Live chat images: to pic or not to pic?

When you talk to someone in person, you look at their face. Not just for the facial cues that can aid understanding, but because it helps you make a connection with that person.

This is something that carries through into our online behaviour. On social media, you have a profile picture to help friends recognise and relate to you. Our digital accounts come with space for avatars. So, what about live chat software?

When it comes to live web chat, don’t underestimate the value of giving your customers a face to an agent name. Here’s how using live chat images can benefit your service, and some tips to help you choose whether to pic or not to pic.


Introducing the agent avatar

Most live chat channels allow agent avatars. Each team member handling chat sessions can have their own display picture as a standard part of their user account.

It’s not unlike a profile picture on social media. These live chat images accompany the agent through their conversations, so that chatting visitors can see the real person behind the chat window.

Agent avatars, in short, provide a way to breathe more life into your live chat service. 


To pic

Using agent avatars helps to humanise your brand. Their importance lies alongside the benefits of being able to connect the chat experience with a real human. For customers, an agent avatar makes the chat session feel less faceless and detached.

Live chat images showcase the people behind your business and your service. They promote the sense of a friendly business-customer relationship, instead of something more closed and mechanical.

This is important for a channel that is entirely digital, voiceless, and confined within a web window. Real agent photos add a personal feel that bridges the disconnection. They demonstrate approachability, creating a more authentic feel by reassuring chatting visitors that they’re talking to a human and not a bot.

This supports a sense of accessibility. You’ve made it easy for the customer to quickly reach a real person, ready to help them with their specific needs.


Or not to pic

But there’s a caveat to these benefits. In order to unlock them for your support, you need to use the right kind of live chat images.

Firstly, you should never use stock images of random customer service agents. It’s easy for your chatting visitors to tell when you do. Using stock images takes away all sense of authenticity and personability that a real agent image can create. Stock images create stock experiences.

Secondly, the images of your real agents should be professional, consistent and brand-appropriate. So, avoid using a blurry, zoomed-in image of your face from the office party a few months ago, for example. Selfies, cat pics, and beach shots are also a no-no. You might want to avoid cartoonised profile images, too, dependant on your company culture.

The key is to have a universal approach. It’s generally best to stick to taken-for-purpose head and shoulders shots. Use a neutral background, and where possible, ensure consistency in style and background across all your agent’s avatar images.

If your live chat images are impersonal or unprofessional, they’ll do more harm than good.


Use your live chat images

So, to pic or not to pic? It’s not a question any longer. Use real images of agents and add an extra sparkle of authenticity to your live chat service.

Live chat images like agent avatars are just one feature that can help add that personal touch to your live chat experience. Why not explore more great features with a 30-day free trial of WhosOn?


Useful links

The Mehrabian myth, non-verbal communication, and live chat software

How to improve live chat usability: a quick-start guide

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