The best Live Chat for business: a definitive guide

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Companies are continually battling to improve their audience engagement and offer more dynamic experiences for their customers. As a result, Live Chat solutions have increasingly been used to strengthen the relationship between customers and brands.

Live Chat is a tool that allows customers to send messages to each other, answer polls, ask questions, and interact with a company while browsing products and viewing content. 

Traditionally used to enhance the customer support experience, Live Chat has grown into something much more. Live Chat can also be used to enhance audience engagement by letting users interact in real-time, partake in relevant conversations, and share their opinions. 

When used for customer support, Live Chat quickly connects customers to support agents. But seeing the need for more user interaction, the role of Live Chat changed.

The community effect is more than conceptual, it is present live, at the time of purchase. Engagement with the public allows for better interaction between users and companies.

Today, Live Chat is used strategically to increase audience engagement. Companies can even set up live group chat rooms and create a community on their website, leading to a more favorable shopping experience.

Use cases for Live Chat:

The top criteria for selecting the best Live Chat Tool

Ok, so you have decided that it’s time to adopt a Live Chat solution to increase audience engagement, support your service or content operation, and of course, help and delight your customers. There are dozens of software options in the market, so how can you choose what best suits your business needs?

Different Live Chat tools come with varying options of setting and functionalities, so you should be aware of key existing features and best practices for Live Chat to make a more assertive choice. 

People are used to having hybrid conversations on a daily basis and sending pictures and videos all the time to their friends and family. So why should communication with brands and other users be any different?

By choosing the right Live Chat software, you’ll let customers seamlessly interact with each other and your company like never before. Absorbing these formats makes interactions more fluid and can help resolve requests faster since customers can send pictures related to products and services.

We have prepared a list of features to consider when choosing a Live Chat solution for your company. Check it out:

1) Direct Messaging

All Live Chat software should have a direct messaging feature. This lets users share their ideas about trending topics, live streaming, and live events. It also gives your brand a way to build relationships with customers. 

2) Social Features

Some Live Chat solutions offer GIFs, reactions, emojis and social features such as “like” buttons, which make the conversation more fun by simulating social networks. They can be great for companies that want to create a more personalized Live Chat experience. 

3) Group Live Chat

Companies that organize live events, conferences, and live transmissions should consider Live Group Chat as a channel to bring together the audience – where they can discuss your content in a real-time forum. 

Live Group Chat gives companies more ownership of their audience while allowing people to chat in their channels instead of social media, for example. Ultimately, it can boost engagement and time spent on your website. Brans like Vans, for instance, use Arena Live Chat to retain users longer in their website.

To organize the conversations, it’s helpful to find a tool that can categorize topics into separate channels. Find a Live Chat tool that can integrate with your broadcast or live stream event. 

4) Advanced Tools

Some Live Chat tools include advanced features for engaging your audience and making sales. 

To increase conversion rates, a conversion cards feature lets you add several calls to action in your chats. These can include product photos, pricing details, or sign-up links. 

Other features like polls allow you to gather user data and understand their viewpoint. Simply ask a question, create a few preset answers, and see which one generates the best results. 

A dedicated Q&A tool encourages users to ask questions and lets you answer them. This will encourage more user interaction and can keep users on your Live Chat longer. 

5) Integrations with third-party business software

Messaging app integration is one thing, but even more importantly, you should look for solutions that integrate into your business and analytics software. 

Live Chat tools don’t just work on their own, they offer better results when integrated to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Customer Data Platforms (CDP), Customer Management Systems (CMS), and sales automation software, for instance.

Such integrations allow you to have a unified view of the customer and manage leads without leaving the chat interface – checking information about customers’ profile and sales records. 

6) Mobile app integration

Many companies bet on Live Chat only for websites. According to a study pulled from Google Analytics’ Benchmarking Feature, 68.1% of global website traffic in 2020 came from mobile users

Among the benefits of mobile app integration is the possibility to track customers on the go with geo-localization tools, for example, and better understand their mobile behavior. 

7) Pricing

Another major factor is pricing. Some tools might seem super complete, but their pricing is impractical depending on the size and scope of your business. Analyzing key engagement metrics and the aspects you wish to improve is a great way to understand your needs and find a tool with compatible pricing.

8) Analytics Tools

A good pack of Live Chat essential features also include analytics integration and monitoring of visitor details, average time spent on sessions, chat history, etc. Some platforms even allow you to generate reports on the sales that were assisted by chat, which helps in monitoring and improving customer care strategies. 

9) Brand Customization

It is important that the Live Chat you choose has good customization options. Just like other touchpoints with the customer, Live Chat should be consistent with your brand’s identity and color palette, so make sure you pick a solution that offers enough widgets to give your chat the right look.

10) Scalable Chat

For enterprise businesses and companies that want to offer massive Live Group Chat sessions, like publishers and live events companies, it’s important to have scale. If you want to gather multiple people in a chat session, you should choose a solution that can handle chatrooms with sometimes hundreds of thousands of concurrent users.

11) Security

One of the most important aspects to check with Live Chat vendors is security. Does the Live Chat have an active firewall and data backup? What are the infrastructure and privacy policies like? Are security issues related to the chat handled in house or by the vendor?

You should always make a risk analysis regarding data breaches and cyber-attacks before purchasing any software, and it wouldn’t be any different when purchasing a Live Chat tool.  

12) Spam Control and Shadow Banning

Live Chat is about being customer-centric, engaging customers, and helping solve their doubts, but it is not free of spams and abusive messages. Especially when it comes to open Live Group Chats, like the ones used by publishers and live broadcasters, it is vital to have a solution that automatically spots and bans spam and flooding messages.

13) Integrations with messaging apps

Some Live Chat solutions offer integrations with messaging apps beyond your website, like with messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, and other social media messaging apps.

By integrating other communication channels into Live Chat, it’s easier to deliver contextual support without the customer having to move across different platforms and making the same requests repeatedly. 

A study from Aberdeen Group shows that companies can retain 89% of their customers by offering consistent service quality across multiple channels, while companies that don’t do that have only a 33% retention rate.

14) Cloud or on-premise deployment

Your company should also decide if the Live Chat system will be cloud-hosted (on a third party server) or installed on-premise (a dedicated server maintained by your IT department). 

Cloud-hosted systems are more friendly and flexible to the operations team. However, if you want to keep all data and information within your company, then you can choose an on-premise deployment. 

15. Level of proactivity

A Live Chat tool can be reactive, a window that is just there waiting for visitors to click on it. Or, it can offer settings for proactive communication, such as automated personalized messages to engage users in different moments. 

Even though it’s interesting to have Live Chat as a non-intrusive channel for the customer, you should have the option to personalize messages in the chat window according to visitors’ navigation patterns and behavioral indicators. 

Want to test Live Chat on your business?

If you want to test Live Chat Solutions, Arena has one of the most complete options on the market, and the best thing is that you can try it for free!

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