Is anyone here aware of any research regarding best practices for
implementing live chat on the web? I'm also interested in hearing
well-reasoned opinions and seeing examples.
For example, I've visited several sites that automatically open a live chat
window if the user has been inactive on a page for over a certain length of
time. To me, this seems like a poor experience for a couple of reasons. I
think most users like to research online because it offers time, privacy,
and quietness. On the web, there are no sales people popping up to ask if
you need any help. Also, popping up automatically, without the user taking
any action seems like a jarring experience.
Here are the kinds of live chat questions I'm thinking about:
- When should it be available? All the time, or only during certain tasks?
- Is there a way it can "recommend itself" without being obnoxious?
- What kind of delay is acceptable between requesting help and being
connected with a person?
- What's the best way to handle the chat window? Should it go inside the web
page as an AJAX pop-up, or should it open in a new window?
- Does "click-to-callback" (user enters her phone number to have support
call her) make more sense than live web chat?
What other considerations for live chat are there?