When you first install live chat on your website you have high expectations. This post will try to explain what you should expect in reality from live chat and why.
You’d be surprised to learn that the average ratio of visitors using live chat is very low, less than 4%! Surprised? Well, it is a reality. Moreover, if after installing live chat on your website you see higher than 5% daily unique visitors starting a live chat session with your operators – your website got a problem! It is either too confusing or simply does not look trustworthy.
You may say: “It is impossible! I see people texting on their cell phones all the time, people do not call anymore, they do not speak, they want to text, tweet, chat! Live chat is king right now! How is this possible, only 4%???”
Well, the reality is that even though live chat is extremely powerful and convenient, it is still, time-consuming. Let’s consider the steps one should take to get an answer via live chat:
- Click on the chat button and wait for the chat window to load. (2 sec)
- Fill out the info required to connect (30 sec)
- Wait to be connected (30 sec)
- Type a question (30 sec)
- Wait for an answer (30 sec)
- Hopefully receive the needed answer on the first try and thank operator (10 sec)
Let’s stop here and add the time needed to get the answer via live chat: over 2 minutes, in case the answer to your question is received after the original question, most of the time it is not.
“So 2 minutes is great”, some will say. And i will agree, 2 minutes is wonderful, way better and shorter than traditional phone call, yet still 2 minutes plus the effort required to connect and type questions for majority of people will be too much. Also due to a lot of websites being sloppy with their live chat communication lines, leaving chat open when there is no one on the other end covering chat, some people are now extremely sceptical when they see live chat button on the website wondering if there is someone actually there waiting for the call.
This post is in no way intended to diminish the value of live chat, this is a simple insight into the ratio of visitors actually using it.
Now, with this being said, i also believe that this ratio will dramatically increase in the near future due to most of live chat providers releasing simpler, more friendly and better quality tools for operators and customers to be able to connect faster and more reliable. Such tools as auto-suggest helping customers complete a sentence while in chat and other are being released to ease and justify further the use of live chat. I personally predict that Live Chat will be the must-have tool for every website within 3 years from the date of this post, i also believe that sooner or later VoIP and video over IP will finally make its way to the web which will become the next tool to have on your website.
I would also like to add that as it stands now, the most popular and convenient tool customer do like to use is simple self-help knowledge or in another word “Search”. Customers would like to search knowledge base of answers and get answers immediately without talking or chatting with website support staff. So definitely consider having a simple to use and up to date SEARCHABLE knowledge base system available on your website.