That's just irritating.
For most small businesses like mine these chats go straight to the phones of the founders. You've got a direct line to the most knowledgeable person about the service.
So to your question, many people use them successfully.
This literally describes 90% of successful marketing tactics.
We, software devs, can be unnecessarily pedantic and nitpicking.
On the short term, yes. But as soon as I'm not required to use Slack anymore, I will remove it from my Mac and advise anyone against it.
So on the long term, I'd say a business would be better off not making the balance so precarious.
In this case, it's making the internet a less productive place to be. So many chat widgets I encounter are now used for growth marketing, not actual support, that whenever I see one I expect it to pop up and seize my attention at an inconvenient moment. Now that everyone is doing it, it's ruining it for everyone else, and something like this browser extension shows up.
If it works for you, then great, I suppose? But if I were the internet dictator I would have placed a ban on preemptive chat messages in these widgets years ago.
Chat widgets can be a good thing but its all about how you use them within the company... I'd say, definitely no popup, when nobody is available, just don't show the widget and redirect to a contact us form or email address. Make the support flow as dynamic as possible.
* Email. High latency, low bandwidth due to long turnaround time, sometimes my emails get lost.
* Phone. Useless - no records, I always forget something or miss some detail because I'm trying to talk and think at the same time.
* Issue tracker. This is often what I prefer for technical topics, but sometimes I need faster turnaround or I'm working on something nontechnical.
* Discord or matrix or IRC. Great if I just have a dumb configuration question, but not at all suitable for real problems, and not an option for real customer service tasks.
* That little chat widget. Not as good as a bug tracker, but all the precision and recordability of email with the speed of a phone.
The chat widgets are fantastic and I go for them almost every single time.
99% of the implementations you encounter though are failed sales attempts. Fake human prompts like "Hi, can I help you with something?". When they are accompanied by a sound they are even more annoying. I have heard from marketing people that they convert pretty well though.
Maybe it's specific to the SaaS space, but I tend to reach for the live chat right off the bat if I have a question. If nobody is online, usually they still get back to me by e-mail anyway, which is no worse than if I had just sent an e-mail.
It has the added convenience that we instantly and correctly know a) what URL they're looking at and b) their logged-in account ID. I'd say about 80% of the time, this is 100% of the context needed to resolve their issue, which eliminates a whole class of to-and-fro discovery that amounts to a large proportion - perhaps even the majority - of support time.
By politely specifying exactly what the problem is, what actions need to happen for it to be considered resolved, and asking to contact a party who can take those actions in my first message it helps hasten the interaction.
I've yet to run into a phone support person who doesn't know it without any explanation required on my part.
Also used it to ask/politely demand Verizon reset my roll-over data balance anytime my card on file expired or was canceled and I forgot to update it so auto-pay failed and service was suspended temporarily, which removes any roll-over data balance.
I used it to disect the roll-over data policy which requires auto-pay to be enabled and confirm system limitations that disallow scheduling payment prior to experation and/or keeping additional month balance on account to avoid service interruption so shortly after a failed payment. Agent was able to set custom $1 auto pay amount and I now use my bank bill pay service to pay full monthly amount a few days before service end date avoiding interruptions. This arrangement involved lots of questions in the chat widget.
2. My hosting provider’s support via the widget is SUPER Amazing. Needed shell access, Tony pulled it of in 7 minutes. Having speed issues for my business site? Migrated to a dedicated IP in under 10 minutes.
3. Numerous other times where I eventually would have a question.
Its made me more willing to invest the time asking a question instead of wasting time digging around for an answer that is usually in the realm of customer service or technical support.
What it has NOT done is make me any more or less likely to buy the product.
I’m mostly ok if it stays collapsed, especially on sites where that doesn’t impact the UI too much. The ones that automatically pop open with roboSteve asking me if I need help...Now those ones are obnoxious.
Chat can be done right, and Raiffaisen does it right. They don't harass you with anything, it's just there if you need it, and the representatives seem to have very broad access to provide information.
This is what I'd expect from a support chat.
I guess the annoying part is the widget opening by default but I actually like having the chat, because you know something is serious when a company devotes time to support.
This is unusual enough for those things that I was flabbergasted and told everyone I knew about how one of those things was actually helpful for once though.
We eventually worked out that I was an idiot and had sent it to another locker, a short hike across town. Oops!
Embarrassing, but helpful.
Amex chat support is amazing too
I don’t really get why you would need an extension for this.
Now, if you want to make an extension that is really helpful, make one that auto accepts cookies on all those annoying GDPR slide ups that warn you about cookies!
I don’t place Drift on most pages. I only put it on those pages where users are most likely to ask me questions, e.g., API https://www.listennotes.com/api/
> Product hunt users love it
> #3 on product hunt
That's why you should keep using uBlock Origin/a browser content blocker, even if you use a Pihole.
Thank you for helping out!
On the end user's end, I'd expect that most visitors don't want a chat widget following them around -- until they actually do want to chat, and they look for some kind of chat option. (I've no data to support this but anecdotes like the fact that this browser extension got released suggests me that my hunch might not be too far off.)
On the company's end, you definitely do not want the chat widget visible at all times. It's costly to man the thing so users get a quick reply. On the website it's usually worthless sales contacts with trivial questions; inside the app it's often support-related stuff whose answer is a search away.
The only time the pop-up should be around is when:
- The site visitor or app user is actively looking for some kind of "Contact/Chat" button.
- The site visitor or app user just did something you hypothesized was worth investigating. And in this case the chat should open with a question -- albeit only if a competent operator is actually around.
OT aside: Intercom et al gets too expensive way too fast when you don't purge visitors that didn't sign-up and users that engaged without paying and eventually left without buying.
“Hi, how can I help?” Pop up at every random time I might be browsing? No way these guys are staffed 24/7. Probably not human.
Stock photo showing pretty telephone operator? Definitely not human.
If I want to type something for help, I’d honestly prefer a good, working search box.
And that's ignoring the users who get frustrated with the giant, in-your-face pop up. At least they don't have sound. Yet.
So clearly, it does not need to be this way (and isn’t for all cases).
On the website for a Chrome extension I sell, 90% of my support requests (mostly from paid users) come in through the chat widget. The low latency communication compared to email means I can solve support requests faster, with less effort on both sides and the sender ends up happier at the end.
Having to receive, read, write, wait etc. over several emails is really painful and sucks up time on both sides even for simple problems and especially for complex problems. It can take several emails to understand a simple problem because most users aren't that precise e.g. "I upgraded but I can't access the paid features". I'm considering pushing all users to use the chat widget by default for support queries because of this.
I wouldn't be against using some chat bot automation either (which people also complain about) to deal with common requests for the initial request message because it's really hard to 100% eliminate FAQs being asked. Especially if you're a solo founder, you want time savers like this.
This is exactly why I created a bot  that blends chatbots and Stack Overflow together. You can have an automated first-line support system without scripting or conversational dances.
- Instead of conversations, you can reuse previous question/answers.
- Instead of guessing FAQs, you can let your users define them for you.
- When questions don't exist, they get catched in the traditional support flow (email). Then overtime, this effort declines.
Most chat widgets are set up to forward chat messages via email if there's nobody around and both sides can jump back on the chat widget later if they're both available at the same time which is still an improvement over just email in my opinion.
On the other hand, everyone seems okay with the idea of trading privacy for free stuff...
Don't ever go to a web site for a FiatChrysler brand dealer. There's so much garbage on those that on mobile you can't even see the main content.
And if you Google the phone number of a local dealer you end up with an 800 number so your call can be tracked by Google, which forwards you to another 800 number so you can be tracked by the ad agency, which forwards you to another 800 number so you can be tracked by FiatChrysler, which forwards you (if you're lucky) to the local dealer, with whom you can't communicate because all those VOIP relays have increased the latency so much it's like you're talking on a satellite phone.
Many adblockers use the EasyList of blocked domains/files, but somewhat lesser known is the EasyPrivacy list which already blocks many of these helpdesk and chat widgets .
1 - https://easylist.to/easylist/easyprivacy.txt
I know how to do it in uBlock and Ghostery but that doesn't mean I want to or that it'll be 100% effective.
(for those interested: ##.c-message--custom_response)
It's available on the website https://hellogoodbye.app
I wish chat support was offered more, I hate calling Dell Support for a technical issue.. last time I used some kind of chat with the it was for customer service/sales, and told me I had to call for tech support. It would have been easier to send pictures through the chat, oh well.
Have an image at the right bottom. People can click and only then the chat widget opens. This means very fast loading of the page and only if people click on the widget there is contact with a third party server. I think it's the best of all ways. There is an easy way to contact for the visitor, but there is no in-your-face marketing technique used on potential customers.
Call or chat icon that is static until clicked.
Intercom/etc are incredibly useful both to businesses and customers alike. But not necessarily all customers, I respect that.
There will always be someone who doesn’t want a particular feature, etc. That doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to someone else?
I can dig deep in there to find the help desk, but I'm not sure my parents could.
(Incidentally, I have JS off by default, which naturally neuters these and other annoyances. It's only when I have to turn it on that I get assaulted with things like this.)
Often times you will scroll through a page and a chat popup will show, but nobody is actually there to chat with you (because it's outside business hours, or they never intended to have someone available). So it's a misrepresentation of service and becomes a spammy annoyance.
I also think it's debatable whether that floating chat modal needs to be on every single page on a website, which is often the case. If you're going through a lot of sub-pages on a website, it definitely becomes an annoyance.
That point is almost never when they load when you’re halfway through scrolling down a page.
At that point they’re just another piece of cookie / GDPR / autoplay banner ad spam that does so much to ruin the web.
Why can’t they be housed as part of a separate customer support section? Other than that it wouldn’t make Intercom’s numbers look as good.
We started using drift on day one of our product launch. Creating a user experience that is intuitive and "makes sense" from the get-go is not my forte, and we wanted to give users who were using our product a quick way to get help. We added the drift "chat icon" to the bottom right corner of our screen as a permanent way to make it easy to get in touch.
Over time, we've evolved our usage and now have a permanent menu-icon which opens the chat window, rather than a permanent icon that floats. This is a better user experience on mobile, as well as just generally being less intrusive.
As a support tool, Drift has been IMMENSELY valuable. We're able to respond to user requests, on average, in under 48 seconds (we monitor this). Rather than a user getting "blocked" on an issue while waiting for a help-desk response, we're able to address problems in under a minute, rather than minutes or hours. This aligns with our values as a business, and Drift has helped make that possible.
As a sales tool, we've begun utilizing drift landing pages in experiments, and also as a way to help clarify questions during the sales process. Because we're mostly an "enterprise" sale at this point, it has had less of a utility as a sales tool, but I see the virtue there.
As a consumer, I dislike when companies configure their chat widget to immediately prompt me after a couple of seconds of scrolling on the site. This is a configurable setting that they've opted into, and I would prefer if companies would not do this. Hopefully, over time, the statistics will show that this is a poor user experience, and companies like Drift will discourage this in the mean case, and rather encourage it only in critical moments in the user funnel.
One of the challenges in marketing is that we tend to always devolve down to the mean when creating products. Having worked in ad-tech, I've been both witness to this, and fallen for this trap. We're often willing to sacrifice a large percentage of our user base for features that show an aggregate lift, rather than asking ourselves if there are other features that can cause similar lift but not alienate other segments of our population. This is the balance that needs to be struck when using a tool like Drift, and I'd encourage the team at Drift to lean into helping customers understand this balance.
That being said, I have a lot of faith in David Cancel, Elias, and the team members at Drift to sort this out. They're smart, they're growing rapidly, and they'll adjust as needed.
Here's the master filter list  published by this site that can be added for uBlock Origin, with tidiochat added by me at the end (I can't sign up for GitHub just to send a PR for this):
Same thing happens with Dell, I don't think it's possible to get through an order and checkout without an intrusive chat opening up on you.
I don't mind if it's an icon+label off to the side in a fixed position, it's handy if you want it. But when it opens up and interferes with you using the site in question, you lost me as a customer. And I'll actually engage with the chat to let them know they lost me because of it.
You should use chat widgets to get discounts.
You can almost always get an extra 10-20% off from a lot of places via cs staff because that's what they're allowed to give and they're incentivised to give it to you because they want good survey feedback.
Dell and Lenovo are notoriously bad with this to the point I exclusively place orders through their chat staff.
P.S. I always buy the phone outright, was just getting it through the carrier, the price was competitive.
And yes, the inefficiency of it all makes my eye twitch uncontrollably also.
Change "Ask before sending" -> "Blocked"
Also love the Cruip design, makes it very slick!
Not sure why anyone would have a big issue with help desks (unless they take over your screen in an annoying way). Next will someone come up with a contact form blocker?
This does occasionally mean I'm confronted by a broken site or feature, but all I have to do is look at the list and work out what's missing. It's usually an obvious CDN.
Saving this extension for later to go over the source. :-)
Why I don't collapse it? I find the solution above better, since I still really find it annoying.
Collapsed chatbox icon is an improvement but it still comes at a cost: requires network connections, takes some screen space and could be considered a distraction.
Edit: Found the GitHub page: https://github.com/bcye/Hello-Goodbye
Define “animation” loosely enough and it could encompass chat pop ups, subscribe-to-newsletter pop ups, artsy “intros”, scrolljacking, and other unexpected distractions.
Yes, it’s annoying but mostly helpful.
- Chat popups: Solved
- GDPR popups: Unsolved
- In-Page popups: Unsolved (get our newsletter, xd)
- Notifications: Semi-solved
(- Clickbait-blocker [All caps titles, listicles, stupid questions, annoying thumbnails]: Unsolved)
If anyone could help me with these I'd be very, very grateful.
Not sure it would solve all your problems, but can recommend to look it up. Really easy to add more rules yourself, and consider making pull requests if you find other things to block.
It is the websites that are making the banner look so annoying just to make you quickly click "OK, I agree" button.
So when the GDPR is properly enforced and implemented, there should be no difference to the end user between blocking these content elements vs. clicking No or ignoring the element, as the default is that consent has not been given.
sorry i didnt make it obvious enough.
I combine that with Vanilla cookie manager to remove all cookies except whitelisted ones after 60 minutes.
Yeah I get that some sites use popup chats that are annoying as heck, but by and large, they are a tool to get more engagement and interactivity with the visitor.
Perhaps I should write a Chrome extension that removes credit card forms from all web sites so people aren't forced to send money to anyone. Who knows, might even make it to #1 on ProductHunt.
These widgets are just being abused to extract just a little more conversion rate.
You're just missing the point.
By the way, what do you think about my offer? I was being serious, would be funny to have all the support emails redirected to me.