A growing number of online shoppers in the UK are tapping the live-chat option on company websites as another way to communicate with brands, a recent report by BoldChat reveals.
The Live Chat Effectiveness 2012 survey looks at how companies engage website visitors in real-time conversation. According to the findings, 53% of UK consumers have engaged in a live chat this year, against 41% last year. In comparison, over 65% of US online shoppers have used this option versus 50.4% in 2009.
The trend is a positive signal for retailers as 31% of both UK and US online buyers say they would be more likely to buy a product or a service after a live chat, with the figure rising to 56% for people who have a preference for live chat.
The survey also examined the use of live chat against other channels to exchange information with customer service representatives. In the US, roughly a fifth of website customers favour live chat (21%) and phone conversations (23%) with brands – far above the 2% that prefer social media channels. E-mail remains the most favoured method for communication with customer service staff, with 54% of respondents saying they prefer this channel.
A vast majority of those who prefer live chat (79%) pointed to the immediate response to their questions as the main reason for choosing this method and 46% said it was the most efficient method of communication.
While numerous reports highlight the huge opportunities that social media channels offer to engage with customers, BoldChat’s survey found that live chat is more attractive to website visitors when it comes to searching for specific information.
In terms of what would draw site visitors to live chats, 57% cited proactive invitation and 80% named incentives such as free shipping.