Live Agents Have Less Than 2 Minutes To Engage Site Visitors, Drift Research Reveals

Published: January 16, 2024

Live agents who connect with site visitors within two minutes of the prospect interacting with a chatbot have the highest chance of booking a meeting, according to new Drift research. The conversational sales and marketing company released the 2024 edition of its “Conversation Trends Report,” which uncovered that the clock is ticking for live reps to connect with prospects. Specifically, agents who waited five minutes to respond increased the risk of site visitors leaving by 10X, while those who waited 10 minutes increased that risk by 100X.

“From 2022 to 2023, the number of requests to speak to a human increased 2.5X, demonstrating prospects need to solve their business needs as quickly as possible,” said Matt Tippets, SVP of Product at Drift, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “Moreover, bot-only conversations proved 66% less likely to convert into an opportunity when compared to conversations that routed in a human agent. What this tells us is that buyers still crave human interaction within their digital shopping experiences.”

Adapting To Modern Buying Experiences

Tippets continued that B2B buyers crave digital buying experiences that give them what they need, when they need — even if it’s not a convenient time for human agents. In fact, the report found that 39% of all conversations happened outside of normal business hours, while 41% of all meetings booked through Drift happened outside of traditional office hours. With that in mind, he noted that it’s critical for businesses to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that help provide 24/7 connections with their prospects and buyers.

“Having the right AI strategy in place to meet growing customer demands is critical as marketers step in 2024,” said Tippets. “B2B buyers come to your website with a specific goal in mind, and they expect you to make it easy for them to achieve it. When you deliver on this expectation, they’re more likely to spend more time with your brand.”

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Tippets continued that customer expectations are at an all-time high, as the amount of feedback site visitors submitted via Drift conversations more than doubled in the past year while the amount of people who started a chat to “just test the bot” decreased 4X.

With these findings in mind, Tippets shared that the top trends shaping AI and customer engagement throughout 2024 include:

1. Personalization Is Out; Individualization Is In

According to Tippets, personalization means “Dear Name” at the top of a brand email instead of “Dear Customer” or changing a website background to a prospect’s favorite color. However, he cautioned that that type of personalization doesn’t target what buyers need in the moment — there’s nothing unique about it. 

“Yes, I’ve got a name, home address and favorite color (orange), but none of that represents what I really care about when I interact with a chatbot or a brand,” continued Tippets. “An individualized experience treats people for who they are and what they need at that moment — and that’s what AI is good at. AI is enabling 1:1 conversations in a way that technology has never done before, ushering in a new era of truly individualized communication and support.”

2. AI Still Faces A Rocky Road

Historically, content was the most time- and cost-intensive part of 1:1 personalization — and now individualization — Tippets explained, pointing to conversational AI as a tool that can help provide the foundation to remove some of the content bottlenecks. However, he noted that once one problem gets solved, another is likely to emerge.

“When one bottleneck opens up, we inevitably identify new ones,” said Tippets. “It may be talent to optimize AI, effective training of targeted models or even performance of new AI to meet the needs of organizations, employees and customers. Wherever we identify those new challenges, we need to ensure it’s not seen as a structural blocker but a speed bump toward a new normal.”

3. Businesses Must Train Employees On AI

With that in mind, businesses need to focus on training employees to fully understand and utilize conversational AI solutions. Tippets added that oftentimes, companies don’t always aim to understand the technology that supports business processes; they just care that it’s fit for a purpose.

“As employees invest time in using AI tools and experimenting with the latest capabilities, that knowledge will be applied in unexpected ways in their day-to-day job to improve everything from individual efficiency to departmental tactics to corporate strategies, regardless of your industry,” said Tippets. “If you’re not leveraging conversational AI in your website strategy — and training your employees on it — you’re already falling behind.”

For more insights into the “Conversation Trends Report,” join Drift’s VP of Marketing, Emily Singer, and Director of Product Marketing, Holly Xiao, for a webinar on Jan. 17 as they dive into the insights gathered in the report.

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