The choice you make when deciding on a live chat vendor is an important one. In some cases, it can make or break your chat project entirely.
As such, you want to make the most informed decision you possibly can. You need to know what each live chat provider has to offer. You need to know what they can do, and how.
Enter the live chat RFI, and why it’s essential to any formal live chat project.
What is an RFI?
RFI is short for ‘request for information’. It’s a means of obtaining general information about suppliers and services or products.
Making an RFI isn’t binding you to the company. It isn’t saying that you’ve chosen that vendor. Rather, it logs your interest and is all about gaining more information. (With which you can narrow down candidates and eventually make that decision.)
Your RFI will generally contain pages of set questions regarding a service and its specifications, which you’ll send out to selected vendors on your shortlist. From there, you can compare and contrast responses and find the best fit against your requirements.
As such, an RFI is an advisable step that’s taken towards the beginning of the journey to choose a vendor. A live chat RFI, then, is simply making an RFI about a live chat solution and its vendor.
Great for comparison
When deciding between live chat vendors, it helps to compare their offering. But doing so isn’t always easy if you just go based on what you can find out by yourself.
After all, websites often won’t contain the fine print about support contracts, or internal hiring and security protocols, or information about the back-end of a system and its infrastructure, for instance. You’ll typically have to enquire to dig into that degree of detail.
Using a live chat RFI for each potential vendor gives you a manageable, fair, and easily comparable process to do that digging. After all, you’re asking the same questions in the same format. So, you can compare the answers without making any presumptions, using unified information that you’ve collated systematically.
Finding hidden gems
It’s not always the biggest, or the newest, or even the oldest chat vendor that can best serve your needs. Sometimes, the smaller vendors, or the ones you might not have otherwise considered, turn out to be exactly what you’re looking for.
Using a live chat RFI means that you get a better chance of finding a hidden gem — that is, a live chat vendor that perfectly serves your need. You might find a chat offering that’s more flexible. Perhaps you want a vendor that has the technical expertise to support your chat channel use.
In short, using a live chat RFI helps you find the software and the vendor that suits your project needs to a T.
The devil is in the detail
To help you find that perfect match, your live chat RFI should cover all the key areas critical to your project – as well as those valuable for the future. Consider areas such as:
- • Vendor information – number of employees, hours of operation, countries served, existing customer base, market share, industry position, awards and PR, etc
- • Support information – levels of support, training availability, SLAs, documentation, update and upgrade schedules, security policies, etc
- • Product information – included features, add-ons, scope for customisation, planned roadmaps, integrations, software architecture, etc
You don’t want to wade through information that’s not relevant to your live chat project, but you want a solid understanding of each vendor and precisely what they’re bringing to the table.
Once prepared, using a live chat RFI to choose your next vendor is easy to do. As an example, the RFI process for WhosOn only takes five steps:
- Step one: Get in touch through call, email or (of course) chat and say hi. This will give us both a chance to get to know each other — and give an idea of the type of company and support you’re looking into.
- Step two: Send us your RFI. You can do this via email or by filling an online form.
- Step three: We ask our questions. In order to ensure the RFI gives the insight you need, we ask any formal questions regarding the points you raise when you use a live chat RFI. This involves digging deeper into your goals.
- Step four: Get a confirmation. If we think we can meet your expectations — and be a good fit for your needs, we will confirm, and get to work on your RFI.
- Step five: Get your response. You’ll get the information you’ve requested. You can use it to compare us with other vendors and decide who you want to do business with.
Using a live chat RFI
TL;DR: Using a live chat RFI is a great way to make sure you find the right chat channel — and vendor — to suit your needs, your project and your company. It gives you material to compare, insight into different offerings, and it’s easy to do.
Get in touch if you have a live chat RFI we can help with.