Epic fails in online chats, or why sales are not growing

    Do you know the situation? You wander around the site of an online store, bank or travel agency, your goal is to collect more information about a product or service. At some point, you have questions that can only be answered with the help of a specialist. So the window of the online consultant very successfully appeared, you joyfully ask your questions to the operator and ... you get a slurred answer and a request to leave a phone number. This is not the worst option, sometimes you can stay and completely without a response from a specialist. This is how online chats look with which the business has not learned how to work properly.

    In this article, we analyze the main epic fails in online chat rooms. The chats on the site are so useless and can they be turned into a working tool for increasing profits?


    In November, AKIT, an Internet trading company association, published a study on digital communications of retailers on vc.ru.

    Phone calls (80%) and email (84%) are still the favorite way to contact the company. Following them in popularity are: online chats - 68%, and then instant messengers (22%). It's in Russia. The statistics of Western companies as far back as 2015 says that already then 71% preferred to use chat rooms, and 67% of social networks and instant messengers. Calls and emails have not yet lost ground, but they can’t just wave away from new channels - they are confidently gaining popularity, more and more customers want to communicate with the company in writing and in real time.

    If you dig deeper and dive into the research data, you can see what indicators in the customer service are monitored and controlled by retailers whose business belongs to the most competitive caste, the struggle is for each client and the score is seconds.
    55% of retailers track how many requests / calls / messages in social networks are processed by employees.

    At the same time, only 19% track how many messages from the same channels employees skip (by simple subtraction, we find here that 36% just do not care how many customers were dissatisfied).

    And only 22% track customer ratings.


    It turns out that 78% of companies do NOT monitor how customers evaluate their work, and another half of them do NOT monitor messages that were not received and served by employees. What this translates into in practice - we will see further, but for now, we note that correspondence with a client is a business. And business is time and money, yours and the client. If you miss the client once, you can’t see him anymore - he’ll just go where they will answer him. Quickly and on business :)

    If you look not from the side of customer service and sales, but to approach the question from the side of marketing, then everything looks even more bleak. At every corner, marketers are shouting about end-to-end analytics (which is not so easy to implement on a large company scale), meanwhile, according to the same AKIT study, 48.4% of the companies surveyed do not use CRM at all (!!!). In practice, it’s much easier (but not more efficient) to calculate CPL (cost per lead). It is simpler, less costly and less responsible. The logic is this: we have a budget, from it we get so many leads at such a price. Reduce the cost of lead - we are great, increase - not very cool. However, the reality is that marketing should bring customers and money, not just leads. But to calculate the first is more difficult, technically and financially more expensive. And consider how many clients came from the chat - damn it, it is necessary to integrate everything, forward data, you need to change processes inside. It’s easier in the old way, and somehow “it will pass by itself”. So the business is opposed to starting to track key indicators, consider NPS (loyalty index), LTV (lifetime customer value) and become more effective using modern methods of interacting with customers.

    Why don't chats sell?

    This year, as part of a large project, we studied how customer support operators communicate in online chat rooms. The study was conducted by the LiveTex content marketer, for each industry she came up with a legend (and somewhere she even had two to check all the cases) and went to ask questions in chat rooms by industry. Thus, we checked the real estate sector, travel agencies, car dealers, medical clinics, online retailers and banks. From intensive chatting with our business to the middle of a research experiment, the girl's eye began to twitch. Here it is, domestic customer service in all its glory.

    It turned out that units of companies provide adequate customer support in chat rooms. For most, chat services are, at best, blindly following a script or soliciting customer contacts. There is a demand for text channels. There are channels themselves. What do customers get?

    About typical files, such as, “the operator does not respond quickly in the chat or redirects to another channel, does not greet or writes with errors,” we will not talk here. This is found in almost everyone and is apparently ineradicable.

    Especially for Habr, we chose the "best of the best" and did not forget to attach screenshots.

    Real estate

    So, the “epic fail” nomination goes to the English bot on the Russian real estate site. There are no comments here - how many visitors to a Russian-language site would like to use the English interface? We did not give up so immediately and still tried to reach out to the manager in this chat room. What is the result? Instead of greeting, the manager silently throws his mail into the chat. Bingo!




    The main mistake is the desire to follow trends (implement a chat bot) without realizing the ultimate goal of this implementation. The chatbot should be the first line of support and resolve typical questions, passing the dialogue to the operator in those cases when he can not cope on his own or if the client wants it.
    Global conclusion on real estate chat: chat in agencies is not considered as a channel for attracting and creating customer loyalty, most often it is used to collect contacts. In the meantime, the application “lives” here for only 15 minutes and you need to “forge while it’s hot”, take the client warm and fascinate from the first word.

    According to the statistics that we managed to collect, with the correct use of online chats in this area - chat consultations on the timing of the completion of the property, help with finding layout options on the site help to close up to 80% of typical questions and regularly receive new leads for subsequent sales.

    Travel Agencies

    It would also seem a competitive market. People think about vacations most often at work and do not mind discussing a vacation tour option during a workshop. Chat is perfect. But not everything is so rosy here. The Oscar of failure in digital communications goes to such a chatik.


    The manager automatically asks questions about the script. When the client said that he was uncomfortable talking on the phone, the operator was completely angry. The final blow is the response by a copied rude message.

    Another “amenities” from the industry: In another site, the manager three times (!) Suggested leaving the mobile number “in case of a disconnection”. And absolutely “aerobatics” - the chat manager found out the primary needs of the client, and then invited the client to leave the phone number and transfer all the collected data to the right manager (so that he would call the client back, of course).
    The main mistake is the low communication culture of the operator and the transfer of the client to another channel.


    Words are superfluous. Just look at not timing answers on screenshots. The continuation of the dialogue happened only because our content marketer conducted an experiment, was extremely persistent and waited until the last chat. Schrödinger's chat - it’s as if it is and it is not there.


    The error is classic - the chat is installed, but they simply don’t use it.
    Another problem with retailer chats is the design of chats, or rather its absence, a comeback from the 90s. But this is not a story about the communication of operators themselves, but rather a question of aesthetic taste, which does not always concern those who install chats on their site.


    Case "shoemaker without boots." We decided to ask in a chat about the services of a psychotherapist. The services of these doctors are not yet very popular; they are mainly used by people with an income above the average. It is logical to assume that at the other end of the communication there will be appropriately sensitive and attentive clinic staff. Reality was disappointing.


    What did we get as a result? Drive 2 thousand, we are waiting for the call. Very nice, let's go to another therapist.

    Mistake - the clinic, which by definition should show attention, participation and empathy with the patient, could not teach this to its operators.

    Medical clinics still very often sinned with poor chat settings: service messages pop up randomly, the operator either appears on the network or disappears. Yes, and the chat itself is very uneven: from a sweet greeting, they easily turn to rude answers. For medical organizations, this looks deliberately unpleasant - a potential client has health problems, empathy is what he expects when first contacting a clinic.


    Well, let's look at the end, what kind of service in the chat rooms provide banks. It is believed that they, along with online retailers, are at the forefront of customer service using digital technology.

    How do you like this chain?


    The usual customer question was decided by four (!) Operators. They disconnected, connected, or translated chats to colleagues at any time. There was a feeling of interrupted defective communication. Customer confidence drops sharply, where can we talk about the quality support of the user on his client path to purchase.

    Mistake - operators are not able to quickly obtain the necessary information and work with databases, breaking communication.

    Oddly enough, it was at the banks that we revealed just a non-working chat and a chat that did not save the contact history. As you can see, even banks - the leading players in the field of online consulting can simply get pierced with the service in text channels. There is nothing to worry about - the industry is developing and common standards of communication in digital channels along with it (the main thing is not to stop improving and control how employees interact with customers).

    Of course, when conducting the research, we came across examples of excellent customer service in each industry, but there were much fewer. The overall picture is not very happy.

    Finally, let's turn to the numbers. About how many unikes come to the site of the online store of the average hand? According to LiveTex statistics, about 3% of all visitors to the site use the online chat window. Given all of the above, you can only imagine how many potential customers fall off and go to the site to competitors due to low-quality online service. And let's count. We take the average online store just from Yandex search results - wite.ru. We look at attendance on similarweb (yes, yes we are aware that it is lying, but its accuracy is enough for us) - 130k. Every day, an average of 130 x 0.03 = 3,900 people use the widget on the site. Half of them fall off simply because of the operator’s inept communication, it’s neither more nor less than 1950. Imagine that everyone wanted to buy a table for 1000 rubles. 1950 x 1000 = 1 950 000 rub. Not bad.

    We summarize. List of the most common chat files:

    • low response speed (the client is ready to wait for a response in the chat no longer than 30-60 seconds);
    • rudeness of operators (do not forget that the client pays you, which means that he must be priceless and loved);
    • ignoring customer questions (no comments);
    • ignoring the emotions of customers (empathy, all things);
    • a request to leave the phone when the client is not ready to do this (if the client has contacted in a text channel, then he has a number of reasons for this. There is no need to ignore this);
    • technical problems with chats and chatbots (infuriates when a stupid bot does not answer the question and does not switch to the operator).

    There is only one general conclusion to all of this - it is not the tool that is to blame, but the way it is worked with. If you treat the chat as well as the usual and leading phone and email, it will bring conversions, profit and loyal customers.

    And what infuriates you the most in online consultants (besides the fact that the windows “jump out” at the most inopportune moment - we know this problem and it can easily be solved by proper configuration)? Maybe there are examples of good and bad service in chat rooms, social networks and instant messengers from different companies?

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