We Added Live Chat To Our Website And Here’s What Happened

By Mark Brinker 
Updated: January 26, 2022

By Mark Brinker  /  Updated: January 26, 2022

We Added LiveChat To Our Website And Here’s What Happened

Recently we added live chat to our website (markbrinker.com) to see what effect it might have on leads and/or sales.

Below is a summary of our findings. The results were a little surprising. 

But first ...

Live Chat vs Chatbots

These terms might sound synonymous, but live chat and chatbots are two very different things:

  • Live chat. This is basically an instant messenger on a website where visitors communicate with a real live person to get immediate answers to their questions.
  • Chatbots. Chatbots are similar to live chat, with the difference being chat bots are merely a machine providing automated responses to common questions. No humans are involved.

Just so we're clear, our experiment involved text-based live chat only — not chatbots, video conferencing or anything else. 

Choosing A Live Chat Provider

Our first task was choosing a live chat provider to integrate with our website.

We didn't need all the bells and whistles. We just wanted something inexpensive, easy to set up and easy to use.

After much research, we narrowed it down to the following:

  • Olark (olark.com). Fully functional two-week free trial, then $19/month. 
  • Live Chat (livechat.com). Fully functional two-week free trial, then $19/month. 
  • Chaport (chaport.com). Fully functional two-week free trial, then $19/month.

Since the pricing and features with these 3 live chat providers were all pretty much the same, we rolled the dice and started our live chat experiment with Olark for the first 2 weeks.

For weeks 3 and 4, we switched from Olark to Live Chat just to see if that affected the results in any way.

(NOTE: During our live chat experiment, Olark raised its pricing from $19/month to $29/month. Not a big deal. Just mentioning it for accuracy and completeness.) 

Our Live Chat Results

After using live chat on our website for approximately one month, here's what we observed:

  • ZERO chats! This was the biggest surprise. I thought FOR SURE having live chat on our site would generate inquiries and conversations. But nope, nothing. Crickets. Even the "after hours" mode where a visitor could send us a message when we're out of the office and we'd reply the next day generated nothing. And in case you're wondering, we had nearly 20,000 website visitors during our live chat experiment, so our sample size was plenty large enough.
  • An increase in leads. Even though we got zero chats during our 4-week live chat experiment, we did see a 48% increase in leads from the previous 30-day period! Was this a fluke or did the mere presence of live chat cause the increase in leads? Hard to say. Further testing is needed to determine if the increase in leads is due to the presence of live chat or some other factor.
  • Live chat can be a distraction. Even with zero chats during our 4-week experiment, we found it distracting to manually turn on and turn off live chat every day, not to mention being "on call" throughout the day while you do your normal, every day work. I suppose if live chat results in more leads, you can deal with a little distraction. But as mentioned above, further testing is needed to confirm whether or not live chat was truly the cause of increased lead volume.
  • Pages loaded slower. After numerous tests using GTmetrix, we noticed that live chat increased page load speed by about 20%. Not a huge deal, but this could negatively impact your SEO efforts since page load speed is a known SEO ranking factor. However, if live chat significantly boosts your lead volume, it might be a trade-off worth making, since generating leads and making sales is ultimately what you're after, right?

Conclusion

Is live chat worth trying? Absolutely.

Even though our experiment didn't generate any live chats, the preliminary data shows that it did result in more leads. Further testing is required to confirm whether this was just an aberration or if live chat on our site actually caused an increase in leads.

You might be in a completely different industry with a completely different audience where live chat on your website is an obvious home run resulting in more leads. But the only way you'll know is to give it a try and see what happens.

For us, we're going to continue gathering data to see if live chat on our website consistently produces more leads for us. If it does, we've just discovered a hidden gem for a measly $19/month.

In addition, we may experiment with chatbots to see what effect, if any, they have on lead generation.

Do you have any experience with live chat (or chatbots), either positive or negative? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}