A Guide to A/B Testing Your Live Chat

A Forrester study¹ found that “Most online shoppers look for help from a live person while shopping online. In fact, 44 % of online shoppers say that having their queries answered by a live person during the online shopping experience is one of the crucial features a website can offer”.

As live chat grows ever-popular and more businesses are adding it to their website, the need for testing and refining is bigger than ever. Just as you would A/B test your website to find out what works and what doesn’t, the same need applies to chat. but need to make sure you are testing to make it as best as it can be.

Things to consider when building the best live chat strategy are what your customers want and need from live chat, common queries they have, and the issues and complaints you see most often.

So what should you test to ensure your live chat is the best it can be?

Greetings and CTAs

The first message the customer sees has a huge impact on whether they will click on the chat window or not. A simple ‘hello!’ probably won’t get as much of a response as ‘I see you are looking at X product today, would you be interested in a free trial?’

Look at the pages you can personalise and how you can draw the visitor in, questions are a great way to do this and get the conversation flowing. Incentives such as trials and discounts can be another great way to bring the customer onto chat.

Pre-chat surveys are also something to consider here and can be an interesting aspect to test. Maybe if you ask for contact details before chat starts, it will mean that fewer people start a conversation. On the other hand, it can also mean that you are cutting chat costs and converting more leads into customers at the end of it because only people who were serious in the first place initiated a chat.

Position – Where the Widget Is

Where you position the widget is also very important. If your chat window is hidden away and difficult to find and click on, there is little point in using it. If you are generating leads and sales through live chat, placing your chat window in a prominent place is the way to go. 

However, if you want to offer chat as a support solution, putting the chat only on the support pages would be a good idea. You can try different pages at different times and locations and see what works for you.

Chat Design

The way you display your chat window plays an absolutely vital role in deciding whether a customer trusts and utilises a tool on your website. Making sure that your chat window is customisable and on-brand is absolutely key, so your site visitor knows they can trust the chat agent and is more likely to strike up a conversation. Using colours and images can be a good way to ensure your chat window is eyecatching.


A proactive strategy done right can make a massive impact on your chat conversion, and really can be the difference between a browsing customer clicking off the site or turning into a paying customer or lead.

You can look at your website analytics and work out the best time to send chat invites, the best thing to say and who to appear to. Getting this right is super important, as you don’t want to appear spammy and annoying to the visitor.

Software and chat provider

Ultimately, if your software or your chat agents are not up to scratch, you are always going to struggle to make your chats effective. 

Looking at your interface, do you want to make sure the option to email the chat transcript is clear, do you want to make sure the customer is anonymous or require them to enter their name before chat? These are all things you can test.

Often businesses add a free chat widget to their website and stick a few members of their phone sales or support team on live chat, only to find they’re not getting the results they need. With a managed chat solution, a team of specialised and highly trained chat agents can make sure you’re getting the results you want. With fast typing and fast response times and a wealth of knowledge of experience, they ensure your customer sees the best of your business.

Final Thoughts

Live chat is a brilliant solution for businesses, in fact, we see an average 50% increase in conversions from existing site traffic, but this doesn’t mean you can stick any old chat widget on your website and expect to see great results overnight. 

Just like with anything else on your website, live chat needs to be tested and researched to ensure it is working effectively. Once you start to understand who your customers are and what they need from live chat, you can implement a strategy to target this and start seeing the results you want.

Find out how we can optimise your chat strategy and increase your conversions here.

Watch the full episode of Everything eCommerce here.