Now, let’s say you land on a website.
You have a few quick questions, and spot a live chat button offering the promise of assistance.
You click that button, and up pops an ugly, disjointed chat window that looks like something from a 90s chat room.
How do you feel about beginning a conversation?
First impressions count
It’s a commonly shared statistic that first impressions are 94% design-related. And those first impressions create lasting judgments.
In fact, 75% of consumers form opinions on a company’s credibility based on website design. And your chat window is no exception to these snap evaluations.
It simply can’t do that if it’s archaic, visually unappealing and unaligned with your branding.
Your chat window is your customer service
For the customer, your chat window is implicitly linked with the quality of the service you offer.
For a start, it uncovers any (apparent) customer experience negligence. It visually demonstrates your commitment to perfection. And of course, it speaks volumes about the importance you place on customer conversations.
A well-placed chat button, when clicked on, should open up a well-designed chat window that matches the look and feel of your website.
That consistency is reassuring for the website visitor, and eases them into the chat session fluidly and confidently.
A bad chat window does the opposite. When presented with the unpleasant surprise of an outdated, clunky window, the visitor will think twice about continuing.
It’s jarring, and creates both distaste and distrust.
Isn’t it all a bit shallow?
Yes, judgements about your customer service based entirely on a chat window are shallow. But think of it this way: we all instinctively shun the unappealing.
We don’t wander into dark, dilapidated old buildings when out for a stroll. We’re unlikely to walk into a shop that has cobwebs coating its windows. We exit apps we don’t like the look of, we abandon websites that are dense or cluttered, and we refuse to tolerate software that isn’t user-friendly.
In a nutshell, your chat window determines the uptake of the channel.
A frictionless experience
You’d request your receptionist to sit upright, dress suitably, smile pleasantly at guests and help them smoothly and confidently.
You would, in short, do everything possible to help them create a frictionless experience for your visitors.
While you can’t request a smile from your chat window, you can help make the journey from initial chat button click, to window launch, to chat session entry as frictionless as possible.
– Ensure your chat button is streamlined with your website, and place it up front
– Use a (preferably inline) window that incorporates your company colours and branding
– Customise your window with either a well-designed banner image, or an authentic agent avatar
– Ensure the window is large enough to be read easily, without dominating the user’s page view
– Stick to black text on a white background where possible, using a legible font and incorporating white space
The bottom line
A grumpy, slumped receptionist will make visitors reluctant to engage, and send off all the wrong signals about your company.
A bad chat window does the same. It’s the online equivalent of a cursory hello or a standoffish attitude.
- – How to improve live chat usability: a quick-start guide
- – The battle of the chat buttons: sticky vs fixed
- – Inline or pop-out chat windows: which should you use?
- – Improving CX with canned response markdown
- – Live chat images: to pic or not to pic?
- – Your contact centre is leaking money through legacy live chat