Proactive Chat: What It Is, Use Cases & Best Practices

updated September 19, 2022
Reading time11 minutes
Igor Shekotihin
Igor Shekotihin
Head of International Growth

Proactive chat lets you engage website visitors before they even ask for assistance. Of course, you could sit back and wait for them to make the first move, but it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.

A Forrester study found that businesses that invested in reactive chat saw a 15% ROI, but companies that invested further in proactive chat capabilities saw an incremental 105% ROI.

In this guide, we’ll compare proactive versus reactive chat, examine the best practices when using proactive chat, and finish up showing you nine ways to use proactive live chat (with examples) on your site.

Let’s get started!

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What is Proactive Chat?

Proactive chat refers to the fully-automated messages that prompt your website visitors to engage in conversation. Proactive chat messages put live chat agents on the front foot, so they can take the initiative and show a willingness to address any questions as soon as possible.

Proactive vs reactive chat

Proactive chat is the opposite of reactive chat, where you wait for website visitors to start the live chat.

Imagine a party, reactive chat is the shy person standing on the fringes wondering who they should approach. In contrast, proactive chat is the confident person who’s happy to strike a conversation with anyone.

The problem with reactive chat is that many visitors don’t want to admit they have a question. Instead, they keep searching for the answer themselves, which leads to two possible outcomes – either they’ll find the answer, or they’ll give up and leave your site, possibly to never be seen again.

Reactive Chat Proactive Chat
Makes the customer feel hesitant about asking for help Makes the customer feel valued and cared for
Risks being missed Risks being intrusive or annoying
Fewer chats More chats
Fewer sales conversions More sales conversions

Proactive Chat Best Practices

There’s a right and wrong way to use proactive chat messages, so let’s take a look at the best practices.

Get your timing right

You don't want to annoy people as soon as they visit a page – they need time to consume content. You can set your proactive chat to trigger after a specific amount of time has passed. What’s more, you should set the lapsed time differently for each page.

Image: Configuring chat triggers with JivoChat.

Check your visitor analytics for the average visit duration per page. For example, if visitors take 1 minute on the checkout page, give them 30 seconds before starting the chat.

Personalize chat messages

You can personalize chat messages using several triggers, such as the page they are visiting, whether they are a returning visitor, the referral source, and whether or not they have added an item to their cart already.

Image: JivoChat provides 15+ triggers to help personalize your proactive chat messages.

You can also personalize the conversation by introducing yourself by name and talking in a friendly manner. The more personalized you make the message, the better engagement and higher conversion rate.

Be intentional about who you target

Just because you can start a chat proactively doesn’t mean you should trigger messages on every page.

Have a plan for each page so that you can differentiate your approach. For example, on your pricing page, you could use something like:

_"Confused about which subscription plan is best for you? We can help you find the right fit!"_

But on your knowledgebase page, you might want to phrase things differently, like:

_"No answers here to your query? Our support team can help you find what you’re looking for."_

Make sure you’re intentional about who you want to target, and tailor the triggers and messaging based on that. Otherwise, you'll likely just come across as generic and annoy people.

Limit the number of proactive messages

Set limits on the number of proactive messages per page and the duration in-between them. For example, you can set rules not to show a chat message to someone until a specific amount of time has passed since the last time they saw a chat widget.

Again, the key is not to annoy visitors. Announce you’re there, but give them space as well. Otherwise, you’ll just become like that annoying person at the party who doesn’t know when to shut up.

9 Proactive Live Chat Use Cases (with Examples)

In this section, we’ll look at nine examples of proactive live chat you could use on your site to manage conversations non-intrusively.

1. Reduce shopping cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is a major problem for ecommerce. Figures across a range of industries show that, on average, 88% of online shopping orders are abandoned:

Shopping carts get abandoned for various reasons, such as:

  • Extra costs (shipping, taxes) too high.
  • Complicated and lengthy checkout process.
  • Unsatisfactory returns policy.
  • Lack of payment options.
  • Mandatory account creation.

Using a proactive live chat, you could reduce your cart abandonment rate with a message like the offer of a full refund or free shipping that encourages or motivates shoppers to make a purchase.#### Proactive chat triggers:

  • Current page URL -> equals -> []
  • Time on page -> is greater than -> 30 seconds#### Proactive chat examples:
  • Did you know we offer a full refund on all returns, even sale items? I’m here to chat if you want to know more.
  • Any questions about our shipping, payment options, refund policies, or otherwise? I'm here to help.

2. Engage returning visitors

You’ll want to give all visitors a warm welcome to your site. But if you notice a returning visitor or customer, then you can personalize your message and make them feel even more special. You can use various triggers, including the number of visits, number of chats, time on a page, time on the website, or order history, to create your message.

By engaging returning visitors proactively, you can expect to see an increase in visitor replies and conversion rates.

Proactive chat triggers:

  • Number of visits -> is greater than -> 1
  • Time on page -> is greater than -> 30 seconds

Proactive chat examples:

  • Welcome back [customer name]! We’re here to help as always.
  • Hi [customer name], welcome back! How may I help you today?

3. Target pages with high bounce rates

Use Google Analytics to identify those pages with high bounce rates where you want to increase the time on the page or where you want to improve conversions or sales. Then create a live chat script to target visitors proactively.

To prevent visitors from clicking away, you can trigger the message based on time spent on the target page or exit intent.

Proactive chat triggers:

  • Current page URL -> equals -> [ page/]
  • Time on page -> is greater than -> 30 seconds
  • Time before exit intent -> is greater than -> 20 seconds

Proactive chat examples:

  • Thanks for stopping by! Do you have any questions about [theme of the page]?
  • Hi there, do you need any help in completing the [sign-up/download/free trial/purchase] process?

4. Upsell and cross-sell at the point of purchase

Proactive live chat gives you the chance to increase a customer’s total order value by using upselling and cross-selling techniques at the point of purchase. Based on what items are in their shopping cart, you could trigger a tailored message to either upgrade their chosen product, such as upgrading from a mobile phone to a smartphone, or add a complementary item, such as suggesting headphones with a smartphone.

Proactive chat triggers:

Proactive chat examples:

  • Hi there, most of our customers who bought [Product A] also bought [Product B]. May I introduce the details?
  • Hi there! We’re offering [X %] off for orders over [purchase value]. Chat with me to get the discount!

5. Promote offers on product or pricing pages

When a visitor lands on your product pages, you can start a proactive live chat conversation by promoting any special offers you may have running. Also, make yourself available for any product-related questions they have.

Image: Proactive chat message triggered on the Pricing page.

Proactive chat triggers:

Proactive chat examples:

  • Hi there! Did you know that everyone who buys [Product A] today can get a [X%] discount?
  • We have a special offer on [Product B] today. Would you like to hear the details?

6. Address FAQ page visitors

If visitors are browsing your FAQ page they could be either an existing customer looking for an answer to a specific issue or a prospective customer looking for more product information. Either way, you can address them proactively to solve their problem or increase your conversions.

You could trigger a proactive live chat when visitors land on the FAQ page, scroll down to the FAQ section, or after they have been on the page for a specific duration.

Proactive chat triggers:

  • Current page URL -> equals -> []
  • Time on page -> is greater than -> 200 seconds
  • Scroll depth -> is greater than -> 75%

Proactive chat examples:

  • Just checking in to see if I can help answer any questions you may have. Let me know in the chat.
  • Can’t find the answer to your query? Let me help you out.

7. Tailor messaging by referral source

Tracking visitors by referral source and campaign allows you to tailor your message accordingly.

For example, you could trigger a proactive live chat message for email subscribers based on the UTM source parameter. Or target visitors from a promoted campaign on another site based on the UTM campaign parameter.

Proactive chat triggers:

Proactive chat examples:

  • If you have any questions about [referral campaign name], let me know.
  • If you’d like to know more details about [email subscribers only special offer], I’ll be glad to help.

8. Make special offers based on the visitor’s location

It’s important to identify which customers are of more value or intend to purchase so that you can target them specifically. For example, if your website analytics suggest that visitors from a specific location are more likely to buy, you can trigger a proactive live chat.

Alternatively, you can also incentivize visitors from a location that are less likely to buy with a special offer.

You can start a live chat based on a visitor’s country/region/city, current page URL, time on the current page, and time on the website.

Proactive chat triggers:

  • Visitor’s [Country/Region/City] -> equals -> [X/Y/Z]
  • Time on current page -> is greater than -> 30 seconds

Proactive chat examples:

  • We have an exclusive offer for customers from [country/region/city] today. Would you like to chat for details?
  • Hello, I’m [agent name], regional representative for [country/region/city]. How may I help you today?

9. Provide a callback option if agents are busy

Sometimes you may find that all your agents are busy chatting to other visitors. So how can you start a proactive live chat with another visitor?

Image: Omnichannel support options with JivoChat.

JivoChat has a unique offering that allows your website visitors to request a callback from a team member on the phone.

Image: Schedule a call back within 30 seconds with JivoChat.

All you have to do is start a proactive live chat explaining all your agents are busy right now, but someone can call back as soon as possible if the visitor leaves their phone number and a preferred time.

Proactive chat triggers:

  • Show the callback form -> equals -> Yes
  • Presence of agents online -> equals -> No
  • Time on current page -> is greater than -> 30 seconds

Proactive chat examples:

  • Sorry, all our agents are busy right now. If you leave your phone number and a preferred time, we’ll call you back.

How to Set Up Proactive Live Chat Messages on Your Website

First, create a free JivoChat account:

Once your admin account is set up, you’ll be able to navigate to the Settings area for your Channel.

From here, click on the Triggers tab:

Now you can set the conditions in which proactive chat will be activated, and on which pages. For more information on the setup process, check out this tutorial.

Note: you can then set up chat triggers from both the web and desktop applications.

Start Using Proactive Chat Invitations Today

If you want to take the lead, help your visitors, and increase conversions, proactive chat is a must-have process for your organization.

Depending on the nature of your business, you could use proactive live chat messages to:

  • Promote special offers
  • Engage returning visitors
  • Upsell and cross-sell at the checkout
  • Reduce shopping cart abandonment
  • Provide a callback option if agents are busy

But remember to follow the best practices when using proactive chat so that you:

  • Time your messages right
  • Plan how and who you target
  • Personalize your chat messages
  • Limit the number of proactive messages

Are you ready to start using live chat support in your organization?

Improve your customer support and website conversion rate with JivoChat’s omnichannel messenger. Get started for free today!

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