The Value Of Live Chat: Comparing Email and Chat Conversion Rates


Meet Will.

Will is our numbers guy here at Drift. More accurately, he’s our VP of Operations. Which means he’s digging into our metrics day in and day out to learn how our customers are using Drift for sales. Here’s just one thing he’s figured out:

Live chat software blows email out of the water when it comes to conversion rates.

Just using the messaging on our pricing page as an example: 63% of the people who open that message actually start a conversation with one of our sales reps. Compare that to an average email click rate of between 2 and 3%.

Not to mention the incessant back and forth associated with email. When’s the last time you tried to book a meeting over email? 16 back and forth emails later, maybe you settled on a time. But with a live chat solution like Drift, you can integrate your calendar directly so people can book free slots from within the chat window. In no time. Without the back and forth.

What’s more is you can even target your website’s highest intent pages with live chat (like we do here at Drift with our pricing page).

Let’s dig deeper into that pricing page example for a minute. Unlike our homepage, our pricing page gets a ton of high-intent traffic. This traffic is already pre-qualified. Site visitors have decided they’re at least interested enough in our product to learn more about how much it costs. Precisely why we recommend targeting high-intent pages like pricing and product features with live chat. Folks who land on these pages are serious about becoming customers – and sales reps will be seriously happy to talk to them.

Not sold yet on the benefits of live chat over email? You don’t have to take my word for it. Will breaks down the benefits here ?

P.S. Can’t watch right now? You can read the transcript of this video below. 

Will Collins: Hi. I’m Will. I work in operations at Drift and I’m here to talk about the value of chat.

To keep it simple, let’s think about what it takes to get one deal. You’ve got two channels to get there. You’ve got email and you’ve got chat.


Email is like a dude who sits on side of the road at a stoplight with a sign like this and says, “Hey, pull into my store, pull into my parking lot.” Super high volume, low conversion rate kind of play.

You send out 300 emails to get 30 replies, three demos, and these are best in class metrics, just to get to one deal.

Now, let’s think about chat.

Chat, to me, is like the Apple employee that greets you when you walk into the store and says, “Hey, how can I help you?”

With chat, you have 20 conversations (by the way, these are numbers that we see every day.) You have 20 conversations, and 16 of those are support related, four of those are sales related, but they’re warm leads, so one out of those four is going to convert into a deal.

So, which would you rather have? Would you rather have 300 conversations to get to one sales deal through email and deal with the content creation and the followup? Or would you rather have 20 live conversations in chat to close a deal?

That’s how we think about the value of chat.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop by the Drift site and let us know.

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in 2017 and updated in April of 2019.