Bold Software’s Annual Post-Holiday Customer Research Reveals Live Chat’s Increasing Importance for Achieving Competitive Advantage

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Besides Chat’s Ability to Drive High Conversion Rates, Respondents Also Rely on Chat Transcripts to Identify Website Improvements

Bold Software surveyed more than 200 of its customers about their experiences with live chat over the holidays, and 77 percent cited the customer communications channel as critical (up 8 percentage points from last year), with 34 percent saying it was very or extremely critical.

These results further demonstrate that live chat is a highly effective communication channel that facilitates meaningful engagements between people, bolstering both sales and service efforts as a result.

Bold Software, a leading provider of world-class web communication tools including live chat software, today announced the findings from its fourth annual post-holiday research. Bold Software surveyed more than 200 of its customers about their experiences with live chat over the holidays, and 77 percent cited the customer communications channel as critical (up 8 percentage points from last year), with 34 percent saying it was very or extremely critical.

In addition, 23 percent of the e-commerce sites surveyed said that of those customers that engaged with them in a live chat, more than 40 percent converted to an active lead or sale, while 54 percent reported a conversion rate of 20 percent or more. And for those who used proactive chat over the holidays, 55 percent said that it yielded higher conversion rates than chats initiated by the website visitor.

“The surveys we conduct annually continue to validate the increasing benefits that live chat delivers to businesses and their customers and prospects,” said Steve Castro-Miller, president and CEO of Bold Software. “These results further demonstrate that live chat is a highly effective communication channel that facilitates meaningful engagements between people, bolstering both sales and service efforts as a result.”

Research Highlights
Conducted in January 2011, Bold Software queried more than 200 customers about their experiences with live chat during the recent holiday shopping season.

  •     77 percent cited live chat as critical (up 8 percentage points from 2010), with 34 percent saying it was “very critical” or “extremely critical.”
  •     For larger implementations (10 licenses or more), 84 percent said live chat was “critical,” and 44 percent cited live chat as “very critical” or “extremely critical.”
  •     58 percent of respondents said that live chat was more critical to their business in 2010 than the year prior, with 63 percent of larger customers noting that. In addition, 68 percent of e-commerce businesses stated that live chat was more critical to their business in 2010 than in 2009.
  •     Of the e-commerce sites surveyed, 23 percent said that they experienced a conversion rate among chatters of 40 percent or greater while 54 percent reported a conversion rate of 20 percent or more.
  •     69 percent of respondents noted that live chat enabled them to deliver quality service in a cost-effective manner, up five percentage points from last year.
  •     The majority (60 percent) cited live chat as a competitive advantage for them.

Respondents also ranked the activities that their companies are engaging in following the shopping season, and number one was reviewing chat transcripts to identify possible website improvements. This was followed by running reports to investigate key performance metrics and reviewing canned messages for accuracy/cleanup.

“We feel these initiatives are critically important as companies begin planning for the 2011 holiday shopping season,” continued Castro-Miller. “They enable businesses to be more effective in their communication with customers and prospects via their website.”

Proactive Chat Findings
With regards to companies that leverage proactive, invitation-driven chat to communicate with customers and prospects:

  •     55 percent of respondents said that proactive chat yielded higher conversion rates than chats initiated by the website visitor.
  •     98 percent noted that proactive chat done well can be a competitive advantage.
  •     79 percent stated that visitors who accept proactive invites have positively commented on the feature.

Website Design & Usability 2011 Conference
From February 14-16, 2011, Bold Software will be at Internet Retailer’s Website Design and Usability 2011 Conference at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida. Stop by booth 322 to discuss the survey findings in more detail and learn about Bold Software and its offerings.

About Bold Software:
Bold Software LLC, is a leading provider of world-class web communication tools designed to help businesses improve online support and increase sales. Using Bold Software’s live chat, click-to-call, email management, and active co-browsing tools, businesses can quickly and effectively engage visitors on their website. Bold Software sells a wide variety of competitively-priced products under the BoldChat, BoldCall, and BoldCCM brand names. Businesses of all sizes - from small proprietorships to large ecommerce enterprises – can provide more intelligent online customer interactions and close more sales using Bold Software solutions. The company is headquartered in Wichita, KS, with thousands of customers around the world including 3M, American Cancer Society, Corel, Dean & DeLuca, and ViewSonic. For more information about Bold Software, go to http://www.BoldSoftware.com or call 1-866-753-9933.

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