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Live Chat – Join the Conversation

by Seth Worby

These days, not receiving a text response in less than three minutes may constitute a natural disaster. Take this methodology online to your e-commerce business and an extended lapse of time without responding to a question could easily cost you the sale. One of the best methods to ensure your business is responsive is adding a live chat feature to your website. A live chat platform allows consumers to speak in real-time to a customer service representative (CSR) directly on their website. As with any customer service platform, live chat comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.


Speed: Within seconds of clicking a live chat icon, the customer is in direct contact with a CSR. This avoids a customer trying to find the phone number or fill out a contact form which takes time and delays the purchasing process.

Availability: Customers receive help precisely when they want it and at the time when they are very interested in the product or service offering.

Customer Satisfaction: A 2013 study from eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark, with a sample size of 2,000 customers, determined that live chat had the highest satisfaction levels (73%) compared to email (61%) and phone (44%). [Source: click here to view website]

Mobility: Several live chat services offer the option to receive chats as text messages on your phone. This is excellent for business owners that may not be at their computer 24/7.

Analytics: Some services can provide detailed information about the visitors that frequent their website. Where they came from, how long they’ve been surfing, what pages they’ve been looking at – all this background is then provided to the CSR. This allows the CSR to be prepared for any questions that the visitor may have. Even better, the service allows businesses to see where their customers are coming from in order to adjust their marketing efforts as needed.

Informal: Some customers prefer the informal nature of chatting online as opposed to a formal email exchange.


Cost: As with all customer service platforms, there will be a cost to purchase and maintain the service and depending on the business a cost to hire and train the appropriate people to manage the platform. Look for a free trial to ensure this platform is a worthwhile investment and to offset some of the introductory costs.

In the end, the benefits of live chat typically outweigh the disadvantages. Some customers may not appreciate the live chat platform, while others will gravitate toward it. The end goal (using live chat or not) is always the same, to ensure your business is providing a timely and accurate response in order to close the sale more quickly and cost effectively.

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