This is Chapter 6 of the Definitive Guide to Live Chat – you can start at the beginning of the guide here.

There are literally 100’s of Live Chat software providers in the market. If you want to manage Live Chat yourself, instead of hiring an expert to do it for you, at the very least you should commit to choosing a tool that is effective.

We’ll share a resource you can use to compare tools, but these are most important features that matter.

Can you invite people to chat automatically?

An important feature of Live Chat is the ability invite people to chat automatically based on their specific website activity. For instance, if a visitor starts the checkout process and then leaves, or if a visitor is teetering back and forth between two items, they may have questions.

This feature may be called various names such as “proactive chat”, “greetings”, “popups”, “invites”, etc.

One of our customers, prior to hiring us, had been engaging in this activity manually. While watching visitors browse may be entertaining (or not), it’s an extreme waste of man hours when you can have your system do it automatically for you. It simply takes a bit of configuration magic, based on the visitor activity you choose.

Can you route chats strategically?

Some chat systems are only able to send chats randomly to various agents who are currently signed on. But this can lead to a poor experience for customers who are in certain situations.

Strategic routing allows your visitors to be sent to the perfect chat agent to meet their needs.

  • If a visitor was chatting with Jane just 10 minutes ago, new chats from this visitor should automatically be sent to Jane as long as Jane is signed in to accept chats. This allows for continuity and a smoother experience.
  • A visitor who is browsing a specific product category that is complex should automatically be routed to a chat agent who is experienced with that product. Agent “groups” can be configured within many chat systems to accomplish this.
  • Agents should have the ability to transfer visitors to other available agents who are more qualified to help with a specific product. Receiving agents should be able to easily view the previous conversation to avoid having to ask for information the visitor already shared.
  • If for some reason an agent becomes disconnected from chat or is inactive, the chat should automatically be transferred to another online agent.
  • And of course if a visitor asks to speak to a specific Agent, you should be able to transfer the chat seamless to that Agent.

guide-to-live-chat_transfer-live-chat-2

Can you easily create and use chat templates?

Templated responses are great tools for generating quick responses, assuming your templates are worded well. A strong Live Chat system will offer easy-to-create templates that are simple to organize. They should be easy to use within the chat box, either by manually selecting from a list of ideally using keyboard shortcuts.

guide-to-live-chat_chat-template-example-2

Are chats optimized for mobile devices?

With mobile website activity increasing, it is vital that your chat system is designed to work on various mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

For mobile devices, the chat box should be smaller and automatic greetings should be carefully designed to avoid interrupting the visitor’s mobile browsing experience on your site.

Can you chat with visitors from your phone?

If you are the person managing the chat system yourself, you’ll need to be online and available no matter where you are throughout the day. Some chat software allows you to be notified of new chats, and manage them, from your phone. Even better are the platforms which allow you to move directly from your mobile app chat to a computer, without losing any of the chat history or connection to the visitor.

Recommended Live Chat Tools

Don’t get overwhelmed with choosing the right software – the industry standard ones are very similar unless you have a really extensive live chat workflow and customization needs.

We’ve shared the top 3 below – move forward with one of these, and revisit the software options once you’ve got live chat launched in your business.

Live Chat Inc.

When we launched our done for you website chat service, we built our entire platform on Live Chat, Inc. The core platform is extremely user-friendly and has all the features listed above. More importantly for us, the platform allows tremendous flexibility to customize your workflow using their programming interface.

Yes, it does have a higher price tag than other solutions, but it also has every feature you’ll need to implement what we have shared with you in this guide, plus much more.

To see a full review comparing Live Chat Inc. to other chat software, check out Chat Tool Tester.

We’ve written an article discussing Live Chat Inc.’s features in more details including alternative to Live Chat Inc.–LiveChat Inc. and Live Chat Alternative

Zendesk / Zopim

Zendesk / Zopim is a powerful live chat solution and is more cost effective than other software on the market. It offers customizable chat boxes to match your company’s style, allows for integration of various software programs, and provides metric tracking capabilities.

To see a full review comparing Zendesk / Zopim to other chat software, check out Chat Tool Tester.

We’ve written an article discussing Zendesk / Zopim’s features in more details including alternative to Live Chat Inc.–Zendesk / Zopim and Live Chat Alternative

Olark

Olark is a very common live chat solution. It’s well formatted with flexible customization, software integration, and a variety of language options.

To see a full review comparing Olark to other chat software, check out Chat Tool Tester.

We’ve written an article discussing Olark’s features in more details including alternative to Live Chat Inc.–Olark and Live Chat Alternative

Again, don’t get overwhelmed by choosing the most perfect software on the planet – focus on getting the live chat approach right, and use one of the industry standard tools listed above. Once you have your live chat process dialed in for your business, you can start exploring other software options that might fit a more customized workflow you develop.

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