Fear of Proactive Chat Unfounded According to Research by Bold Software

Majority of Retail Shoppers View Proactive Chats as Helpful

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Fear of Proactive Chat Unfounded According to Research by Bold Software

It’s not uncommon for us to hear from retailers a belief that adding proactive chat invitations will be intrusive to the online shopping experience for their visitors...the quantitative data found proactive chat was a help to shoppers.

Wichita, KS, (PRWEB) May 4, 2010

Bold Software recently announced the second annual release of a report detailing the industry’s most comprehensive research on the effectiveness of live chat technology. That study, combined with the company’s recent benchmarking analysis, shows that not only does proactive chat increase conversion likelihood, but that a majority of website visitors find invitations helpful. 52 percent of the online shoppers participating in the survey were receptive to receiving proactive chat invitations during their shopping experience. For those who reported spending in excess of $150 per average transaction, 72% were receptive.

“This is our second year taking a granular look at live chat effectiveness, and we wanted to provide ecommerce sites with specifics around proactive chat,” said Bold Software President and CEO Steve Castro-Miller. “It’s not uncommon for us to hear from retailers a belief that adding proactive chat invitations will be intrusive to the online shopping experience for their visitors. We had an opportunity through our research to add the shoppers’ perspective on things. In line with the qualitative data we know about our live chat customers in particular, the quantitative data also found proactive chat was a help to shoppers. Beyond that, the data showed us some powerful details around proactive chat best practices that we can use to counsel customers.”

Proactive Chat Findings
The primary research project coupled with the benchmarking analysis reveal some compelling facts about proactive chat:

  •     The median percentage of website visitors that accept proactive chat invitations is six percent.
  •     Proactive chat increases chat volume by between ~40 and ~100 percent.
  •     Chatters that engage via proactive chats will convert at 6.3 times the rate of visitors who do not chat.
  •     52% of those surveyed were receptive to receiving proactive chat invitations.
  •     60% of those who’ve engaged in a live chat interaction before were receptive.
  •     72% of those whose average online transaction is greater than $150 were receptive.
  •     Those who were not receptive were statistically more likely to be older with lower household incomes.

Best Practices for Proactive Chat
The two research efforts yielded several implementation best practices including:

  •     E-tailers should consider adding proactive chat to high-value pages of their site because those that spend more tend to be more receptive.
  •     Combining offers (e.g., free shipping) with proactive chat is a successful way to engage visitors who’ve never chatted before. These two methods were top choices among the “non-chatting” population surveyed.
  •     Certain types of retailers such as jewelry, office supplies, and sporting goods likely have shoppers who are demographically and behaviorally more prone to be receptive to proactive chat.
  •     WHEN to invite visitors is critical. Visitors invited after being on site for 2 to 3 minutes have a 79% greater chance of accepting invitations, for example. Therefore, retailers should think not in terms of time on page alone, but also:
o    Total page views
o    Length of time on site
o    Number of previously viewed pages
o    Number of previous site visits

E-tailer Take on Proactive Chat
The research report’s findings are borne out by the companies that successfully employ proactive chat.

Boston Green Goods, an Internet Retailer Top 500 company, has been in business for 12 years and owns a portfolio of healthy living catalog and internet web properties. AllergyBuyersClub.com is the flagship division of the company focusing on allergy relief and healthy home products. “We started using proactive chat in 2005, making the switch to BoldChat’s proactive chat offering in 2007, and it works well for us,” said Boston Green Goods Chief Operations Officer Robert Scott. “When people visit our sites, they’re using the site to do shopping comparisons or delve into product evaluations. And proactive chat feeds into this. Our goal is not to pressure people, but to educate and add value. People welcome that. Our hands on approach enables us to take the customer experience to the next level – providing better service and more valuable information.”

Richard Gladstone, co-founder of Applause Theatre & Entertainment Service, implemented proactive chat at the same time they signed on with BoldChat, which was more than three years ago. “We undoubtedly see the benefits of proactive chat with shoppers researching Broadway tickets,” stated Gladstone. “It enables us to grab the attention of a potential customer who might have moved to another site. Once we’ve got their attention and they realize they’re dealing with a live person at the other end of the chat, they’re very engaged. Shoppers find the little details we can provide them, such as theatre addresses, parking options and nearby hotels, to be incredibly helpful. Proactive chat showcases our focus on customer service and our intimate knowledge of the Broadway experience, which builds customer loyalty for us.”

About Live Chat Effectiveness II
In January 2010, Bold Software funded a blind survey of more than 1,000 regular, U.S.-based internet shoppers using an opt-in, third party panel. To learn more, download the full live chat research report.

About Live Chat Performance Benchmarks
In late 2009, Bold Software completed a thorough analysis using the aggregated results of its hosted customer base. The result was over 20 live chat benchmarks and ranges. To learn more, download the full live chat benchmark report.

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.BoldSoft.com or call 1-866-753-9933.

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