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How to Optimize Live Chat for Your Website

Live chat is a powerful tool that you can use for your website to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. However, the needs of every industry are different. This document offers you tips and advice for getting the most out of using live chat on your website for your particular business interest.

Travel Agency

Convenience is one of the key reasons customers come to you to make their travel arrangements. Therefore goal in setting up your chat system is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to contact you and get the information they need.

First and foremost, the Live Assistance button should be placed on the index (home) page of your site. It should stand out enough so that customers know it is there, yet it should still blend seamlessly with the graphical theme of your site. Provide Support has a large gallery of attractive chat buttons to fit your agency site. However, if you don't see one you think is suitable, you can create your own and upload it to our system.

Next, you should add your travel agency's logo to the Visitor Popup Messenger that the customer uses to chat with you. This way, the chat window itself becomes an advertisement for your agency. You may also want to customize the overall appearance of the Visitor Popup Messenger by giving it a "travel" theme. Contact our customer support if you would like assistance in doing this.

It would be especially useful to set up canned messages with links that push your customer's browser to favored websites offering commonly needed services, such as visa and passport services. Also, canned links can be used to quickly direct your customers to the web pages of hotels and cities. You can also create links to pages containing city maps, local tourist info, and other useful information.

Finally, to personalize the chat experience, you can add your agent's photo to the Visitor Popup Messenger. The major benefit of this will be to humanize the chat experience; having the picture will make your site visitors feel as though they are sitting across the desk from you as you both discuss their travel arrangements.

Auto Sales

As the Internet has matured, customers are expecting traditional brick and mortar businesses to have an online presence. Auto dealerships are within this category. While it may at first seem oxymoronic to have a business associated with transportation accessible through the Internet (which requires no transportation at all) the Internet also presents you with valuable opportunity to sell your vehicles and generate loyalty in your existing customers.

Much of your employee's time is spent on the phone. Unless you have a large staff to answer phone calls, much of your customer's time while be spent waiting on hold. Therefore, your goal in using online chat is to replace long telephone hold times with fast, efficient service.

If you post listings of your cars on your website, you should have Provide Support set up on at least one of your sales staff computers. This way, your sales representatives can proactively invite website visitors to talk about the vehicle they are looking for, and an interaction can take place as would happen on the lot.

If you periodically run newspaper ads showing your listings, you should put your website address in the ad and have a representative available online the day the ad runs to answer customer questions about the listings. To bring the customers to your site, you should put a line in your paper ad to advertise that live chat is available on your website. If each of your auto listings has an individual information page, the Live Help button can be placed on each page so that prospective customers can contact you with the click of a mouse. If all of the listings are one large page, make sure that the Live Help button is visible.

If you have a large dealership, you will likely have separate departments such as Sales, Parts & Accessories, and Service. If you want these departments to be available online, they should be selectable to your website visitors when they request a chat. Even if these departments are not selectable, it might be a good idea to keep at least one staff member available in each department so that chats can be transferred to that department if expert help is needed. For example, if website visitor who is interested in a vehicle also wants a certain accessory as part of the deal, the sales rep can invite a parts department representative into the chat or even transfer the chat to the parts department.

Real Estate

The live chat feature can be promoted in your Sunday newspaper ads. You can boast that your website has live assistance and that people can go there to get additional information on listings anytime, even if they don't have time to visit your office in person.

The Live Assistance button should be placed in such a way that it is always visible to people browsing the listings on your site. This means that the button should be placed on multiple pages. This way, if your website visitor has a question regarding a specific listing, he needs not return to the home page to click on the button.

It is probably more important with real estate offices (than with other industries) to personalize your website visitors' chat experience. You want to give the impression of friendliness and personability. Having your photo will allow you to cultivate trust in your website visitor. Your familiar face will establish an instant rapport between you and your website visitor, perchance you meet in person. For this reason, your operators (agents) may wish to upload their photo into the chat window so that visitors can see who they are chatting with.

Photos can be uploaded in the Provide Support control panel. If you are an agent you can log on using your operator account from the Provide Support and upload the photo yourself. Your uploaded photo must be in .jpg or .gif format and cannot exceed 32x32 to 256x256 pixels in size.

If you have a large number of photo listings on each page, it may be a good idea to have an extra-large Live Assistance button to make it stand out from the large number of graphics. This button should be placed at the top of every listings page so that it is the first thing your website visitors see when they move on to the next page.

If your listings have index numbers, you will want to provide this text field in the opening screen your visitor sees when he clicks on the Live Assistance Button. Having this number handy will save your time when looking up exactly which listing your website visitor is asking you about. This is better than your visitor asking you vague questions like, "Do you think the seller would drop the asking price $20k on that three-bedroom house in Lynnwood?"

Online Pharmacy

When your customers need their medications, they need them right away. They don't have time to trade emails with you. With shipping delays, it is crucial to give prompt, efficient service. Price aside, you want to make it worth the trouble to order prescriptions from you, rather than a local drugstore. You want to assure them that they are getting name brand pharmaceuticals for a better price than they can find elsewhere, without skimping on customer service.

If your online pharmacy is located in Canada, most of your business will come from people living in the US. Americans not used to ordering prescriptions online might be uneasy about restrictions on the shipment of their medications across the border. Although they might see all the information in black and white on your webpage, they may not feel confident that they can contact you in case there are problems.

Therefore, your goal is to place the Live Assistance button on your website in a prominent place, probably on the first page. If you happen to have pages dedicated to side effect of specific drugs, you can place the chat button at the bottom of the page, so that if your customers still have questions about side effects after reading the page, he or she can click on the button.

Your work is complex yet simple at the same time. Questions such as "Do you have a generic version of this drug?" and "Can you send me ten 50mg tablets instead of five 100 mg tablets?" can be answered more efficiently in live chat than in a phone call and will certainly much faster than with email correspondence. With live support readily available through your website, customers don't have to disconnect from the Internet to call you on your expensive toll-free number for information.

If your site has an automated purchasing feature, it might be useful to have a Live Assistance button on the page where the customer gives his or her personal information, such as shipping address and credit card number. Many sales are lost at the point of ordering. Clients become worried about providing personal information during the purchasing process, leading them to abandon their shopping cart. With live support, you can assist them in completing sales by walking them through the process.

Transcripts of all operator chats should be forwarded to an administrator, licensed pharmacist, or someone else qualified enough to evaluate the advice given by operators. Such transcripts are a tool that can be used for training of new operators or for quality control. Sending chat transcripts to an email program such as Outlook is especially useful, as these messages can then be quickly scanned for keywords. For example, if you want to see what your operators are telling your customers about "Viagra," you would have Outlook do a text search for that word, and all chats in which Viagra is mentioned will show up.

Education

More and more these days, educational institutions are being run like businesses. And the students? They are your customers. That's why it's important to have live support on your website. Live support gives your educational institution of professionalism and friendliness, an ideal combination that will attract prospective students and retain those you already have.

One place where your live chat button can best be used is on pages where students must fill in online forms. Forms for registration and financial aid can be complex, and it is always helpful to have live help available if students have problems. This saves the students the trouble from disconnecting from the Internet to pick up the phone to call your staff if they have problems. Having live support also means that online forms will be filled out correctly, as students will be able to get instant answers when they are uncertain.

Review chat transcripts from time to time can reveal errors and deficiencies in the information on the websites. Therefore, transcripts of all operator chats should be forwarded to an email account accessible by a chief administrator, webmaster, or person in charge of adding or altering information on the website. If students ask the same questions repeatedly, then it might be determined that some information needs to be added to the website.

Such transcripts are also a tool that can be used for training of new administrators. And new hire could spend a few hours review chat transcripts so that he or she would know what kinds of questions students might ask and how to properly respond to them.

Universities, because of their complexities, have several departments: Registration, Financial Aid, Student Services, and so on. These departments should be selectable to your students when they request a chat. Even if these departments are not selectable, at least one knowledgeable staff member should be available in each department so that chats can be transferred to that department if the student has a department-specific question.

Live chat is especially useful for any department that may require an appointment, such as academic counseling centers, writing and math tutoring centers, and liaison offices that provide campus tours to prospective students and their parents. Appointments can be made through the department home page quickly and efficiently without lengthy telephone hold times.

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