Four reasons why your website needs live chat

Lilach Bullock on Live chat,


As a consumer, what’s your take on live chat? You know the sort: you navigate to a website, typically an ecommerce store or a live casino, and like magic a pop-up window appears promising to resolve all your questions. Deposit limits; shipping information; the meaning of life – you name it, it’s all just a hastily scribbled sentence away, delivered courtesy of a faceless customer support operator on the other side of the world.

Website live chat

When you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time or willpower to trawl through a site map in search of the FAQ which may or may not hold the answer you’re seeking, live chat can be a godsend. At other times though, it can feel more like a distraction at best and at worst like a fly that won’t stop buzzing about. Unfortunately, taking a fly swatter or an aerosol to your laptop screen won’t eradicate it: like it or not, live chat is here to stay. The question, as a business owner, is whether you should resist live chat and everything it stands for or succumb and add your site to the ranks of the chat-enabled. Like every major (and minor) decision, there are pros and cons.

The attention economy

We’ll consider some of the most pressing arguments in favour of implementing live chat in a moment. But first, let’s take the time out to consider why live chat even exists in the first place. Why, in the current year, is this a thing? The short answer is that live chat exists to improve the visitor experience and with it increase the likelihood of converting that visitor into a paying customer. All this is true, but there’s another overarching reason why live chat is a thing and it all comes down to the attention economy.

If your eyes are glazing over just reading that phrase and starting to wander to that amusing GIF your mate just WhatsApped you, congratulations: you just became another victim of the attention economy. We live in an era of unprecedented choice in terms of who we shop with, who we date, which social platforms we hang out on and where we get our news from. This banquet of choice comes at a price however. Because we’re bombarded with marketing messages and information sources while browsing the web, our attention is pulled every which way.

Pop-under display ads, push notifications, flashing banners and in-browser alerts are all attempts by marketers to catch our attention before it strays to the next shiny thing seeking to distract us. To that long list of attention-grabbing devices, you can add live chat. Sure, that sounds cynical, and there’s a sound case for arguing that live web chat is much more than an attention-capturing widget. Nevertheless, when you boil it all down, that’s what you’re left with. Install live chat on your website and there’s a chance that you’ll engage with visitors more successfully than your competitors.

So that’s it then – live chat is an attention-seeking race to the bottom to see who can create the gaudiest and most infuriating browsing experience possible?

Absolutely not. Any element you choose to add to your site, be it a pop-up, a widget or a live chat box, needs to be implemented with UX in mind. If a chat window improves your conversion rate by 1% but sends the rest of your visitors scurrying away in disgust, it’s not a prudent investment as you’ve just alienated most of your potential future customers. The benefits of adding live chat need to weighed up against its disadvantages then. What sort of benefits are we talking about exactly? Let’s see, how about…

1. It helps the customer

If your business type is one in which a purchasing decision is prefaced by an information-gathering stage, live chat can be genuinely useful from the customer’s perspective. Naturally, you’ll need to have the resources to keep your chat facility staffed during business hours at the very least, but provided you’re in a position to allocate customer service resources in this manner, live chat can be extremely helpful.

Customers are often reticent to call a company, either because they fear having to navigate a labyrinth of menu options or because they don’t want to feel pressured when they’re not yet looking to buy. Live chat provides a more laidback environment in which site visitors can obtain answers quickly and easily with zero pressure and maximum convenience.

2. It improves your conversion rate

chat improves conversion rates

Let’s be honest, nice as it is to be able to help the customer, an investment such as live chat is made with an eye on your bottom line. If implementing this technology has no tangible effect on your conversion rate, you may find yourself questioning the decision and rightly so. Thankfully, the effects that live chat can yield as a conversion-boosting tool are well-documented and highly impressive.

Virgin Airlines, for example, reported conversion rates that were 350% greater compared with customers who didn’t use the live chat facility on their website. They also reported an average order value that was 15% higher in the case of live chat. Live chat isn’t a panacea that’s guaranteed to send your conversion rates to the moon, but when implemented seamlessly and used smartly, it’s a powerful customer engagement tool to have in your arsenal.

3. It provides a joined up picture of your customers’ needs

When you install live chat on your website and link it up to your CRM, beautiful things happen. For instance, you get a fuller picture of where your customers are at in the sales process and what they’re looking for. Returning customers can be identified and, with your support team armed with information regarding past purchases and queries, they’re well positioned to help ease that customer further along the sales funnel.

live chat for website

That’s the best thing about live chat: every time a customer interacts with it, it’s not a drain on your support team’s time – rather, it’s an added nugget of information that can be fed into your CRM. Then, using marketing automation, you can segment your customers based on their needs and send them targeted emails that will further pique their interest and nurture them. Upselling; cross-selling; reselling: you name it, it all becomes easier when you’ve got live chat providing a real-time insight into what first-time visitors and returning customers are looking for.

4. It gives you the edge over the competition

Okay, so you’re not going to be the first business in your sector to invest in live chat and you certainly won’t be the last. Nevertheless, any technology that can differentiate you from the competition and position your brand as being responsive, savvy and customer-centric has got to be welcomed.

So, live chat. After hearing all the evidence, what do you reckon – an unnecessary distraction or a valuable tool that could benefit your business, boosting revenue and strengthening customer relationships?

As a consumer, what’s your take on live chat? You know the sort: you navigate to a website, typically an ecommerce store or a live casino, and like magic a pop-up window appears promising to resolve all your questions. Deposit limits; shipping information; the meaning of life – you name it, it’s all just a hastily scribbled sentence away, delivered courtesy of a faceless customer support operator on the other side of the world.

Website live chat

When you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time or willpower to trawl through a site map in search of the FAQ which may or may not hold the answer you’re seeking, live chat can be a godsend. At other times though, it can feel more like a distraction at best and at worst like a fly that won’t stop buzzing about. Unfortunately, taking a fly swatter or an aerosol to your laptop screen won’t eradicate it: like it or not, live chat is here to stay. The question, as a business owner, is whether you should resist live chat and everything it stands for or succumb and add your site to the ranks of the chat-enabled. Like every major (and minor) decision, there are pros and cons.

The attention economy

We’ll consider some of the most pressing arguments in favour of implementing live chat in a moment. But first, let’s take the time out to consider why live chat even exists in the first place. Why, in the current year, is this a thing? The short answer is that live chat exists to improve the visitor experience and with it increase the likelihood of converting that visitor into a paying customer. All this is true, but there’s another overarching reason why live chat is a thing and it all comes down to the attention economy.

If your eyes are glazing over just reading that phrase and starting to wander to that amusing GIF your mate just WhatsApped you, congratulations: you just became another victim of the attention economy. We live in an era of unprecedented choice in terms of who we shop with, who we date, which social platforms we hang out on and where we get our news from. This banquet of choice comes at a price however. Because we’re bombarded with marketing messages and information sources while browsing the web, our attention is pulled every which way.

Pop-under display ads, push notifications, flashing banners and in-browser alerts are all attempts by marketers to catch our attention before it strays to the next shiny thing seeking to distract us. To that long list of attention-grabbing devices, you can add live chat. Sure, that sounds cynical, and there’s a sound case for arguing that live web chat is much more than an attention-capturing widget. Nevertheless, when you boil it all down, that’s what you’re left with. Install live chat on your website and there’s a chance that you’ll engage with visitors more successfully than your competitors.

So that’s it then – live chat is an attention-seeking race to the bottom to see who can create the gaudiest and most infuriating browsing experience possible?

Absolutely not. Any element you choose to add to your site, be it a pop-up, a widget or a live chat box, needs to be implemented with UX in mind. If a chat window improves your conversion rate by 1% but sends the rest of your visitors scurrying away in disgust, it’s not a prudent investment as you’ve just alienated most of your potential future customers. The benefits of adding live chat need to weighed up against its disadvantages then. What sort of benefits are we talking about exactly? Let’s see, how about…

1. It helps the customer

If your business type is one in which a purchasing decision is prefaced by an information-gathering stage, live chat can be genuinely useful from the customer’s perspective. Naturally, you’ll need to have the resources to keep your chat facility staffed during business hours at the very least, but provided you’re in a position to allocate customer service resources in this manner, live chat can be extremely helpful.

Customers are often reticent to call a company, either because they fear having to navigate a labyrinth of menu options or because they don’t want to feel pressured when they’re not yet looking to buy. Live chat provides a more laidback environment in which site visitors can obtain answers quickly and easily with zero pressure and maximum convenience.

2. It improves your conversion rate

chat improves conversion rates

Let’s be honest, nice as it is to be able to help the customer, an investment such as live chat is made with an eye on your bottom line. If implementing this technology has no tangible effect on your conversion rate, you may find yourself questioning the decision and rightly so. Thankfully, the effects that live chat can yield as a conversion-boosting tool are well-documented and highly impressive.

Virgin Airlines, for example, reported conversion rates that were 350% greater compared with customers who didn’t use the live chat facility on their website. They also reported an average order value that was 15% higher in the case of live chat. Live chat isn’t a panacea that’s guaranteed to send your conversion rates to the moon, but when implemented seamlessly and used smartly, it’s a powerful customer engagement tool to have in your arsenal.

3. It provides a joined up picture of your customers’ needs

When you install live chat on your website and link it up to your CRM, beautiful things happen. For instance, you get a fuller picture of where your customers are at in the sales process and what they’re looking for. Returning customers can be identified and, with your support team armed with information regarding past purchases and queries, they’re well positioned to help ease that customer further along the sales funnel.

live chat for website

That’s the best thing about live chat: every time a customer interacts with it, it’s not a drain on your support team’s time – rather, it’s an added nugget of information that can be fed into your CRM. Then, using marketing automation, you can segment your customers based on their needs and send them targeted emails that will further pique their interest and nurture them. Upselling; cross-selling; reselling: you name it, it all becomes easier when you’ve got live chat providing a real-time insight into what first-time visitors and returning customers are looking for.

4. It gives you the edge over the competition

Okay, so you’re not going to be the first business in your sector to invest in live chat and you certainly won’t be the last. Nevertheless, any technology that can differentiate you from the competition and position your brand as being responsive, savvy and customer-centric has got to be welcomed.

So, live chat. After hearing all the evidence, what do you reckon – an unnecessary distraction or a valuable tool that could benefit your business, boosting revenue and strengthening customer relationships?

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Lilach Bullock
Professional Speaker, Lead Conversion Expert, Social Media Specialist & Occasional Diva. Proud mum
UK https://www.lilachbullock.com/