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Operator initiated live chat?

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Wednesday January 2, 2008 )

Ever visited a site and a live chat window popped up inviting you to converse with a customer service operator? Did you appreciate the unsolicited offer of assistance?

The reason I ask is I’m truly curious. Attitudes towards live chat have changed a lot over the years to the point it’s now not only widely accepted by consumers but sought after. Operator initiated chats take the service one step further, but is it too intrusive?

While being approached by a person in a bricks and mortar store is considered the norm, it’s still somewhat of an unusual experience in the online world.

According to a JupiterResearch survey prepared for Talisma Corp., a provider of Customer Interaction Management (CIM) software solutions:

– 42% of online shoppers said a proactive offer for live chat assistance would be useful

– 41% didn’t complete a purchase because they couldn’t easily find information about a product or service.

– 42% surveyed abandoned a cart because they couldn’t get a question answered about *one* of the multiple products they had selected for purchase.

Very interesting statistics about the operator initiated live chat. So what are your thoughts – do you find operator initiated live chat a useful feature, or would you rather just move your mouse a few inches should the need arise and click on a “live chat” button? Have you tried initiating chats with your site visitors?

By the way, another interesting point from the survey was 33% of consumers polled did not make a planned purchase from an online store supposedly because they couldn’t find the links to contact customer service! That’s a huge figure, so it’s worthwhile getting an outsider’s opinion on the visibility of your pre-sales and support functions.


Minimizing shopping cart abandonment

Live chat software guide – try a free trial


3 comments for Operator initiated live chat?
  1. I’ve used these ‘umprompted’ live chat functions a few times. They’re great if staffed by someone who actually knows their products, otherwise worthless and irritating.

    A good service certainly helps me convert.

    Comment by Jack from — January 2, 2008 @ 4:23 am

  2. Hey Jack, thanks for stopping by. The first couple of occasions I was subjected to proactive chat, it spooked me – but these days it doesn’t really bother me one way or the other as long as the darned window doesn’t pop up as soon as I land on the page or take up half the screen :). It’s certainly true what you say about the operator’s skill playing a big part.

    Comment by Michael Bloch — January 3, 2008 @ 5:03 am

  3. I find that these chats are annoying. If I want help I’ll ask for it.
    And furthermore, I don’t want to download the “small file” to make the program work. Even if I did, I have yet to find a company that makes their “chats” Mac compatible!

    Comment by Sonya — January 6, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

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