Live chat is supposed to help you drive sales. But done poorly, it can absolutely kill your conversion rates.
Why? People that would’ve bought without chat have a poor chat experience, interrupt their buying flow, and leave. You’d be better off not having chat.
We run 24/7 live chat teams for 100+ stores and takeover live chat from in house CS teams all the time. As part of that process, we constantly see conversion rates go up… but it’s not always because we’re doing something magical in the chat.
Part of the growth is because we’re eliminating live chat mistakes that were killing conversion rates.
I’ll walk through a few common live chat mistakes that stores make when they don’t think through the entire strategy of live chat and how you can avoid them.
Using Pre Chat Forms
Most chat software defaults to getting name and email from a visitor before they can chat. While this is nice to have, it’s a layer of friction at the start of the chat that stops some visitors from chatting.
Rather than doing this upfront, get the info during the conversation in a natural way. The chat rate will be higher, which is a good thing since people you chat with will convert 4-10X higher than visitors that don’t chat (if you track it).
Tricking Visitors Into Giving You Their Email
Similar to the pre chat form issue above, some sites allow visitors to start a chat by typing their question. Then they show a message asking for their email and saying they’ll respond in a few hours. OR, they say “in case we get disconnected, what’s your email”.
Either way, the visitor thought this was a live chat experience and now it’s turning into a leadgen form. Not good.
Not Using Proactive Invites Correctly (Or Not At All)
If you configure the timing of your chat invites right (based on browsing activity etc.), you should get around 60-70% of your chats from invites.
Many stores configure nearly instant invites (i.e. 10s on site, 10s on certain page, etc.). This turns the chat into an interruption. Not only does it bring down chat volume, but it interrupts the buying flow for visitors and will drop conversion rate.
Not Having Chat in Checkout
In Shopify Plus, you have to add chat to the website AND the checkout (separately). If you don’t add chat to checkout, it does 2 things that hurt conversions:
- First, if someone is chatting and then moves into the checkout, the chat box disappears mid conversation. Super frustrating.
- Second, if someone is in the checkout and has a question, they won’t be able to click to chat (and you can’t invite them to chat). Both big missed opportunities.
The Takeaway? Get Chat Right (or Turn It Off)
If you do chat poorly, it will bring down over-all conversion rate. It’s not like other marketing tactics that simply “don’t work”. Chat, done poorly, kills conversion rate.
Hope this helps you have a better chat experience on your site.
Questions about specifics? Happy to dig into the details on a Strategy Call. We run 24/7 live chat teams for 100+ stores and can get pretty deep into the weeds on tactics if you have questions. Even if we do not work together, you’ll get a ton of value from strategizing on the call together. Book a time that works for you by clicking below. Always happy to help!
Jon Tucker is CEO of HelpFlow, a provider of 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for 100+ eCommerce stores. Launched in 2015, their team of agents has produced nearly $100M in chat revenue for a wide range of stores using a conversion-focused approach to live chat.
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