11 April 2017
How Universities can Successfully Add Live Chat to Website?
Due to the demographic of universities' audiences, it is important that any technology based communication is implemented smoothly to improve the student’s experience of the university website.
Bear in mind there are many features to our live chat other than the chat module; to help you start with the right toolset, here’s Click4Assistance guide for University’s implementing live chat.
Putting Together a List of Users
As with all aspects of business, someone needs to take ownership of tasks and projects; this is no different when you add chat to website. A main contact needs to be decided, who will liaise with the chat provider and will configure the account; this is usually someone in IT or marketing; an IT member of staff can support a wider rollout of live chat between departments, whereas a member of marketing is usually focused around the admissions, international and recruitment areas.
Once that member of staff has been decided they can begin to put together a list of users and their accessibility levels. There are three permission types within the Click4Assistance solution, which allows users access to different areas of the software, these are:
- Customer service
A customer service user will have minimal access; this will allow them to see just the chat dashboard and archived chats. A user with manager rights will have intermediate access whereas an administrator will have full access to the entire solution. Additional modules and permissions can be set up for each user to ensure they are set up exactly to your university’s requirements.
The correct appearance of your website is important, as this gives confidence to your potential and current students that they are speaking directly with a university member of staff.
As university websites typically hold a lot of information, your button needs to explain exactly what it is for, ‘chat with us’ or ‘click to chat live’ etc. That way if students have questions they can straightaway know they can contact the university directly to get an answer to their queries.
Your university will also need to decide what type of button to use, whether it is a sticky button that emulates social media and sticks to the bottom right of the page or an embedded button, that remains in its fixed position as the student visitor browses the site.
From initially clicking your button, a visitor’s journey will take them through a series of windows:
- Pre-chat form
- Post-chat survey
The pre-chat and post-chat survey forms are designed to collect student information before a chat, including which department they wish to speak with, and at the end display a summary of questions to find out how they found the chat experience. Not only do you need to choose what information your university gathers, but also how the windows are designed; for example will you use your branding or prefer to use shades that complement your standard brand colours?
Your dialogue window can include useful links to your university’s prospectus and guides when using a pop-out style window; this opens in a new browser window which allows your visitor to continue browsing without any interruptions. In addition, it’s worth noting this type of window has a lot more online ‘real estate’ for marketing material than the embedded window that has been streamlined down, in order to successfully interrupt the visitor as they browse your website.
There are several libraries within the Click4Assistance solution that need configuring to suit your university’s requirements, designed to help your representative throughout their chats. These consist of:
- Predefined replies
- Chat categorisation
- Auto navigation
- Restricted words
The predefined library enables your administrators to set up full or partial answers to frequently asked questions; for example, it could include dates for upcoming open days, useful contacts for certain areas of the establishment or information about student life. Your operators can select these in chat and edit them before sending to answer a question fully.
Before you add chat to website your members of staff can review existing communication via email and telephone notes to evaluate what questions are frequently asked and the agreed answers that are to be added into the live chat solution.
After a chat has been completed it is stored within the Click4Assistance solution; in order for these to be reported on, the chats are categorised into the reason for chat, and the outcome. To reiterate this categorisation can be decided before you add chat to website by reviewing what reasons students contact the university via other communication channels, and how they are usually resolved.
Students may need further information on a certain subject and your website may already hold the information they need. If they haven’t already visited the page, your university representatives can use the auto-navigate functionality to automatically redirect your visitor’s browser to display the specific page in a new tab, to encourage them to help themselves. The most viewed / important pages can be identified with the help of Google Analytics before chat is added to the website to identify which pages to use.
To help manage the use of profanity there is a safeguard to ensure these words are not allowed into the chat. In particular, a restricted words library can be created so if they were to be used within chat these would appear as hashes (####); a list can be agreed before implementing your chat solution and any that occur during chats can be added to the profanity library.
The Value of Reports
It is important to review whether your university is receiving a positive ROI when adding live chat software. With over 60 reports in the Click4Assistance software, your university can decide what information they will need to run the ROI analysis before you implement chat. Otherwise, it can be easy to become data overloaded when looking through the reports and wanting the collect every piece of information, without knowing why or how it delivers tangible benefits to your organisation.
It is worth saving time before adding live chat to website by making some key operational decisions before implementing a solution, to ensure your university’s live chat use is successful. In particular, make sure you consider:
- Who your main contact will be?
- Who your users are going to be and their access levels?
- What your chat button is going to look like, and the type you are going to use?
- Your chat window type, what windows you will use and their design?
- What libraries your university are going to use, and the tailored aspects to add to each list?
- What reports and ROI data you need to get the most useful information?
Click4Assistance recently introduced ‘Experiences by Click4Assistance’ at the B2B Marketing Expo. The team showed sneak peeks and took bookings for an exclusive look of what’s to come in the brand new solution.
On the second day of the event, we held a keynote seminar session on the essential steps to implementing live chat successfully, to help organisations ensure they add live chat to website as effectively as possible. You can access and download the seminar slides on Slideshare.
If you would like to see the Click4Assistance solution in action before you add chat to website, speak with our Education Co-ordinator to book your free demonstration on 01268 524628 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Gemma Baker
Gemma is the Marketing Executive for UK live chat software provider, Click4Assistance, with a range of digital knowledge within PPC advertising, SEO practices, email campaigns and social media.