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chatLive Agent is a native Salesforce tool that provides the ability to communicate in real-time with your web site users. In this blog I am going to discuss my favourite of the basic ‘out of the box’ offerings and then talk through some of the customisation options available to you to enhance the standard product.

Sneak peek

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This feature enables agents to see what a visitor is typing before the message has been sent. This means an agent can start reacting to comments (e.g. searching case records or knowledge articles) and preparing a response before the client has actually sent the message. This limits the time a site visitor will have to wait for a reply from the agent, especially useful if dealing with an angry customer who wants instant results!

Whisper messages

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This allows a supervisor to communicate with an agent that is currently engaged in a chat, without the exchange being visible to the customer. The idea of this is that a supervisor can offer advice, direct the agent to a relevant knowledge article, or simply offer encouragement for a job well done without disturbing the agents interaction with the customer. Supervisors can also choose to view chats as a means of quality control.

Auto greeting & Quick Text

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Most customer service teams have a set way they like to initiate customer interactions, using this feature they can ensure this is done effectively and efficiently by all agents. The auto greeting message guarantees all Live Chat exchanges begin with the same message with no spelling mistakes and no deviations! You can also use mail merge within the auto greeting to add minor customisations such as agent name. A similar feature that Live Agent also offers is Quick Text. This offers the ability to store pre-prepared text snippets that an agent can access, such as commonly used expressions or questions, and negates the need to type these out each time.

Customisation & enhancements

A great facet of Live Agent is that you are not just limited to what Salesforce provides out of the box. Using custom development you can completely alter the end-user experience while also ensuring you capture all the key data needed without always relying on human input.

Pre-Chat Page

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This is where you capture data from the customer before the conversation starts and the possibilities here are endless. From something basic like validation rules to ensure the key fields such as name and email address are populated, to custom verification rules and triggers that identify existing/create new contract records based on the data provided.

Post Chat Page

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A common requirement from customers is to capture feedback from the live chat visitor at the end of a conversation. This feedback usually covers both the tool itself (would you use live agent again?) and the agent they dealt with (how useful were they? did they solve your problem?).  This can be easily achieved by linking a survey to a custom post chat page and having it launch when the user clicks a specific custom button. You can also map in Contact or Case ID values so the survey results attach to the correct records in Salesforce once submitted.

Custom Settings & Dashboards

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These offer a quick and easy way for you to manage Live Agent after it has been deployed to a live site. It is certainly much easier to manage the tool using custom setting than it is to start unpicking the code on your sites page! A good tip is to utilise a master switch off custom setting, this is a simple check box which you can then reference in your code. If the checkbox is ticked the button to initiate a Live Chat is visible and available, if the checkbox is unticked the button is not visible and chats cannot be initiated.

The data captured from Live Agent exchanges can also be utilised to create some insightful reports and dashboards. With very little work you can soon have some useful analytics to hand such as average chat duration, average agent response time, peak chat times or number of chats completed per agent in a given timeframe. If using a survey tool the scope for analytics increases even further and can help you gauge just how effectively both your new tool and agents are performing.

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