Great Idea: Force “Proactive” Chat with your visitors

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May 26th, 2011

Great Idea: Force “Proactive” Chat with your visitors

By Kasper C

We all see it. Many live chat vendors offer proactive chat, but cSupport do not. Why?

In this post we will try outline our ideas of why proactive chat is an aggressive and unnecessary feature. We simply cannot understand how anyone would wish to force a chat on to their visitors thus annoy or hunt them away.

Our idea of Proactive Chat Invitations
Of course Proactive Chat Invitation can be of good use in some specific cases. Sometimes people do not notice the chat or sometimes they just need a “push” (in the right circumstances!). Some situations it is perfectly fine to ask your visitors how you can help them. But this is not the case with the majority of websites. In most cases it is a very bad idea to take away peoples own choice. Usually, the people who actually want to chat with you will find the chat, as it is usually on every single page floating somewhere. Why then would you want to push it down peoples throat?

Proactive Chat Invitations = Annoying Marketing Pop Up
A marketer thinks it is an excellent way to channel people into their chat/advertisement/lolcat image by using inline “proactive chat invitation” popup. But in reality who likes popups if they don’t request it themselves? In our view, it is a bad 90′s idea. Of course if you want to use old Internet Gimmicks like count down, popup and so on, by all means go for it. But if you run a serious business, please consider these thoughts.

People Get Scared When Not In Control
A thing we see, is that our option for no pre-populated chat actually scares people away. People love to click here and there and see what happens without any consequences. When they see that it actually starts a chat, they quickly closes it down. Every once in a while we experiment with this, but every time we turn on this feature, we see people getting in and closing the chat right away again in a split second. Therefor we do not have it turned on as default setting and we prefer that people take their time to fill out the form before contacting our live chat. So they are in control.

People do not want to loose control, and you do so by forcing them to chat with you. You do not let them come to you, but you come to them. They are already on your website, why would you then need to push yourself to them so aggressively? Let them invest a little time and the ones that you actually will be able to help out will go to your live chat.

Solution for more usage of your live chat
Attract bees with honey. Make suggestions, and get people to understand that you are there for them, when THEY NEED IT. Not when you need it.

We offer a wide range of possibilities to get more people to use your live chat. Examples are as the following but not at all limited to;

  • The default Javascript Float Button/Inline Chat is an attractive, yet passive way of showing your live chat option. A nice unobtrusive button that floats as the visitor scrolls your website. Easy to the eye and easy for the visitors to start a chat with you when they want to.
  • Inline chat makes it possible for your visitors to use your site while chatting with you. They can browse from page to page and you can see what page they are currently looking at.
  • You can also add a simple link to your menu by using the Javascript tag. This way users who are more interested in your product will instantly find the chat option in your menu when browsing you site.
  • Image upload makes it possible to display an image instead of the text to make it more attractive. However we advise you to be careful with this, and test out different versions to see what attracts (or scares) your visitors.
  • iFrame Tag is another way to have an unobtrusive chat. You simply create a whole new page for the chat and people who want to chat will see the iFrame chat as part of your website – an individual page of your website.

A good way of proactive chat invitation
The problem with the proactive chat invitations is that they popup and annoy people. Instead we believe that all chat vendors who really want to offer proactive chat invitations should do this in a smart way. If you have a floating chat button, then why not show an inviting animation or text hovering over the button? Make it show and then disappear after 10 seconds. Don’t worry, if the person is interested he will get to you one way or another. In e-mail, chat or phone/skype. Just anything else than taking away the control from the visitors.

And by the way, why call it Proactive?
Proactive is a buzz word. We love that word. It sounds so good and delicious, who wouldn’t like a proactive chat? Take some action, make things happen instead of waiting for it. However this function should have another name; Aggressive Chat Invitation or Force Chat. You cannot force people to chat with you, and if you are too aggressive, then in the end you create more unhappiness (than happy customers).

What do you think?
You have experience in this? You can prove us wrong or are we right on target? Please share your ideas in the comments section.