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How Live Chat Can Work For You

A chat with Roberto Berni of Ngage Live Chat

You call an 800 number looking for customer service. Instead, you’re greeted with a computer-generated voice menu and a perplexing list of options…none of which are exactly what you need. This familiar story of phone trees and robotic operators has moved beyond telephonic communication to the web. You click the “help” box on the screen and, instead of communicating with a human, you connect to a “bot”. The good chat-bots are so realistic you may not know the difference but there definitely is one, particularly when it comes to providing you with exactly what you need to know.

This is where live chat steps in and changes the game for both website visitors and the business the live chat is on. Live chat offers proven technology for businesses looking to gather information from visitors to their website and keep them engaged in the process. Thousands of businesses rely on live chat to convert website visitors into leads. But how does live chat work and why should businesses consider it? We had a chat with Roberto Berni, Director of International Operations at Ngage Live Chat, to gain insight on how Ngage Live Chat meets the need for a customer-focused chat experience.


Roberto, thanks for meeting with us today about live chat. We know live chat, in general, is a complex and crowded space, especially with an increase in the use of chat-bots. What helps Ngage Live Chat stand apart from other chat providers?

At Ngage, we provide a type of customer service that most other sites don’t have, but we don’t have the typical customer service and that’s what sets us apart. This is because we are interactive and try to understand what the visitor is looking for instead of being reactive like some chat-bots are. We are always making sure we stay up on our response time. The best way to do this is weekly re-trainings with our chat operators, using a frequently asked questions sheet created to assist in the training. This way, we make sure they are following protocol.


Does this mean all of your chats look very similar to each other?

No. In fact, our training helps us identify areas where we can communicate better. We’ve tested our techniques to create the optimal customer experience and, ultimately, a higher rate of visitor-to-client conversion. For example, if a client of ours would like us to capture a home number and a cell number from a lead but, during the chat, the visitor already explained they only have a cell number, we are not going to force the visitor to explain that again. The chat operator makes note that the visitor has only a cell number before sending the information to the client. You can see, then, it’s the small personal touches our chat operators put into the conversations that show there’s a human on the other side of the chat, and that we do care about the visitor who is chatting with us.


You mentioned that Ngage has created a technique to help your live chat deliver the best possible experience. Can you expand on that idea?

Absolutely. Over the years, we have tried many different techniques of working the chat, and how the chat operators should respond. To make sure the chat operators are following our techniques, we have weekly sessions on larger picture ideas, but we also have more focused training that happens in the day to day. The more focused training can be very dynamic with having to adjust elements on the fly.

Going back to the example of someone only having a cell number and no landline number, we instruct the chat operators to ensure they are capturing all the correct information that our client requests, but we also want to make sure we are not losing the human element of the chat. We learned over time what techniques and words worked best. All of that trial and error brought us to the techniques that we have today. Making sure the chat operator is following the protocol also helps keep the operator engaged as well, reinforcing the human experience over chatting with a robot.

And we’ve expanded training on these customer-experience techniques to include text-to-chat. More and more, we are seeing people are chatting on their phones while on the go. Having a live chat where a real person can quickly respond to their question can set you apart from someone who has static responses. You want to be able to have something new, so they stick around and pay attention, but you also want to make it personable. Ngage balances the elements of new and exciting with human personality and personalized experience.


That you can get a personalized experience for the lead and the client sounds wonderful.

We work hard to make sure we have the right mix of technology and human elements to give not only the chat visitor a great experience but our client as well. The chat operators are on chats all day, they get a feel of how people will answer and respond to certain things, so they have an idea of what they need to do to help the client convert a chat visitor. People don’t like to deal with something that may be a dead-end. If you let them get that idea, you won’t convert that visitor to a possible lead. You want to establish a rapport with them. That’s why live chat is a little bit different from when you are on a phone call. A phone call seems very scripted, and if you try to deviate from what they know and you want to just jump to where you have your problem they still go through their process before they send you where you need. Our chat operators try to cut that out, we don’t try to over-promise anything or to be experts on the topic. We still, at the end of the day, try to get them to a place that can help them. Sometimes that place maybe has us transferring them to the business right then and there. Our option to have live transfers is a type of automation we have that not only saves time for both the chat operator, but for the client as well.


What is live transfer?

Live transfer is an automation feature we have that connects chat visitors instantly to the client upon the visitor’s request. With a live transfer, the client’s reception/intake team takes the lead in – this happens within the chat – and we send out a detailed summary to the client. In only a few minutes, we pre-fill the information the client is looking for and provide a brief summary of the case, and the client can see all this information in their self-service portal. This is nice for larger firms and businesses with intake teams because they immediately can funnel the case to the proper department.


That sounds amazing, but also like a lot of set up.

It is actually the opposite: for us to set up a business, we only require a bit of code to be added to a business’s website. And then there is a separate online portal the business can log into to see the leads and their details when they come through. There are businesses that have third-party intake teams and that is okay, too, because we are really hands-on with the setup and helping the business with their lead tracking and the campaigns. This is nice for the client who already has something in place that they like. We’re able to work with what they have and they don’t have to make a change to what they already know and are used to using. We are just an add-on to their everyday workflow. If something pops up, or they have a question about something, they can just give us a call or send us an email and we will be right there to help provide the answers they need.


Would it be fair to say Ngage Live Chat strives to have a personal touch from the site visitor all the way to the client?

Yes, I think that’s a fair statement. We find that having the human touch is something that people want when they are looking for help not only on the lead side but on the client-side as well. The chat operators work the chats making sure the visitor is engaged in the chat and we are providing a personalized experience that will get both the visitor the answers they need and the client the information they want. Our account managers work with the different businesses to make sure those businesses are getting all the information they want for the leads, and also to ensure the business is satisfied with the service they are receiving. Even our set up is flexible, adapting our system to the client’s preferences. Ngage Live Chat is all about having a personal experience that engages the lead, gathers all the information for the client while having the speed and efficiency of technology.


What a great way to sum up Ngage Live Chat, Roberto. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.


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