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At WHYPAY? we believe that effective business tools shouldn’t cost the Earth, which is why we set out to make the best free conferencing service out there. This got us thinking: if you can get conference calls for no cost, what other great services can you get for free? That’s why we’ve scoured the web to find the best free services to help your business and to bring them to you weekly.

This week we look at how you could add another string to your customer service bow with online chat tool LivePerson.

Why use live chat?

More than ever, companies are finding that they cannot limit themselves to a singular channel to connect with their customers. In the past, just having a store may have been enough to keep a company connected, now they need telephone, email, social media and internet presence as well. While these were seen as a benefit in the past, the present decentralised nature of commerce makes them almost mandatory.

One of the emerging channels that is becoming increasingly popular is live chat. When accessing a given company’s website, you will have the option to open up a window which is usually very similar in appearance and function to traditional social chat rooms. From here, you can engage in a conversation with a member of staff regarding your issue.

A live chat function offers several great advantages over traditional channels, including;

Another channel for customers to use – Customers come in many shapes, sizes and preferences. The more channels you have available, the more likely a customer will find one which suits their preference.

A more cost effective solution – Running a live chat channel costs less than traditional phone channels. There are a number of reasons for this, but primarily it’s down to a reduction in required staff hours. With phones, an advisor is limited to dealing with one customer at a time. With live chat there is the option for having multiple chats open at the same time.

Efficient conversation recording – Any conversation will automatically create a chat log that is both easy to read and also simpler to store. This can be a huge benefit for customer services who may have to search and refer to previous conversations to resolve issues.

Customer convenience – Most traditional forms of communication require the customer to invest a significant amount of time in the call. For example, phone queues or long email waiting times. Most live chats will give an estimated wait time and allow the customer to engage in another activity while they wait, but still have an immediate answer when they return.

Proactive outreach – Live chats can be programmed to initiate when a customer opens your website or a specific page on it. This positive and proactive contact is effective in creating better engagement with your potential customer.

Just by seeing these benefits it’s easy to see why live chat would be great for your business. Thankfully, setting up the service can be easy as well, especially when you use LivePerson.

Over two decades worth of experience

liveperson3Founded over 20 years ago, LivePerson has been dedicated to creating fluid online chat functionality for customers all over the world. From its humble start in the US, they now have offices in London, Berlin, Paris, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, Atlanta, Tokyo, Melbourne, Mannheim, Amsterdam and Milan.

This experience in the industry is what sets LivePerson apart from their competitors. Their premier product, LiveEngage, draws on these years  to provide an amazing platform for connecting to your audience.

Chat rooms have been on the internet almost since its conception. Most people who are active on the internet would have used a simple chat or messenger service at least once. LiveEngage utilises this knowledge by making its interface, easy to understand for customers. If a person has ever chatted online, then they are likely to pick up this with little to no issue.

A huge benefit of LiveEngage is that it is available across many platforms. It has versions available for websites, apps and mobile internet. This means that no matter where your website is being viewed, customers can still contact your team via live chat.

Another great feature for customers is that LiveEngage will automatically give an estimated wait time for an agent to get in touch. There is even an option to add an “Urgent” button to specific chats to enable quicker action on higher priority issues.

It’s not just useful for the customer

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Away from the customer facing side, LiveEngage does not disappoint, it is just as impressive for your customer service agents. A key component of this is the agent workspace, an all in one dashboard which provides the agent everything they need. From this single workspace they can see overall traffic information, visitor details and even select from pre-written templates for the most common questions.

Helping customers can be even easier with CoBrowse, a facility which allows the agent to view the customers screen in real time to help out when required. This can be essential for tasks that involve navigating a website or filling out a form. LiveEngage also features impressive CRM Integration that allows it to pull in third party data from services such as Zendesk and Salesforce.

LiveEngage houses a powerful suite of tools for reporting and analytics, making sure that data on customer contact is available at all times. From here a user can view their real time performance or, in the case of team leaders, the performance of their staff. Using this immediate feedback, managers or advisors can take the necessary steps to keep up performance. This information is retained on the system and can be used in the future for business forecasting reasons.

Analysing your work and your conversations

Business metrics are also included, allowing managers to drill deeper into certain aspects of their work. Campaigns can be viewed as a whole and their performance measured, either from a broad overview or by getting down into each individual aspect. Consumer sentiment can be measured and phrases used to determine if a campaign is being received favourably.

liveperson4For sentiment analysis LiveEngage embraces Meaningful Connection Scores (MCS). This allows the system to analyse each conversation in real time and provide feedback instantaneously. A vast improvement over slower methods that rely on customer feedback. The MCS is calculated automatically using a powerful text analytics system to rate each sentence as soon as “send” has been pressed. By gathering these over the course of the conversation, the system can give instant feedback on the customer sentiment towards the contact. This can even be used mid-conversation to allow an agent to take action to improve their service to the customer.

All in all, LiveEngage is a one of the best tools for quickly an effectively adding live chat to your business. To begin with, it’s absolutely free as well, but as your business grows, it can expand with you to keep your service up to date.