Live Chat’s Effect on ROI

Written by  August 26, 2008

It’s been reported for some time now that adding an attended (as opposed to always “offline”) live chat to a website can help increase sales.

Live chat address many buyer needs from customer assurance elements (they understand that there is actually a real person behind the site) to instant help ability which can answer questions and save a sale that would have otherwise been lost.

Forrester Consulting just released a new study on the benefits of adopting an interactive chat strategy.

The report specifically discussed the use of Live Person as the system of choice, but there is a great open source free option as well called Crafty Syntax which works equally well if you have the skills to get it in place.

If you want to read the whole study, the full report can be downloaded for free from here.

Some key findings presented in the study include:

  • 305% ROI from proactive sales chat with a payback period of 6 months (when using paid chat services)
  • 120% ROI from customer service chat with a payback period of 6 months (when using paid chat services)
  • Chat assisted application completion rates 138% higher than self service
  • 59% call deflection rate

So if you haven’t already implemented a live chat solution on your website it might be time to consider that as an option. Just make sure if you do decide to put a chat strategy in place you actually use it. Keep someone behind the “desk” and keep the chat “online”. It does you no good to implement a live chat solution that is always offline.

If you’ve tried live chat on your site and can measure its effectiveness let me know what effect it had. It’s always nice to hear one way or the other real world examples from store owner experiences.

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3 Responses to “Live Chat’s Effect on ROI”

  1. Ahmad Rahman on August 26th, 2008 9:00 pm

    I agree 100% with making sure the live chat is “online” vs. always “offline”. I have seen a few clients who opt to get the service but then do not “monitor” the chat and thus see it go to waste.

    What method do you suggest to measure results ?

    What do you recommend as a strategy for pro-active chats (i.e. after 2 minutes of browsing, or after 4 pages browsed) ? I understand this is dependant on the content of the site, but is there a “general” rule you would recommend ?

  2. Eric Leuenberger on August 27th, 2008 12:29 pm

    I find the best way to currently measure results is to first mark the date and time down of when the live chat app was activated on the site.

    Don’t make a lot of changes other than that for testing (or you won’t know which element caused the increase or decrease in conversion.)

    Now watch your stats to determine what if any effect the addition of live chat had to your store. You may even want to test the location and image shown of the live chat icon to find which placement works best. This is always a good idea as well.

    I personally do not like the strategy of “in your face” pro-active chats after a certain time period on the site. I have heard users that test these various methods and find that they “time frame to contact” is different for each site / market. All with different results.

    I opt for the following strategy personally for live chat and feel it is still very pro-active, yet very selective.

    1) Let the users come to you with the questions. This is not a “in your face” pro-active, but providing the live chat icon is in a prominent location and within reach, they will use it.

    2) If you want to contact them first then don’t set a timeframe on when to do that. Rather, pick a point or location at which you will contact them in conjunction with how long they have been there.

    Instances where I feel this would work would be during checkout if a user sites for over 5 minutes at one location (especially during the deeper stages of the checkout.) It may also come in handy to contact them after they get an “error” such as “card declined” etc… on the site. They may be having trouble getting the info they need to get out the door.

    The second method involves time though (you must actively watch and pay attention to your visitors at certain points in the site.)

    Like live chat “limits phone calls”, the same can be said for proper placement of customer assurances that aim to answer questions at precisely the time that most customers ask. I’ve written a few articles on this topic in the past, one of which may be of interest to you.

    Do You Answer Questions Before Your Customers Ask Them?

    In the end, I feel that combining proper placement of customer assurances with live chat, you could have a combination that will work well for your store without needing to always be “in their face”.

  3. kirk smith on December 13th, 2009 11:45 am live chat operators are taking care of my website’s visitors. they act as appointment-setters and arrange viewings and notify me real-time by sending text alerts to my cellphone using an online synchronized calendar. billing starts from just 6 cents per minute, unlimited live chat operators.

    i noticed an increased sales conversion rate of 20% after signing up with them.

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