What Consumers Think About Chat in 2023

Chat feature: Bizrate Insights survey on consumer usage - 2023

Bizrate Insights recently conducted a survey, asking verified ecommerce customers what they really think about the chat feature to find out what they like, what they don’t, and what they’re using it for.

The Ecommerce Rush to Chat

Back in 2017, just 54% of ecommerce sites were using chat to increase customer satisfaction. By 2019, that number had climbed to 61%. In 2021, a global study by Aberdeen Research found that at least two-thirds of the brands surveyed use the chat. The study cited notable results, including:

  • 75% improvement in annual revenue growth
  • 48% bump in customer retention rates
  • 27% reduction in service costs
  • 84% percent more positive social media mentions

The chat feature has yielded major benfits for ecommerce
“Chat enables customer-friendly digital transformation, and best practices are applicable in all industries … By making digital transformation efforts customer-first not business-first and focused on internal needs, companies will see greater success in satisfying and delighting their customers.” – Omer Minksts, VP, Aberdeen Research

2/3rds of Customers Say ‘No, Thanks’

Given the promised wins and low implementation costs, the percentage of customers who responded “No” to the question “Do you use the chat feature?” might be disappointing. However, only a very tiny fraction said they don’t find the chat answers helpful –just 3.28% of all respondents. The largest group of naysayers (37.02% of all respondents) simply felt they “haven’t needed it.” The remaining are more comfortable with phone support.

About a third of respondents (31.82%) DO engage with chat. Of those, 1 in 4 use it frequently.

Chart: Reasons why consumers use Chat | 2/3 are not using it - Bizrate Insights, 2023

Tailoring the Chat Experience

Our survey showed a variance in shopping behavior between genders.

Men showed a higher tendency to engage in chat to get answers to product questions.
Women showed a higher tendency to use chat for customer service questions.

Age was a factor as well. Younger users of all genders reported Chat helped them purchase additional items. Our survey found a clear trend, with age positively affecting the impact of Chat on purchase volume. We also found that young people (18-29) are far more likely to interact with chat while multitasking – they’re more likely to continue their browsing while they chat, as opposed to other groups that come to chat when they need assistance.

Education level also made a difference in terms of Chat use. While those who used Chat engaged it consistently for product and customer service questions, users with a lower education level engaged with the Chat to find what they were looking for than those with college degrees.

This demographic variance can help ecommerce managers tailor the chat experience to customer groups.by customizing the scripts based on site visitor analytics.

Reasons consumer use chat - by gender | Bizrate Insights 2023

Rethinking Chat: The Key to Higher Engagement

While over a third of all respondents (35.26%) claim Chat has not affected their purchasing decision, 43.44% say Chat makes a difference when they experience an issue. This speaks to customer perception of Chat as a lifeline when things go wrong.

In light of these insights, one potential approach would be to simply understand the chat tool as an avenue for customer service and product questions, and view the low percentage of engagement as a good sign: It means your navigation and your content are good enough, clear enough for users to complete their shopping tasks. Another potential approach might be to adjust the way the chat tool is being presented to the users, inviting the shoppers in a more direct way to engage with the chat tool. For example, by adjusting the first chat greeting or some graphic element, the customer’s perception of the purpose of the chat can be improved.

A concierge must be graceful, attentive, able to understand a customer’s problem and resolve it quickly, or delegate it to the right person. If you choose the strategy of leveraging chat as a concierge, the chat feature needs clever scripting, and good branching by demographic segments. And the option to contact a live representative should never be too far out of reach.

Ultimately, the right strategy will be determined by user testing, KPIs such as conversions and average cart volume, and customer feedback.

A way to increase chat engagement is to make it more of a concierge than a support feature | Bizrate Insights, 2023

Let’s Chat About Customer Feedback Solutions

We’ve explored the world of live chat, understood its nuances, and seen how it can make shopping easier. But why stop here? Engage with our customer feedback solutions, and let’s take your ecommerce business to the next level.

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