Most Web chat providers will offer organizations a trial of the software for a limited amount of time; this allows a company to evaluate:
- The provider and the support involved
- The software
- Customization ability
- Data ability
- Chat uptake
During the trial it is a good time to find out about the Web chat software provider and what to expect from them.
It is important to investigate where the company's data will be stored as it is customers' personal data that is at risk if the provider has a breach.
It would also be useful to know about any hidden costs, how long the contract would last for and how to cancel before entering into any agreement.
Additionally, a company should find out what support is included within the option it is considering. It will not be any help if they have email-only support and a response time of eight hours if the inquiry is urgent, or if an international provider is only contactable by phone for half of the organization's working day.
The trial can help a company to evaluate the features available within the solution, ensuring they meet the requirements of the organization.
Once happy with a solution, the company can look to train staff within the trial period on how to use the software and the organization's expectations of them, this can include answering new chats within 20 seconds of them initiating, aiming for chats to be completed within a certain amount of time or storing chats after they have finished.
Training staff during the trial period means any issues can be ironed out before going live with customers, they can practice by role playing amongst themselves to get up to speed.
Customers typically prefer chat that fits in with the website branding, as they feel more confident that they are speaking with a company rather than a third party.
The trial enables an organization to see what customization can be done within the solution; taking the time to design the visitor facing aspects; chat button, pre-chat, dialogue, post-chat and offline windows.
Each solution will allow organizations to collect a different level of data with each package. A company should take the time during the trial to see what data the software gathers and what is important for your reporting requirements.
Companies like working with benchmarks to ensure the results are at a satisfactory or better level than their peers, monitoring data will ensure they can look into any area that is underperforming (e.g. an operator spending too long in chat or their number of conversions have dropped).
For smaller businesses with lower levels of traffic, they can't expect too many chats to be started.
The trial is a good time to see how many chats are started and if there will be a worthwhile return on investment (ROI). This can all be monitored by how many times the chat button is seen versus chats started, and if the chats lead to conversions that outweigh the cost of the solution.
Optimizing the Trial Period
Trials are offered by the majority of providers to encourage companies to fully explore the software before making a decision to subscribe to a solution that will be used on a daily basis by staff and customers. It is vital that a company chooses the best one for the organization.
What are your experiences of trials; have you ever sign up for a trial to be relieved you didn't fully commit? Leave your comments below.
About the Author
Gemma Baker is the Marketing Executive for UK web chat software provider, Click4Assistance, with a range of digital knowledge within PPC advertising, SEO practices, email campaigns and social media.