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How to Select the Best Live Chat Software for Your Business

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Live chat software has been booming before the pandemic, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Allied Market Research projects its value at $997 million by the year 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.5%. The software-as-a-solution (SaaS) has also evolved beyond the simple chat groups where individual team members meet virtually and exchange ideas. There is more to it, too, than being a virtual avenue that arranges a question-and-answer period between a brand representative and a customer.

Features to look for in selecting the best live chat software

There are certain features and functions that you should look for and prioritize in selecting the best live chat software for websites, or for your own internal corporate use. Remember that they go beyond the basic services that we have come to expect from the usual actual chatting, tagging of members, and transfer of files. Here are some of the more important and unique elements that will make your chat activities stand out:

1. Organize your conversations and history of messages

One of the more frustrating aspects of doing numerous live chat groups is that your conversations can deteriorate into a disorganized mess. As the messages pile up every single day, tracking every single one becomes close to impossible. But state-of-the-art live chat service providers transform your chat groups into a hub that can actually track and define conversations. They usually have a search button that can find a member’s latest inputs, an important file, or an entire chat group about a particular brainstorming meeting that was held on a particular day. 

That search feature will save you entire minutes, if not an hour, of scrolling. Another way that this feature will empower you is that it identifies tasks. This goes beyond the usual chat function because it heightens the accountability that your team should give you. Just a few search clicks and you can find out how certain tasks are progressing among individual members. You can highlight their names to give them a heads-up on incoming projects, or check from them what’s happening to the current ones.

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2. Share and collaborate on ideas

The innovative kind of live chat support can become a wellspring of insights, ideas, and campaigns that can captivate both your workforce and your audience. Communication, external, and internal, will always need powerful and persuasive messaging. This happens when you can share multiple content in your group without drowning them with so much data. 

You can also place a pin on the articles, videos, and images that you want them to prioritize in reading or viewing. Again, that pin will place your message at the top of their minds, without having to do unnecessary scrolling.

Choose a live chat software that can start a thread for context-based discussions. The discussions that spring from your shared content must be set apart from other conversations. Team members will not stray away from them, or mistake them for something else. The contextual thread also serves to keep one particular idea continually flowing, preventing other loose small chats to break it up.

3. Manage your members

Live chat service providers do not just streamline discussions — they also manage the membership in your group. Let’s face it:  sometimes, even in business-related chats, some discussions can get heated, leading to virtual spats and fights. Team members throw themselves into an online brawl. The good news is:  you, as the moderator, are in a position to suspend any or all of them should they not stop or shape up.

The bigger the group, the larger the members, the greater the need for workforce management. Unlike the usual free chat groups, the conversations do not have to be a free-for-all. Suspension is only one form of control. You can actually decide the level of participation of each member in all of your groups. As their overall leader, you can select who has posting privileges, as opposed to merely viewing rights. 

One more thing to remember about workplace dynamics: colleagues will not always like each other. Some relationships will have unspoken mutual resentment, envy, or anger. As the moderator, you can stop those festering feelings from exploding online by selecting the viewing parameters of your members. Those embattled co-workers do not have to see each other in any group, if you so decide.

4. Synchronize with other third-party apps

Notifications from third-party apps will alert you to the progress of your team members. These third-party apps are the ones that your members are using, like social media, dropboxes, web-based email, and web-based drive, just for starters. Once that notification pops up, you can relate them to the progress that your team has been making in terms of their tasks. 

For example, the live chat software notifies you that John just uploaded his infographic to the chat group—just right in time for your own internal deadline. Had he uploaded it an hour after the deadline, the chat notification would have alerted you, too.

Another advantage of integrating your live chat software with your third-party apps is that it saves you time and preserves your focus. Again, there would be no need for you to switch from one third-party app to another, then back to the live chat software, just to monitor the activity. Everything can be seen in one platform. Your concentration does not falter even as the work moves forward.

5. View all the chat-related activities in one dashboard

Live chat software gives you an overview of the dozen chats and conversations you are monitoring. This holds true for the files you pinned, the threads you are prioritizing, and the members who have pressing deadlines to fulfill. At one glance, you see the phase that has been completed, and the others that still have to be fulfilled. Its board view also enables you to follow up on these activities and nudge the members who need a reminder.

Through the board, you can create and/or the settings of your chat group activities. For example, you can be a bit more flexible with deadlines if certain challenges are blocking the workflow. You can call attention to the tasks that are being neglected and prioritize them.  Then you can easily update the status of the projects that each one is doing. 

The efficiency that live chat software brings has made it a must-have especially with remote teams. It makes the list of top work from home communication tools from FinancesOnline, especially during the pandemic crisis. Managers who keep in touch with dozens of people working in different locations can use it as a central hub.

What live chat software can do for your business

Chat room software has evolved to become an essential platform that can organize workflow, manage projects, and boost productivity. It can actually facilitate discussions and make the transfer of information to the members comprehensible and manageable. Ultimately, the creation of ideas and implementation of deliverables can make your organization more robust 

These constant clear streams of dialogue formed by live chat can also encourage your workforce to become more collaborative. ClearCompany’s research says that organizations with effective communications strategies have a 50% chance of suffering a low staff turnover.

One by-product of the chat-related harmony is the increase in employee engagement and retention.

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Mile Živković

Mile Živković is a content writer and work-life balance expert at Chanty – a simple and easy to use Slack alternative. When Mile isn't busy writing epic posts on productivity, work-life balance and time management for Chanty blog, he's probably driving somewhere. His hobbies include cars (huge fan of Alfa Romeo), photography and collecting pocket knives. You can catch him on LinkedIn.

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