Posted: 17th Jan 2011
Recently I've been trying out some Live Chat widgets that allows the user to get immediate help and hopefully convert to sales...
There are lot of online tools that allow you to do this easily. Basically they place a tab on your website somewhere which the user clicks on to either send an email to your support team, or they can chat online with you. The idea is that hopefully by providing this immediate support you can answer some basic questions that could make the difference between your user disappearing or actually signing up and buying your product. I have no doubt that tools actually increase the conversion rate.
However some tools pro-actively pop up on the screen without the user actually clicking on anything. For example, "Hi, thanks for visiting. Let me know if you have any questions."
When I first saw this being offered I thought 'how annoying' and vowed never to use such a tool, but recently I've had a change of heart and I'll tell you why.
First I tried using Olark which is a really good tool that's not intrusive at all. It integrated nicely with Adium (on my Mac) and with Growl notifications I would see whenever someone visited my pricing page and where they came from. If they wanted to talk to an operator (little old me) then they could.
I like OLark, but I always knew about another one that did this pro-active thing. After trying OLark out for a few weeks I decided to experiment with this other tool and signed up to SnapEngage.
Note: this isn't a review of the best Live Chat tools, and I'm sure there are lots of others out there but I just wanted to share my experience so far.
I got on their site, had a look around and Lo and Behold up popped their friendly support agent asking me if I had any questions. I started chatting with him about the app and he redirected me to the sign up page automatically (kinda freaky but also really cool too) and helped me get set up on Adium within minutes. He even helped me test it out on my site. Great support.
I told him I wanted the 'Pro-active Popup Thingy' and he told me how to do it and recommended about 35-45 seconds (any less and you really will annoy people!). So I set it all up, uploaded a picture of my face, and waited...
That night I had about two conversations in just an hour, one was a guy in Canada asking about the file sharing features that Project Bubble offered. Another one was help getting a paid account set up. The next day I had about 3 conversations with a few potential customers.
Did I annoy my visitors?
I'm not sure I did. They seemed impressed with the quick support, and also their questions were answered. Did I annoy various other users that I never met through my little chat window? Probably.
I definitely annoyed a user when I set my settings to 15 seconds because as I was coding away, up pops my chat window with the phrase "F**K OFF STAN". Brilliant, I've never been called Stan before.
So I set it back to 45 seconds.
Did I engage my visitors?
Yes, I think overall I did and I hope it will lead to sales. If my users were getting their questions answered and were getting pointed to the right places then I was most definitely engaging them. Whether it's leading to sales or not is a tough one to work out at the moment because their trial is only 14 days and I think I'm going to need about 2 months to get some pretty decent statistics on whether this tool affects my conversion rate.
One thing is for sure - I will be purchasing SnapEngage at least for another month or two, and I can definitely recommend their service because whether you use the Proactive Chat or not it's a great tool provided by really great people. Even if you just use the Help tab with an email form then it still works really well for engaging visitors.
I'll report again soon on whether I continued to use the "Proactive Popup Thingy". Maybe I'll chat to you over on my pricing page? :-)
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