by Blazej Szperlinski @ February 16, 2012

10 Simple Guidelines for Improving LiveChat Adoption

10 steps to return on investment

If we all know that user “adoption” is a key to success — then why does it seem always like an after thought? Then again, why is my desktop riddled with so many shortcuts to unrealized promises?

Every year billions of dollars are spent on fancy new software products and services which caught the eyes of a decision maker. Each was pitched with a robust list of features as silver bullets to a wide range of business challenges, and most often the initial budget is blown in configuration and installation and everyone is exhausted by the time the project turns to “adoption.” Too often the result is disappointment, unrealized goals, and executives that move on to the next fancy doodad.

By following some simple guidelines that are built right into the software platform, your organization’s commitment to deploy live customer support will quickly become an indispensable sales, marketing, service and support tool.

These guidelines were developed through a comprehensive assessment of the success and failures of deploying LiveChat with dozens of our clients. Certain patterns emerged which quickly became the guidelines for our business development team to facilitate a successful adoption process. I hope you find them equally helpful to your team.

Here’s the list of 10 Simple Guidelines for Improving LiveChat Adoption:

1. Plan is Not Just for Launch

2. Take The Time to Customize Your Set-up

3. Branding Matters

4. Make changes – lots of them.

5. Customized Invitations

6. Start New Operators as Passive Responders

7. Integrate with your CRM

8. Integrated with SaaS

9. Not Just for Prospects

10. Use the Social Media Buttons

1. A Plan is Not Just for Launch

Whenever we deploy new technology into our organization — or that of a client’s — we make sure that we develop an “adoption plan.” Oh sure, these plans can be complex with sophisticated behavioral analysis — or they can be a good check-lists of activities. Such plans are not just a way to guide us during the launch, but to provide a roadmap for ongoing improvement of our use of the tool and the systems it is meant to improve.

Action Ideas: Understand what success looks like. Consider the front line chat operators. Confirm who “owns” the what part of the process.

2. Take The Time to Customize Your Set-up

Adoption must start in the planning process — not after deployment. Our team has spent hundreds of hours learning how people responded to chat differently on different sites. The nature of your company’s product or service and the role of the website in your customer sales process has significant impact on the configuration of LiveChat. Once deployed, you then start to modify the visitor’s experience.

Action Ideas: Grow Leaders. Start Small. Expand in Steps.

3. Branding Matters

No matter what size company you are, a lot of thought, and often significant cost, went into your branding. There is either an implicit or an explicit style guide that covers colors, fonts, and use of your logo. Don’t throw it all out the window when you deploy LiveChat. The flexibility of the LiveChat platform provide “best-of-class” customization options for every aspect of the communication with your site visitor: from the presentation of the live chat option, to the invitations, to the actual chat panel.

Action Ideas: Include Your Brand. Use Real Operator Pictures. Don’t Forget Mobile.

4. Make changes — lots of them

As we integrate LiveChat more deeply into our customer’s online experience, we generate a tremendous amount of rich interaction data. This data allows our web design and content team to suggest changes to the sites’ user interface –especially our Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sites — to reflect the type of questions we have received from site visitors responding to our invitations to chat.

Action Ideas: Add Your Webmaster. Share the Highlights. Test New Content.

5. Customized Invitations

One of the outstanding features of LiveChat is the robust customized invitation feature, so we tested numerous invitations for specific actions including time on the site, search words used, referring page, and/or sequence of pages visited. We learned which invitations worked based on asking various personalized invitations. Then a series of automated invitations that address the specific interests of the site visitor were generated. This greatly enhancing the response rates.

Action Ideas: Ask Open-end Questions. Enhance your Squeeze Pages. Customize Based on Referrer.

6. Start New Operators as Passive Responders

Extensive use of the customized invitations, especially activating the “time on site” option, which allows operators (who is typically someone in sales/marketing) to be doing something else while receiving incoming chat requests.

Action Ideas: Demonstrate Real Value. Provide Ongoing Support. Reward Performance.

7. Integrate with your CRM

LiveChat also allows seamless integration directly into our CRM platform. This ensure consistency in leadership messaging about the critical importance of every step of the CRM process being documented in the CRM platform. LiveChat currently support archiving chats directly into several CRM platforms.

Action Ideas: Link Information Requests. Ensure All Have Access. Monitor “Chat” Entries.

8. Integrated with SaaS

An unexpected surprise was that by leveraging iframes and other programming tricks we were able to embed LiveChat inside our CRM and ERP platforms thus providing immediate live client support to support the adoption and use of these tools. By turning LiveChat towards internal customers we are able to leverage it’s immediate response power associated with specific user action to support the adoption of our SaaS platforms.

Action Ideas: Consider During Design. Treat as a Feature. Don’t Forget Mobile Applications.

9. Not Just for Prospects

We have found that nearly 50% of the actual users of our LiveChat deployments are current clients or distributors that come to ask a quick question, get a piece of information, or to facilitate a referral!! This was a surprise to us, and we had to reconfigure deployment to match this need. It has permitted us to leverage live customer support throughout the client life-cycle.

Action Ideas: Treat Existing Customers. Know the History. Your Intranet is online too.

10. Use the Social Media Buttons

The web has become social. You can’t avoid it. And really, why would you? Connecting with your current and prospective customers is what it is all about. By leveraging the social media buttons to connect your clients with your social media marketing you are providing them a link to your various social media platforms.

Action Ideas: Visit Yourself. Friendly Traction Help. Keep it Current.

Focus on the Relationship

In the end a successful organization engages their all their stakeholders in a relationship. We have found that live customer support is emerging as an important tool is supporting the feedback loops that allow client relationships to deepen.

As more online users become comfortable with live chat support — as on Facebook — the desire for the informal conversation that comes from the highly responsive platform provides a fantastic tool for your overall business growth strategy.

More Resources

  • For a complete expanded e-Book version of this adoption guide please go to: LiveChatAdoption.com/LiveChatBlog
  • These guidelines were originally posted as an answer to a post on the StackExchange Start-up’s community onStartups.com and can be viewed here: http://www.brightjourney.com/q/live-chat-website-work
  • The LiveChat software platform can be tested for 30 days free by going to livechatinc.com/signup
  • The author’s company Strategic Growth Initiative provides full adoption and ongoing support services for companies deploying live chat. Learn more at: LiveChatAdoption.com
  • The Author

    Joseph Barisonzi is an accomplished executive with fifteen years of experience and a verifiable record increasing organizational value, enhancing productivity, streamlining operations and improving sales performance. He is a principal with Strategic Growth Initiative, a California-based business development firm that helps companies grow. They have a primary interest in Busy Worker Bee, a marketing production company; eBee5 a business development team which works with companies seeking immigrant investor money; and SugarPros, an adoption-oriented CRM consulting firm.

    Joseph is a dynamic and inspirational leader with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and talent for grasping innovative ideas, developing comprehensive strategies and implementing actionable plans. Joseph can be found on the web starting at the portal: http://about.me/jbarisonzi