When live chat or live messaging is introduced on a website, the conversion rate is an interesting metric to watch. Traditionally, what we’re looking at when we measure conversions is landing pages and the conversion rate on those landing pages.

That’s typically tied to a form on a page that you might drive through Google AdWords, inbound marketing. There might be an e-book or a webinar. How many people fill out that form, versus how many people have seen that page or have visited that page?

And industry standards for those forms vary. You might see anything from 1% to 15%. Somewhere in that range is not uncommon. Often what we’ll see is let’s say you have a 5% conversion rate on one of those landing pages. If you introduce live chat, by the same metric, that landing page conversion rate will go down. What you’ll see is that a lot of the people that would have otherwise been forced to fill out the form are now offered a way to ask a question and they decide to go that route instead.

What we have to do is we have to integrate these two metrics. We have to say “What is our number of conversions, and what is our number of conversations?” We have to introduce a new metric and then combine these two and learn how to compare it to the old way.

Because offering this new way that is less friction based and this new way that is more friction free, people are always going to choose the path of least resistance, and ultimately, that’s the best thing for our customers and prospects.

So, while not every conversation nets a fully qualified sales lead that’s ready to purchase, neither does a form submission. What we need to do is start to measure those rates and look and see what happens.

Often what we find is we introduce people who are more advanced in the sales funnel than they were before, and the overall number of people introduced into the sales funnel at a more advanced stage goes up.