Report: Merchants Need to Address Live Chat

Merchants need to “move off the needle” to support live chat because it has reached a “tipping point” of adoption, according to Bold Chat’s 2012 Live Chat Effectiveness Research Report.

Lauren Freedman, president of consultancy The E-Tailing Group, writes in the report’s foreward that the customers every merchant covets are tapping into live chat today.

“Live chat is chosen as the preferred method of communication emanating from support issues such as general questions or checkout errors, but also serving shoppers when they have trouble finding items, comparing products of interest or being on the hunt for promo codes that can save them money,” Freedman writes.

This year’s study results suggest, at least, testing live chat but bears in mind that this shopper is “discerning and discriminates between those with exemplary execution and others where experiences are imperfect,” Freedman adds.

Several metrics in the report point to live chat being used by the majority of the shopping population. The question, “Have you ever engaged in a live chat session?” was first asked in the 2009 report when fewer than half indicated they had. This year that number is nearly 66%.

In 2009, 50.4% indicated they had at some point engaged in live chat and that number rose to 53.6% in 2010, 57.5% in 2011, and 65.5% this year. “With adoption likely to continue at this rate, 75% of the regular shopping population will have engaged in live chat by the time we publish this report in 2013,” the report says.

The online study was conducted using a third-party opt-in panel – 75% located in the U.S. and 25% in the U.K. The total number of respondents was 2,027.

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