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Impact of Proactive Chat on Chat Volume and Sales

January 24, 2012 Jim Iyoob

What is Proactive Chat?

Proactive chat is when a website visitor is invited to engage in a chat conversation either through manual means or the use of an automated rules engine. These chat invitations can be triggered either manually or automatically, and the form of the invitation itself can vary widely. Invitations are generally in the form of a pop-up window and triggered by a variety of pre-determined criteria ranging from abandoned shopping carts to a set of page views, to the appearance of high-value customers.

Impact of Proactive Chat on Chat Volume and Sales

Before deployment of a proactive invitation solution, a company should ensure they have chosen a technology that provides enough control to alter key proactive triggers (like timing) and doesn’t completely take over a web-page, forcing the visitor to stop what they are doing.

Our experience with Fortune 500 customers reveals some of these facts:

  • Proactive chat acceptance rate can vary from 6 – 22%.
  • Repeat visitors are, on average, 10% more likely to ac¬cept proactive invitations and take help from reactive chat if required.
  • On average, visitors that engage through proactive chat are more likely to purchase than visitors who do not chat.
  • Proactive chat implementation is most likely to increase the chat volume by 40%.

Bold Chat software conducted a survey and asked consumers to rate their reaction to being proactively invited on a 1 to 5 scale where 1 was “annoyed” and 5 was “happy to know help is available”. Year after year, shopper receptiveness to this practice is on the rise. From 2010, the overall increase in receptiveness is 20%.

Proactive chat has been proven to increase conversion rates by as much as 20% compared to purely reactive sales interactions. It has also increased the productivity of contact center agents by decreasing handling time. The proactive rules needed for increasing sales depends on your business goals.

Below are few examples of rules to increase sales:

  • Shopping cart abandonment
  • Time spent on a page for a specific product
  • Total shopping cart value
  • Number of items in the shopping cart
  • Pages with opportunities to cross-sell
  • Pages with opportunities to up-sell

Proactive chat not only helps increase conversion rate but also the average order value as well as shortening the sales cycle. Offering proactive chat during the order process may help improve conversion rates and increase average order value (AOV) by 10% or more when combined with a recommendation of related items prior to checkout. This results in improved customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Leaving customers with key questions unanswered in the process of making a purchase is the equivalent of providing them with a link to your competitor’s site. Proactive chat helps you to be present and communicate at critical times in the purchase process and to resolve any website errors.

Examples of the customers that experienced increase conversion rate and sales:

  • Hoover’s, a Dun & Bradstreet company, reported that chat was one of its best conversion vehicles, with benefits including an 11% increase in average order value following a three-month trial of proactive chat with LivePerson.¹
  • David’s Bridal partnered with Instant Service (now Art Technology Group [ATG]) and Global Response in the implementation of proactive chat on its website and reported that its shopping cart conversion rate improved 30% to 50%. Average order value improved 10% to 20% – depending on the item.²

Resources

Figure: Bold chat 2011 Live Chat Effectiveness V2.
1 and 2 Making Proactive Chat Work –    For eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals