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Essential features for marvellous website chat

Half the world has been asked to stay at home. This has lead to lots of companies wanting to integrate a chat facility into their website. Online chat is a great idea — once you choose the right one for your needs.

Chat service providers typically give you the basics for free, or at a low price. Adding extra features (integrations or add-ons) can make the price skyrocket.

Hold off researching chat providers and exposing yourself to their marketing spiel. First, create a list of must-have features.

Live Chat vs Chatbots

Live Chat requires a person on your team to respond to conversations directly. This is helpful for users because a human understands context and each person’s unique situation.

Studies show that live chat benefits your business by reducing bounce rates and increasing upselling to clients. One study showed that 38% of customers made a purchase solely due to a positive live chat session.

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Live Chat is suitable for a conversation that requires unique understand and problem-solving. The setup only takes a few minutes.

Chatbots are automated chat systems. They can respond to website chats with automated answers, include links to your knowledge base or FAQ. Most Chatbots provide live chat; allowing team members to take over a chat if required.

The greatest benefit of chatbots is that they can greatly reduce your response time, which is critical to customer satisfaction. Nearly 32% of consumers expect an answer within 30 minutes, and over half of them expect it even at nights and during weekends.

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Chatbots are ideal for repetitive questions; helping users solve their own problems. Setup requires in-depth work, and needs to be reviewed and tweaked. Chatbots that are not set up and configured correctly can frustrate users and do more bad than good.

Requirements to consider

Don’t think of your ideal scenario. The user dictates how the chat will be used. You may think it’s for new leads, but site visitors may use it for customer support.

Website chat type

Live Chat or an automated Chatbot? Usually a big price difference between Live Chat and a Chatbot.

Social media integration

integrate with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to have one central place for all chats.

Shared email inbox

A dedicated email address that multiple team members can access. This is useful if you get a lot of email enquiries. You can have people email something like [email protected] and all these messages will be pulled in and responded to from your chat system.

Continue by email

Allow users to continue chat over email if they leave your site. This adds convinces for users and means you don’t loss the lead.

Multiple chat users

Put different types of chat or people on different pages on your site. The University of Glasgow uses Live Chat to Ask a Student. This allows prospective students to get authentic information about student life, courses or anything else of interest.

Ticketing system

Keep track of issues, assign tasks, forward details to other staff. Suitable if you receive a lot of support requests. Not needed if you already have an internal ticketing system.

Native chat app

Having an iOS or Android app makes it faster and easier to be notified and responds to chats. Some providers also have Windows and Mac desktop apps.

CRM integration

Do you need to match details from your CRM so you have all customer details to hand when chatting? This gets more important if you’re providing support to existing customers.

Knowledge base

Store and reply to common questions. Some integrate into existing knowledge bases and others have internal knowledge bases. Internal is better because the chat system can search it and allow you, or your chatbot, to quickly share with users.

When integrated with the right knowledge base, chatbots can enable people to seamlessly access the information they need to be successful by simply chatting like they’re already accustomed.

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Chat Routing

Redirect chats to different people based on initial questions (sales, support, accounts, etc). Chatbots are useful for this purpose. They can be the first line of support and then bring in the right person when needed.

Calendar integration

Schedule meetings with team members for interviews and sales calls. Check if the service integrates with multiple calendars and what services (Google, Outlook, etc.).

Scheduling interviews. “Intelligent chatbots can access the calendar of recruiters to check for their availability. Accordingly, they can then schedule an interview date and time for relevant candidates”

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Some Live Chat providers

ProviderFeaturesBest for
LiveChatlive chat, social platforms, tickets, emailSales & Support
Olarklive chat, routingSales & Support
HelpScoutlive chat, email, knowledge base, shared inboxSupport
GrooveHQlive chat, email, knowledge baseSupport

Some Chatbot providers

ProviderFeaturesBest for
Intercomlive chat, chatbots, social platforms, tickets, emailSales & Support
Driftlive chat, chatbots, routingSales & Marketing
Crisplive chat, chatbots, email, knowledge baseSales & Support
HubSpotlive chat, chatbots, email, knowledge baseSales & Marketing

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