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any experience with proactive chat invites?

seems like a good idea but could piss some off

     
1:08 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I was considering implementing some software that showed me when a surfer was on my site and that gives me the ability to pop a chat box on them to engage them in conversation to attempt to close them. Anyone who has had any experience with this technique I would appreciate any opinions, data, impressions. etc...thanks
6:22 am on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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May the good Lord preserve us!
If such a thing happened while I was visiting a site I would leave instantly.
9:46 am on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"If such a thing happened while I was visiting a site I would leave instantly"

And that's exactly what most people do.

9:59 am on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well I tried, dont push it , let it be visible for them to chat.Like open window and let them type, you dont intiate.
10:08 am on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A better idea could be: Instead of a pop up have a section on your pages to let people ask a question and then you answer - that way they only use this service if they want a question answered.
2:37 pm on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Totally agree with the comments - if a instant chat popped up while I was browsing I would leave immediately. It gives the "real-time" perception that my every move is being watched - not a crowd pleaser.
But as suggested, if you want to implement a customer service/online chat feature have it available so that the user/browser can initiate the chat. Of course the problem is in servicing that option - i.e. being there to answer a customer when they decide they want to chat online . . . there are pay-per-services which are almost always outsourced overseas to minimize the per/hour cost - but still if you are a small company the costs (which you would have to pay up front for a specific time block) may not justify the return on implementation.

Just another observation on the need for this option - if you are a retailer of goods, I personally don't see the need. Many of the top etailers do not implement the feature - even Dell for that matter. On the other hand if you offer a service, this option may be of use to close a sale or as a cheaper alternative to an 800 number, but again you need to be there to service the user.

Ishan

4:17 pm on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If it could be set up in a helpful-yet-passive way, it might be beneficial. Perhaps a white field somewhere on the page, with a message such as, "Questions? A rep is available for live chat." When you are not available, have it display, "Questions? Live chat is not available at the moment, but we will gladly respond by e-mail." The exact wording will need to be fine-tuned, but the idea is to show that live chat is available as an option to the user.
It is crucial for it to be presented as a passive option. A pop-up ad would annoy me off the site, but a pop-up live person would be creepy and stalky.
I think once the newness wears off, you won't find yourself wanting to sit at the computer waiting for someone to decide to chat anyway, but if you have the time and desire, it could be a credibility-booster if not overdone. Very fine line.
-Automan
6:59 pm on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all of your input (and anymore still on the way). I will take the general advice and not go the "creepy, stalky" route. We sell high dollar equipment with no listed price so talking to the customer is crucial but not to point of annoyance. Thanks again.
7:53 pm on July 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If I got a pop up chat like that I would be very curious and chat, but it would come across as desperate for the sale or like Phishing or something because it is not commonly done. This kind of attempt would not feel as intrusive if done in person, like say at a high end car dealership, because it is expected. My guess is that the pop up feature would lead to lots of chat, but no increase in sales.
4:43 am on July 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Been using l[p for a while...invites never work and, probably turn people away....if they want to chat, they'll click!
6:01 am on July 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I perfer to start the chat, when the chat is started by a chat operator it turns me off and I just want to tell them to get lost.
7:00 am on July 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have one client who wanted it after hearing good things from RackSpace who use it. I have to say that much to my surprise after we installed it the client's sales rocketed. I can't see it working on every site but on some it obviously does.

- George

5:15 pm on July 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Definitely consider allowing the consumer to start the chat. They are just as intrusive as pop-ups and now someone on the other end of that pop-up is aksing me a question.

That happpens to me sometimes on the Verisign website - I just shut down the entire browser

11:41 am on July 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've seen it at one of the SSL vendors. He creeped me out but I must say that Il like the guts of the company. I've also been thinking about it. It's attractive but creepy at the same time. Like a bug drawn to a camp fire!