The epidemic of online consultants


    In Runet, the craze for online consultants is gaining momentum. If before with active surfing they came across 1-2 sites, now almost every site selling goods or services meets you with a soulless “Good afternoon. How can I help you? ”

    I tried to analyze this phenomenon based on feedback from site owners, their visitors and my personal feelings. First of all, I considered the use of online consultants among online stores. At the end of the article, brief recommendations are given for those who are going to or have already installed a consultant on their website.


    Increased loyalty to the store or site. The
    quick and sensible response received significantly increases the credibility of this store. This does not mean that the purchase will take place right now, but the positive experience will be remembered and the visitor will return to you again.


    Positive use experience. A response was received within a minute, although dialogue could have been avoided if the information had been on the site.

    Instrument of influence on the buyer
    . The human factor works here. If the dialogue did start, the chatty consultant will be able to sell not only the goods that the buyer came for, but also a number of related products to the load.

    An additional interactive communication channel An
    important feature of this channel is the absence of a change in the communication environment, i.e. it continues on the Internet, and is not transferred to the telephone environment. There are people who are just too lazy to tear themselves away from the computer and go to get a phone or it is inconvenient / impossible to use it, for example, in the workplace.


    Unsuccessful experience. No response even after half an hour.

    Coverage of rare cases. You can
    answer typical questions at the store planning stage, the FAQ section will help with frequently asked questions, but the questions in the series “Do you have the same, but with pearl buttons” can be resolved only through direct communication.

    Conversion increase
    According to the statements of the owners of some stores, the conversion after the installation of a consultant increases by 10-30%
    Depends on the specifics of the store.
    Hemorrhoids, of course, are large, but the conversion rises significantly.

    Detailed portrait of the visitor
    Some services provide information about the user's route on the site, the search query by which he came and also know how to keep a history of correspondence with him. This gives more "leads" to the manager for a successful transaction.

    It is characteristic that none of the above advantages relates directly to usability, but rather lies in the field of marketing. However, this is not surprising, because all useful results are achieved due to a strong blow to the usability of the site.


    Not from this design
    Despite the fact that most of them have rich opportunities for customizing the style, 90% of the consultants I met significantly fell out of the overall design of the site. A thoroughly calculated layout of blocks and page accents can be easily crossed out by the annoying rectangle below.


    Typical locations for inviting an online consultant. The most undesirable option is marked in red, because it overlaps the page content and eats up a useful height.

    Too intrusive
    Many actively use the auto-invite function, which itself starts a dialogue. This is very bad, because it knocks the user out of his current task and distracts from achieving the goal. It's funny, but some users still think that a living person starts a dialogue with him. I think this is a temporary effect of novelty.


    The automatic start of the dialogue distracts the user from the current task.

    Slowing the load
    Additional amount of consultant code negatively affects the overall page load. This is especially important for a product card, which is usually always overloaded with information.

    Available only during business hours
    Your manager works on weekdays from 9 to 18 with a lunch break, the rest of the time the online consultant will be offline. However, your site is available to visitors 24 hours a day all year round. Many services in this case automatically switch to the feedback form mode. However, in my opinion, in this matter they lose the form installed on the site, which can be provided with links to frequently asked questions, a set of standard solutions and other useful information. And typing in a small window of a consultant is extremely inconvenient.


    The consultant first pretends to be online, and after asking a question, he tries to get my data and phone number. Trust in the site instantly drops below zero.

    Potential security issues
    Data is stored and processed on third-party servers. This issue may be critical for banks and financial institutions. However, in our time, the widespread use of cloud technology, this is already paying little attention. There are versions of consultants with the installation on your server

    Real owner experience:
    We experimented on one large Internet-shop selling furniture. We came to the conclusion that the time that the operator spends in correspondence with the visitor goes less in sales than in the same time to take a couple of calls that guarantee a purchase more. unlike an online consultant.

    Recommendations for use

    The consultant is not a panacea and will not replace a well-designed site. If the information on the delivery of goods is hidden in the basement of the page, and in order to find out its cost you have to go to the chat, then this is a bad site and it is better to spend efforts on its modernization.


    Unsuccessful experience. No answer was given either after 10 minutes or after 30.

    The very need for installation is highly dependent on the audience and the subject of the store. The male audience would rather prefer to sort out the issue themselves, and women would not mind discussing the choice of cosmetics or clothing with a consultant. You should not do it just because I saw something like this at store X.

    The real need for consultants, according to owners, is arising when the store’s traffic reaches 1500-2000 visitors per day.

    Requires a special person in the state, whose main responsibilities will include communication with visitors. This is a required item. Otherwise, the consultant is just a dead load on your site and annoyed users.

    In the case when the consultant is offline, it is better not to indicate his presence on the page at all. This will reduce the number of distracting elements on the page, and users will try to resort to other methods of communication with you: feedback, phone call.

    Free versions may show ads to your customers. Think about whether you need such a dubious model of communication?

    Alternative solutions

    Do not get hung up on installing an online consultant. Perhaps other ways of interacting with your visitors are suitable for you:
    • Feedback form. The form can be quite effective if you do not slow down the response and immediately respond to letters from users
    • Call from the site. A good way for lazy visitors, but keep in mind whoever calls first will order.
    • Phone call. Moreover, it is not necessary to organize it through the phone, Skype is quite suitable
    • Profiles on social networks. The interface of the social network is familiar to the user, he uses it every day and, if the question is not urgent, then he will most likely ask him there. It’s also a good advertising channel.

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