April 8, 2010, 12:00 AM

Hello live chat, meet the iPhone

Want to conduct live chat customer service sessions on-the-go? Now there’s an app for that. Live chat vendor Bold Software this week launched an iPhone app that enables employees to engage in live chat sessions from their Apple smartphones.

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Want to conduct live chat customer service sessions on-the-go? Now there’s an app for that. Live chat vendor Bold Software this week launched an iPhone app that enables employees to engage in live chat sessions from their Apple smartphones.

The app costs $9.99 and enables companies to not only initiate chat but also see who is on an e-commerce site, sort visitors by time they’ve spent on the site and the country they are coming from, and see how visitors accessed the site including the keywords they entered into search engines, or the address of the web site they came from. App users also can manage multiple chats at once and across several web sites and access and send canned messages using Bold Software’s predictive messaging system.

“The iPhone app reads the most recent message and then offers the best matching canned message,” says a Bold Software spokeswoman. “We did this because the iPhone is hard to type on. So having the best and most relevant message at your fingertips is key.”

A company must be a Bold Software customer to use the app.

ExposureManager, an online sales resource for professional photographers, is using the app to connect with its more than 6,500 photographer clients. The company helps photographers create branded web sites where they can upload photos, manage galleries, and fulfill orders for customers.

“Although I’m not on the front lines manning the chat sessions every day, I’ve found the BoldChat iPhone app is a great way for me to monitor this important aspect of our customer support experience no matter where I am,” says Donovan Janus, founder and CEO of ExposureManager. “Right at my fingertips I have the ability to see when our customer service agents are engaging in a chat session, and watch the kind of questions we’re getting. That’s great information that helps me make decisions on how to improve our site.”

Adele Sage, a customer experience analyst with Forrester Research Inc., says the app could be useful for managers of small companies who want to monitor chat activity but not actually engage in chats themselves, or for small business owners who want to offer chat but have limited staff.

“The mobile component would give those few employees the ability to respond to chats and still have the freedom to leave their desks,” Sage says. “Given iPhone limitations like a small keyboard and short battery life, the app is meant to complement existing BoldChat implementations, not replace PC versions altogether.”

 

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