Live support software

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"Live chat" redirects here. For the specific live support software product, see LiveChat.

Live support software (also called live chat and live help) is a popular term for online chat applications designed specifically to provide immediate online assistance to users of a website. Live chat is mainly used for text-based communication. However, software providers also bundle services like voice, video, helpdesk, and CRM systems along with the text-based chat.

Technology[edit]

The system typically consists of 2 components:

  1. A text box on the website.
  2. An operator dashboard that allows the agent to respond to the chat.

The system is usually implemented by pasting a JavaScript code on the website. The JavaScript code uses cookies to track user activity on the site.

There are two types of chats:

  1. ProActive chat - In this case, the text box pops up on its own and displays a message to the visitor. This message can be customized based on different criteria such as the amount of time the user has spent on the website, the pages they visited, etc. The visitor can then choose whether or not to respond to the message.
  2. Broadcast - In this case, the chat is initiated by the visitor.

Among the applications available, JavaScript, Java, or Flash Player are used to run the application directly inside the browser.

These online applications differ from classic software mostly because website visitors don't have to install anything on their PCs and they can communicate freely with website's live chat agents. There is also live support software that goes beyond basic text chat to offer more advanced communication capabilities like true VoIP (Voice over IP), application sharing, remote view, real-time website traffic monitoring, and remote form filling.

Typically, live support applications will open a window that connects the user to an agent. Some software allows users to be queued so that a staff member can deal with one customer and then automatically move to the next. The customer's position in the queue is sometimes displayed for the user.

Live support can also be provided in the form of voice communication via an automatic callback. The customer enters their phone number and then the application initiates a connection between the client and sales representative. These applications are mostly commonly used by companies that implement.

Some live support applications are written in low-level languages (e.g., C++) and distributed as compiled software that must be installed on a server. Others are written in languages, such as PHP, which can be modified as desired. MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server are database engines commonly used for these applications.

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