Steve Castro-Miller

Bold Software and the e-tailing group's third annual release of comprehensive research on the effectiveness of live chat technology found that one in five shoppers prefers live chat more than any other communication method.

Bold Software surveyed more than 200 of its customers about their experiences with live chat over the holidays, and 77 percent cited the customer communication channel as critical (up 8 percent from last year), with 34 percent saying it was very or extremely critical.

For websites across a diverse array of product categories, live chat is a common thread of success. A recent survey my firm conducted of more than 1,000 U.S.-based online shoppers found that 56 percent of respondents said live chat positively influenced them to make a purchase.

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