By Steve Castro-Miller, email@example.com
If you are considering live chat solutions for your online business, you may be confused as to what’s best for you. That’s easy to understand, given how many options are available. Are you looking for live chat as a standalone customer communications tool, or are you interested in adding email, social and other components into the mix? How are you going to manage your live chat effort? Will you have dedicated chat agents, or will chat be lumped together with other offerings in the contact center?
The success of a live chat implementation depends greatly on knowing exactly what you are looking for from your live chat solution, selecting the right offering for your particular needs, and appropriately managing it to maximize its effectiveness. Live chat needs to be treated like a real business tool – or it will fail.
Before moving forward with a live chat effort, you should prioritize your requirements and goals and then look closely at providers to make sure they are meeting your specific criteria. Live chat product reviews can easily be found online, but many are just checklists, without detail or context. To get a clearer view on live chat providers and their offerings, we recently commissioned an in-depth study from a neutral third party. We did this because, even though we are a provider of live chat technology, we desired a detailed and thoughtful review which we felt was absent in the market. This is actually a follow-up to an initial report done several years ago, in the earlier days of live chat adoption, and since then applications have evolved, market segmentation has changed and vendors have come, gone and merged.
The current study goes into detail on the live chat space, but for the purposes of this article, retailers should keep the following considerations in mind as they are exploring their options:
1. Do I want a live chat specialist, or am I looking for a multimodal customer interaction provider?
2. What product features and functionality are available, and which are best suited to meet my needs?
3. What are some questions I should be asking the provi