Monthly Archives: February 2011

Recently Released Guest Chat Window Live With New Features

We recently made some improvements to the design of the Guest Chat Window that appears on your website when your website visitors make inquiries. The improvements are mainly cosmetic, but they greatly improve the user experience.

Our design team draws inspiration from Apple. Like Apple, our goal has always been simplicity in design. Too much clutter creates confusion, and too many decisions place an unnecessary burden on the Chat Guest. The chat window still boasts the same simplicity in design but with a few new features:

Live Chat Software Emoticons

Body language — a key component in face to face conversation — is lost behind the veil of a keyboard. In addition, tone of voice is absent, as are many other visual and auditory cues that can make the exact same sentence have a fundamentally different meaning in the context of a chat. A jovial message sent in good spirits can easily be misinterpreted as an insulting jibe.

Emoticons negate the potential for messages to be taken the wrong way. This powerful tool, if used correctly, can make the chat seem less scripted, robotic, and more engaging; it essentially allows the Chat Operator and the Guest to relax and be themselves.

However, like any tool, it can be used, and it

can be abused. It’s important that your chat operators are properly trained on using emoticons sparingly. Like a compliment, they can be overused, which dilutes their meaning and impact.

The majority of people do want to connect with another human being, even if it’s behind the anonymous veil of a live web chat. Emoticons are one tool to help facilitate this and make your chats feel more engaging, which results in higher satisfaction, increased lead capture rates, and lower shopping cart abandonment rates.

Live Chat Loading Message

Waiting for Live Chat Agent
Waiting for Live Chat Agent

Chats which are not answered promptly result in abandoned chats. According to a Forrester Research Study, The ROI Of Interactive Chat, chats that wait in the queue longer than 60 seconds are more likely to abandon. The study finds that 45 seconds is an ideal wait time metric to use when determining your staffing needs.

The loading message is an animated image that is designed to give the Guest something to read while waiting for the Chat Operator. The first 20 seconds of the wait time involves transitioning through the four screens. A blank screen can make 20 seconds seem like 5 minutes, whereas an engaged Chat Guest is more likely to experience the wait as a much shorter duration. Our goal is to respond to chats in less than 20 seconds, and we designed the loading screen with this in mind.

No Send Button Needed

Live Chat Agent Chatting With Sales Lead
Live Chat Agent Chatting With Sales Lead

Some people have suggested that our designers add a “Send” button to the Guest Chat Window. Drawing inspiration from the extreme attention to detail that Apple puts into the Mac OS user interface, our designers strongly feel that this is an unnecessary element that creates distractions in the chat window as well as embeds a black mark in the design itself.

The general argument from designers is that the send button is like a vestigial organ. It has no purpose since the Chat Guest can simply press “Enter”. So to meet all of the needs, simplicity in design as well as an intuitive user interface, our developers have added a message to the chat window input box to help the less seasoned chatters figure out what actions they need to take to send a message.

Once again, the Guest Chat Window still sports the same simplistic, streamlined design, except with tools that enhance communication and lower perceived wait times. Learn more about our software offerings and the 30 Day Free Trial. Try out the software for yourself, and let us know what you think!

How to Reduce Live Chat Waiting Times

A successful live chat program involves low wait times. If your customers have to wait to find the answer to their question,

they are more likely to abandon the chat.

But time can sometimes be relative. Let’s divide time into two categories: Actual elapsed time, and perceived elapsed time. Actual elapsed time is that which is measurable. In a live chat session, actual elapsed time is typically measured in seconds or minutes.

If you ever stop to watch a pot of water come to a boil, you may find that the perceived elapsed time is much greater than it would be if you were to occupy your time with another task. By distracting yourself, you perceive time as elapsing much faster.

Unfortunately, you cannot measure perceived elapsed time in seconds or minutes.

When it comes to wait times in live chat, the elapsed time between when the customer requests the chat and when the operator joins the chat depends on multiple factors in your contact center. Long perceived wait times result in lower leads captured and lower conversion rates.

Fortunately, these are two metrics that you can measure. If you can lower the perceived wait time, then you will not only perceive your lead capture and sales conversion rates increase, but you’ll also have the much more compelling measurable values to show to your executives and stakeholders.

Need to get data from Vikram in the number of abandons before deployment of new update and number of abandons after the update

Keeping it Real

Live Chat Software Supporting an Ecommerce Bookstore
Live Chat Software Supporting an Ecommerce Bookstore

On a recent plane ride from Denver to Portland, I made small talk with a southern businessman who owns and operates a small used bookstore somewhere in the heart of Texas. We got to talking and it came out that I work in the web software industry. I enjoy talking about my job and began to discuss all of the wonderful things that we’ve been doing lately.

This guy was an older gentleman who I could tell didn’t know a lot about computers. In fact, he outright said he knew absolutely nothing. However, being a smart businessman, he knew that the world was moving to the web. Smart business people don’t necessarily have to be technological experts to realize the importance of emerging technologies and their impact on their business. Being in the book-selling business, he had seen the success that companies like Amazon were having, and he wanted to know how he could jump in as well.

Specialty book shops, according to this guy, were also able to compete in the e-commerce world, even with massive e-commerce giants like Amazon leading the market. As many people often do, he asked me if I knew of any shopping cart or e-commerce software to help him bring his brick and mortar store to the web.

I promised I’d look into it for him, and I did.

A week later, I visited Volusion, an e-commerce solution provider. I started a live chat with a very knowledgeable sales representative. We chatted for awhile about the product offerings, price, ease of setup, and other questions I had that I thought might be important. I was very thorough. The chat lasted several minutes, and at the end I had a fairly large transcript that I emailed to the guy from Texas.

The conversation was active. It was interactive. It was real. No more than a few seconds went by without a response. Sure, there were spelling errors, but that made me feel better. Personally, I’m offended when it’s obvious that a chat representative is simply pasting responses into a chat window and spoon-feeding me answers. What that tells me is that I’m chatting with someone who has absolutely no domain knowledge about my specific problem. As a matter of fact, I can tell instantly, based on the length of just the first chat message sent, whether or not the person on the other end of the chat is going to be able to solve my problem. However, shorter responses and spelling errors let me know instantly that I’m dealing with another human being. They let me know that the interaction is real; it’s not faked.

Oftentimes, when setting up a successful live chat program, we overlook the human element. No one wants to be patronized, talked down to, or have their intelligence insulted by someone masquerading as an expert. If we wanted to just read items off of the FAQ, we’d go read the FAQ!

In the context of support, live chat is about providing

a channel for consumers to find answers to problems. According to Forrester Research, 57% of consumers say they will abandon a purchase if they cannot quickly find answers to problems. Consumers don’t want formalism or overtly fake interactions; instead, they want their problem solved quickly and competently. Actions speak louder than words. If I’m locked out of my account, I don’t want you to apologize profusely. I want you to unlock my account so I can get on with business as usual. Anything more or less than that and consumers will get cranky.

When using web chat software, the biggest success comes not just from the software itself but from how you use that software. You can see exactly what I mean by checking out the worst online chat ever.

After reading, sign up for a free trial with Conversion Support today! Our business development department will help formulate the best chat strategy for your particular industry and make sure you are successful.