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Fathom’s Bold Chat Journey: Prepping for Implementation

By | May 14, 2013

boldchatLive chat is a widely adopted customer service tool used on tens of thousands of websites, both Ecommerce & Lead-gen.   We’ve helped quite a few of our clients implement this functionality on their websites, and have finally decided it’s time to do so on our own!  Rather than just implementing this cool tool and reaping the benefits, we wanted to blog about our experience and openly share our successes, opinions & takeaways with you.

Welcome to Part I: Pre-Chat Jitters.

There are a few key players in the chat field (Bold Chat, Live Chat, Live Person, just to name a few), all of which offer solutions that seamlessly integrate with most CMS platforms.  Customer testimonials from these sites claim that their “onsite sales increased 15% and leads increased 30%” when implementing live chat, and that “using LiveChat helped answer multiple questions quickly and efficiently, taking burden off of e-mail and phone flow”.

Headed into this implementation mission, it seems pretty straightforward.  The processes are well documented, all websites have live support to help answer questions (as they should), and the testimonials make this decision seem like a no-brainer.  So why haven’t we implemented this already?

The Scary Truth

The truth is that live chat “rocks the boat”, which can be scary.  It forces companies to change processes; to look for internal manpower to man this new lead generation tool; to organize knowledge bases and equip chat managers with all information needed to answer frequently asked questions.  Though good change, it’s a lot of change, and requires thorough organization, preparation & potentially new resource allocation.

The good news?  Fathom is all about change.  Anyone in the digital marketing world needs to be adaptable – Google changes constantly, as do the strategies for increasing rankings, visibility and conversions online. We know change well, and embrace it, which makes this implementation project all the more fun.

Prepping for Progress

“Progress is impossible without change.” – George Bernard, Irish Literary Critic

To prep for live chat implementation, we’ve outlined the Step-by-Step plan below. Feel free to use this plan for your own implementation purposes – it’s not groundbreaking, but may be helpful.

Step 1: Document current lead flow

  • Who is involved in the current web lead process; who should be?
  • What are the lead statuses and when do they change?
  • Who answers phone calls and who are they routed to if it’s a potential client?

Step 2: Analyze Bandwidth of Current Employees

  • Does our outbound team have time to manage live chat?
  • Is this an inbound team tactic; do we have someone who can manage this currently?
  • How much time could answering live chat daily potentially take?
  • How much time does each employee have to spend on this task?
  • Will live chat interrupt progress on other activities?
  • Is it worth bringing in an outside resource to help with this activity?

Step 3: Prep Knowledge Base

  • Ask Business Development Managers for feedback on FAQs they receive from clients; document responses.
  • Ask Account Executives to list FAQs they receive from existing clients; document responses.
  • Review Google Analytics for “how to” & “how much” keyword searches
  • Review Google Analytics “search query” report to see what past visitors had difficulty finding on our site
  • Review internal Intranet for answers to these FAQs (all of our resources are documented on an Intranet – super helpful!)
  • Prepare one massive archive of all FAQs & answers in Excel file (will use this later when setting up “canned responses” in live chat & training our chat operators)

After walking through these live chat implementation steps, a couple of things became clear:

  1. checkmarkOur lead flow process needed tweaking to ensure all leads were handled in a timely fashion by the most appropriate person.
  2. Google Analytics is AWESOME. We generated lists of top ten pages that had highest bounce rates, most time on site & worst conversion rates and are planning on using this information when setting up Proactive Chat rules.
  3. Lead Statuses are critical – we decided to implement the following statuses for all of our leads: MQLs (marketing qualified leads), SQLs (sales qualified leads), SDLs (sales development leads) and DQLs (disqualified leads).  Our plan is to categorize all chats according to these statuses.

Now that we’ve made it through the “Live Chat Prep” stage, we’re ready to implement.  More to come in the next week on our implementation experience!   If you have tips you’d like to share regarding your own live chat experience, please feel free to comment below.

1 Comment

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About Jenni Ramminger

Jenni is the Director of Marketing at Fathom, responsible for strategizing and executing branding, lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns. She previously worked as a Senior Account Executive at Fathom, managing digital strategy and execution for clients in the legal, technology, and ecommerce industries. She is also Fathom’s live chat implementation expert, and leader of “Web Analytics Wednesdays – Cleveland”, an event for analytics & marketing companies in the Cleveland area.

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  • http://www.BoldChat.com Ross Haskell

    Jenni – I’m a Product Director here at BoldChat. Excellent post! You’re 100% right that chat looks a bit scary because it crosses so many departmental barriers. Soldier on, because the benefits are there! I would think about adding an additional step to your very well done implementation guide above. Step 4: Training. We know, from our own research that the #1 thing that makes a chat session successful is the “knowledge of the agent.” We are a chat software provider but I’m here to tell you that the software doesn’t matter – the people do.

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