Online Chat

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Conversational Guide to Online Chat

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Welcome to our conversational guide to online chat. We'll start from the basics and move towards more advanced concepts. Read the contents of this guide in order or jump straight to the section that sparks your interest. Here's a list of topics covered:

  1. The Genesis of Online Chat
  2. The Definition of Online Chat
  3. Types of Interpersonal Communication Available in Online Chat
  4. How Online Chat Works
  5. Online Chat Participants
  6. Live Chat vs Chatbot Comparison
  7. Steps to Prepare Before Launching Online Chat
  8. Managing the Flow of Conversation
  9. Mistakes to Avoid During an Online Chat Conversation
  10. Online Chat Metrics
  11. The Importance of Online Chat
  12. Conclusion

What’s the Genesis of Online Chat?

Interpersonal communication has been an inspiration for developing real-time conversations with technology. Each type of online chat helps bring people together by enabling common types of exchanging information to a varying degree.

What’s Interpersonal Communication?

Interpersonal communication describes how people exchange information to achieve personal or work-related goals.

What Are the Types of Interpersonal Communication?

There are four main types of interpersonal communication:

  1. Oral Communication
  2. Non-Oral Communication
  3. Verbal Communication
  4. Non-Verbal Communication
What’s Oral Communication?

Oral communication involves using the human speech apparatus. While it often occurs during everyday face to face interactions between people nearby, it's also possible over long distances using voice transmission technologies.

What’s Non-Oral Communication?

Non-oral communication describes exchanging information without speaking or even emitting sounds. It includes communicating using written or sign language and various gestures, body movements, and eye contact.

What’s Verbal Communication?

Each language defines a set of basic building blocks called words and associates them with meaning. Grammar rules govern ways to combine these words into logical sentences used to communicate verbally.

What’s Non-Verbal Communication?

Non-verbal communication describes how people communicate without using words. Depending on the communication channel, it can take many forms, including touch, facial expressions and body language.

How Do People Exchange Information?

Many people think that interpersonal communication is just about words, but exchanging information between people can take various forms. Many years of evolution and perfection of the art of communication resulted in four distinct combinations:

  1. Oral, Verbal Communication
  2. Oral, Non-Verbal Communication
  3. Non-Oral, Verbal Communication
  4. Non-Oral, Non-Verbal Communication

How Do People Communicate Using Oral, Verbal Communication?

Oral, verbal communication is achieved by spoken language. The sender of the message emits a signal through their vocal cords, which is then transmitted through the vibrations of air particles to the receiver's eardrums.

How Do People Communicate Using Oral, Non-Verbal Communication?

Oral, non-verbal communication consists of all the information in the way people speak, including the tone of voice, tempo and other emotional expressions that may come in the form of laughing, crying, or even coughing.

How Do People Communicate Using Non-Oral, Verbal Communication?

People communicate with non-oral, verbal communication mainly by using written language. Historically people used handwritten letters, but nowadays, there are more modern versions of written communication, including email and live chat.

How Do People Communicate Using Non-Oral, Non-Verbal Communication?

Non-oral, non-verbal communication includes all gestures, body language and eye contact. Depending on the situation and the desired outcome, people might smile, hug, or even perform actions to suggest connection or comprehension.

What’s Online Chat?

The word chat means a friendly and informal conversation. An online chat is a service that enables two-way, real-time communication between participants over the Internet as if having a face-to-face conversation.

What are the Types of Online Chat?

Depending on the situation, participants may prefer to communicate using different modalities, so online chat applications have evolved into three distinct subcategories focused on real-time communication using text, voice, or video:

  1. Live Chat
  2. Voice Chat
  3. Video Chat

What’s Live Chat?

Live chat is a version of online chat that relies on exchanging short text messages between participants.

What’s Voice Chat?

Voice chat is a version of online chat that relies on voice interactions.

What’s Video Chat?

Video chat is a version of online chat that relies on voice and video interactions.

What’s a Chat Widget?

A chat widget is a little box enabling exchanging information between chat participants, which is often visible on

  1. Websites
  2. Social media platforms like Messenger for Facebook and Instagram
  3. Messaging apps like WhatsApp or SMS
  4. Virtual assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa

What Types of Interpersonal Communication Are Available in Online Chat?

Each type of online chat supports interpersonal communication between chat participants to a varying degree. Here’s a handy comparison:

Comparison of Available Types of Interpersonal Communication in Live Chat vs Voice Chat vs Video Chat
Live ChatVoice ChatVideo Chat
Oral, Verbal CommunicationNoneSpoken languageSpoken language
Oral, Non-Verbal CommunicationNoneTone of voice, tempo, laughter, crying, coughing, etc.Tone of voice, tempo, laughter, crying, coughing, etc.
Non-Oral, Verbal CommunicationWritten languageNoneNone
Non-Oral, Non-Verbal CommunicationEmoticonsNoneFacial expressions. gestures, body language, eye contact, etc.

How Does Online Chat Work?

Two-way communication happens by exchanging short messages over the Internet. Online chat enables conversation participants to send and receive messages in real-time. Depending on the chat modality, these messages may contain three types of data: text, voice, and video, which results in slight differences between each of them:

  1. How Live Chat Works
  2. How Voice Chat Works
  3. How Video Chat Works

How Does Live Chat Work?

Two-way communication on a live chat is possible by

  1. Sending text messages
  2. Receiving text messages

How to Send Text Messages on Live Chat?

Sending a live chat message requires typing words on a physical or virtual keyboard.

How to Receive Text Messages on Live Chat?

Received responses are automatically displayed on the screen as soon as they arrive.

How Does Voice Chat Work?

Two-way communication on a voice chat is possible by

  1. Sending voice messages
  2. Receiving voice messages

How to Send Voice Messages on Voice Chat?

Sending voice messages involves speaking to the microphone. It’s crucial to ensure that the voice chat application has the necessary permissions to use the microphone.

How to Receive Voice Messages on Voice Chat?

Received responses are automatically played on a speaker short after being received.

How Does Video Chat Work?

Video chat has two separate communication channels:

  1. Audio channel
  2. Video channel

How Does the Audio Channel Work in Video Chat?

The audio channel works the same as voice chat.

How Does the Video Channel Work in Video Chat?

Two-way video communication on a video chat is possible by

  1. Sending video stream
  2. Receiving video stream
How to Send Video Stream on a Video Chat?

To send a video stream, you need a webcam and ensure that the video chat application has the necessary permissions to use the video stream captured by that webcam.

How to Receive a Video Stream on a Video Chat?

The video chat application will automatically display the received video stream on your device's screen.

Who Participates in Online Chat Conversations?

Existing or potential customers engage with companies in online chat conversations for various reasons. While customers are always human beings, businesses are represented by:

  1. Business Representatives
  2. Conversational Bots

What Types of Business Representatives Participate in Online Chat Conversations?

Depending on the nature of customer queries and their stage in the buyer journey, one of three types of business agents usually participates in online chat conversations with customers:

  1. Inbound Sales Agent
  2. Customer Service Agent
  3. Customer Support Agent

Why do Inbound Sales Agents Participate in Online Chat Conversations?

Inbound sales agents take part in an online chat conversation to guide the user on their journey to purchase a product or service aligned with their needs and expectations. This approach is often called value-based selling.

Why do Customer Service Agents Participate in Online Chat Conversations?

Customer service agents join online chat conversations when a client needs guidance to maximise the benefits they get from their purchases. They evaluate customer circumstances and help them select the best option possible.

Why do Customer Support Agents Participate in Online Chat Conversations?

Customer support agents help clients solve common problems that require human attention. In contrast to **customer service agents**, their focus is narrow and aims to solve a specific problem quickly and easily.

What’s a Conversational Bot?

A conversational bot is an automated assistant designed to autonomously answer questions and perform simple tasks during a natural conversation.

What Types of Conversational Bots Participate in Online Chat Conversations?

Depending on the conversation modality, conversational bots take the form of:

  1. Chatbot
  2. Voice Bot
  3. Multimodal Bot
When Do Chatbots Participate in Online Chat Conversations?

When a customer asks a common question or wants to perform a simple task using text messages, a chatbot joins the conversation, responds to their query and performs relevant activities.

When Do Voice Bots Participate in Online Chat Conversations?

When a customer uses voice communication to ask questions or accomplish simple tasks, a voice bot joins the conversation, responds to their query and helps them achieve their goals.

Is Chatbot Better or Worse than Live Chat?

Online chat and chatbots both use the same channels, but online chat relies on business chat agents to actively respond to customer queries, while a chatbot automates parts of the process. Online chat and chatbots have their strengths and weaknesses, but they complement each other well, so the question shouldn’t be about which one to use but how to combine them to achieve the best results.

What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Chat vs Chatbots?

While chatbots have many benefits and can successfully handle common interactions, they will never replace human agents. Customers will always need subject matter experts capable of empathy to guide them in scenarios with no clear answers. Let's compare each technology in detail to understand where their strengths and weaknesses reside:

Comparison of Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Chat vs. Chatbot.
Online ChatChatbot
AvailabilityLive chat agents are humans, and they work only for a limited time during the day, don't work on weekends, go on vacations, and are sometimes not available during the day because of lunch breaks or chatting with another person.A chatbot is an AI-powered machine. Because of that, it doesn't need any breaks and can engage with a customer at any time of day or night over any number of touchpoints, not just during staffed hours and channels.
SpeedMost agents have to understand customer queries to respond or look up standardised answers, which takes time, putting live chat at a disadvantage in speed comparison against a chatbot.Chatbots recognise, understand and respond to specific queries and problems within seconds, which helps to keep customers engaged and satisfied. A bot can even start sending results while the customer is still interacting.
AccuracyAccuracy is key to reducing first-time call resolution rates. Although it might come as a surprise, human agents are typically not as accurate as their automated counterparts and get answers right on average only 85% of the time.Chatbots can automatically solve 80% of queries because of their natural language understanding, often achieving 98% accuracy, ensuring customers return to the chatbot the next time they have a question.
ComplianceWhile monitoring live chat conversations can ensure transparency, it's needless to say that live agents are only humans and are more prone to errors and forgetting compliance procedures.Chatbots ensure delivering essential updates and legal notices at the right moments. They can also be centrally monitored, maintained, and rolled out, simplifying the audit trail for lawful purposes.
ScalabilityThe number of simultaneous conversations a live chat agent can handle can sometimes go up to three for a limited time. On the other hand, voice chat agents have to finish one call before engaging with another customer.A chatbot can handle many conversations, all to the same high standard, without feeling overwhelmed. Bot's ability to handle multiple chats simultaneously makes it extremely useful, especially during peak times.
ReasoningSometimes customers need intelligence paired with expertise, creativity, or judgement. These uniquely human abilities are often indispensable to solve problems in unusual circumstances in these situations.Chatbots can respond quickly to the most common queries but lack higher-level abilities to draw parallels from similar past experiences or make complex judgements when facing conflicting requirements.
EmpathyBecause of the complexity of human emotions, sometimes there's no substitute for the empathy human agents can deliver. Humans have a natural ability to tune into the subtle cues left by the people they talk to.While chatbots can use emoticons, emojis, or even humour in some cases, there are still situations that require more than a purely objective response, and it's pretty hard to create a chatbot that can convey empathy.

How to Combine Online Chat with Chatbots?

Online chat and chatbots have their strengths and weaknesses, but they complement each other well. A chatbot can answer common questions and perform simple tasks independently. However, it’s not capable of successfully handling a conversation in certain scenarios that lead to a handover.

What Are the Typical Situations that Lead to Chatbot to Agent Handover?

Chatbots are getting smarter every day, but some situations explicitly or implicitly indicate the need for human attention. Here’s a list of the most common situations that lead to a handover:

  1. Explicit Customer Request
  2. Repeated No Match Errors
  3. Automated Conversation Hasn't Been Fully Developed
Why Is It Important to Transfer a Conversation to an Online Chat Agent After an Explicit Customer Request?

When a customer uses a phrase like “I want to speak to a human agent.” it’s a clear indication that for some reason, they think that their needs won’t be satisfied by interacting with a conversational bot, which may or may not be true. Nonetheless, it’s best to ease the tension, comply with their explicit request, and route the conversation to an appropriate business agent.

Why Is it Important to Transfer a Conversation to an Online Chat Agent After Repeated No Match Errors?

When customers respond with something unexpected or ask questions that a chatbot cannot answer with an acceptable level of certainty, it can ask for clarification. However, when this scenario repeats, it can have detrimental effects on customer experience, so instead of forcing the customer to “run in a hamster wheel”, it’s better to transfer the conversation to the right agent and improve the conversation flow for similar interactions in the future.

Why Is it Important to Transfer a Conversation to an Online Chat Agent when the Automated Dialogue Isn’t Fully Developed?

Not everything is perfect during the initial stages of integrating chatbots into conversations with customers. You need to create and improve questions, answers, and prompts to respond to customer expectations better. The role of a chatbot in scenarios like these is to collect relevant data and conversation history before passing the conversation to a business representative.

What Are the Best Practices for Chatbot to Online Chat Handover?

It’s important to provide a business agent with as much contextual information about the client and their queries as possible. Several features help agents respond quickly with relevant and useful information:

  1. Skill-based Routing
  2. Data Collection
  3. Conversation History
Why Is Skill-based Routing Important for Chatbot to Online Chat Handover?

It’s important to ensure that the bot can identify the nature client’s inquiry to route the conversation to the most appropriate business rep. Although the simplest way to achieve this goal is through simple buttons, more sophisticated solutions leverage artificial intelligence to analyse customer messages to extract relevant information and match it with your staff's skills and availability.

Why Is Data Collection Important for Chatbot to Live Online Handover?

Bots are fantastic tools for gathering large amounts of data. Chatbots can collect information like customer name, location, and contact details. They can also retrieve their purchases and past conversations and combine all of that information in a single, unified view of the customer that helps agents quickly understand customer needs and reply with quick, relevant, and on-point responses.

Why Is Conversation History Important for Chatbot to Online Chat Handover?

Recent customer interactions are the most up to date source of information about their needs and help online chat agents to continue the conversation from the right moment without having to ask the same questions. Doing this enables agents to respond quickly with relevant information.

How to Prepare Before Enabling Online Chat?

Enabling an online chat communication channel for your customers might sound overwhelming at first, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Here’s a list of helpful tips that will let you prepare in advance:

  1. Staff Your Online Chat
  2. Show Your Face on Live Chat
  3. Set Expectations
  4. Enable Self-service Options

Why is it Important to Staff Your Online Chat?

Although it sounds obvious, many companies have put live chat in place without actual people to staff it. Make sure you give your customers a chance to interact with real people trained on how to use online chat as a communication tool for text and voice messaging, elicit engagement from site visitors, and manage the flow of conversations.

Why is it Important to Show Your Face on Live Chat?

Showing a photo of your face on live chat is one of the best ways to demonstrate that you're a real human being. Showing your face helps your potential customers visualise who they're talking to and helps establish a human-to-human connection.

Why is it Important to Set Expectations for Online Chat Conversations?

Customers expect immediate responses whether they communicate with a human agent or a conversational bot. The chances are that you won’t have a staff member waiting for incoming requests 24/7. That’s why it’s important to manage clients’ expectations, let them know when you’re available for online conversations and inform them that they can get self-service support from a bot during off-hours.

Why is it Important to Enable Self-Service Options in Online Chat?

Talking to customers is an invaluable source of information about their wants and needs. It’s vital to analyse why customers engage in conversations with your business and enable self-service options that respond to as many inquiries as possible using chat bots. Doing this will help offload your online chat agents and let them focus on satisfying emotional needs and complex or unusual requests.

How to Manage the Flow of Conversations Effectively?

A conversational bot can start a conversation, answer common questions, and perform simple tasks independently, but some situations still require human attention, which won’t change anytime soon. As soon as the customer requires subject matter expertise, empathy or complex judgement, a bot will route the conversation to the most appropriate business representative, and it's up to them to continue the flow of interactions. Here’s a list of ten steps to make it a success:

  1. Start with a Greeting
  2. Introduce Yourself
  3. Ask for Permission
  4. Ask Questions
  5. Listen Carefully
  6. Use Empathy Statements
  7. Be Authentic
  8. Leverage Data
  9. Offer Useful Advice
  10. Analyse and Improve

Why Is it Important to Start an Online Chat Conversation with a Greeting?

Think about the usual experience you have when you enter a brick-and-mortar store. Even if just one person is running the place, you still expect them to say hello when you walk through the door. Whether someone takes time to visit your establishment, your website, or any other communication channel, they are worth saying "hello" to make them feel welcomed and appreciated.

How to Greet a Customer on an Online Chat?

The greeting you decide to use will depend on your target market and brand's personality. It’s worth keeping in mind to do it when the conversation starts, even if you are engaged in another conversation. You probably leverage a conversational bot to start the conversation, so it’s also an excellent opportunity to break the ice by saying something like: "Hey there! Real human here happy to help :)"

Why Is it Important to Introduce Yourself at the Beginning of an Online Chat?

After greeting a potential or existing customer, it's good to follow up with a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Doing this will help establish a human-to-human connection with your client and set expectations by letting them know about your area of expertise, so they know what to expect from engaging further.

Why Is it Important to Ask for Permission Before You Start Asking Questions During an Online Chat?

It's essential to avoid talking about yourself, your company, or anything you're selling. Instead, ask questions about the person with whom you're talking and the problem they are trying to solve, but before you do that, ask for permission to ease a relationship tension by saying something like, "Is it ok if I ask a few questions?".

Why Is it Important to Ask Questions During an Online Chat?

When the person you're talking to agrees to answer your questions, you've achieved two goals: reduced the relationship tension and obtained permission to progress the conversation to the next step and get down to business. The best way to do that is by asking questions they will enjoy answering, paying attention to the answers, and offering relevant follow-ups.

What Types of Questions to Ask Customer During Online Chat?

The questions you're going to ask potential buyers should help you better understand their perspective so that you can better adapt to their needs and provide relevant advice. You can ask questions about the goal they expressed, but you can also advise on alternative options and ask how their expectations align with them.

Why Is it Important to Listen Carefully to Your Customers During an Online Chat?

During online chat exchanges, it's common for clients to change their minds about what they want or need, so listen carefully to everything they say and don't hesitate to rephrase or simplify any question, take notes, or even ask for clarification. When you're genuinely interested in helping someone, your customer will sense it and engage more in doing business with you.

Why Is it Important to Use Empathy Statements During an Online Chat?

An empathy statement is a phrase or question that focuses directly on the customer and demonstrates your understanding of their perspective. It captures the crux of what they said and reflects their message to them using parallel language. One of the best statements you can use is something like this: "So you have this problem that you need help with, am I right?".

Why Is it Important to Be Authentic During an Online Chat?

While it’s essential to adhere to your brand’s tone of voice when talking with customers, it’s also worth keeping in mind that it should be open to interpretation because each business representative communicates differently. They should be able to express their uniqueness within the acceptable norms freely.

Why Is it Important to Leverage Data During an Online Chat?

Leveraging data helps to understand customer expectations quickly. Conversation history, client location or the number of conversations they had with you in the past can provide valuable insights about their needs letting you respond with helpful advice.

Why Is it Important to Offer Useful Advice During an Online Chat?

One of the main reasons customers engage in a conversation with a business representative is to receive helpful advice. Mention multiple options whenever relevant and be as objective as possible because it's the most likely way to convince someone of your sincere intentions. Don’t try to make a sale at all costs, and craft a response that will make them feel like you're on their side and that your goal is to help them achieve theirs.

Why Is It Important to Analyse and Improve Online Chat Conversations?

Sometimes things go according to plan, and sometimes they don’t. It’s vital to leverage online chat metrics and text analysis tools to monitor the situation, understand what causes problems, and how to reduce them in the future to continuously improve the quality of service your business provides.

What are the Common Pitfalls to Avoid During an Online Chat Conversation?

While it's important to know what to do during an online chat conversation to benefit all parties involved, it's equally important to know what not to do. You should be aware of some mistakes as they can hurt the relationships with your customers you've worked so hard to establish.

  1. Avoid Asking Close-ended Questions
  2. Avoid Blindly Following a Script
  3. Avoid Being Overexcited

Why Is it Important to Avoid Asking Close-ended Questions During an Online Chat Conversation?

To avoid the perception of going through a checklist, you should ask mainly open-ended questions that allow your consumers to express their views and feelings. A closed-ended question has a simple yes-or-no answer and makes the conversation feel mechanical, especially when used repeatedly. Focusing on open-ended questions can improve conversation flow and be an excellent source of valuable insights that could otherwise slip your attention.

Why Is it Important not to Blindly Follow a Script During an Online Chat Conversation?

While it's good to have a proven list of good questions you can reference during a conversation, you should never follow line by line. To provide the best experience for your customers, you should let the conversation unfold naturally, even if it means that some of them will take longer than others. Instead of blindly following a script, actively listen and adapt.

Why Is it Important not to Be Overly Excited During an Online Chat Conversation?

You can probably recall chatting with someone overly excited no matter what you say. It can manifest by excessive exclamation marks or expressions that seem far too enthusiastic for the situation, like "Awesome" or "Amazing". Behaviours like these can come across as being inauthentic and potentially suspicious, both of which won’t help you to build rapport.

How to Measure and Improve Online Chat Conversations?

All the live chat metrics used in business scenarios should hold the characteristics of good metrics. Many conversation metrics are also helpful in measuring online chat conversations, but here’s a list of additional metrics that can help you to gain an even better understanding:

  1. Online Chat Agent Utilisation Rate
  2. Customer Wait Time
  3. Number of Simultaneous Chats
  4. Missed Chats

What’s Online Chat Agent Utilisation Rate Metric?

Online chat agent utilisation rate shows the percentage of time spent actively participating in conversations with customers.

How to Calculate Online Chat Agent Utilisation Rate?

A simple way to calculate the online chat agent utilisation rate:

  1. Multiply the volume of conversations by average response time and the average number of responses per conversation.
  2. Divide the result by the number of hours worked by the agent.

When Are Online Chat Agents Underutilised?

Online chat agents are underutilised when their utilisation rate is below 60%.

What’s Good Online Chat Agent Utilisation Rate?

A good online chat utilisation rate ranges between 60% and 80%.

When Are Live Chat Agents Overloaded?

Live chat agents are overloaded when their utilisation rate is above 80%.

How to Increase Online Chat Agent Utilisation Rate?

To increase the agent utilisation rate, you can focus on demand generation to increase the number of potential customers interested in your products and services, reduce the number of online chat agents, or spread their shifts.

How to Decrease Online Chat Agent Utilisation Rate?

You can decrease the agent utilisation rate by increasing the number of online chat agents or delegating common questions and relevant activities to a chatbot or voice bot. Bot-powered automation can offload your human resources and let them focus their time and energy on higher-level activities.

Why Is Agent Utilisation Rate an Important Online Chat Metric?

This metric helps to assess the average daily workloads of online chat agents. It’s essential to keep it within a manageable range so that your staff is neither underutilised nor overloaded. Doing this ensures that human agents bring tangible benefits to your business and its customers without feeling overwhelmed.

What’s Customer Wait TIme Metric?

As the name suggests, the customer wait time measures how long the customer has to wait before an online chat agent engages with them.

What’s a Good Customer Wait Time?

A good customer wait time will vary slightly between customers and the severity of their issues, but in general, it shouldn’t be longer than two minutes. By combining customer wait time with the dropout rate, you will know what’s acceptable. You can then use this number as a maximum customer wait time for your online chat team, letting them know that they risk losing a client by exceeding it.

How to Reduce Customer Wait Time?

Several ways can help to reduce customer wait time:

  1. Enable bot-powered self-service options.
  2. Filter out irrelevant conversations.
  3. Transfer chats to human agents based on the number of conversations.
  4. Employ more live chat agents.

Why is Customer Wait Time an Important Online Chat Metric?

Customers are less patient than ever before, and they expect instant responses no matter if they engage with a conversational bot or human agent. Monitoring customer wait time helps ensure that customer satisfaction doesn’t suffer because of how long they wait.

What’s the Number of Simultaneous Chats Metric?

The number of simultaneous chats metric measures the number of parallel conversations online chat agents handle at the same time.

What’s a Good Number of Simultaneous Chats?

A good number of simultaneous chats per agent ranges between 1 and 3. 4-5 concurrent chat sessions are only possible for a short duration because it expedites a lot of mental energy. An Intense level of cognitive load should last only for a short time and be followed by an extended rest period. Following this approach will help reduce the pressure and increase the quality of conversations.

Is it Good or Bad when the Number of Simultaneous Chats Increases?

It’s good when the number of simultaneous chats an agent has to handle increases only up to an acceptable level. Above this level, you risk overloading your live chat agents.

Is it Good or Bad when the Number of Simultaneous Chats Drops?

Live chat agents should support your business and its customers, so when the number of concurrent conversations drops below an acceptable level, it’s a sign of underutilisation.

How to Increase the Number of Simultaneous Chats?

Human agents can’t handle many live chat sessions at the same time without sacrificing the quality or feeling overwhelmed. When customer wait time increases and all the live chat agents are at their maximum capacity, you can increase the number of parallel sessions by offloading some questions and activities to a chatbot.

Why Is Number of Simultaneous Chats an Important Online Chat Metrics?

This metric helps to ensure that your team works within acceptable levels of cognitive load. By constantly exceeding human capacity to handle parallel conversations, you risk overwhelming your agents and decreasing the quality of conversations with customers.

What’s a Missed Chats Metric?

Missed chats metric lets you keep track of situations when a customer has been waiting for an online chat agent to accept the conversations for too long and decided to drop off.

What’s a Good Number of Missed Chats?

Every conversation is important, and missing even one of them isn’t beneficial, so you should aim for this metric to be close to zero.

How to Minimise Missed Chats?

It’s good to start by analysing the number of simultaneous conversations agents have to handle regularly. When it frequently exceeds the acceptable level, it’s a sign that your staff is overloaded, and you need to help them. You can achieve this by delegating some of the conversations to a chatbot or increasing the number of live chat agents.

Why is Missed Chats an Important Online Chat Metric?

Missed chats are some of the worst things that can happen in the early stages of interaction with a customer and negatively affect your business's perceived quality of services, so it’s essential to monitor this metric.

Why is Online Chat Important?

The overarching goal of online chat is to enable two-way, real-time communication, but the reasons for communication depend on the perspective, so let’s analyse them from two different points of view:

  1. The Importance of Online Chat for Business
  2. The Importance of Online Chat for Customers

Why is Online Chat Important for Business?

Online chat is an invaluable tool for acquiring new and retaining existing customers. Initially used only for customer support, it has quickly become part of many successful demand generation and inbound sales strategies. Live chat is essential for two types of business users for different reasons, so let’s break down the importance into two subcategories:

  1. The Importance of Online Chat for Agents
  2. The Importance of Online Chat for Managers

Why is Online Chat Important for Agents?

Thanks to these functionalities, online chat simplifies and streamlines communication with prospects and customers across channels:

  1. Unified Customer Profiles
  2. Interaction History
  3. Single Interface
Why Is Unified Customer Profile Important for Online Chat Agents?

Online chat agents have to provide helpful responses quickly and efficiently. When the real-time conversation starts, agents should have contextual information that includes the client’s location, past purchases, and the history of conversations at their fingertips. Bringing all customer data into a unified customer profile helps online chat agents better understand customer needs and improve their experience.

Why Is Interaction History Important for Online Chat Agents?

Online chat agents handle many conversations each day. Every customer expects the agent they connect with to know their needs from past interactions because they don’t have to repeat what makes them feel valued and appreciated. That’s why showing the history of interactions is very important for online chat agents to reduce their stress levels and minimise the time needed to provide a helpful response.

Why Is Single Interface Important for Online Chat Agents?

Customers expect businesses to adapt to their needs quickly, and it’s not easy to offer seamless interactions across channels, modalities, and devices. That’s why it’s essential to minimise the number of tools and screens online chat agents use to handle them effectively. It reduces the mental strain caused by managing separate applications manually and lets agents focus their attention on the customer.

Why Is Online Chat Important for Managers?

Online chat managers need to enhance business contact centre operations, and they can leverage a unique set of functionalities to achieve this goal:

  1. Omnichannel Contact Flows
  2. Multimodal Automation
  3. Unified Metrics
Why Are Omnichannel Contact Flows Important for Online Chat Managers?

It’s challenging to manage a constantly growing number of communication channels effectively. An omnichannel contact flow significantly improves operational efficiency by simplifying the process of adding and removing new channels without creating the entire interaction flow from scratch every single time.

Why Is Multimodal Automation Important for Online Chat Managers?

Leveraging the same bot-powered automation for voice and chat simplifies delegating an increasing number of questions and supporting activities to conversational bots and routing conversations to the best available agents. They can quickly respond to their queries. Reusing automation for voice and text interactions helps to improve efficiency, reduce the time needed to perform repeatable functions and continuously improve.

Why Are Unified Metrics Important for Online Chat Managers?

Unifying conversation metrics for multiple channels can significantly improve their usefulness for managers by providing a high-level view of customer interactions across channels without having to compare them or look into different tools. Visualising metrics on a single dashboard allows spotting problems quickly while also making it easy to quickly drill down to finer details to gain insights that fuel continuous improvement.

Why Is Online Chat Important for Customers?

When customers have queries that require empathy, subject matter expertise, or complex judgment, they seek ways to engage with business representatives who can provide relevant and helpful guidance to help them solve their problems. Depending on the situation and personal preferences, it’s also important for the customers to

  1. Communication Channel Selection
  2. Preferred Modality
  3. Device Switching

Why Is Channel Selection Important for Customers Using Online Chat?

It’s easy for customers to contact a business using the same communication channels they use to communicate with friends and relatives. However, they might also want to select it based on their personal preferences or the severity of their issue. Businesses that can satisfy these needs and offer seamless integration across channels are more likely to win their business.

Why Is Modality Selection Important for Customers Using Online Chat?

The way customers interact with technology changes throughout the day. In some scenarios, they might prefer to use voice chat, for example, when driving to work, while live chat might be preferable when they don’t want to disturb people around them. Offering different interaction modes is essential to satisfy these needs but requires sophisticated technology that can quickly adapt to customers' preferred modality, which can change at any time.

Why Is Device Switching Important for Customers Using Online Chat?

While it might be good to start a conversation on one channel, its limitations might restrict the flow of information and even block the conversation from progressing to the next level. That’s why it’s vital to enable logged in customers to seamlessly switch devices during the conversation and let them continue from where they left off without losing the history.

Conclusion

Live chat agents need to maintain high levels of engagement and manage the flow of conversations to direct customers towards business objectives. Real-time messaging lets them show their personalities and brings an opportunity to build rapport, establish a human connection and present the true reflection of your business that helps differentiate your offerings from the competition.

Chatbots and live chat can work together in perfect harmony. Rather than replacing human agents. chatbots free them from boredom and overheads by handling standard queries and repeatable or mundane tasks. Time savings allow your staff to focus their energy on more creative parts of their job.

Customers love speedy, on-point responses to their queries and pairing online chat agents with chatbots that can handle many tasks independently amplifies these effects, brings more stability to your business operations, and enables continuous improvement. Let us know if you'd like to implement a similar solution to grow your business.

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