How To Know If Your Chat Tactics Are Producing Results
We’ve been talking and writing a lot about chat lately given the new buyer journey and how important speed is in taking care of new visitors and prospects.
It’s also smart to make sure we’re tracking the performance of our chat channel as a broader contributor to overall lead generation, the creation of sales opportunities and new revenue generation.
As with most marketing tactics, a host of metrics provide a complete perspective on how this tactic is doing. It’s not all about leads generated. While that might be an important metric, others give us equal insight into how the execution is performing.
Here are some of the key performance metrics we keep an eye on when it comes to chat. You should consider watching at least a handful of these to get the insights you need to create ongoing action plans and optimization of the chat experience on your website.
- Total Users – This is the most basic of all metrics. This shows you how many people are using your chat feature. You should look at this metric over time and compare it to same previous time period. How many chat users did we have this week vs. last week and this month vs. last month? Those numbers should be increasing month over month.
- Active Users – Active users are people who read a message in an established time window. For example, they read a message in the first five minutes. This metric typically provides insight into the effectiveness of the campaign that brought these people to your chat. In short, these people saw your message. Getting them to act or engage is our next metric.
- Engaged Users – This is the number of people who use the chat bot and interact with it by sending and receiving messages. This number measures the effectiveness of your chat experience to start a conversation with a visitor to your site.
- New Users – This metric is like net new contacts in your email database. It shows how effective your chat experience is at attracting new people to your company. You’ll need new users, because just like the decay of your email database, chat users will move on or change their preferences. New users will keep your overall chat user metrics moving in the right direction.
One note on user metrics is that you will likely have to consider the types of chats you’re counting. For example, we get chats related to open positions, chats related to selling us stuff and chats related to general business outreach.
While these are minimal (less than 5% of the chats), they still inflate the actual directed business performance and need to be removed from our numbers. You might have to make a similar adjustment in your user-reported metrics.
- Conversation Starter Metrics – When someone starts an interaction with you chat bot, this is a conversation starter. The number of new conversations is a direct measure of how organically aligned your chat bot is with your website experience. In most cases, the chat bot is set up to start a conversation with a visitor. This metric measures the effectiveness of your conversation starting strategy.
- Bot Messages – This is the total number of messages the chat bot sends per interaction. This helps you measure the length of conversation with your visitors. You want this number to be as high as possible, signaling that people are getting value from the answers the bot provides. However, long conversations can also signal misunderstanding or confusion. Look for the use of similar words in a single conversation as a signal that the bot experience might be long but also inefficient for your visitors.
- Missed Messages – There are two types of missed messages metrics. One is when someone wants to chat but a person is not available to pick up the conversation. The second is used to measure the bot’s ability to engage with a visitor who wants to chat but the bot responses are not engaging the visitors.
- Total Conversations – This is one of the simplest metrics and at the highest level can be used to evaluate your overall chat tactic. This number shows the total amount of completed conversations for a day. You should see this number going up on a weekly basis.
While the above metrics help us with the execution part of deploying chat, we also need a set of more strategic metrics to ensure chat is delivering value across the business. The reason we deploy chat is to generate more leads, more sales opportunities and ultimately month-over-month revenue growth.
- MQLs Generated – The main value proposition for chat is “skip the form.” Since form completions are one of the major measures associated with our other marketing tactics, and form completions almost always equate to marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), chat should be generating MQLs at the same or greater pace than the landing pages and forms you might also be using. I’d consider looking at MQLs monthly.
- SQLs Generated – The other value proposition for chat is accelerating the sales process and moving people along their buyer journey at a faster clip. That’s why we should be looking at sales-qualified leads (SQLs) generated by chat, or those chat conversations that quickly turn into sales conversations. I’d also look at these monthly.
- Sales Opportunities Generated – If we’re having chat conversations with people ready to talk to sales, then these leads should be turning into sales opportunities. Tracking the number of chat-generated sales opportunities monthly should be on your list of metrics. I’d also look at the percentage of SQLs to sales opportunities. This might uncover weakness in your sales team’s ability to transition people interested in talking to sales into opportunities, or it might uncover a lead quality issue that marketing can address.
- New Customers Generated – The major business outcome you’re looking for here is new customers, so you’ll want to track new customers that originated or interacted with chat during their buyer journey.
- Revenue Generated – These new customers will have revenue associated with them, so track dollars, too. This will give you the data you need to run a quick return on investment (ROI) calculation as well.
- Time To Close (Days) – Finally, keep tabs on the days it takes to close new customers who came in through chat. You can compare this data to the traditional sales channel data. You might see a big difference in the speed at which chat-generated leads move versus leads from other digital and more traditional channels.
One more metric that you might want to consider is the following.
- User Satisfaction – This is typically picked up through exit surveys and can be done with basic qualitative questioning. Did our chat experience meet your needs? Yes or no. You can go on to ask additional questions if you want to make tweaks to the experience or ask questions about specific parts of the experience. This type of data rounds out your quantitative metrics and gives visitors a chance to provide some subjective feedback.
If you want even more metrics to consider, or if you want a more comprehensive perspective on chat metrics, check out this website.
All in all, we’ve seen an amazing lift in key metrics when clients turn on their chat tools. We’ve seen even more lift when they work to optimize that experience over time. The ability to start using chat on only a handful of pages or in selected situations on the site, and then building it out over time, makes chat a dynamic option for lead generation that should be a part of almost any company’s website.
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