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Online Chat Software - Maximising Proactive Live Chat Uptake
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21 March 2014

Gemma Baker

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Online Chat Software - Maximising Proactive Live Chat Uptake

As vendors of 100% customisable online chat software we often produce hard numbers to show off the increase in sales and customer satisfaction from proactive live chats. However, if we have learnt anything in our business, it’s that these benefits are only possible if visitors actually click on the live chat invitations.


Research performed for banner advertisements and PPC campaigns is a good place to start when optimising the design and placement of proactive chats, but our years of experience in the online chat software industry has given us a unique insight into what does and doesn’t work.

 

Laying the Virtual Foundation

Visitors will only click an online item if they can relate to its content or believe they have something to gain from doing so. This is a golden and universal rule. It doesn’t matter what industry a business works in.

Engaging with the customer starts with the website itself, where there are thousands of design and functionality choices that impact how connected the visitors will feel with the interface. Visitors will not choose to chat with customer service representatives if they cannot relate with the business itself. While drilling into these details is outside the scope of this blog, it’s important to remember that a user friendly, interactive and responsive website will maximise live chat CTR.

 

Visual Design

Catching the eye of 21st century browsers has never been so challenging. Even if visitors make it to your website there is still work to be done corralling them towards a purchase or submission of personal information.  Instead of discussing every aspect of visual design for live chat (which is far too much information for one blog), this information covers practical aspects that can be implemented for an immediate boost in CTR.

The colour of the proactive chat invitation needs to be in keeping with the company’s colour scheme to help visitors identify it as part of the website, rather than third party advertising. Stylistic aspects should be equally consistent; this includes font type and size, company logo and layout. Images should be limited to one or two and only include people if they can be involved in a demonstration with the product (this is important when advertising intangible services, like consultation). The image can also be of the operator.

A simple but aesthetically pleasing design is fundamental to achieving a high CTR for proactive live chat invitations. For example, the advert below builds on the blue colour scheme of Mazda’s website and only includes two images; the logo and an operator.

 Maximising-Proactive-Live-Chat-Acceptance-1.jpg

Transitions

Besides presentation, the method in which the proactive live chat invitation is presented to the visitor is critically important. In the worst case scenario (if the invite is too large or difficult to dismiss) visitors will be driven away from that particular page or website.

A smooth, non-intrusive and correctly sized proactive invitation will introduce the thinnest possible physical and psychological barrier between the prospect of a chat and an actual chat without intruding on the visitor’s flow across the website.

The example below is an incredibly strong design that shows how the proactive invite can mimic actual chat. This demonstrates to the visitor how few steps are between them and the company’s customer service representative. The sensation of being actively engaged in a conversation can be enhanced by creating highly specific content for each product page.

There are thousands of design and functionality choices that impact how connected the visitors will feel with the interface. Visitors will not choose to chat with customer service representatives if they cannot relate with the business itself. While drilling into these details is outside the scope of this blog, it’s important to remember that a user friendly, interactive and responsive website will maximise live chat CTR.

 

Visual Design

Catching the eye of 21st century browsers has never been so challenging. Even if visitors make it to your website there is still work to be done corralling them towards a purchase or submission of personal information.  Instead of discussing every aspect of visual design for online chat software (which is far too much information for one blog), this information covers practical aspects that can be implemented for an immediate boost in CTR.

The colour of the proactive chat invitation needs to be in keeping with the company’s colour scheme to help visitors identify it as part of the website, rather than third party advertising. Stylistic aspects should be equally consistent; this includes font type and size, company logo and layout. Images should be limited to one or two and only include people if they can be involved in a demonstration with the product (this is important when advertising intangible services, like consultation). The image can also be of the operator.

A simple but aesthetically pleasing design is fundamental to achieving a high CTR for proactive live chat invitations. For example, the advert below builds on the blue colour scheme of Mazda’s website and only includes two images; the logo and an operator.

 

 

Maximising-Proactive-Live-Chat-Acceptance-1.jpg

 

Location

Location, location, location. Finding the sweet spot for the appearance of the proactive live chat invitation should be a top priority. Not only must the chat invitation be fairly prominent, it also needs to avoid overlapping body text or other important information that the visitor might be reading at that time. Whether proactive invites will appear in multiple or just one location also needs to be considered; there are arguments for both setups. Even simple tricks, like positioning invites near areas of the website that are known to cause visitors’ problems will boost accept rates.

 

Timing

The old adage that ‘timing is everything’, is especially relevant to proactive invites. Click4Assistance’s fully configurable online chat software allows operators to define rules that decide when, where and how visitors will have a proactive chat invite appear on their screen. Visitors can have live chat invitations pushed to them based on which page they are on, the keyword(s) they used to find the website, time elapsed on site and much more.

Most shoppers will have encountered the over-eager sales assistant who asks whether you need help the moment you step in the store. This can deter shoppers who intended to browse from getting interested in the store’s products and even reduce the likelihood of the sales assistant being there when they are needed.

On the other hand, properly configured proactive invites represent the customer conscious sales assistant that can recognise a confused shopper from across the store. For example, a visitor might be struggling with payment details if they spend more than 10 minutes on the final page of checkout. A proactive chat invite could make the difference between abandonment and conversion. Another visitor might hit a 404 while trying to revisit a product that no longer exists, thereby prompting a chat about potential replacement products. These are just two great examples of the power of timing in proactive chat invitations.

 

Customisation

Make it personal. The average click-through-rate for proactive chat lies between 4% and 10%, and is governed by factors like industry, design, location and timing of the invite. However, the exact percentage achieved depends mostly on the level of customisation. Click4Assistance advises thousands of clients on proactive chat CTR improvements and found a strong relationship between the level of customisation and the CTR.

Below are two design examples that could behave like a highly targeted proactive invites. The invite would be configured to appear to visitors after they’ve spent 10 or more seconds viewing hardware within the GTX600 series. In the first design, the opening question is configured to be specific to the product page the visitor is viewing. The relevance of the prompt will increase CTR and assure the visitor that they will talk to a human, not a script.

 Maximising-Proactive-Live-Chat-Acceptance-3.jpg

We promise that following the above suggestions for proactive live chat will skyrocket click-through-rate (irrespective of industry) and have a significant knock-on effect for your conversion rate.

 

More than Live Chat Software

Click4Assistance provides more than UK’s most customisable online chat software. We show clients like Mazda, Mercedes and 192.com how to improve their online lead generation and conversion by sharing our expert live chat knowledge. The above information is just a small introduction into the variables that we cover when advising our clients. For a free 14 day and full-feature trial of our live chat software, please visit http://www.click4assistance.co.uk/.

 

 


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BLOG ARTICLE AUTHOR: GEMMA BAKER

Gemma is a Marketing Executive for UK web chat Provider Click4Assistance, with a range of knowledge in live chat software and customer engagement channels, customer service methods and improving online business.





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