Live chat
Rachel Alexander11 Mar 2020

Live chat vs email vs phone

Web design: Live chat vs email vs phone – which performs better?

Web design: Live chat vs email vs phone – which performs better?

It is said that only about 3% of people visiting your website are ready to take action.  What can you do to get more from the 97% of people who are further down the funnel?  Can your contact method make a difference?

Why don’t those 97% get in touch?  Many of them have an unanswered question, but don’t want to make a formal approach.  Email or phone calls are quite a formal expression of interest.  They are also not the main tool for communication used among younger generations. People will use whatever enquiry method is most convenient or that they are most comfortable with. 

I wondered: was our enquiry method – with email forms and phone numbers – out of date?  With the rise of Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp, SnapChat, quick messaging tools have become the norm for social communication.  Would using Live Chat increase the contacts from younger visitors?

For visitors aged up to 44 years old, Live Chat is actually their preferred method for online shopping queries:

Live Chat Study 1

Chat vs. Phone call

So is email on the way out?  This graph (from 2017) shows that even then, it was phone enquiry that was declining, while Live Chat was already a rising star:

Live Chat Study 2

Interactions by channel

Fast forward to Jan 2020 and now more than 41% of customers expect live chat on your website. For customers that visit your website on a mobile device, this number is as high as 50%.  

However, fewer than 9% of companies have Live Chat on their site. 

Although Live Chat has been around since the 1970’s, its popularity has seen a resurgence. It’s expected to continue to grow by as much as 87% in the next 12-18 months. The reason for this increased adoption is simple: more than half of all customers prefer to chat with someone in real-time and online, rather than call a company for support.

Live chat has become the leading digital contact method for online customers, as a staggering 46% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 29% for email, and 16% for social media. (source

Live Chat Study 3

We’ve found that roughly 50% of chats turn into jobs.  According to CrazyEgg 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they offer live chat support.    

Live chat leads to a 40% increase in conversion rate.

What is the expectation for response time through web chat?

The average response time for emails is 12 hours.  For social media, it’s 10 hours. By using live chat, your customers can get answers to their questions in two minutes.  If you’re online.

So what about when you’re not at your desk?  With the Chat software we’ve implemented on WordPress sites, you can have several people be notified re inbound chat enquiries.  You can get the app on your phone so you can check it when you’re away.  You can specify the hours for which you’re available for monitoring, and if you are away from your desk, it does prompt people to input an email address, so you can follow up shortly if you miss it.  Not everyone leaves an email, but I’d say around two thirds do.

You can also have multiple people answer chats in different departments (you pay by user by month). 

Automated customer support

One of the cool features, it that you can also set up chat bot that asks pre-defined questions e.g. Hi.  Are you interested today in [product A], [product B], or [something else]?  If they click product A, a different set of questions come up.  And if they click [something else], you can say, “would you like to speak with a human?”  Just finding someone….

So how much does it cost to implement Live Chat?

The Live Chat software we like and have tested for WordPress is NZD$113 per month, with about $1380 to cover our programmer’s to install and configure it, and support you to set up the autoreply messages.  Have a look at it on our site (it’s set to pop up after 60 seconds on our site).

Easy win

There’s no doubt that understanding your personas and customer journey, preparing blog content that caters for people who are not ready to take action, and setting up some kind of automation for nurturing them is a great way to address visitors that aren’t ready to take action just yet.  However, this is not a quick fix (we love doing these too if you need support). Live Chat is simple to implement.  Our programmers can do this on WordPress sites very quickly.

Other ways to improve engagement

One of the key strategies we’ve used in the past three years to get more leads or conversions from a [non-ecommerce] site is putting in an enquiry form at the bottom of product pages with a Click to Call number for mobile visitors or email enquiry form.  For most companies, email enquiries go up dramatically.  For some companies whose clients are more hands-on types, phone is still the go-to over email.  However, we’ve discovered that now, the majority of our enquiries are by Live Chat. I was inspired to try Live Chat after liaising with a UK door knob supplier.  After all, Live Chat offers instant gratification.

And who doesn’t like instant answers?

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