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What is live chat software?
Live chat software augments customer support, lead generation, and customer engagement by allowing businesses to interact with customers in real-time through a chat-based conversational UI (user-interface).
There are two types of live chat systems:
- Widgets: Conversational interfaces that can be integrated into existing websites
- Standalone solutions: Software solutions that include a wider range of features, such as interaction tracking, and response rate and conversion rates tracking
The benefits of live chat program
- Improved sales conversions: Live chat software accelerates the sales process as customer queries related to a product or service are addressed in real-time, translating into faster checkout and increased sales volume.
- Reduced cost of customer support: Traditional methods of customer support through phone and email often prove expensive and inefficient, as agents can handle only one customer query at a time. Live chat program allows agents to respond to multiple queries at a time.
- Inspiration for new products and services: In this age of fierce competition and evolving customer needs, small businesses need to keep an eye on new innovations, ideas, and areas for improvement. A live chat program provides businesses with a log of customer inquiries, complaints, requests and suggestions, which can be analyzed to come up with new ideas for their products and services.
Typical features of live chat software
- Customized branding: Enables users to embed business branding into the chat interface by customizing different items such as pop-ups and a chat button.
- Real-time chat: Enables real-time chat sessions between agents and customers.
- Offline form: Captures queries on the chat interface if a customer wants to reach out outside business hours. These inquiries are forwarded to the agents' inboxes for follow-up.
- Proactive chat: Enables agents to initiate chat sessions with online customers through a rule-based engine that flags agents if an online customer needs help.
- Transfers/routing: Transfers a customer inquiry to other available agents if the assignee is unable to respond within a specified time.
Considerations when purchasing live chat program
- Mobile-responsive interface: To make the best use of a live chat program for sales and customer support, businesses cannot afford to miss out on the customers who are using smartphones. Without a mobile-responsive interface, customers will need to use their laptop or desktop to access the live chat support.
- Third-party integrations: Small businesses use a number of customer-facing solutions related to sales, CRM, marketing and customer support. Since each of these solutions involves customer interaction, live chat software integration can help improve engagement across each of these. For example, an email marketing integration with live chat software enables users to embed a live chat button in the body of the email, which allows people to start a text conversation directly from the email. Also, live chat software integration with a content management system allows users to add a live chat button to their website.
Relevant live chat software trends
- Businesses are looking for new ways to monitor agent performance: Customer agents are the cornerstone of customer-facing teams. Therefore, businesses are looking for new and more effective methods to measure agent performance. According to a Capterra report on customer service trends, businesses are moving towards "portable reviews of customer service agents." Small businesses should evaluate products that include analytics features specific to agent performance.
- [Chatbot integration with live chat software is the next big thing: Chatbots are conversational interfaces built on machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms. Live chat software, when integrated with chatbot, allows users to answer basic customer queries without involving a live chat agent, thereby improving availability and reducing cost.