How Does Live Chat Work? Complete Guide

Reading time10 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

If you have asked "How does live chat work?", you will understand its main functionalities and benefits in this article. Installing a live chat can help you improve user experience, retain customers, and sell more.

However, knowing what it takes to provide efficient service with live chat is fundamental. It isn't about just making it available for your website visitors. You must prepare your team to assist customers and organize the work so the live chat messages get answered quickly and satisfactorily.

What Is Live Chat?

A live chat is software that you can install on your website. It is displayed like a small box on the corner of the pages. The website visitor clicks on it to type their question, and instead of receiving only programmed answers, they can speak in real-time with someone from your team.

It's possible to make a proactive invitation, so the live chat window will pop up when the visitor enters a page.

Live chat window

They are invited to interact through the live chat. Some of the best live chat platforms available allow you to set up personalized invitations based on where the user is located, the number of times they have visited the website, and the time spent on the site.

The customer support team uses the live chat platform to keep track of all visitor interactions. This enables them to solve customer problems faster and identify sales opportunities as well. Some live chat software can be programmed to assign messages to different departments, according to the content of the message.

This way, the messages will be redirected to the best person in your team to answer them. This optimizes your team's work, helps with productivity, and guarantees customer satisfaction too.

How Does Live Chat Work?

When it comes to "how does a live chat work?"The good news is that it is simpler than you imagine. Usually, the live chat software code is embedded in the website's code, then the widget will appear on the pages of your choice.

Many live chat software, including JivoChat, allow you to personalize the widget design and message to match with your brand's identity. You can set up multiple messages and define triggers to when they should pop up on the visitor's screen.

You and your team must install the live chat software on your computers and mobile devices to keep track of the interactions. It's possible to integrate the live chat app with other management and communication platforms, such as CRM (customer relationship management), Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Email, and much more.

This way, you can manage all the messages in a single place, and create customer profiles based on them. When a message is sent through the live chat, your team receives a notification, and they can see all the previous interactions from this same person.

What website visitors can see and do:

Live chat window

  • Pop up window
  • Current live chat conversation
  • Send messages
  • Attach files

What your team can see and do:

Live chat dashboard

  • Customer previous interactions
  • Analytics dashboards
  • Chat transcripts
  • Create canned responses
  • Redirect messages
  • Ban users
  • View what users are typing in real-time
  • Ask for feedback

Live Chat Benefits

Close More Sales

You can close more sales by solving customer questions right away. Instead of having to wait for an email response or call your company, for instance, the customer can just send a message about what is preventing them from completing a purchase and receive appropriate help immediately.

Your sales team must be able to identify the best solution and offer it to the customer, preventing you from losing deals. Besides, receiving personalized help adds credibility to your company, and improves customer satisfaction.

Increase Customer Loyalty

The use of live chat software helps to straighten the relationship with your customers. Talking directly to them enables you to get to know them better and have insights about how to improve services and products to solve their demands.

On the other hand, customers know they can count on efficient and quick support when they need it, through live chat, which encourages them to keep buying from your business. It's possible to nurture a long relationship with them.

Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

You can trigger personalized messages to pop up on the customer's screen when they are about to leave your website without completing a purchase. For example, offering a coupon discount or free shipping to encourage the purchase, or asking what is stopping them from buying the product.

Someone from the sales team can engage in a conversation with the customer to understand the situation better and help them through the purchase. Offering personalized assistance increases the chance of sales, as the customer's pain points can be better addressed.

Improve Lead and Customer Interactions

Live chat software allows you to enhance customer experience and interactions with your company. As long as the conversations are dealt with correctly, they enable you to connect with your audience and boost engagement.

Essential Live Chat Features

Proactive Chat

A proactive chat means you will be able to target specific website visitors based on the information you will get when they access your website, such as location, number of times they visited your website, and time spent on the page.

It allows you to create customized messages to interact via the live chat. For example, if someone has left items on the cart, you can ask them why are they leaving or encourage the purchase with free shipping or a coupon discount,

Intelligent Chat Routing

Intelligent chat routing is essential to enhance productivity and save time. It's the technology responsible for analyzing when a customer sends a message on the live chat and automatically redirects it to the agent best fit to solve the query.

Customization Options

An efficient live chat software must also provide you with multiple customization options. You should be able to personalize not only the messages that will pop up in your website chat window but also the design, so you can align it with your brand's visual identity.

Management Features

Check if the free live chat software of your choice offers tools that facilitate the process of managing customer interactions. An integrated dashboard where you can control messages from multiple channels, assign tasks, and keep track of them is fundamental.

Integration Capabilities

Also, the best free live chat software must allow you to integrate it with other applications, including social media platforms, CRM, and email marketing tools. It's important to keep all the information synchronized, integrating the applications you use helps to avoid mistakes.

Chatbot vs Live Chat

The main difference between live chat and a chatbot is the first one is answered by real people while the second one answers the website visitors through automatic messages. Both technologies are often used together.

For example, when you enter a website the chat can be programmed to make a personalized question based on your previous interactions. As you answer it, the chatbot can be in charge of the more general interactions and transfer you to talk with a live agent to solve more complex questions.

Chatbots help to speed up customer support and optimize the work while putting your team to chat with customers through live chat shows you care about offering the best services, and customers value the attention as well.

Live Chat Best Practices

Be Proactive

Instead of waiting for website visitors to notice the live chat window on the screen, you can send a personalized message to catch their attention. Trigger messages based on customer behavior and engage with your audience,

Show Customers Live Agents Are Available

You can add a message in the live chat widget emphasizing that the messages sent will be answered by a real agent and not a chatbot. This encourages people to engage in a conversation.

Train Your Live Agents

Your team needs to be prepared to offer the best service possible. Before installing the live chat software, train them how to use the software and create guidelines for customer support. Your team needs to know how to deal with customer issues and keep the communication aligned with your brand's values.

Don't Leave Your Customers Waiting

Response time matters. Customers don't have the patience to wait for an answer, therefore organize your team to check the live chat messages and answer them as fast as possible.

if customers have to wait too long to be answered they are likely to feel frustrated, and this can damage your brand's image.

How to Add Live Chat to Your Website

After learning how live chat works, it's time to understand how you can install one on your website. We are going to take JivoChat as an example, which is easy to set up, with just a few clicks you will have a live chat running smoothly on your pages.

1. Choose a Live Chat Software

The first step to adding a live chat to your website is selecting the best software that meets your needs and budget. JivoChat is a solution that will help you enhance communication with your customers.

Key features:

  • Track visitors
  • Proactive invitations
  • Mobile app
  • Integrations
  • Quick installation
  • Behavior-based chat triggers
  • Automatic translation
  • Advanced API
  • JavaScript API & WebHooks

2. Create an Account

JivoChat  create an account page

After choosing the live chat software you prefer, choose the plan that best suits you. With JivoChat, you can use a free plan, which enables you to respond to customers both in the chat and messengers.

3. Download the Live Chat App

Download the live chat app and install it on your computer and mobile devices, so you can keep track of the messages everywhere you are. Through the live chat dashboard, you can control all the interactions, assign tasks, check analytics reports, view customer profiles, and much more.

4. Add the Live Chat to Your Website With a Code

You will receive a code that must be installed on your website. Follow the instructions given according to the live chat software you will use. Once you have added the code to the website, you are ready to receive and answer messages from your customers instantaneously.

If you use ecommerce platforms and CMS (content management system) like Shopify, Wix, and WordPress, you have the option to add live chat to your website just by installing a plugin. All you need to do is look for the plugin extension, and click on "install now".

5. Customize and Configure the Live Chat

With the live chat added to your website, it's time to personalize the messages and customize the widget design. Choose the format, colors, and font type, and pay attention to keep it aligned with your brand's visual identity.

6. Centralize Live Chat, Social Media Messages, Emails, and Calls

Integrate the live chat with the other channel of communication you use. Everything should be centralized in a single platform to avoid problems such as missing messages or sending the same answer more than once to a person.

Enjoy Live Chat Features and Start Profiting More

Now that you know the answer to the question" how does live chat work?" what about improving customer experience by installing a live chat on your website? It's an opportunity to straighten the relationship with your target audience and get to know them better. Enjoy it.

Share this article
Like what you've read?
Sign up and try JivoChat for yourself!
It's free and only takes a couple of minutes to download.