Live Chat for Business Takes the Lead in Post-COVID Recovery

In the midst of coronavirus mitigation measures, businesses across the country struggled to connect with prospects without in-person communication. The exception? Those that kept in touch with website visitors through live chat.

And as things ramp back up all signs indicate live chat is leading the way. 

Prospects Were Plugged in via Chat Channels

Even in the depths of the coronavirus crisis consumers continued to connect with businesses through messaging channels such as live chat, SMS, and business chat apps including Facebook Messenger. 

Businesses are making it clear they relied on digital tools such as chat during the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, 31% of respondents to a Connected Commerce Council survey say their businesses would have closed without them. 

Although website traffic dipped in March, as mitigation efforts spread across the country, live chat conversion rates remained strong for most industries. As we noted at the time: “The shift in the average live chat conversion rate from February to March was barely noticeable. A drop of several hundredths of a percentage point.”

Now, as business restarts, we’re seeing online traffic do the same as conversion rates continue to indicate strong consumer interest in certain services.

The Reopening Is Ramping Up

With social distancing measures in place and strict hygiene practices enacted, businesses are beginning to welcome customers again. 

Whether through increased online interaction or literal reopening of their doors, it’s all about finding new ways to operate. As states and localities ease coronavirus mitigation measures new opportunities to connect with prospective customers remain attractive. 

You can expect that the way people interact with everyone from lawyers to plastic surgeons to roofers will change after the coronavirus. And part of that, as mentioned above, means an increasing reliance on digital tools to do business. 

In fact, the Connected Commerce Council survey states 70% of business owners consider digital tools useful and 40% have been using them to acquire new customers. Just over ⅓ of the survey respondents say they’ll rely more on digital tools and more than 80% suggest they’re interested in learning more!

It’s clear that the way consumers and businesses interact now and in the future shifted. And live chat continues to lead the way in website engagement. 

Live Chat Leading the Way in Business Recovery

Things are much different now than they were when we last evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. So what does that mean for how website visitors are interacting with home service contractors, lawyers, schools, and others?

Overall, website traffic increased just over 31% from the week of March 22 to the week of May 31, according to our internal chat data. And live chats didn’t just follow that trend: They exceeded it. Through the same period, live chats surged 42.6%. 

Live chat conversion rates through March, April and May barely shifted either. In fact, conversion rates bumped up 5% from March to May. The coronavirus outbreak impacted most businesses’ foot traffic, but qualified lead generation remained consistent online. 

Specific Sectors See Comebacks

Different businesses are feeling the virus differently. While all sorts are seeing more activity, there’s a range of recoveries ongoing across the country. Let’s take a closer look at how various businesses that offer live chat are ramping back up:



Education providers have seen some impact on digital engagement the most. However, our data indicates people are likely returning to schools’ websites to research for upcoming enrollment periods. 

From January to March, weekly chats on schools’ websites dropped just over 40%. However, in the months following the drop in traffic in mid-March, both visits and chats are recovering well. 

From March to May, total chats grew by about 35%. Through the same period, total leads increased by 35% as well. 

We’re definitely seeing chats and leads increase. But other trends indicate that general traffic is growing at an even faster rate. While chats increased by more than ⅓ from March through May, the chat rate actually fell during the same period. 

 People are returning to schools’ websites. However, likely due to seasonality (many schools just finished their most recent semester with virtual graduations), interest is not at the same level it was prior to the coronavirus outbreak. 

We expect chat rate and conversion rate to match the increases in total chats and leads as the appropriate season approaches. 


Legal Lawyers

Attorneys took a hit in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, but our data indicates they’re recovering. After all, the virus hasn’t stopped the need for legal services. 

Weekly chats and leads each dropped from January to March as coronavirus mitigation measures prevented clients and prospects from visiting attorneys. However, as business ramps back up across the country our data shows interest in legal services is as well. 

From March through May weekly chats and leads each jumped, according to our data. Chats on legal websites grew by nearly 25% over that period while qualified leads increased by just over 15%. 

The fact that chats increased more than leads indicates prospects are interested in feeling out how attorneys are reopening; and that their preferred channel for doing so is chat. As law offices reopen, chat represents an opportunity for them to capture prospects’ information and engage those that are interested. 

Home Services

Home Services

Our data indicates home service providers were relatively resilient through the coronavirus outbreak. However, that could be due to the seasonality of the business in many parts of the country. 

While our reporting shows just about every other sector experiencing some sort of dip in traffic and engagement during the coronavirus outbreak, we did not see the same here. Instead, home service providers’ chat engagement plateaued, at worst, through March.

Both total visits and leads, as well as chat rates and conversion rates, have consistently grown through 2020. That indicates a growing interest in these services as summer heats up. And that engagement is converting into appointments. 

For example, weekly leads from chat jumped 7% from January to March, despite much of the country shutting down business in order to mitigate the coronavirus. And through the same period website conversion rates improved by 10%.

That trend has continued as we enter summer. Total weekly leads surged over 86% from March through May. And visitor-to-lead conversion rates jumped 34%. 

Live Chat Resilient as a Channel for Revenue

The best lead generation chatbots or live chat software can help businesses overcome disruptions in business—even those previously unimaginable such as a pandemic. 

And when you take chat pricing into account, some live chat software for websites can reap your business substantial return on investment. Even when you have live chat agents manning the software. Just make sure you find the right one!

Of course, other digital channels also offer business opportunities in times like the coronavirus outbreak. However, chat tools can offer prospects better conversion experiences and generate qualified leads for your sales team. 

The coronavirus is unpredictable, and whether we see another wave of infections or not chat will be important for businesses. However, things develop, your business can remain there for your community by remaining available via chat. 

When there are people in need of your services, don’t let COVID-19 hold you back from connecting with them. And as business ramps up, make sure you’re available for every prospect, regardless of how they want to connect with you. 

Because one thing we know, is that contractors, schools, lawyers, and other businesses have continued generating interest online throughout 2020—regardless of what this year has to throw at them.