Implementing live chat halfheartedly will not benefit your company or your visitors.
Live chat should be considered carefully and only implemented when you have the time to fully commit, rather than having a spare half hour. Here are five steps on how to implement live chat successfully on your website:
Researching includes two sections:
- Which live chat solutions match your organization's requirements?
- Which live chat provider your business wants to work with?
Chat solutions are very rarely just chat; they can also include reports, website analytics and other functionality. Researching into the solutions will help to build up a list of what is necessary for your organization.
Live chat providers do vary, some may only support you when you have an issue, others may take a more "hands on" approach and schedule regular calls to optimize the account. Your company will need to decide which style they prefer and research into the providers that offer that type of service.
Demos are usually offered by the live chat company, this is a great way to judge the service of the company and see what the software is capable of. This is a good time to start planning a strategy to be able to optimize the free trial.
Your company should make comprehensive notes, whilst conducting research by collecting supporting documents and receiving demonstrations, to be able to train operators on chat handling straight away. Operators can practice having chats with each other by using a testing area rather than within the live environment during the trial.
Training is also a great way to examine what administrative involvement is needed in the beginning to configure the account, this includes creating new users and applying their settings, the aspects that affect chat (adding in pre-defined replies, chat categories and links for auto navigation), ensuring the admin users know how to set up everything they'll need to be successful.
By having a strategy before initiating a trial, time-consuming tasks can be completed before your company even has an account. For example, pre-defined replies (canned responses) can be listed and agreed to; any design work can be created, ready to be uploaded.
Then as soon as the trial starts, the account can be configured to the company's requirements enabling you to have a full personalized trial, rather than spending the first week consumed by configuring and customizing aspects of the solution.
During the trial your company can gauge the level of workload each operator can handle, ensuring resourcing is adequate during business hours, as visitors can become frustrated if they are constantly met with an unavailable status.
By using your own customized buttons and windows, that are ready to use from day one of the trial, your company can A/B test different designs to identify the best uptake. Those who don't A/B test could be losing out on potential leads/sales etc. simply by having a color or word that the majority of the website visitors dislike.
With any software, businesses should ensure it is working well for them and analyse where improvements can be made. The majority of live chat solutions will prompt visitors to leave feedback at the end of a chat; these results should be examined regularly to ensure there are no issues.
The greatest operators have the best tools at their fingertips, configuration aspects including pre-defined replies and chat categorization need to be kept up to date for the best results. This reduces the amount of time operators spend searching through replies they no longer use to find the one they need, or editing the one that loosely answers the visitor.
Every chat provider has reports within their systems. A few suppliers may have a couple of reports relating to the chats, others are more comprehensive. Once a company has decided what they need to know, they can use the reports to evaluate if everything is working as well as it should be.
Live chat is easy to add to any website, and visitors do prefer this instant method of communication. Following the five steps above will ensure your implementation is smooth and successful. What do you hope to achieve when adding live chat to your website? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. About the Author
Gemma Baker is the Marketing Executive for UK's leading live chat services provider Click4Assistance, with a range of digital knowledge within PPC advertising, SEO practices, email campaigns and social media.