With technology improving everyday, customers expect more features and customization within an online experience. E-commerce experiences are also expected to be simple and seamless, as that is the new norm. The expansion of e-commerce creates more noise in the marketplace, forcing businesses to increase their competitive advantage. One way that businesses can stay competitive is by implementing live chat on their websites. Live chat provides a long list of benefits, though many businesses are hesitant to invest in this service. Here are 5 ways live chat can improve your website:

More efficiency – Studies have shown that the average response time on social media for customer service inquiries is about 10 hours. The results are even worse for email, which comes in at 12 hours. For a customer who needs an answer quickly, 10-12 hours is much too long to wait. During the time they’re waiting for your response, it’s likely they’ve already gone to a competitor to make their purchase. With live chat, the average wait time is just 2 minutes. Customers are most satisfied when transactions are efficient, and by implementing live chat you can provide customers with a one stop shop to get the information they need and ultimately make their purpose. Although live chat won’t replace other channels such as email or phone, it will ensure that customers are getting the information they need in an appropriate amount of time, and through their preferred medium.

Higher return rates – As satisfaction rates rise, so do return rates. According to research by Forrester, 44% of online customers who used live chat to answer their questions while making a purchase agreed that it was the most helpful feature on the site. The live chat experience will give customers a better experience, leave them with a good impression of your company, and keep them coming back.

Better feedback – Live chat has the ability to gather and report data from conversations more easily than other modes of communication. This information can be used to discover pain points, as well as better understand your customers’ needs. Live chat also allows you to control the conversation. If a customer is providing negative feedback in a private conversation, it allows your business to handle that situation quickly and quietly, compared to social media where anyone would be able to see the complaint and chime in if they so choose.

Personalized experiences- With unlimited options in the marketplace, the customer experience is a huge factor in building customer loyalty and retention. Live chat is one of many ways that your website can provide a personalized experience. When a customer interacts with a chatbot, it mimics an in-store interaction, but they get to do so from the comfort of their own home. Customers who use live chat are also 3 times more likely to make a purchase compared to those who don’t use the feature. Thus they will leave your site having made a purchase, and feel as though they had a meaningful interaction, which is usually achieved in-store only.  

Great Leads- Live chat provides an opportunity to ask for customers’ information. Even if those who interact with the chatbot decide to leave the website without making a purchase, you now have an opportunity to turn them into a lead later on. Additionally, Internet Retailer found that live chat software allowed for more opportunities to up-sell customers, leading to a 15% increase in order values and 3.5x more conversions.

It’s no secret that live chat can improve websites in a myriad of ways, but is it worth the investment? Most definitely, yes. Customers who interact with a chatbot are more likely to make a purchase, purchase more items, and feel appreciated, valued and heard by your company. Customers are starting to look for live chat on any website they visit, and those who don’t adopt this feature will start to fall behind on the digital transformation curve.