Media companies and marketers are continually battling to improve customer support and offer more dynamic experiences for their audiences. As a result, Live Chat Solutions have increasingly been used to strengthen the relationship between brands and customers.
Live Chat is a tool that allows customers to comment and interact via messages directly on a company’s website while browsing products and viewing content. According to Forrester’s study, 33% of consumers now expect to see live chat services offered on every website.
Traditionally used by sales and customer success teams, Live Chat makes communication between brands and their customers much quicker and organic as it emulates conversation platforms.
A Live Chat can be presented as a window that pops up as the user browses the site or a specific button strategically placed on the screen. When used for customer support, Live Chat usually connects customers to support agents. Still, it can also be used by publishers and live events companies to gather the audience in a chat room.
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Use cases for Live Chat:
- Optimizing Customer Support
- Non-intrusive communication with customers
- Encouraging the audience to interact with content and with other users
- Complementing live events coverage
- Improving navigation and overall user experience within a website
- A channel for gathering customer insights
The top criteria for selecting a Live Chat Tool
Ok, so you have decided that it’s time to adopt a Live Chat solution to 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 send pictures and videos all the time to their friends and family. So why should communication with brands be any different?
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:
- Voice features
We have seen significant growth in voice interfaces with virtual assistants and messaging apps that use audio features.
Most Live Chat tools only offer text as an interaction format, but some are already offering voice features that allow customers to call agents or ask questions through voice messages. Those can be useful for more complex requests and can help make communication more organic and personal.
- Video and photo features
Video chat and photo features are also great features to look for in Live Chat.
- Integrations with messaging apps
Some Live Chat solutions offer integrations with messaging apps beyond the Live Chat on 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.
- 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 your customer support and sales teams to have a unified view of the customer and manage leads without leaving the chat interface – checking information about customers’ profile and sales records.
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.
Before going for the most expensive or cheaper application, you should consider the complexity of your customer support operation and its current gaps. How many concurrent chats can your agents handle at once? How much does your support operation cost today? What is your company’s average request amount per month? How about the number of tickets resolved?
Analyzing key customer support metrics and the aspects you wish to improve is a great way to understand your needs and find a tool with compatible pricing.
- 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.
- Co-browsing options
For those who are not familiar with the concept, Co-browsing is when two people access the same web page at the same time. In the context of Live Chat, some solutions allow customers to co-browse the website with a support agent while they are purchasing products or having doubts about something.
Overall, co-browsing can increase your support team productivity, once agents find it easier to assist customers while browsing in real-time with them. In eCommerce, co-browsing can help increase conversion rates.
According to Forrester’s Survey, co-browsing results in 78% higher customer satisfaction than phone or other support channels.
- Screen Sharing
Another feature that is similar to co-browsing is Screen Sharing, which is very useful to let support agents guide customers through a website during a Live Chat session.
Let’s say your customer is having a problem with the payment method. They could share their screen with the agent and have easy remote support. Screen sharing gives your team a better sense of what the customer is describing. It can save a lot of time and energy in resolving issues.
- Mobile app integration
Many companies bet on Live Chat only for websites. According to a report by software company Moxie, 62% of customers visit brands on mobiles through their apps, and half of them expect brands to integrate Live Chat tools with them.
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.
- Live Group Chat
If your goal is to use Live Chat for audience engagement instead of customer support, then you might want to choose a tool that offers Live Group 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.
- Social Features
Some Live Chat solutions offer 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 a more personal approach towards customers.
- 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.
- Intelligent routing
The ideal Live Chat solution should have intelligent routing systems to drive customers to talk to the right support agents. This is especially vital during on-peak hours when the demand is higher.
Live Chat solutions can help you route customers to teams specialized in specific business units and products or according to each of the agent’s demands.
- Tag Management
Great Live Chat tools let you create tags; words to help you find common questions asked by customers. Tags also help in the routing of customers to the right department. Let’s say your customer typed “shipping” and your Chat has a tag for that subject. You can route them to the shipping department by knowing what the request is about.
- Customer satisfaction ratings
The best customer care strategies take into account feedback from customers. At the end of a Live Chat session, you should know if they are satisfied with the support and if their problems were solved. Because of that, you should consider a Live Chat tool that offers ratings and feedback options.
Such feedback will be useful in shaping customer support training and improvements, and more importantly, making customers feel that their opinions matter.
- Team performance reports
Many Live Chat solutions offer reporting systems that track support teams’ performance and activities, generating qualitative and quantitative reports on the team and individual agents. Such reports are important to determine team feedback and areas of improvement.
- Offline messaging options
Ideally, if you want to enter the Live Chat game, you should always have an agent to respond to customers in real-time. If your Live Chat only works during business hours, you should let customers know that through offline messages.
You could tell them about your support team availability and ask for contact information, like email, just so an agent can reach them out later.
- Queue and waiting time
Live Chats with peaks of heavy demand have the challenge of keeping customers on hold without hurting their trust and satisfaction. For that reason, some Live Chat solutions offer queue time features to tell customers the average waiting time for a session.
- 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.
- Concurring chat
When it comes to customer care, support agents should be efficient in multitasking, but you don’t want them to be overwhelmed with requests, right? That is why some good Live Chat tools allow managers to set a concurrent chat limit for each agent, which helps to maintain chat quality and to manage agents’ workload more efficiently.
- 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.
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.
- 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 spams and flooding messages.
- 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.
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!
Click here to access the free trial of our Live Chat and start answering your customers quickly right now!