How to test your live chat service: Part 1 - Getting started

Testing your live chat service is essential if you are to ensure that the live chat on your website meets your customers’ needs. Yomdel recommends that you test your live chat service on an ongoing basis to ensure continuous improvement in standards.

Live chat straddles that border between digital and human interaction, and this poses both opportunities and threats to your customer experience. Your aim should be to optimise consistency and responsiveness to ensure that your live chat delivers a really useful interaction – for you and your customers.

So testing your live chat service is not a thing to take lightly. And that's why I thought I’d share some useful tips with you, and give you an insight into how we go about testing live chat here at Yomdel in a new series of blogs devoted to the subject of testing live chat for your website.

What are your live chat goals?

Firstly you need to think about your goals. When Yomdel sets up a live chat service for its clients the goal is always to deliver a really useful chat service and to ensure continuous improvement. Our business depends on us getting this right, but I would venture this is a good place to start for any business implementing a live chat service for its website.

So what are the key things we'll need to understand in order to drive continuous improvement?

  • What do your customers – the people who will use live chat on your website – want from a live chat service?
  • What questions will they have when they use the service?
  • What are the common customer complaints your business receives?

Additionally, we know that people who use live chat on your website are more likely to convert, come back, recommend you to others, and generally have a better experience (assuming you get it right), so:

  • What can you do to ensure customers will use your live chat if they need to?
  • What’s the most effective design for your live chat button, window, image etc?
  • Whereabouts on your website should live chat be placed?
  • When and how should a proactive chat (a chat that you, rather than your customer will initiate) be triggered?

You’ll also want to ensure that, when customers use live chat on your website, they get the best experience – one that makes them buy from you, makes them want to come back and buy again, and turns them into loyal advocates for your business. So ask yourself the following questions:

  • How easy is it for customers to use your live chat service?
  • Is the live chat functionality intuitive?
  • Are your live chat operators responsive to your customers’ needs?
  • Do your operators find it easy to use the admin console that facilitates their side of the chat?
  • Does your live chat software provider offer you all the capabilities that you need in order to provide a really useful service?

These are the questions that we need to keep in mind when designing our test plan for a live chat service. And now you understand the importance of goals, you’re ready to design your test plan.

Designing the test plan

The above questions set the context (and therefore the first section) for your test plan. Think about your own goals. They may be different to those described above. If so jot them down. Why not share them with us by commenting on this blog? We’re passionate about live chat and would love to know what you're thinking here at Yomdel.

One thing to keep in mind when you're designing a test plan for your live chat service is - I’d suggest - keep it simple. You’ll need to make sure it’s detailed enough to capture all the information that you need, but you’re not writing an essay – it’s not what you've got but what you do with it that’s important. So I'd suggest the test plan be split into five simple sections:

  1. Goals – what you want to achieve (as described above)
  2. Coverage – what you’ll need to test (in order to meet those goals)
  3. Information requirements – what you need to gather (in order to get the coverage you need)
  4. Resources – what resources you need (to gather the required information)
  5. Processes – a bit more detail on how it’s going to be managed (so you have something to go on your business action plan)

That really should give you a good outline for your test plan. And if you follow those steps you’ll find yourself moving from not knowing what you need, to not only knowing it, but having an understanding of the specific steps you'll take in order to get you to where you want to be in no time at all.

Understanding test coverage

In the next part of this series I’ll talk about test coverage – specifically in relation to the goals I've described above – but hopefully you’ll find it useful. It's important to ensure that your live chat service is a fully tested part of your organisational capability (and an important one to get right) both before and after it becomes operational.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this and find it useful.  If you have any thoughts of your own about testing live chat for your website, or you'd like to add anything to what I've written, please do comment on this post. Otherwise look out for part 2 of this series about testing a live chat service for your website on Yomdel.com. You can subscribe for our RSS or connect with us on our social pages using the icons on the top right.

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