The Shift To Instant Response – Is Live Chat Replacing Website Forms?


Digital Performance, Web

Ever since the internet became a place to connect, online forms have been the first port of call for communication. Whether it’s an enquiry about a new sale or a request for support, we’ve all relied on the contact form. However, there’s a new player in the game of digital performance, and they’re a tough competitor. 

So, should forms continue to be our go-to, or should you be changing over to a live chat? 

Firstly, let’s look at forms. How are they really performing in the online space? 

Although it varies by industry, form conversion rates don’t tend to be high. According to Formstack, the average contact form has a conversion rate of 1%. That means, for every 100 people who visit your website, one person is going to get in touch. At Zinc, we do tend to see higher conversion rates than that on average with our clients, however the global stats don’t lie. 
They open you up to a perceived worse customer service, because they create a ticking clock that you and your team aren’t aware of. If they’re sent outside of business hours, missed by an employee or caught by a spam-bot, you have a client or a lead whose impression of you isn’t to the standard that you would like. 
They can be well hidden. If you have buried your contact form on a single Contact Us page, there’s a good chance that a customer is going to take a different action. If they really want to get in touch, they’ll likely call. If they want information, they’ll find your FAQs. 
They can be intimidating! Some customers won’t like the idea of providing their contact details to a business they don’t know yet, or answering a lot of questions.

The reasons for forms performance could be manifold; however we’ve been using them for many years here at Zinc with great success. They’re a tried and true method, where customers know exactly what they’re dealing with and how to use them. Nevertheless, let’s look at what a Live Chat has to offer. 

The Pros of a Live Chat

Customers get instant answers; there’s no waiting around for the answer they’re looking for, which gets them immediately engaged. Their impression of your business is that you’re responsive, and ready to help 
Instead of a faceless form, the live chat introduces a potential customer to your team. It gives them a name and a photo to connect with, adding a friendly face to your brand that will speed up the trust building process. 
Your live chat is at the bottom of every page, which means that your team are there the second that they’re needed. There’s no more hunting for a phone number, form or email on your site. 
A Salesforce survey found that 42% of customers preferred live chat over other communication methods, and another study by SaaSworthy found that 63% were more likely to return to the site. 


These points are based around a person-manned live chat. If we’re looking at the cons, we’ve heard from several users that a ‘robot’ manned live chat can just as quickly cause a customer to become frustrated if it’s not delivering what they need. You can give it plenty of information, but there’s no way to prepare an AI chatbot for everything an unpredictable audience might throw at it. It could be impersonal, misunderstand, or even just plain wrong. If you don’t want to go for an automated responder, then you need a staff member on call for the whole working day, ready to answer.

Our customers have tried and tested both forms and live chat. In most occasions, adding in a live chat will always lead to lower numbers of form fills, as customers are able to get in touch with fewer steps. Nevertheless, on the occasions where we’ve removed a live chat, the form fills will shoot back up. It’s not that a live chat delivers where a form doesn’t, but often that it just opens the door more easily. 

If you’re not sure about a live chat for your site, we’d suggest a test run. Most providers offer a free trial, so try it out and see how it works for your business. If you’re noticing a higher amount of contacts, it’s your customers telling you something. If you’re finding it a bigger workload for the same number of leads, then maybe your market doesn’t need the level of communication you’re offering. The only way to tell is to try.

If you’re looking to work with a business that looks at the finer details, Zinc are the agency for you.

Speak to our team about your needs today.

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