One of the cornerstones in a world of instant-feedback communications is LIVE, in-application chat. Sure, it’s been around for years. But not everyone uses it. And if a site does, is it well implemented? Suit visitor’s needs? And is it measurable?
Having just gone through the process of setting up another install I thought I should finally chime in and answer some of theses. Should be, Should do, and Yes.
To put it simply, here are a few must-haves:
- Make your on-line chat access button boldly visible, and prominent on all pages throughout your site. Any struggle to find is a missed opportunity.
- Ensure that your flow diagram accounts for key states. Depending on your operator setup you may not be able to provide access 24/7. When off-line, let users know as soon as they engage, and give them easy access to “chat” their request via an email form. You can handle notifications from there to respond ASAP. The whole point is expedient response.
- Is live chat for you? Make sure your business model supports the need & customer demand. Otherwise you may be disappointed with the results; when in reality your customers weren’t looking for this functionality in the first place. Due to the nature of my work I personally don’t expect high volume use of live chat. If I do? Pleasantly surprised. That said, as I’m someone who implements the full solution, the decision to incorporate on my site was a no brainer. Think of it as a car in a showroom 🙂
- Plan and continually tweak your canned responses. Live chat software comes with the ability to quickly respond to common problems. As in one-button-click fast. These responses are stored in a library that all operators can have access to. Invent the wheel once then keep reusing to have happy visitors, happy agents, and happy you.
- Finally, make sure you have a decent stats reporting process. This will help you identify meaningful canned responses, discover trends, measure performance and be in a state of constant improvement/refinement.
We’ll leave it at that for now. As for specifics, my recent install was of the Mibew Messenger chat system. It’s a straightforward setup in any cPanel hosting, but pay attention to the particulars of each section in the admin panel. Customizing to your needs is the key. Here are a few images for extra information.