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Proactive live chat survey results

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday May 8, 2010 )

A recent survey on consumer reactions to live chat software revealed some interesting statistics about proactive chat invitations.

The survey of 1000 online shoppers was run by Bold Software, providers of the BoldChat live chat software as a service (SaaS) application.

The survey found that while 52% of those surveyed were receptive to receiving proactive chat invitations, that is, invitations instigated by the merchant, the median percentage of website visitors that actually accept proactive chat invitations is 6 percent.

While it doesn’t sound like a lot, proactive chat invitations are usually automatic – there’s no work on the part of the merchant to issue them, only when the visitor requests a chat. When visitors do, the survey found chatters that engage via proactive chats will convert at 6.3 times the rate of visitors who do not.

Those who are most resistant to proactive chat invitations tend to be older folks, which is understandable. I remember when proactive chat features first started popping up on sites I visited, I hated it and usually backed away from the site. However, like most other new and seemingly invasive features on web sites, I soon became used to them and actually started to utilize those invitations.

There’s no doubt live chat software can boost your online sales, whether using proactive chat features or not, but the success or failure is often down to the live chat operator.

Often merchants who outsource live chat operators in order to cut costs do themselves a disservice. The operator is pretty much the front line of your business and if they can’t type quickly, use horrid spelling and grammar and/or are just generally clueless about your company and products, it will do more harm than good.

The other issue is when to issue the chat invitation. Bold Chat says visitors invited after being on site for 2 to 3 minutes have a 79% greater chance of accepting invitations, but that merchants should also look at their own statistics to gauge the best time to do so. Too soon can be too pushy, too late and the visitor is already gone.

Learn more about live chat software and live chat etiquette, plus pick up some tips for avoiding live chat pitfalls in your online business


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