is presented. And, statistics show that consumers actually like live chat.

In fact, according to a study by Forrester Research, “44% of US online consumers said they liked getting a chat invitation during research or a purchase.” And, according to Zendesk’s Benchmark Report, “92 percent of all chat support interactions result in a satisfied customer.”

The Verdict

A recent study by ApexChat about the effect of live chat on conversion rates indicated that it could “increase online leads by an average of 40 percent.” Why?

Live chat offers salespeople with a unique tool for communicating on a more personal level with consumers, in a way that is far less intimidating than being approached by a live, physical salesperson. It provides endless possibilities for guiding potential customers through the buyer’s journey and converting them into profitable leads.

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