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Live-Chat Features Every Enterprise User Should Demand

Posted on 12.18.2014

Any business with a website knows that the more engaged a user is (in terms of interaction) the higher the likelihood that they will make a purchase (and a repeat purchase if some level of brand loyalty is achieved). One of the best ways to do that, of course, is by employing live chat software. But what features should you demand from your live chat solution vendor?

Live chat solutions have come a long way since they first made an appearance on the early Web. They have evolved from rather rudimentary technology offerings into quite sophisticated platforms that are easy to deploy, powerful in their ability to deepen engagement, and can be integrated with a variety of other systems to help brands understand the value live chat provides their enterprise.

There are such a wide variety of systems for this purpose, however, that it will serve you well to understand the range of options enterprises have at their digital disposal. Here are a few of what many consider to be the most important:

Compatibility: Website visitors come from every browser and OS. It is imperative that brands test the live chat as a website visitor on as many browsers and OS's as possible before selecting a live chat provider.

Referral Data: Being able to identify where the visitor arrived from is vital. Whether from a search engine like Google, a partner or referred site, even through direct entry (type-in traffic), referral data empowers the chat agent with information about the visitor's intent. For example, if the user came from a search engine, what type of query did they use - information or transaction oriented?

Triggers: Automating proactive chats is a powerful feature. You can also easily test this on sites that have 100+ visits a day. Finding an optimal trigger strategy with that amount of traffic can be time saving and conversion boosting.

Knowledge Base: Another incredibly valuable feature for those considering live chat capabilities, a knowledge base enables chat agents to quickly (and accurately) transfer knowledge/data/guidance in order to respond quickly and with consistency. Most of the communication that takes place through live chat systems from the user has to deal with a standard line of inquiry. That means brands can be more efficient by populating their knowledge base with answers to the most commonly/frequently asked questions.

Visitor/Engagement/Conversion Metrics: Visitor metrics allow brands to track visitor behavior, which can help them staff properly in the short term, but in the long term (say yearly), brands can track visits to product types and better prepare stock and promos for their customers. The whole point of live chat, of course, is to offer better customer service in hopes of increasing conversions. For example, tracking events after live chats versus without is one type of event that can be tracked. Understanding if live chat is having an impact on your bottom line is crucial for e-commerce sites (and others of course).

Agent Performance Metrics: Assuming there is more than one agent replying to customers on a site, brands may find it important to track agent metrics such as chats engaged, chats missed, average handling times and average time to respond. If there are gaps in expectations, agents can be coached or replaced based on real data.

Mobile Chat: Being able to monitor chats on the go is interesting, to some it's a novelty, but to the budding entrepreneur, he will happily interrupt his luncheon or social commitment to engage with a customer or to monitor a live chat. Although most chat apps have not yet nailed the mobile experience, many have launched workable live chat mobile apps.

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