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What to Look for When Choosing A Live Chat Application or System

Businesses have been turning to online live chat as a means of providing 24/7 assistance and interaction with their customers for some time. The best part about live chat is that it offers an easy way for the customer to contact you, a productive way for you to serve them and it also reduces the overall cost of delivering your service.

However, not all live chat applications were created the same, and to find the best live chat for your website, you need to know what to look for. Here’s an explanation of some critical live chat features.

Real-time Interactivity

Without real-time interactivity, you lose one of the key benefits of a live chat application or system, which is the ability to provide instantaneous responses to customer queries, concerns or demands.

Having live chat with real-time operability offers a far better customer experience than a helpline or an email service. The helpline asks the customer to choose the right number to have their need addressed, and there’s always a lag between the time a help email is sent, and the reply is returned.

Online live chat with real-time interactivity means questions can be answered immediately. Typed text is also much clearer than a conversation over the phone, and unlike an email, everything can be clarified in real time.

You can even consider using a video option for increased customer interaction.

Proactive Operability

Live chat apps, or systems, can be either reactive or proactive. A reactive system needs to be clicked by the visitor, and the agent responds to any queries.

A proactive system offers increased engagement. The chat window will open as soon as the page opens, usually featuring an automated message from the chat agent. This is perfect for increasing sales as it gives shy or unsure visitors a prompt to have any queries answered.

You can also customise the software, so it opens at a specific time after the visitor has been on the page.

Integration with Third-Party Software

The best live chat systems will integrate with third-party software, and especially your other business software. For example, you should be able to integrate with your:

  • Content Management System
  • Customer Relationship Management Software
  • Social media applications
  • Analytics
  • E-commerce and sales tools
  • Provision of Accurate, In-Depth Analytics

The software needs to provide analytics, or you have no way of knowing how successful your live chat feature actually is! Being able to monitor key metrics, such as conversion tracking, chat times and chat histories allows you to optimise your service delivery.

It’s not just about tracking customer behaviours, it’s about monitoring your chat agents’ responses. Online live chat software gives you the ability to watch both your customer and your staff without physically being there, so make sure you go with a brand that offers rich analytics functionality.

Compatibility with Mobile Devices

Mobile compatibility is an absolute must. Well over half of all web usage is conducted on a mobile, so if your live chat software isn’t available to mobile users, you’re potentially ignoring over half of your customer base.

For optimum performance, go for an app or system that has been built on iOS, Android and Windows, rather than just built for them.

Superior Cyber Safety

Any internet-based activity will always carry some danger relating to security. Cloud-hosted software is slightly more prone to hacks, so backups should be made frequently and stored for an extended period of time. You also need to check how it performs under times of extreme stress or pressure.

Your app or system should be protected against unauthorised access, while a firewall should be in place to protect against data theft.

Easily Customised for Your Business

Your business and your brand have been carefully crafted to represent what you do, how you do it and why you do it. The live chat feature on your website needs to fit in with this brand, or it will be a jarring experience rather than an inviting one (which it should be.)

Everything from the colour to the font, and of course the text and content should be customisable so you can create an option that suits your business and will appeal to your customers.

Simple Set-Up and Onboarding Process

Good online live chat doesn’t have to be difficult to set up, and it definitely shouldn’t be difficult to operate. Go with a vendor that offers extensive support in both set-up and onboarding, as well as a system that is sophisticated yet simple.

Advanced Features

Your live chat app should have advanced features that make your life easier, and enhance the user experience:

  • Canned Responses: Many responses will feature the same lines of advice. Being able to save these responses and send them improves response time without denigrating the overall user experience.
  • File Transfer: Bring ale to send and receive files and place controls on file type is enormously beneficial.
  • Queue Times: Your users will appreciate knowing exactly how long a response will take.
  • Smart Triggers: These triggers send specific responses in relation to specific events. For example, a canned response may be sent if a customer is about to leave the page, or they are a return visitor.
  • Helpful, Responsive Customer Support

As a customer, you deserve the best customer support from your live chat vendor. Make sure you ask questions about the type of support and training they offer, as well as when their support centres are open.