Live Chat Software

Would you like to chat live with your customers while they're browsing your site? You need live chat software.

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If you're used to GTalk or Yahoo Messenger, or if you've ever tried chatting online (via typed text messages), then you have seen live chat in action. With live chat software, however, your "chat room" is a particular web page in your site.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating various chat programs:

1. Do you need to download anything? Some services require you to download a program which will help you chat with your web site visitors. Others simply ask you to log into a web site (no need to download anything). The great thing about the no-download option is that you gain flexibility.

If one of your chat operators is not available, you can assign someone else to take over. All they need to do is log into that special web page. They don't have to download anything. Also, if your operator is somewhere else, he or she can still chat with your customers for as long as there is an internet connection, such as in an internet cafe.

2. Do they offer virtual operator services? Most live chat services offer you just the software. You need to field your own chat operators. But what happens if your site has too many chatty visitors, but you don't have enough chat operators? That's where virtual operator services come into play.

It may be better for you to outsource the operator function if you find yourself swamped with a lot of chat requests.

Why go into live chat in the first place?

It's mostly a matter of customer care. People normally surf alone, and it sometimes is a pleasant surprise when a chat window opens with: "Hi! May I help you with something?" especially if the customer keeps wavering between two web pages.

In addition, live chat helps you identify which parts of your site need more information. If you keep getting the same questions in the chat sessions, that may be a sign to rearrange the info structure of your site.

Either way, your customer wins with live chat software.

[ First posted on 07/17/2006 by Manuel Viloria ]

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