A few years ago business owners started turning to live chat software solutions to match the ever-growing demand for top-notch customer support. Plenty of notable live chat tools are available on the web, but finding the right one for you can be tricky. How are you supposed to go about choosing the one that best supports your specific customer demands?
This article is designed to give you a framework to find the best live chat software for your business.
1. Is it a real-time solution?
In today’s world, where time is of the essence, the old tools, like email and phone services, are an increasing cause of customer frustration.
When a customer calls a company to speak to an agent, they must navigate a number of different options first. Then they are forced to sit through the dreaded hold music because all operatives are busy. When they do finally get through, the onus is on the caller to adequately explain the problem and attempt to extract the answer from a cacophony of background noises and network disturbances, all while demonstrating an impeccable ear for different accents. Doesn’t this seem like a lot to ask of your customers?
Email services are not much better. Who wants to wait 24 hours for a reply?
Got a question? Then simply click a button and start chatting.
2. Is it proactive?
Imagine two live chats. One is reactive, sitting, waiting for visitors to click on it. The agents sit behind it replying to queries.
The other offers an open invitation for everyone, along with an automated message from the chat agent. It’s a lot more engaging, helping reach out to confused users.
A proactive chat window based on analytical rules pops up on the web page around 90-120 seconds after the viewer hits the page. In the background, visitor behavior is being tracked, focusing on elapsed time on site, geographic location, navigation history, current page URL, shopping cart items with total valuation, and many more metrics besides.
Effective live chat software integrates channels like CRM, and tools such as visitor monitoring, custom variables, and behavioral indicators - which collect customer data - to automate chat window messages.
All of this saves time for the agents, whilst maximizing opportunities. Forrester Research has shown that Nationwide Mutual Funds reduced abandonments in their shopping cart by 30-40% by installing proactive live chat software.
3. Is it fulfilling goals?
In 2011, customer satisfaction was in a bad state. Only 1% of customers felt that their expectations were completely met. But, thankfully, the picture has got rosier since then.
Live conversation has turned the tide, with 63% of visitors more likely to return to a website providing live chat support.
Sort yourself out with a service that provides 24/7 support so your customers never have to muddle their way through issues alone, even in the dead of night.
Visitors prefer an immediate response, real-time support, and personal interaction - offering a better route to understand their issues. Many appreciate the chance to multitask while chatting, saving them time. Others see the value in the knowledge resources on offer. If an agent doesn’t have the required knowledge about a certain product, they can connect to others with video conferencing, delivering that information to the customer.
Live conversation gives you a platform to share any relevant files and documents within the chat window, providing for clients who prefer self-service.
4. Is it providing a complete solution?
Live chat solutions satisfy customers; that we know. But now, technology has enabled live assistance to offer an even more complete solution.
Chat services with desktop software features allow agents to engage customers in text chat without opening the website every time. Cloud-based content can add files/data when needed.
Live voice calls enhance chat sessions no matter the platform, without either side incurring extra costs. A video calling option works in a similar manner. No extra software installation indeed, it works directly from any device.
Combining this with screen sharing adds even more value. Many customers find themselves bewildered by technology, leaving them struggling to complete a purchase. With screen sharing, agents can provide the support needed whilst simultaneously demonstrating the process. Temporarily sharing the viewer’s screen, live agents can use visual cues by moving the mouse cursor to the relevant locations. The cobrowsing feature also helps agents provide more effective support, creating a clear view of the screen and enabling relevant files and documents to be shared when necessary.
5. Does it allow integration with other third-party software?
The best live chat options don’t stop at providing functionality of their own, they improve overall quality by merging with multiple other channels and web services.
Modern live assistance integrates with lots of third-party apps, like email marketing, social media, e-commerce, CRM and CMS tools, as well as many other useful sales tools. You can place chat buttons directly into personalized emails you send to clients so they can start chat sessions right out of the content. It’s just like adding social media buttons.
Sales tools can also be added to your live chat software. For example, HubSpot’s integration with chat services allows agents to send customer information directly to Salesforce, adding new leads without leaving the chat application.
Content management system (CMS) integrations enable you to curate your information in a single system, connecting it to the chat service.
Customer relationship management tools empower your chat reps to interact more efficiently with clients by using their history and sales records with the company.
6. Is it providing proper analytics?
Consider the software you select based on its ability to store historical chats. Returning customers expect you to have records of their previous interactions so they don’t have to waste time recapping. These records are also useful to activate probabilistic indicators regarding behavior analysis, location tracker, and background analyzer, providing a proper understanding of customer requirements.
Marketing tools and CRM software keep track of a significant amount of data relating to customer details, create automated sales histories, and manage sales planning based on analytics.
7. Is it available on - or compatible with - mobile devices?
Without smartphone compatibility, software doesn’t stand a chance of making inroads in such a crowded marketplace.
If you want to go to where people are, then that means being available on their smartphones. Make sure your live chat software is available on the go and you will stand a much better chance of getting their attention.
When selecting live chat software to suit your business, pricing is an important factor to consider. It’s no use finding a great piece of software that does everything you could ever want if the price makes it completely impractical. There are lots of live chat service providers that offer competitive pricing plans.
Consider all relevant factors, like how many chats you can have per month, whether you will get a complete report and analytics, discounts etc. Then do the analysis to show how much you get in return for the price you are going to pay. Make sure you understand your vendor’s pricing plan properly to avoid any confusion or unexpected additional costs in the future.
Choose live chat software that smoothly integrates with your existing business processes. Websites can be run from a variety of different platforms, like Magento, Joomla, Drupal etc. Make sure that your chosen live chat system integrates seamlessly and hassle-free with other applications as needed.
The Internet has changed our lives in many positive ways, but it has brought negatives too. In particular, there are some legitimate concerns regarding security on the internet. Robust chat applications can help avoid these dangers. Get all the details about how secure your live chat software is from your vendor before making your decision.
11. 24/7 Customer service
Choose live chat systems that provide 24/7, 365 days a year, top-notch customer support, so if ever a problem arises with the chat system, you can get assistance straight away. Your live chat service provider should be available through e-mails, live chat, over the phone, or any way you need, whenever you need.
Live chat software is a best practice solution when it comes to enhancing the customer experience. Implement the best live chat software possible to fulfill your particular business requirements and use the above checklist to help you to stay on the right track when making your choice.