We run two very different SaaS startups using live chat and we’re going to list 36 public statistics on the benefits of live chat and tell you which of them is true based on our experience.
Yes, this is a random image but damn, it’s late and this article is 3,000 words+ in length.
First, check out the full infographic we got the statistics from, it’s really well put together: https://websitebuilder.org/live-chat-infographic
Company 1 overview
The first company involved in the analysis is Upscope which lets you see your user’s screen in one click to guide confused users through to a purchase. Most users will come to the home page and either chat to us, sign up straight away or book a demo.
Company 2 overview
The second company is Anymailfinder.com which finds and validates business email addresses for B2B marketing. It has been running for a couple of years and we’ve had around 4,000 conversations with an average response time of 5 minutes.
The 36 statistics
I've broken it up into sections starting with key highlights
51% of customers are more likely to purchase because of live chat
Anymailfinder: Right now, at least 20% of customers will chat to us before buying. For larger buyers that figure would be 50% or higher. The larger they are the more complicated the process so it could well be 75%. Not everyone but most.
Upscope: Upscope is simpler so it does not require as much explaining before they buy but live chat is essential for trust because of the type of companies they are. Most of the chats appear to be support requests after they’ve installed it so it’s more like 10% before purchase. Another factor is that we have a demo process so they may not feel the need to chat as they just book the demo.
29% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase with the option of live chat even if they don’t use it
Anymailfinder: The live chat system we use is not passive, it automatically asks them if they need any help and will give them links to content that might help them to purchase without chatting to us. 29% is a reasonable estimate and content can also help convert great medium sized customers.
Upscope: It’s too early to say but it would be no surprise. Many of our customers use chat services too. A company without a chat service is probably seen as suspect.
48% of customers are more likely to return to the website
Anymailfinder: There are two parts to this. People don’t buy in one sitting. They talk. Go away. Come back. Talk some more. Go away. This is especially true for larger buyers. In fact, they are actively testing for support levels. The second part is that Anymailfinder is a product some people use time to time and we have many return customers and funnily enough they are the ones we regularly chat with. 48% is definitely fair and probably does not cover the depth of it.
Upscope: Upscope needs a team to install and use it. If they do chat then they certainly will come back if they want the product. The person chats, goes away to talk to the team, comes back and asks more questions or simply signs up.
Rescue spa increased their conversion rate by 30% with live chat
Anymailfinder: 60%+ of monthly recurring revenue was generated via live chat. I don’t know how that fits with conversion stats.
Upscope: It’s impossible to say at present. Does it have a positive impact? Hell yes. The questions they sometimes ask mean they did not understand a critical part and when we explain it, they sign up. For example, they’ll ask “Does this work on a SPA (single page application)?” and we tell them ‘Yes’. They sign up.
Increased brand reputation. 41% of online shoppers trust the brand
Anymailfinder: I certainly think that seeing live chat on a site means I trust it more. However, now that it’s everywhere I am back to being a little cautious but if I ask someone a question and they answer then I trust that site more.
Upscope: Many of our customers are finance and health companies and trust is everything. In fact, we need to fill out security forms for them to become clients. Having a visible and active live chat system is essential. Most of our customers are live chat users themselves and so seeing us using the same expensive software as they are using is helpful.
51% of customers prefer it to allow easy multi-tasking
Anymailfinder: They enter in a question and go off to facebook. We answer them and go drink coffee. They come back from facebook and see an answer.
21% of customers claim that chat helps them to shop while working
Anymailfinder: I guess this is e-commerce related and I’d probably agree though on a personal level rather than from a company perspective.
Upscope: Same as above.
Websites with live chat have higher customer satisfaction rates.
Anymailfinder: People thank us for our fast support. We certainly know that. We know that if we answer quickly they are always saying ‘Thank you for the great support’.
Upscope: Fast answers to difficult software related questions are much appreciated. We can’t answer all the questions immediately as some take investigation. Overall they are very happy with our speed though of course, technically some things are so complicated we can’t solve the problem as fast. As long as we say ‘we are on it’ then they know they’ve not been ignored.
53% of online shoppers abandon a purchase if the support is not quick
Anymailfinder: Absolutely. If we don’t answer, they are gone. We have competitors and they know about them. We have customers who came to us because our competitors were too slow. I would not say that 53% abandon it entirely but it would be a significant hit.
Upscope: They’re quite patient really. This is a new industry and there are not that many players and the products are reasonably different. We don’t miss many as we have a big enough team to answer during most hours.
79% of customers say they prefer live chat because of the immediacy it provides
Anymailfinder: I think people prefer to text these days than call. They use text messages, whatsapp, facebook messenger and more. They’re experts. They can also go away and come back unlike a phone call. I don’t know about immediacy but it feels more productive than waiting on the phone listening to holding music.
Upscope: Same as above.
Average time an operator spends on a chat from start to finish is 6 to 12 mins
Anymailfinder: Don’t really agree anymore with that stat. We used to take 5+ minutes per person but we’ve got better. We’ve got the answers nailed and we have pre-set answers and articles to send them now using Intercom educate. In other words, it’s type, click and boom! Done! However, the occasional user will chat to us over an hour or longer. It happens. People like to chat.
Upscope: Some customers speak to us regularly throughout the day because they have complicated sites we need to deal with. Each interaction can take seconds or minutes but they happen often. These are mostly software related support questions though.
60 seconds is the average time customers wait for support
Anymailfinder: Yeah, agreed I guess. Again, they appear to ask a question and wait for e.g. up to 60 seconds but mostly they’ll ask and go browse elsewhere and come back to check. They’ll certainly not wait around more than 5 minutes… mostly.
Upscope: Same as above.
79% of people in the USA think that it solves things quickly
Anymailfinder: Americans make a larger portion of our clients so yes, we know they’re happy with the support we provide.
Upscope: Most of our users are in the USA, so yes. They seem happy.
46% of people in the USA think it is the most efficient way to get support
Anymailfinder: We’re from London and the people most likely to say ‘lets jump on a call’ are from the USA. The rest of the world is not so inclined to phone. However, very few even say that, most Americans just use live chat.
Upscope: Same as above.
Percentage of people who used live chat
Anymailfinder: I don’t know about individual people but in terms of companies that offer live chat, all our competitors have live chat installed.
Upscope: As above, all our competitors have live chat installed.
Live chat is 400% less expensive than phone support
Anymailfinder: Not true for us, simply because we don’t get many phone calls. We never did. Also, our live chat software does a lot more than just live chat hence the much higher cost than our phone solution. Phone calls are difficult though. We can’t multi-task anymore and that does have a cost. We can only talk to one client at a time and we can’t pass it between us. Maybe you can say that for any given hour, the difference between a 1 hour phone call and 1 hour on live chat means that I can help 2 customers at once with live chat whereas on a phone call it’s one at a time.
Upscope: We do demos on the phone or via skype and they generate more revenue than just live chat. I’m not sure if that’s a fair comparison though. As above, live chat allows multi-tasking but as trust is so important, it might be more expensive in time but it’s better in sales.
Average chat agents can do the work of 15 email support employees.
Anymailfinder: An average chat agent can probably bring in the revenue that 15 email support employees would because an average chat agent would get 15 times more requests via live chat than all 15 employees would via email. When we only had ‘email’ as a contact option we received very few support requests compared to live chat.
Upscope: Agreed with some of the above although we have a demo process and many people schedule a demo without chatting.
43% of businesses claimed that including live chat reduced phone call volumes
Anymailfinder: That’s probably true. While we do get phone calls, they seem to be quite rare considering the large number of people who sign up each day.
Upscope: We receive very few calls overall, we assume that’s because of live chat and they can sign up for a demo.
A chatting visitor is worth 4.5 times as much as a non-chatting visitor
Anymailfinder: Almost all of our large clients chatted to us before buying and large clients make up a big percentage of our revenue.
Upscope: The pricing is quite straight forward at $99 so this one is tricky to answer.
Customers who chat prior to making a purchase have a 10% increase in order value
Anymailfinder: Similar to the previous point. Larger clients talk often on live chat and they’re not worth just 10% but in some cases 1000% more. If we were not there to chat they might have emailed us but live chat makes it easier to respond and to see all their previous conversation in one feed. This means we are more organised in our response.
Upscope: The pricing is $49 or $99 so this does not matter.
Customers who chat before purchasing bring a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour
Anymailfinder: I think this is asking whether chat is worth it overall. We do get people who ask questions and don’t buy. Many of them don’t. Over time we filter the people who are just there casually and never intend to buy. So the statistic does apply but there is a learning process.
Upscope: Same as above.
ROI from typical live chat software is around 30%
Anymailfinder: A lot higher than that. Lets say that we pay $5000 per year for the software. We probably made that from one deal in one month from live chat whereas we would have lost the deal if it had been done just by email. Actually, as our competitors all have live chat, having ‘contact us by email’ would have been a disaster. First of all it’s not just live chat. You also get additional tools within live chat software that replace existing processes that cost time and money. If 60% (or more but certainly 60%) of our MRR is directly attributable to live chat and it costs us $500 / month for that software then the ROI is a lot higher than 30% (assuming we understand what they mean by 30% ROI).
Upscope: Inevitably it will be the same as above. Upscope has not been running for as long but ‘trust’ is so important that the return on investment is going to inevitably be a lot higher than 30%.
Customers love live chat
44% of online shoppers consider live chat as a must have feature for e-commerce
Anymailfinder: They love fast support rather than live chat. Live chat gives them fast convenient support so I guess they love live chat.
Upscope: Same as above.
Leading contact sources in online environment. 42% for live chat. 23% for email. 16% for social media and forums
Anymailfinder: No brainer. We received 10 times, 20 times, 100 times more requests via live chat than email or any other method.
Upscope: No brainer.
Live chat users are young
50% of people aged 55+ have never used live chat. 18% of people aged 18–34 have used live chat many times. 42% of users aged 18–24 have used live chat at least once
Anymailfinder: Mmmm, most of our users vary in the 18 to 45 range and they all seem perfectly comfortable with live chat. I agree that people over 55+ are not as common and they are more likely to call. Also, there are some odd niches where they are very unfamiliar with tech. Finally, some people just like to call regardless. That said, there are some cultural differences in using live chat which are strange. People from some countries turn up and say ‘Hi’ and then wait. Others just ask and leave. There are differences between countries in their experience of using live chat.
Upscope: Almost exclusively 18 to 45 and they all seem fine with it.
Desktop and mobile
On average 14% of the time desktop chatters will purchase and 7% of mobile chatters.
Anymailfinder: 95% of them are on desktop and 99% purchase via desktop. It’s not really a consumer app, it’s a B2B app. They’re at work when they check it out.
Upscope: Almost exclusively on desktop as it’s a desktop app often used by live chat support staff.
Chatter engagement is 1.7% on desktop. 1.4% on mobile.
Anymailfinder: It’s considerably higher on desktop. On mobile the chat box might automatically open our pre-set welcome message that might block part of the page and that could irritate people as well.
Upscope: Agreed. Considerably higher on desktop.
Mobile chatters are 6.1X more likely to convert than mobile non-chatters.
Anymailfinder: Most people are not walking around on their mobile trying to figure out how to find an email. When they do chat to us it’s normally a random question. I don’t see them signing up from mobile much.
Upscope: They might read blog posts on mobile, they might ask questions, they might check out the site but they don’t sign up from mobile. Also, our sign up involves an email confirmation with their business account so maybe that plays a part.
Proactive vs Reactive
Reactive = when customers ask for it.
Proactive = before customers ask
7.8% engagement rate with reactive. 105% ROI.
2% engagement rate with Proactive. 15% ROI.
Anymailfinder: These stats are very interesting. We don’t do manual proactive chats. It’s all automated. I think most people know the difference. When a chat box automatically pings open and says ‘How can I help?’ I think most people know that it’s automated but a few do think it’s real. However, we have noticed that an automated message on the home page that says ‘See how we compare to our competitors’ will generate more clicks and requests. It’s effectively a pop-up advert in chat form. Without a doubt, reactive chats have a higher ROI but simply because they’re asking questions so they must be interested but proactive has a very different mid term impact. People read and then later on might research our competitors and then come back to buy.
Upscope: Agreed with above. Upscope is slightly different, we don’t yet put out content links and adverts on the same scale. Maybe we should.
Cost effectiveness case studies
By handling 30% of inquiries over live chat, Magellan reduced support expenses by almost 50%
Anymailfinder: This statistic is both odd and correct. Live chat brings in more enquiries so support time increases overall but efficiency also increases. Doing things by email or phone is painful. As we said earlier, some live chat systems are so much more than live chat. They bring together all chats and emails into one feed so you don’t need to skip around trying to find out what the full conversation was. This saves an incredible amount of time, brain stress and energy. In addition, there are educational tools built into live chat systems that also reduce the total support time needed to deal with users over the life time of their using your software.
Upscope: Yeah, all of the above. Our one ‘Troubleshooting’ article we insert into chats (and which also automatically appears these days thanks to new smart tech built in by the live chat company) saves us an hour or more every time they ask. This is because it lists the common simple things a user may have missed when installing our software. Going through the options manually is painful for us and them.
60% of Blue Soda’s chats led to sales after implementing proactive live chat
Anymailfinder: Get me shares in Blue Soda. There is no way it’s 60% for us. Maybe their product is that good. I don’t know what proactive live chat means in their case but I’m going to go check out their website and (if the stats are correct) probably end up paying them money.
Upscope: Give me some of those shares, keep the soda.
Overall revenue growth of Rescue Spa in the first year of using live chat was the whopping 286%
Anymailfinder: Well, if 60% of our MRR is because of live chat and 75% of our largest customers came via live chat then you do the maths.
Upscope: Too early to say. For all we know they all bought because we had live chat whether they chatted to us or not.
Too damn tired to write a conclusion to all this so go read the article below instead. It covers the before and after of using live chat. I’ll update this conclusion later.