How to Make your Live Chat Solution 80% Better in 20 Minutes


Does 80% seem like an impossible claim? Give me a few minutes and I will show you exactly how. At AnswerDash, we have been hard at work studying how live chat works for the companies that use it as well as their website visitors.

We have talked to many companies that use live chat today and we have implemented it for ourselves on our own AnswerDash site. In fact, you can try it for yourself right now by clicking the tab on the right of the screen.

Wait... That doesn’t look like a live chat tab, does it? (If you want to know more, skip straight to getting started.) We have also talked to many live chat end-users and asked them what they really want from the chat experience. After talking to both companies and users, here is what we discovered about live chat.

Most, if not all, online customers could use some help

What the Beatles wrote in 1967 couldn’t be truer today when it comes to trying to use websites and web applications: sometimes we all need a little help from our friends. In fact, one survey showed that 83% of customers regularly require help while online.

As companies push more and more of their customer interactions online, this need will continue to grow. It is increasingly important that websites have clear, responsive, easy-to-use help, and live chat is a great way to address this need. But…

Yep, if you have worked any amount of time in an online customer support organization, you already know this is true. There has been a lot of research done on this topic, and we wrote about how online Q&A follows what is known as a Pareto distribution.

If you don’t have a Ph.D., that's okay. This rule simply explains how the most common 20% of your questions take up 80% of your answering time. We spend a lot of time in live chat sessions answering the same questions over and over again, and to top it off...

Your website visitors actually want to help themselves

Whenever possible, people prefer to help themselves. The psychology of self-sufficiency explains why we want to help ourselves as much as we can. We only succumb to asking for help when we have no other option.

While this is generally true for everyone, it is particularly true for the online millennial generation, who grew up always connected, with WiFi everywhere and smartphones in their pockets. By 2017, millennials will represent 3x more online buying power than any other generation, and they require the option to self-serve, or they won’t serve at all.    

Many of the companies we spoke to either had to get rid of live chat completely, or limit the places it appeared on the their site. Why? Simply put, most of the live chat volume they got was not high value. They were spending a lot of human capital answering simple questions, often from visitors who were not “serious buyers” or users.

While live chat operators can handle more chats than phone calls, live chat still represents an expensive human resource for most companies. What the companies we talked to really wanted was a solution that would help them engage in only the most valuable live chat sessions for their operators.

Get started making your live chat better in just 20 minutes


We have written about the benefits of website self-service + live chat, and today, AnswerDash is excited to announce our integration with live chat solutions. If you are using, or considering, LiveChat, Olark, SnapEngage, or Zopim (ZenDesk), we can make your live chat solution better by handling 80% of your most common questions, but still allowing your customers to easily escalate to a live chat session if they need more help. By combining website self-service and live chat, you get a win-win for both you and your customers. And the best part? It only takes 20 minutes to set up!

So, how does it work?


AnswerDash provides a contextual help service for any web or mobile site. We like to think of it as a help concierge that provides your visitors the exact kind of help they need, right where they need it, without taking them out of the flow of what they are doing. We are pretty good at finding the questions your visitors might have, and the answers they want, all without asking them to type. They simply point at what they have a question about and click or tap. Sound exciting? It gets better with live chat!


At any point, a customer can opt into a live chat session if they are not seeing the question they want, or the answer they need, or they simply just want to talk to someone. But here is the best part: As they are typing their question to start live chat, we are still trying to get them an instant answer! As you can see in the image, while a customer is typing to start a live chat, AnswerDash is looking at where they are on your site, where they have been, and what they are typing to try and come up with their question and answer. 

Sometimes users have to see their question written out before they recognize that it is what they want to know. The result of AnswerDash's selection-based approach is that your customers get to help themselves 80% of the time, and you get to focus on the high value live chats that require specific answers or opportunities to close business immediately. If you are interested in learning more about how this solution works and how we can make your live chat 80% better, check out our brand new e-book. You are just 20 minutes away from making your live chat experience better for you and your customers.