October 28, 2015

Chapter 4- Advanced Tactics to Get the Most From Live Chat

Explore Chapter 4 for advanced live chat tactics. Learn how to maximize customer interactions and boost satisfaction with these expert live chat strategies.

Jon Tucker
CEO HelpFlow
Chapter 4- Advanced Tactics to Get the Most From Live Chat

This is Chapter 4 of the Definitive Guide to Live Chat - you can start at the beginning of the guide here. It focuses on effective live chat tactics to enhance customer communication.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, and helped you avoid the most common chat mistakes, you have a better understanding of how to make Live Chat convert into strong sales.

It’s time to move on to the Advanced Tactics that come from our experience of managing thousands of chats per week for a wide range of customers. As you learn and apply these tactics, you’ll find yourself with stronger ultsults from your chat efforts.

Live Chat Tactics: Here’s Real Revenue Results We’ve Produced

Don’t just take our word for it that live chat, done well, can improve your business. Our system integrates with Google Analytics, which means we can analyze the activity and purchase behavior of website visitors we chat with compared to visitors that don’t chat. We’ve gathered a lot of data based on our work with customers and summarized it below, highlighting key live chat tactics.

Let’s start with the difference in purchase activity of visitors who engage in chat versus visitors who don’t.

Visitors we chat with convert significantly higher than visitors that don’t chat:

live chat tactics results
live chat tactics results 2


Visitors we chat with buy more than visitors that don’t chat:

live chat tactics results 3
live chat tactics results 4


Visitors we chat with are far more engaged on your website than visitors that don’t chat:

live chat tactics results 5
live chat tactics results 6

If you manage your chat program carefully, your company can see similar conversion results. And if we manage your Live Chat system for you, the return on your investment is guaranteed with a money back refund (shameless sales plug…).

Sure, you might be able to manage it yourself, but we are the professionals and here’s the reality:

  • Clients pay us hundreds of dollars per week and we directly generate thousands in revenue for their business.
  • This is based on hard data tracked directly in Google Analytics for visitors that haven’t purchased before, chatted with us, and then after that completed a purchase.
  • This data actually underestimates our impact because it does not include visitors who convert by placing a phone order.

But if you’re dead set on managing the chat system yourself, take the time to get it right and do a great job using the advanced tactics in this section.

Invite Visitors to Chat Based on Their Website Activity

Back to our retail store scenario, let’s imagine you are the employee. If you saw a customer walking around the store looking at signs with confusion on their face, or holding two products and obviously trying to make a decision, you would assume they have a question and offer help.
A good salesperson wouldn’t simply allow the customer to wander around the store confused, they would try to help. You can do the same on your website.

You can configure your Live Chat system to know when people have questions, and invite them to chat automatically. You’ll receive a notification from your Live Chat system only when they respond to the invite. This leads to an experience of perfect timing for visitors--and a perfect sales opportunity for you.

Here are some examples of when people should be invited to chat:

  • Comparing Products - If a visitor is going back and forth multiple times between two products on your site, they are likely comparing them. Configure your system to track this, and automatically invite them to chat and offer help to explain the differences in the two products. They’ll appreciate the help since they are already trying to do this on their own.
  • Looking for an Answer - If a visitor heads to the FAQ page, shipping policies, or other informational page, they are probably looking for an answer to a specific question. Track this in your Live Chat System and automatically Invite them to chat based on their page view and offer to answer their question directly to save time.
  • Purchase Process Problems - If a visitor begins the checkout process but then backs up, this may indicate a problem or some confusion with the purchase process. You can track this automatically too and Invite them to chat so that you can help them through the purchase process.

Most chat systems can be configured to invite visitors to chat automatically based on their site activity. When a visitor acts on one of these triggers, your box will pop up automatically, inviting them to chat.

Use Low Pressure Personal Greetings

Even though you are setting up your chat to offer an automatic invitation, you don’t want it to look automatic.

You can customize your Live Chat system to look personalized, so it flows straight into your reply once they actually start the conversation.

We constantly test how to get strong response rates. Here are some guidelines you can use:

  • Keep it Casual - Stay away from message such as: “Greetings! My name is Sarah Jones and I’m a Customer Service Agent here at Acme, Inc. How may I be of service to you today?” This is professional, but too formal and too long. This results in lower response rates.
  • Low Pressure, But Professional - You want to avoid the impression that you have an obviously scripted system. A low pressure message puts your visitors at ease and makes them more likely to respond. For example, “I wanted to let you know I’m online. Do you have any questions I can help with?” This type of low pressure, professional invitation allows visitors to feel like you manually reached out and does not demand an answer.
  • Customized Messaging - Basing your invitation messages so that they are directly relevant to what the visitor is doing can extremely helpful. For instance, “I wanted to let you know I’m online. Do you need help comparing these Widgets?” This feels personal and helpful, but not pressured.

Boost Efficiency with Carefully Worded Chat Templates

There is a balance between using carefully crafted chat templates that are efficient but personalized. Templates that sound too scripted or robotic will not result in high response rates.

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid templates all together. Chat templates are efficient and allow for increased response time.

  • While in a chat, you can pull up a list of templates.
  • You can also use keyboard shortcuts to quickly filter this list.
  • But of course you can modify the template prior to sending to make sure it sounds natural in this conversation
live chat tactics chat

Here are some guidelines on creating templates to make them sound as natural as possible:

  • Create templates specific to certain questions - For example, there will be common questions that are asked often on your website. Create templates that sound personalized to save time in answering these questions, without sounding too scripted.
  • Use templates as a starting point - Having the option to modify a template allows you to make it a perfect fit for the conversation. The template saves time but should be modified unless it answers the question perfectly and sounds natural.

Apart from the wording of templates, it’s important that they remain structured, updated, and accurate since they’re a tool that your chat team needs to rely on.

  • Use clear naming to make them easy to find since you’ll use keyboard shortcuts and quick search filters to find the right template during a chat - you shouldn’t be scrolling through a gigantic list looking for the right template each time. Examples of potential naming structures are: question_shipping_free, question_shipping_international, question_product_widget_dimensions, etc.
  • Maintain and revise templates regularly so they are accurate and up-to-date. Communicate with your chat team about revisions and updates.
  • Assign one team member to be responsible for revisions to avoid duplications.

Using templates for Live Chat is a critical, time-saving tool. But it’s important to design and maintain them in a manner that keeps them functioning effectively and efficiently so that your customer has the best possible experience.

Integrate Your Other Business Systems with Live Chat

Imagine you are making a phone call to a customer service department. You’d be pretty impressed if the representative already knew about your order, the issue you were calling about, and how you’ve tried to solve it, right?

With Live Chat, you can make this experience happen every day, providing a truly amazing experience for your visitors.

Past Chat History

When a new chat starts, you want to know if this is a visitor you have chatted with previously. You can configure your Live Chat system to show you past chats from this visitor in the same window. This quickly allows you to be able to see previous discussions and catch up on the conversation, then helping them to move forward.

live chat tactics history

(Image / Data Source: https://www.livechatinc.com/tour/)

Order Numbers and E-Commerce Data

Integrating your shopping cart to Live Chat allows you to see a visitor’s full customer information, order history, open orders, and much more.

This not only saves you time in asking for order numbers, but also lets you know if a visitor you are chatting with is a large customer so that you can act appropriately. It also provides valuable context to make product recommendations based on past order history and products they’re currently reviewing on your website.

HelpDesk Tickets and History

If a visitor visitor asks a question via Live Chat about an open support ticket which has already been submitted, it is helpful to have support tickets available for the chat team to view. This helps them to answer questions knowledgeably, with up-to-date information.

Some Live Chat systems include help desk features, but they’re not as robust as dedicated help desk systems like HelpScout.net, Zendesk, etc. We recommending using dedicated help desk solutions, but you can integrate support ticket information from these systems into the chat system so you can see ticket information when a chat occurs.

CRM and Contact Management Systems

If you use a Customer Relationship Management system, it is possible to connect it with your Live Chat system. This allows you to track your chat activity in the CRM system, as well as directly accessing the CRM data during your chats, such as order history, open sales opportunities, and much more.

For instance, maybe you are working on a big sale with Bob from Company Z. Bob visits your website, engages with a chat agent, and then leaves. You can have a rule configured within your CRM system to notify the sales representative assigned to Company Z of this touch point so they can consider following up soon after to close the sale.

Advanced Customer Analytics

Platforms such as KISSmetrics and MixPanel use advanced customer analytics to track all of the touchpoints a prospect has made with your website. This give you details on how many visits they made before giving you their contact information or making a purchase.

Vital data from these types of platforms can be integrated with your Live Chat system, giving you the ability to see these touch points and milestones that have been reached already in the purchase process. This allows you to understand the context surrounding the visitor’s questions on chat so you can move them forward in the purchase process.

Integrating your other systems with Live Chat allows you to give your visitors a great experience on chat while also giving you access to valuable business intelligence which can be used to turn chat into a huge driver of sales for your business.

If you’re looking for resources on how to configure the above integrations, contact us and let us know what systems you’re using and what you’re trying to accomplish. We’ll get you pointed in the right direction to create these powerful integrations, as it’s a bit more complex than we were able to go into in this guide.

Improve your Business with Insights from Chat

A question that one person asks on chat is likely a question that at least ten other people have wondered about but not actually taken the time to ask. Even if a visitor doesn’t directly ask certain questions, you can discern details from their behavior.

Whether related to another question they’ve asked or the pages they are visiting, you can use your observation skills to discover issues that visitors might be having with your website. For example, if you find that visitors often seem to back out from your checkout funnel over to the shipping policies page, you may find that you need to make your shipping information more clear within the checkout funnel. This is one of the live chat tactics that can improve user experience and reduce confusion.

Getting insights from chat can come in a variety of ways, and you can use this important information to improve your website and your business.

Ask for Feedback Directly on Chats

You can configure your Live Chat system to ask your visitors for feedback when the chat is complete.

  • This can be an extremely effective tool for gathering large volumes of feedback in a simple, structured way that allows visitors to choose options on a web form.
  • This lets see issues and trends that visitors may be experiencing with website features or other problems that you can correct.
live chat tactics feedback directly


If you want, your chat staff also has the option to ask for feedback as part of the chat, depending on how the conversation is going. This kind of qualitative feedback can be useful, but also may be a bit time consuming and inefficient, depending on how it is constructed.

Watch For Trends During Chats and Website Browsing

With a Live Chat system, you can see what the visitor is doing on your website (pages visited, etc.) while also of course chatting with them. This can lead to powerful insights you can use.

Comparing Products - If a visitor is bounding back and forth between two similar products, this typically means that they are making a comparison to see which one they want to purchase. If you see this happening often, you may want to consider creating a “compare products” feature on your site to do the comparing for them.

live chat tactics trends

[Image / Data Source: www.verizonwireless.com]

Shipping Options - If you see that many people exit the checkout process during the shipping options stage and heading over to the FAQ or Shipping page, you may have found a place for improvement. Visitors most likely do not understand their shipping options, or maybe their preferred option for shipping is not available. You could use this information to consider listing shipping options and FAQs within the checkout process, allowing them to easily answer questions and continue with their purchase.

Issues with Mobile Phone Visitors - Most chat systems will allow you to see the type of web browser that your visitors are using. If you find that multiple mobile users add items to their shopping cart but do not complete the sale, this could indicate an issue with your website’s mobile usability. At this point, it’s important to consider optimizing your checkout process for mobile users

Search Problems - Although search tools are available from many e-commerce sites, they often must be carefully configured and tweaked over time. For example, you may realize while watching visitors on chat that visitors search for unique keywords when trying to find products you have but your website search tool doesn’t show the correct product results. You can use this insight to make your search feature better for visitors.

live chat tactics trends 2

[Image / Data source: https://support.bigcommerce.com/articles/Public/Store-Search-Best-Practices/]

See New Business Opportunities

Many questions visitors will ask on chat can be anticipated. However, other questions may be surprising- and could lead you to new business opportunities!

For example, one of our customers is in the business of selling large industrial scales. Days after helping them launch their Live Chat system, we noticed quite a few questions about rental services for scales. Although this client did not yet offer rental services, this new insight into the needs of their customers is an option for a profitable expansion of their business.

Organizing and Implementing Feedback

Gaining insights through gathering feedback is only useful if you use it to improve your business. As feedback may come to you from a variety of sources, it needs to be organized in a way that can be easily understood and prioritized, so that you can pursue opportunities at the right time.

Here’s some guidance on how to gather feedback in structured ways.

For feedback from web forms:

  • If feedback comes in via a web form with specific options, add these as rows in a spreadsheet.
  • If web forms include text comments, include these as part of the spreadsheet of web form data.

For feedback from visitor comments in a chat:

  • Convert chat comments into a web form structure. This allows you to add it easily to a spreadsheet.
  • Create a simple web form that your chat team fills out when they receive visitor comments. Include the comment, chat agent initials, and chat ID, so that you can easily integrate this information into the spreadsheet structure.

For trends your team sees during chats:

  • Create an internal team form where agents can describe trends they see.
  • Include agent initials and chat ID for easy reference to the original chat.
  • Categorize feedback so that chat agents can choose from trends, allowing you to route these concerns to the appropriate team members to review and implement for the future.

Live Chat gives you the opportunity to gather all types of feedback. Whether structured or unstructured commentary, direct from visitors or indirect from your team, you can convert this information into a format that allows for easy review and prioritization so you can use it to improve your business.

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