The real-time online customer service solution, iAdvize and the, a trusted resource for the contact centre and customer service community have just published the results of a survey investigating how UK businesses perceive web chat. The pool of respondents was from a wide variety of small-to-medium and large companies based in the UK and included Heads and Managers of Contact Centres, Customer Service, Operations, Customer Experience, eCommerce, Customer Retention and Business Development operating in industries such as finance, utilities, education, retail, travel, healthcare, luxury goods and the public sector.

Despite a relatively low adoption rate, web chat is expected to grow

Web chat, also called live chat, chat or click to chat, has the highest customer satisfaction rate amongst all communication channels. A report released in 2013 found that although the pool of customers using the channel is still quite low (24%), it has a satisfaction rate of 73%, compared with 61% for email and only 44% for phone. Despite this, 64.4% of respondents to the web chat survey said that their business had not yet implemented this communication channel. Be it to improve online customer satisfaction or increase conversion rates, these companies are missing out on the benefits of web chat, recognised by businesses which already use it. However, it seems that the future is bright for live chat as 70.6% of respondents who do not yet have the channel on their website are currently actively researching (58.8%) or planning to do so within the next 12 months (11.8%). With these figures in consideration, it is not surprising that 86.8% of those who have no yet seen the solution been implemented would personally like to see web chat used within their organisation. The future of web chat continues to brighten when you consider that 70% of UK businesses believe the channel will continue to grow in importance over the next 5 years.

miranda-chart1Organisations with web chat are very positive

When asked about how they would assess the impact of web chat, the large majority of respondents (86.1%) believe that the solution has had a positive impact on their organisation by improving brand loyalty and their company image. Indeed, this channel gives customers help and advice in real-time and for free. Its simplicity and rapidity contributes to avoiding customer frustration and disappointment. This provides customers with a positive experience which in turn means they are more likely to return to that website.

effectiveness of web chatFurthermore, when those who use the channel as a sales tool where asked about the cost effectiveness of web chat, 81% of respondents reported an increase in conversion rate to some extent since implementing the customer service channel. By offering web chat engagement to visitors when they most need help or when they are hesitating in the checkout funnel, conversion rates can reach more than 25% after a chat contact whereas the average conversion rate on an eCommerce website is between 2 and 3%.

Web chat – customer service channel or sales tool?

If we look more closely at the types of organisations which implement web chat and how they use the channel, it’s unsurprising that an overwhelming 72.2% of respondents who have already implemented a web chat solution have an eCommerce element to their business. This corresponds with the fact that 63.9% of those with web chat use it to talk customers through the sales process. Surprisingly, 45.6% of respondents who have not yet implemented the tool in their organisation do operate an commerce function on their website. These companies are most likely missing out on the possibility of increasing their website turnover with this effective sales tool.
On the other side of the coin, those respondents who have not yet implemented web chat, view it primarily as a customer service tool (86.8%) rather than a sales tool and although the two purposes can be argued as inextricable, businesses without web chat need to investigate the advantages of the solution for sales.


Results from the ‘Web chat survey for customer service’ have highlighted that the majority of UK businesses are missing out on the benefits of the web chat channel to improve online customer satisfaction and increase conversion rates. Companies which have implemented the solution recognise these benefits and those which have not are keen to see web chat up and running on their organisation’s website. Therefore, the future for web chat looks bright. The positive reception it has received from customers as well as the predicted growth of importance UK businesses have placed on it, means that over the course of 2014 and beyond, web chat is likely to be at the centre of contact channel strategies.

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mirandaAuthor: Miranda Hobbs is Communication Manager for the UK at iAdvize. The company is specialised in real-time online customer service and provides a live chat, click to call and video chat solution. Combined with a behavioural targeting engine, these tools can increase conversion rates and optimise customer satisfaction and loyalty. Founded in 2010, more than 1000 clients throughout Europe use iAdvize today in order to improve their real-time online customer service. Clients are from a wide range of industries, including ecommerce, banking and insurance. iAdvize is the leader for live chat in France where its headquarters are based and has recently launched in Germany and in the UK

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