The Ins and Outs of Live Web Chat (Including Pros and Cons)

Over the last few years, live chat has become an essential feature of modern business websites. A well-managed live chat offers current and potential customers instant answers and support, which has made it the preferred customer to business touchpoint, with some 79% of consumers saying they prefer it to phone and email.

However, many large companies, including online payment giant PayPal, don’t make use of live chat. In fact, only 9% of companies have adopted the trend. 

We think they’re missing a trick. Some 38% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers a live web chat service and it makes many aspects of customer service and sales easier and more streamlined. 

So, whether you are:

- Selling a product and want to invite potential customers to talk to you before you buy

- Offering a service that can be technically confusing for your customers like web hosting

- Want to supply instant answers to the burning questions people have

- Want to highlight your most useful piece of content to new website visitors

… and a whole host of other business goals and needs, it can pay to invest in live web chat.

But what are the key things you need to consider before you set one up and what are the pros and cons of running a live web chat service? Read on for the answers and more.

The Pros and Cons of using live web chat

Let’s start by taking a look at some pros and cons of adding a live web chat to your website.


Pros: Cons:
• Instant response and support • It isn't for everyone
• Help multiple people at the same time • Mobile live chat can offer a poor experience
• No extra costs for website visitors • Can be open to abuse
• Convenient for consumers • Agents must respond quickly
• Easily set active/away status  
• Monitor and review support qualit  
• Easier communication  
• Source of data through analytics and logs  

Pros of using live web chat

Instant response:

Live web chat tends to be faster than telephone support and is certainly quicker than waiting for a ticket response. This is a massive advantage for people who require answers quickly and is great for companies who want to solve this pain point for their customers.

No extra cost:

Plenty of companies offer goods and services internationally. But they tend not to have a free telephone contact option for every country they cater for. Website visitors who use live chat will incur no costs, which is a huge benefit.

Reviews and feedback:

Not every telephone service is monitored, so it can be difficult for businesses to understand the quality of support their staff are providing. But live chat software keeps log files, which makes monitoring the quality and consistency of support much easier.

Cons of using live web chat

Not for everyone:

Not everybody is tech-savvy, and even for those who are, live web chat isn’t necessarily their preference. Businesses should offer at least one other form of contact such as telephone or email support to make sure they cover all the bases.

Open to abuse:

Unfortunately, live web chat can be open to abuse because it offers pranksters easy access to support staff. It’s just so easy to start a ‘fake’ conversation. If you find this happens too often, you can try these tips:

- Start each conversation with a simple form 

- Require new users to provide an email address

- Get into the habit of blocking troublemakers

How to set up a live web chat

Thanks to the technology we embrace today, there are multiple ways you can set up live web chat on your website. I’ll describe three of the best below.

Managed solution

Many people prefer to use a managed solution like Davinci. And, to be honest, I can understand why because it’s just so much easier than DIY. For the less tech-savvy among us or just for people who want to get on with their other more interesting jobs, Davinci offers the perfect solution. 

Once you sign up to Davinci, their dedicated team will contact you within an hour to help set up your live web chat. They handle training your dedicated team to take chats, answering inquiries, and help take orders- all while sending you the details of each chat.

Self-managed solution

If you go self-managed, you’d need to set the software up yourself, insert the relevant code into your website, and then run the whole show from there. If your large business has the resources to hire dedicated staff to manage live chat, this can be a cost-effective solution and it has the added benefit of giving you complete control. However, for small to medium-sized businesses who don’t have the staff or time to manage live web chat 24/7, I wouldn’t recommend this option.

Hired agents

Applications like Tawk.to are free to use. “How do they make money?”, I hear you ask. Well, you can hire agents through the application to manage and respond to your live web chats. Which means you don’t have to employ staff or do the hard work yourself. Tawk.to lets you hire live web chat agents from just $1 per hour, which is much more affordable for smaller businesses.

Pitfalls to avoid when integrating live web chat into your website

If you manage your live web chat properly then you can increase conversions and customer satisfaction at the same time.

However, as with any kind of technology, it’s easy to make mistakes. If you’ve never integrated live web chat into a website before, you may not be aware of the common pitfalls to avoid. Here are four of the biggest you should watch out for.

1. Not opting for plug & play

One of the main reasons people use live web chat is because it’s so easy. If your end-user faces obstacle after obstacle just to talk to you, they’ll give up and go elsewhere. 

Don’t ask your customers to download software in order to talk to you, and don’t ask them for their life story before they can contact an agent. If you require more information, save this for the chat itself as you don’t want to put your customers off before they even get a chance to talk to you.

2. Falling into the over-automation trap 

Automation is a good thing, but too much of it can put your customers off. There’s a time and a place for chatbots, but if you use them for everything, your customers will start to notice. There are most definitely questions that can be answered by a chatbot, however, more complex issues simply can’t be automated, so you need to balance the tables so as not to over automate.

3. Offering a slow response time

Customers choose live web chat to get instant answers. If your live chat response times are poor, you’re going to feel your customer’s wrath. And it’s not just about response times, it’s about wasting your customer’s time. Don’t ask them questions you already know the answer to and don’t ask them to repeat themselves.

4. Channeling queries to the wrong agents 

If your business has multiple departments or even a few agents with different skills, make sure your initial automated answer sequence channels customers to the right place with the right expertise. it makes no sense to send your customers to agents who don’t know how to answer their specific query. So, ask a few automated questions before you assign a chat to a live agent.


Businesses that use live web chat in the right way will really see the benefit. 79% of businesses said implementing live chat increased customer loyalty, revenue, and sales. But using it the wrong way can ruin all of the above.

So it’s important to understand how and where to use live web chat properly. Small and medium-sized businesses may prefer to use a free live chat system and hire agents as and when they’re needed to keep staff management and costs down. However, larger businesses would be better off opting for a managed solution like Davinci.


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