Published: January 29, 2014 | Comments (2)
This post originally appeared on the Provide Support blog.
“Are there any best practices that we should be implementing in our chat system?” is one of the most common questions asked by newly registered users of live chat services, as well as those who are seeking for new ways to operate their live chat and achieve a better ROI. In this post we would like to answer this question and share with you a few guidelines on how to use live chat more effectively and unlock its full potential.
Ensure proper visibility of your live chat feature
You surely wouldn’t want your customer to use a magnifying glass to find live chat your page. Online help can make a big difference to their experience with your website, so you have to make it stand out. It is not recommended to use chat buttons designed in colors which will make it get lost among your other content. It doesn’t have to be annoyingly poppy, colored in rainbow colors, but it has to be noticeable so the customer may spot it at once and refer to it when help is needed. Like with all things in life, it’s just about finding the right balance: you’ve got to fit it into your overall website design maintaining to keep its shine.
You may also use effects to emphasize its prominence, like making the chat button float on your page. But don’t overdo it as it may distract customers from reading your content. The latest trend, which seems like a nice move is to pin the chat button in one of the corners of your page. This makes it very convenient for the user to access the feature without being too hard on their eye. But that’s not panacea of course, you can use your imagination there.
Make live chat universally accessible across all of your pages and websites
If you would like to track all of your users and create greater engagement with them, make sure you have the live chat code added to all of your website pages, sub-domains, domains. Customers are less likely to rummage through your website in search of live chat, especially that they don’t know you have it.
Add a personal touch to your chat messenger
Everyone is bored looking at stock photos or cliché greetings, aren’t we? Be different, employ your creativity in customizing your live chat tool. There are many things that you can do, such as adding your picture, uploading a nice logo, which will introduce your brand and deliver the company message, writing up more personal and engaging system notifications, greetings etc. Mix colors and fonts to create a special vibe and make users feel comfortable chatting with your reps.
Don’t miss on collecting feedback from your customer
Enabling post chat survey to collect feedback from the customer can be a great source to measure the effectiveness of your customer support, learn mistakes and improve your training program for employees. You can customize the survey questionnaire to reflect your company needs. If an agent has done something wrong in a live situation, we are all people after all, it allows you to quickly follow up and make amends to the customer.
Integrate live chat with your social media and email channels
This one is important. If you want to maximize your reach and engage more customers, it is necessary to build those cross channel connections. It is going to benefit both your social media marketing and your live chat conversions, bringing more quality leads.
What you can do is to add live chat buttons and links to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, any other social account you have, add it to your email signature, include it in the newsletter. We have a number of articles in this blog guiding you how to do it, click the respective links your see in this paragraph.
Similarly you can share your social links in the messenger by adding follow widgets on to the start chat form and/or the post chat survey screen.
Use proactive chat, wisely
Here at Provide Support we are not a fan of automated invitations popping up at you first thing you land on a page. Automation can be good to a certain extent, as long as it allows and supports a touch up by a human. What works for us and what seems like the least intrusive behavior on the customer privacy is to tailor your messages to be sent only to those users who presumably anticipate it. Of course, you cannot be 100% certain here, but there are rules to go by which improve your chances of spotting those users to target them with proactive chat.
There are basically 3 rules of thumb which you can easily integrate into your practice: the right place, the right time and the right message. What do those include?
Notice the page the customer is staying at – if they are reviewing your help, FAQ, Contact Us pages, they are surely in need of help. Those are your targets for proactive chat. Don’t send out invitations at random to minimize the “annoyance” level.
Notice for how long the customer has been browsing a certain page – if it’s like Features or Solutions page, give them some time to look around and if they remain on the same page for about 2 or 3 minutes, it may indicate their interest and you can try offering help to them. Don’t throw your messages into their face without giving them time to breathe.
Customize your messages considering the above 2 factors: the page they are looking at and their duration of stay. If you have any additional information about the customer through the monitoring tool, this may also give you insights on how to better appeal to them and make your invitation personal. Don’t waste your time and effort on breeding generic pop-ups, they may damage your reputation.
Most importantly, avoid dead chat support
Specify your working hours in the messenger window and make sure to be online during those hours. Nothing is more frustrating to the customer than their inability to reach you despite seeing all those available contact options you are flashing on your website, and even more so, their uncertainty as to whether you are going to be available at all. If you bought a live chat, own it. Be transparent with customers about your live chat policies. This will help you build trust with users and avoid unnecessary suspicion.
Are there any other best practices that you have been able to use in your chat system? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. We hope that our guidelines will be beneficial to you.