Software Advice Research: What Website Visitors Use Live Chat?

Despite widespread agreement on the general advantages of live chat , a question we frequently get reads: “Is live chat a suitable contact channel for my target group and website visitors?”. It might not exactly come as a stunner that we answer “Of course!”. However, many a time our mere enthusiasm is not convincing enough. That's when some striking numbers come in handy: An authoritative research by the help desk tech reviews website now gives interesting insight into the preferences of different target groups for contact channels.

bar chart Live Chat usage division from sample

"The most effective customer service is designed to reduce effort at all stages of the customer journey — not just after a sale or when problems arise. To provide this kind of service, however, companies must not only understand the questions customers have at each stage, but be there to offer answers."

Far more eye-opening than the general appreciation of live chat though, is the finding that the age of the customer is the variable most closely correlated with usage of live chat as opposed to reaching out by phone- or email. As a predictor, age beats income, gender, geographic location and other demographic variables. In other words: the best way to anticipate the benefits of implementing live chat as a customer service channel is to look at the age of those who surf your page.

bar chart Live Chat usage intensity by age

This is not about ignoring your other customers, but meeting your visitors on their preferred communication channel when they are seeking assistance. If you happen to serve a younger group of customers, it's likely that you'll be successful garnishing your customer support with a live chat option.

The Predictive Power of Question Types

Other numbers from call attention to the predictive power of the type of query. A simple issue is most likely to be solved in a brief and equally simple reply. Same applies just the other way around for prickly issues. It can be crucial to review if and where on your page visitors could come up with which kind of questions.

bar chart type of queries and preference phone or Live Chat

When customers have to figure out a complicated matter, e.g. of a financial nature, they are much more likely to prefer to talk it over on the phone. In simple queries or shopping advice, live chat is a much more prominent solution. This is an interesting finding for companies when looking at the arguably higher efficiency of Live Chat on their side of the screen, compared to the employee-needy one-on-one of phone-support. The results show that a tendency towards or away from live chat depending on the type of question a customer has, is still moderated but not dominated by his or her age.

Here are several examples for queries, which are commonly communicated via live chat:

  • Quick price inquiries for products or services
  • Information about the appearance, colour etc. of a product
  • Questions about the availability of an item
  • Information about the further process
  • Updating contact information
bar chart of preference for Live Chat for simple queries per age group

On product pages, or even more generally, in the actual act of shopping online, that is the moment when your customers can and want to be met at eye level. Since they are already online, why make them type a number on their phone or leave your page to send an email? For the solid majority of questions a context-tailoured chat system with, for example, customized response-triggers, will let you help your visitors quick and easy.

Why Customers Prefer Live Chat

The concluding chart indicates just how efficient customer support can be when targeting the personal motivations of visitors. These are dominated by an interest to relieve the amount of effort required in order to purchase the desired item or service. Needless to say that while substituting “purchase” by “sell” this is a goal just as much worth pursuing for the vendor.

bar graph with reasons for Live Chat per age group

General convenience as a separate item and convenience by means of preventing time in a waiting line is something users enjoy in live chat. Also, getting an email-transcript, which means including email support's advantages in terms of reliability, is a notable upside. The same applies to the option to multitask, another mutual benefit for visitor and host.

About Userlike

Userlike is live chat software for websites, allowing companies to chat with their (potential) customers directly over the website. Look here for more information.