Live Chat: Yes or No? An Answer from Google Analytics

On its own, live chat software is an inexpensive solution. The real costs from implementing this support channel come from the people involved in providing customer support. Deciding whether or not live chat is worth the investment should depend on its ability to increase revenues up to a level where they exceed the value you will pay for your service operators.

Whether or not your website needs live chat can be roughly estimated by looking at your existing website metrics. Take a look at the following metrics of your website to decide whether, and if so, where and how live chat should be implemented.

Unique Visitors

There is a minimum daily traffic above which it pays off to implement live chat. On average the percentage of web visitors engaging in live chat interaction balances around 10%. As a rule of thumb we have at Userlike, a website should attract at least 200 daily unique visitors to justify providing this support channel. On this level the support employee will still have a ‘multi-task’ job, but it’s enough to keep the chat open and running.

However this 200 is not an absolute value, as what might be even more important is the complexity of your product, or the amount of information customers need to access before making a purchase. In general terms, the more complex your website, product or service, the more you will benefit from implementing live chat support. That’s why you’ll find live chat on the websites of almost all electronics shops and software providers.


Bounce Rate

According to GoogleBounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

What is an acceptable bounce rate depends highly on the type of page you measure and the industry you are in. For blog pages, for example, bounce rates above 90% are standard (people reading the post and leaving). From previous posts we know that maximum 15% of you will click through to our main page, but that's ok :)

You can benchmark your bounce rates across industry players. Check out this Kissmetrics Infographic for example for industry related bounce rates, or take a look at this Conversion Voodoo article which points average bounce rates for each website type.

Now the relevance to live chat: Pages with high bounce rates tend to benefit greatly from an implementation. If your bounce rate values are significantly lower than industry averages for those types of pages, implementing live chat can help you directly reduce and figure out what’s wrong.

Exit Rate

Sometimes confused with Bounce rate, a website’s exit rate shows you how a certain page is leading visitors to leave your website when they visited one or more pages before. Numerically, it’s the number of times that page x was the last page viewed in a session, divided by the total page views for page x.

As Website Optimizers point out, the Exit Rate gives you an indication of the “leakage” - what pages are in fact causing people to fall off your website.

Looking at Exit Rates by themselves (without any context of visitor flow) is meaningless. As an example, if your ‘checkout complete’ page has an exit rate close to 100%, there’s no need to freak out; your visitors have to leave sometime, right? However, if your exit rate is high for a page in the middle of your checkout process, this is a problem.

If your page shows an abnormal exit rate you should consider adding live chat. Either the high exit rate derives from a question or worry being unanswered, or a technical issue preventing visitors from continuing. In both cases your visitors can resort to the chat to communicate the issue. If the page happens to be one of the Checkout Pages then it’s almost always worthwhile to implement live chat to assist customers in rounding up the transaction.


Visitor Flow

The Visitor Flow gives you a visual presentation of the Bounce Rate and Exit Rates across your website, as well as the general entry points and paths taken by your visitors.

Google Support Channel listed some of the possibilities you can withdraw from this diagram. One of them, is the analysing the relative volume of pageviews per page or collection and the next steps people follow after visiting such pages.

If you conclude that there might be an unusual flow, or you would like to redirect users path, the implementation of live chat support on such pages can help you understand and influence the the visitor flow.


Average Time on Page

This relates more to the ‘How’ of live chat implementation. When you dig into Site Content, and All Pages inside Google Analytics, you can see per page the average time visitors spend on it. Imagine that on your checkout page the average time a visitor spends on it is 2:00 minutes. If a visitor spends more than 2:30 minutes, this could indicate that he or she is having a problem or question. By setting a proactive chat to trigger after 2:30 minutes, you offer help before frustration sets in to make the visitor leave.

So go through your website’s analytics tool today to check whether your website could use live chat and where you’d implement it. We have set up a step-by-step guide of how to successfully implement Userlike live chat in your website in no time, no credit card required.

If you have any further questions or opinions you would like to share with us, feel free to use the comment section below!