Why Don’t More Websites Provide Live Chat? 💬
It wasn’t long ago when cash was the only way to pay when you ordered a coffee. When electronic payments arrived on the scene it was often with a surcharge that still communicated ‘we’d prefer you’d pay with cash’.
Then, contactless payments eliminated the need to even get out your wallet and today in many cafes (especially post-pandemic), cash is no longer an option.
Asking customers to pay with cash is imposing an obstacle— many people don’t have cash and will go elsewhere if cash is the only option.
Live chat is the contactless payment equivalent of today’s customer support options, but too many websites are only allowing customers to use cash.
Let me explain.
Previously, if you wanted to contact an organisation you had two options:
Neither option was customer-friendly.
Calling came with the risk of being stuck on hold or endlessly pushing buttons to find the right option. Emailing came with the risks of:
- Never hearing back and needing to follow up, and
- Hearing back, but not getting your question answered sufficiently, and
- Hearing back, but days after you needed an answer.
Example: I contacted Officeworks six weeks ago and still haven’t received a reply. Their automated response committed to getting back to me within the next five business days.
I tried to follow up by replying to the confirmation email but it’s a ‘do not reply’ address. Unsurprisingly, I gave up.
Live chat is good for customers
But live chat comes with none of these downsides. With live chat, your question is answered immediately, and if you have another question you can ask it, too.
For the customer, live chat provides a superior experience. They get the help they need, when they need it. It comes as no surprise that today 42% of customers prefer live chat to other contact options and 44% of people say that having questions answered by a live person is one of the most important features a website can offer.
Live chat is good for business
But it’s not just customers who benefit from live chat — across multiple metrics, businesses that provide live chat perform better. These businesses experience:
✅ Higher conversions.
✅ Higher customer satisfaction.
✅ Higher rates of return visitors.
✅ Higher revenue and order values.
So why are so many businesses ‘cash only’? Why is live chat still so uncommon?
3 common objections
“Live chat will take up too much staff time”
Live chat can actually save your staff time. Instead of sending emails back and forth, live chat provides support in the moment and engages with visitors who may never pick up the phone or send an email.
“Live chat is too expensive”
Getting people to visit your website isn’t easy and lots of money is spent to achieve this. However, for every $92 that is spent trying to get the attention of potential customers, only $1 is spent converting them. Surely it’s a worthwhile investment to provide a service that converts these people into satisfied, repeat customers?
“We can’t be online 24/7 to respond!”
Of course! You are in control of when live chat is enabled on your website and on which pages it appears. If staff aren’t available or if the office is closed you can easily switch it off. One of the benefits of live chat is that even when real time support isn’t available visitors can still submit a question and provide their email address.
Helping you choose a live chat tool for your website
Are you ready to provide a superior customer experience?
I’ve created a comparison table of live chat tools you can install on your website and start engaging with visitors.
Each of these are under $50/month. There are live chat tools that are more expensive (e.g. Drift, Intercom) but I’ve filtered these out to keep the focus on affordable options for businesses getting started.
- The table includes a list of some features, but by no means not every available feature. Before you choose a tool, I recommend identifying your needs so you can match this with the most suitable provider.
- Most of these services are paid for per agent/operator/team member. This is the number of people who can respond to incoming queries.
- Most of these services provide free plans with varying levels of features and functionality. The pricing table lists the details for the lowest priced plan (not including free), and notes where features are available at extra cost or on higher priced plans.
- Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, and I contacted each of these providers to confirm the details prior to publishing to double-check their details. If anything is incorrect, I will happily update it.
- Some of the links in this table are affiliate links.
If you’re a non-profit and would like help getting started with live chat, check out Donor Chat.