What questions should you ask in your pre-chat survey?

When it comes to your pre-chat survey, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm the user with questions. The web visitor simply wants to click on a chat option and be connected. The less time spent filling out a form, the better.

For you, however, the pre-chat survey presents an opportunity to find out key user details and offer personalised service from the start. So, how do you strike the right balance?

As a comparison guide, here are the most common pre-chat survey questions used by our customers.

 

Name

We’d strongly recommend a name field in your pre-chat survey form. Getting the user’s name means that you can greet them personally, and talk on a friendlier basis.

Plus, exchanging names is a fundamental foundation of trust. It’s the first step in getting to know someone, and without it you won’t be able to give anything other than standard, impersonal service.

 

Desired department

Another popular pre-chat survey field is the desired department. We’d recommend that you use this one too, regardless of industry.

By finding out which department the user would like to chat to, you can automatically route them to the right team. That means relevant service immediately, and less likelihood of transferring the chat to another agent later down the line.

 

Company

If you’re a B2B business, it makes sense to ask for the user’s company in your pre-chat survey. As well as being handy for lead generation, it also helps you service your existing customers quicker.

For B2C websites, however, this is an irrelevant pre-chat survey step. A shopper looking to buy a new pair of trainers doesn’t want to tell you their employment details just to launch the chat session. So, only use this field if you need it.

 

Email

Many businesses request an email address in their pre-chat survey forms. It’s easy to see why: an email address can help you identify the user, verify details and enrich your CRM data.

But requesting an email address up-front can also be off-putting. Non-customers are often wary of supplying personal contact details in case they’re spammed with marketing materials. And typing out at an email is an extra roadblock in the journey to getting live support.

Our advice: think about what you want to achieve with live chat software before choosing to include an email pre-chat survey field. If your goal is primarily to engage, it’s something you can ask for later in the chat as needed. If your goal is customer support, it’s better to ask up-front. Determine your goals, then decide.

 

Phone number

You’ll see a phone number field in many pre-chat survey forms. However, it’s not an option we’d recommend for anyone outside of the telecoms industry.

If chat users can be reluctant to provide an email address, they’re even more reluctant to provide a phone number. Live chat is designed to take customers away from the telephone, so requesting a number can seem like greedy data-grabbing.

Even for existing customers, a phone number field can feel like overkill. After all, they know you have their details in your CRM, so there’s no need to request this level of information before the chat.

 

From our own experience with customers, those five fields are the most commonly found in pre-chat survey forms. However, there are two more options that you might want to consider instead.

 

Social login

Social logins are growing in popularity on the pre-chat survey form. In terms of pros, social logins are convenient for the user — allowing them to give you details with minimal effort, minimal delay.

They’re also a way for the business to acquire information in a low-barrier way, creating a simplified user journey and a better overall experience.

However, the amount of information received via social login is limited. You also have to consider that not all users will wish to connect with you socially. Some users may not use social media at all.

Again, consider your live chat goals carefully before considering this pre-chat survey option.

 

No questions

Finally, there’s also the option to ask no questions up-front. You can connect the user to an operator without the pre-chat survey step, removing all hurdles on the journey to get service.

Some users are only looking for quick answers to specific questions before exiting the chat. For people who simply want to know when an item will be back in stock, or whether a product has a specific feature, for example, a pre-chat survey is an annoyance.

In every other instance, however, asking no questions before the chat creates more work for the agent in the chat session. They’ll have to ask for name and need before they can give quality service, creating further delays down the line.

 

Remember: the pre-chat survey plays a vital part in the overall chat experience. If you get it wrong, you’ll already be starting off on the wrong foot – before any words are exchanged. So, think before you add form fields.