Best Practices for Personalizing Live Chat Solutions

The average business faces intense competition, especially when it provides a product or service that can be procured over the Internet. Customers have myriad choices in both the products they buy and the vendors they buy from. They also have limited patience, and if they cannot find answers quickly, either through a company's Web site or a customer service channel, they lose interest quickly. To gain a competitive edge, many firms look to add personalization to their marketing efforts, especially over multiple contact opportunities and channels.

Companies that are able to master personalization can improve the end customer's experience, which, in turn, can have a transformative effect on a business' ability to drive sales. With the help of advanced technology tools, personalization can go beyond using data such as the customer's name or previous purchases. Deeper personalization means looking at multiple behaviors and actions that can be used in tandem to present highly relevant and targeted messages. Companies that engage in the following live chat personalization best practices can extract maximum value from every visitor by providing them with more relevant experiences.

Integrating live chat with CRM. Increasingly, sophisticated live chat services are being integrated with traditional CRM systems to offer an additional level of personalization. Consider programs—such as the Comm100 Live Chat service—that provide Web site visitors with real-time pertinent information and also give marketers and customer service staff the ability to present a personal brand experience.

Harnessing real-time Web site monitoring. Web monitoring services provide your business with a complete view of your Web site visitors, allowing you to observe and better understand these visitors' wants, needs, and behavior patterns. Real-time Web site monitors allow you to build crucial data on every visitor, including which pages they are browsing, how long they have been on your site, how many times they have come, where they come from, and how they found you. Through analysis of visitor navigation behavior, companies can adjust their CRM tactics to create communications that are perfectly in line with customer desires.

You also want to take full advantage of the trove of analytics that comes with site navigation data. You can review this information to spot trends in customer behavior, and will likely find some surprising insights as well. Are visitors skipping over certain pages or spending a considerable amount of time on one product page but not making purchases? The skipped pages can be eliminated or revised, and individuals who spend time on a page without purchasing can be presented with a chat invite or a follow-up message about the product’s features.

Use Subtlety to Ease Privacy Concerns

Personalization is also appealing to consumers because much of it is based upon their own behaviors, not their own data (such as a financial profile). Consumers concerned about privacy are more apt to be okay with CRM messages that are personalized to their expressed desires, especially if the message content is presented organically. This means the sales and marketing teams need to ensure CRM-based messages use personalization in subtle ways, making suggestions on next steps or purchases instead of overt "We're watching and this is what you need to do next" messages.

Further Integrations and the Power of Automation

Integration of live chat-derived customer data with a CRM system or help desk solution gives companies the power to track customers across various channels and ensure a consistent brand experience. For cases or customers that cannot be "closed" immediately by the sales or support team, it is vital to follow up on these cases to extract maximum value from each prospect. Further integration with such systems occurs between custom variables captured on the Web site (name, user ID, email, etc.) and the live chat system. This integration enables operators to not only see a customer's information when chatting with her, but it also gives them the necessary data to implement auto-invitation rules, which generate chat topics based on set customer parameters.

These auto chat invitations are very personalized communications that fulfill the marketer's need to send the right messages at the right time. Your chat invitations could be a simple "hello" to a visitor who has lingered on the site, or an offer to provide additional details about a certain product that the visitor perused during a site visit. This level of personalization in the customer relationship life cycle is a great way to encourage impulse buying and convert individuals who may have had unanswered questions about a company's product or services. Some advanced chat platforms will work seamlessly with the CRM to automatically initiate personalized real-time chat invitations that are triggered by the visitors' own actions. These rules parameters can include metrics such as time spent on Web site, time on current page, current page URL, referrer page URL, search keyword, visit times, and more.

The attention span of consumers is short and only growing shorter as they use mobile purchasing to make spur-of-the-moment decisions. Companies that can present personalized real-time messages, use Web site information to inform decisions, and set up automatic chat invitations can retain site visitors and convert those visitors who may have had only a brief interaction with the brand into customers.

Kevin Gao is the president and CEO of Comm100, which he founded in 2009 with the goal of  revolutionizing online customer service and communication. The company now has more than 200,000 customers around the world.

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues

Related Articles

Pair Live Chat with Helpdesk/CRM Software

Combining the two can unlock both solutions' full potential.

Comm100 Upgrades Live Chat for Use on Mobile Devices

Redesigned windows and user interfaces cap the company's move to mobile.

Big Data Is Only One Part of the Personalization Equation

IBM Smarter Commerce speakers tout the importance of the customer.

Look to Customer Experience Data to Solve Business Problems

Less consumer effort results in higher satisfaction.