Website Health

To Chat or Not to Chat: Adding Live Communication to Your Website

Having a live chat feature on your website could give you more leads ... or more headaches.

young woman using a laptop sitting on a green sofa

You’ve probably seen the option to live chat on the websites of large companies. Well known stores such as Target, Verizon and Best Buy all have this feature for communicating with current or potential customers about everything from product costs to shipping policies. But more and more mid-size and small companies are taking advantage of this communication tool.

Data shows that younger consumers (ranging from 18 to 34 years old) are the fastest adopting customers to the option of live chatting, and adding the feature to your website may help you keep up with the changing times. But to implement a live chat tool successfully, you also have to invest some time and money. Read below to learn the pros and cons of using live chat and to figure out if it’s a good fit for your business.

Pros of Live Chat

  • No matter how much you explain your business and services, customers will almost always still have questions. By implementing a live chat feature, you can answer their queries instantly.
  • You’ll outshine the competition with live chat. According to survey by Drift, only 14 percent of the companies asked had live chat. If a potential customer wants to avoid a phone call, or needs answers fast, they’re most likely to contact your business instead of a competing business with only a phone number and email address available.
  • Receiving questions or comments from potential clients can make you aware of content gaps on your website. If they’re all missing the same points, then it’s time to rewrite that section.

Cons of Live Chat

  • Drift’s survey found the best time frame to respond to a live chat lead is within five minutes. After that, your odds of converting this contact into a lead becomes 10 times less. That means you’ll need to have someone standing by at all times during work hours in case a potential client contacts you. This can be a hard task for small to mid-sized companies with less staff. One solution during off hours, when no staff is on-call, is to have the chat feature tell customers when you’ll be available again and then direct them to your business’s Contact Us page.
  • Chat bots are often considered a substitution for having an on-call staff member at all times. These can be modified to respond with pre-written text when someone asks a question with certain keywords, such as “SEO” or “responsive design.” The problem with chat bots is that they can only write out what they’re programmed to respond with. So if a client writes your company and says “My site’s Google Analytics seem to be broken. Can I get some help?” The chat bot might only respond by saying “Our trained marketing team is happy to install and work with you to analyze your business’s traffic with Google Analytics. Contact us today to set up a free consultation!” Conversations with chat bots like this could lead to frustrated customers.
  • Many live chat tools charge a monthly fee. Most offer free trials, so you can shop around for who fits your budget and has the features you desire. But if your business’s budget is very tight, then implementing live chat may not make financial sense.

Bottom Line

Adding live chat to your website may or may not be for your business. Look over the pros and cons listed above, and decide if this tool can improve your reach. If you do end up adding a live chat feature, make sure to have your end goals in mind. Is it to generate more leads? Find out what confuses customers on your website? Is it to appeal to individuals who don’t enjoy calling about services? Once you’ve outlined your goals, loosely keep track of who contacts you (and about what) to find the answer you’re seeking. If you find that the feature doesn’t improve your leads, or adds too much work to your team, you can always remove it from your website.

Need assistance with or have questions about adding a live chat to your website? Infomedia can help! Reach out to us and we’ll happily set up a no-commitment consultation with our team.


About Hayley

When Hayley isn’t knocking out website copy behind her laptop, she’s in the kitchen — a (non-snobby) foodie and committed vegan, she brings her passion for cooking into the office with pies and treats she’s made herself. Hayley polished her skills, both culinary and literary, at Cooking Light digital and, where she worked as a food writer before joining us here at Infomedia. She’s great at writing SEO-rich copy, drafting a catchy headline and utilizing digital tools to give her writing serious online impact. To unwind, Hayley likes watching horror movies, sweating the day away in hot yoga, traveling with her husband, Peter, and coming home to their two cats, Momo and Otto.

See more articles from Hayley Sugg

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