Advantages of the online consultant for the site

Онлайн-консультант Онлайн-консультант

Online consultant is recently becoming a new consulting standard among the online shop owners. Live consulting sessions are seen as the most effective way for clients to communicate with company representatives. What is an online consultant, what does it do, what are the pros and cons? Let’s take a good look at this tech and find out.

What is online consultant and how it works

You might have already heard that people use the term to describe people who provide online consultations, and that is fair enough. However, the term has a broader usage. In the context of running a website a virtual consultant is actually a web widget that helps users to reach out to the manager or the company representative with just a single click. It is also commonly called a chat widget, because it relies on instant text messages. Its default look is a button or an icon that can be pressed for the chat screen to pop up; the icon is usually placed in the bottom right corner of the screen for user convenience.

This is how the consulting widget works:

  1. The widget’s code is installed on the website.

  2. The employee logins into the external application with the corporative accounts (login, password) and answers incoming questions.

  3. Special events are set up. If the conditions match, the widget will offer users to enter the conversation without being prompted.

Why use an online consultant?

There are quite a few things that a virtual consultant can do. When the feature is properly set up, and the staff is trained, it is useful for quite a number of everyday tasks, such as:

  • providing feedback and useful information;

  • answering common customer questions;

  • providing help with website navigation, assisting with getting to a certain page or finding the right product;

  • engaging the user just enough to make a successful sale.

Before picking an online consultant widget, learn what it can do and think if the offer is worth the asking price. Not all widgets are created equal; if the latest tech is your goal, then the software should be both easy to use and simple to set up.

Types of online consulting widgets

Depending on the prominent technology, all the consulting widgets can be divided into three groups:

  • Text consultants. Work just as regular text chats for real time communication. Users enter their questions in a special field while the new messages appear in the upper window, allowing scrolling for message history. Both the client and the manager have avatars; the company may use real staff photos for a personal touch.

  • Voice consultants. Unlike text chats, they let users share voice messages. The staff has to have a microphone. With proper setup, the manager will be able to engage in several separate dialogues at once.

  • All the communication involves a web camera, and happens in real time.

As more and more users happen to have a strong internet connection, video chats rapidly become the new standard for web sales. The current generation of video widgets features additional functions that make the service even more useful.

Benefits of video chats

  • Technology grows, and more people are getting used to the video format as it is more intuitive than text chats. Polls show that there is a growing majority of users who will always pick the video call option even if all the other consulting options are present.

  • A videochat feels like a conversation, so it naturally allows more freedom. For example, when the customer has questions about the product’s properties, the manager can demonstrate said product on video, compare color options when placed next to each other, etc.

  • Face-to-face communication improves the overall impression. Information is not the only thing that the average client seeks from the consultation. Emotions and empathy are just as important, if not even more so. With video calls every conversation becomes more intimate, and that is vital for building up brand trust. Your operator will find it much easier to keep the customers satisfied as well: face expressions tell more about one’s mood than texts or even voice fluctuations.

  • Video format makes it easier for the customer to share the exact problem. Operators find it easier to deal with incoming calls for help as well, since they can demonstrate any extra info, or even the exact order of actions, on the screen.

  • Help chats with video are simply convenient. If the client wants to stay anonymous, they can enter the conversation with the webcam turned off. They will still see the face of the company representative in real time.

Extra features

Remember how video chat is not the only thing that a web consultant does? Here are the most exciting extra features to add to the standard package:

  • Screen sharing, which stands for the process of demonstrating one’s device screen. The feature is useful when selling software, web services or tech devices that require complex setup and unintuitive actions for mobile network integration. Screen sharing makes complicated concepts and action sequences easy to grasp, as the client can ask questions along with presentation, figuring out every aspect of the problem within a one-time call. If the company is having an important broadcast, your staff will be able to enter the session and share the broadcast with clients.

  • Cobrowsing, or the process of browsing the pages simultaneously with the operator. Clients like cobrowsing because it helps them to find the right items fast, fill in the forms and changing account settings. While the feature appears mostly to inexperienced users, it is recommended to make use of it, since for this category of users it can just make the difference between “buy” and “no buy”.

  • Call recording for future rewatch and discussion. The videos are usually saved In the control panel. The feature is great for business owners who are constantly looking for ways to improve customer service. It can also be quite helpful when managing conflicts.

  • Third-party program sync. Google products integration, for example, is a simple decision for gaining useful statistics. The collected data can be used for reports, tests and general improvement.

  • An option to choose a certain person as the operator. If the solution has to take 2-3 calls, most users will prefer to wait for the operator with whom they have started, instead of explaining the problem again to someone else.

  • Extra setup options. The most requested feature is, obviously, an extra button for the video widget that can be programmed to an action of your choice.

Online consultant widgets: why use them?

  • Customer service gets better. When the clients have any questions, they just click a button and get their answers, with no need to fill in any extra forms.

  • Helping around becomes easier. If your visitor is lost on the main page or cannot find the right item, the manager will quickly guide them within video chat or with cobrowsing.

  • Customers become more loyal, and brand reputation grows. Everybody likes it when the business has reliable communication channels. It raises the overall trust levels, which means that the satisfied clients will be more likely to recommend you to other people.

  • Communication becomes easier and takes less time. Many clients openly prefer video format to text messages.

  • You get more opportunities for active sales. A video chat for business works both ways. On the one hand, it provides quick answers for users seeking help. On the other hand, live conversations make it easier for staff to introduce other products and extra service to the clients who are already motivated.

  • Conversion rates grow. As the research shows, websites with an online consulting widget boast 10-30% extra conversion when compared to competitors with other widgets, or with no help widgets installed.

  • User information is tracked more efficiently. Online consultant apps often have an extra feature that records the exact search phrase that brought the user on the website and tracks their further actions. It is quite useful for statistics, but it also helps with sales, because the manager can talk exactly about the options and products that were interesting for the client.

  • Video call and text chat can be used simultaneously. This way the user will get all the necessary information as quickly as possible.

  • The clients don’t need extra software or special devices to communicate; even the webcam is not required. To start a live video call the client only has to click a single button.

  • The motivated customers will be excited if you tell them about a new upcoming product that hasn’t been released yet, but is expected to be added to the website soon. This is a great strategy, as it relies on people returning to your website to satisfy their interest, further improving conversion rates.

The disadvantages of video chat for customer service

Unfortunately, no solution is perfect. Even though online consultant widgets are good for the business in the long run, they can have their fair share of problems. For example:

  • If website design clashes with the widget’s style and color, it may be easier to change the site design than to change the widget. While most online widgets have plenty of customization options, some of them will inevitably clash with your corporate style in every available color scheme. Also if the widget is too big, it can block a fair portion of the main content when scrolling or make it hard to read text in the footer.

  • The widget can be too annoying. Many users are irritated when asked to join conversation after just a few seconds of browsing. The good news is that the frequency of invites can usually be customized or they can be turned off for eternity; however, by default the invitation script gets old fast.

  • Depending on the programming and the additional scripts, websites can load slower with widget on.

  • You have to have a qualified operator online all the time. This means night shifts, which generally attract less clients, and extra pay for the night work.

  • If you are using a free version, your information can be leaked. Leaks happen because the data for free versions and trials is usually kept on third-party servers. Depending on your business field, a big leak can lead to an unnecessary reputation mishap or to expensive legal trouble.

  • Extra costs are involved. Even if you are using a free service, you’ll need to buy extra equipment (webcams, lightning) and train your staff for the new format.

The other factor worth considering is while the majority of users prefer video chats, there is a strong minority that won’t ever use video widgets, even if no other support options are present. To appeal to this minority you have to keep the support channels diverse. Add a text chat and a feedback form for those who prefer texts.

What should your online consultant do?

When trying out a new tool, a business owner should always keep the particular goals in mind. Here are the main goals for online consulting widgets:

  1. Improving reaction time and providing efficient online support on the website. Quick responses and fast solutions are the keys to boosting a company's reputation, growing customer base and increasing flat income.

  2. Getting more visitors to stay. Quite a few users leave sites because they couldn’t find what they needed (even if the product was right there) or weren’t engaged in the site enough. The widget sorts that out.

  3. Lead generation. When using a widget, clients leave their contact data, and it helps to collect information about potential clients.

  4. Getting more advertising opportunities. An online chat is just perfect for sharing promotional info: new products, sales, special offers and more.

Depending on the developer, the consultant widgets may have different sets of functions and extras. Choose the right tools to achieve your goals, and make sure to do some testing before buying a full year subscription.

Will your website benefit from an online consultant widget?

It is impossible to answer the question without studying the company’s specifics and learning the habits of its client base. An online consultant widget is a strong marketing tool that can make your customers more engaged; it’s a must-have if your staff has to help clients with navigation or software settings on a regular basis.

However it is not a universal tool and it won’t help you deal with business problems out of its reach. Before making a decision, take time to compare pros and cons, as well as to study the current corporate software offers on the market.


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