How a Proactive Pop Up Increased Online Chats by Over 200%

A few months ago I updated the live chat tool for one of the websites I manage so that it would proactively pop up after a visitor had been on the site for a couple of minutes and had viewed several pages. The pop-up is pretty intrusive which concerned me from a user experience standpoint, but I thought I would try it out anyway.

Here's how the chat popup looks — you can't navigate the site without closing it:

Proactive chat popup

We've now been running the proactive for four months, and the increase in the number of online chats it has generated is quite substantial:

MonthIncrease in # of chats
September 2011433%
October 2011211%
November 2011195%
December 2011195%
Average258%

A 200%+ increase in the number of chats was certainly more than I had expected. Not surprisingly, I was also concerned about the negative impact in might have on other visitors who might find it too intrusive and instead choose to leave the site.

Fortunately, we have not seen any spikes in exit rates that could be attributed to this, nor has our conversion rate gone down. In fact, over the last quarter the site has experienced its highest ever revenue, although this is likely to be due to other activities and campaigns we have underway.

Despite its intrusive nature, we'll be sticking with the proactive chat popup. If you are running an online chat service on your website — especially if it is an ecommerce site — and do not have it set to proactively pop up, you might want to test whether you can drive more chats this way.

Posted on: January 14, 2012 | 2 Comments

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2 Comments Posted

Customers such as myself (IT director in the financial industry) only put up with this nonsense when we are a captive audience (often it's a market leader). In those cases where I actually have a choice, I am strongly inclined to chose the company that makes smart decisions, not the one that optimizes for such silly metrics as "more chats".

Availability is important! For the customer that have spesific questions and for the deliverant wanting to give good information about their product. Reaching eachother in the right moment is importent for both parts.
It would be interesting to know about your experience with converting chats to sale. Do you have any data?

Hey thanks for this! I was having this dilemma the other day and discussing on another forum. Thanks for the stats as you have now convinced me to add this to my retail site. I was like yourself thinking it may be a bit intrusive but after seeing your numbers I will sort it out TODAY. Thanks for the post very helpful indeed.

I think proactive chat is good way to give customers the right attention at the right time because it shows up you at the right when customers need you and that helps you increase sales, generate leads, and reduce shopping cart rejection.

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