How do you convert that first-time visitor to your e-commerce website into a customer? A tool such as the free, open-source Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14 may help, by offering live text chat with your sales team.

How do you make it easier for your visitor to become a prospect and ultimately a customer? A live text chat service that allows interaction with online prospects is one way of breaking the ice. And Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14 is one such tool - that's free. Visitors whose questions are satisfactorily answered in real time by your sales staff are more likely to purchase your products and services later on.

For some websites and businesses, particularly those selling inexpensive, simple-to-understand products or services, the path from the initial visit to purchase can be relatively short.

However, if you sell more expensive or technically complex goods and services, persuading a web visitor to become a customer can take time - and support. The long selling cycle for these items doesn't mesh well with the short attention span of many online visitors.

According to a Northstar Research Partners study commissioned by live chat vendor LivePerson, high-value customers who spend more than the average consumer are more likely to use live chat.

The study says more people feel highly satisfied after receiving customer service via live chat (46 percent rate it 9 to 10 on a 10-point scale) than other forms of customer service such as a toll-free number (41 percent), email support (31 percent) or online FAQs (24 percent).

Crafty Syntax Live Help offers a free yet surprisingly sophisticated live chat app that's relatively easy to install on your e-commerce site. While you will need to devote time to monitoring chat requests and answering visitor's questions, the payoff will come when higher visitor satisfaction leads to more sales.

Installing Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14

If you want to run Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14, ideally your web host or server should support both the MySQL database and the PHP programming language. You can run Live Help with a text database, but performance may suffer, especially on larger sites with many visitors.

You start by downloading the zip file from the CCrafty Syntax website, unzipping it on your PC, then uploading the unpacked files to your web server.

You'll need to set up a MySQL database with an authorised user account and modify a PHP configuration file. Next, use your web browser to access the Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14 wizard, which steps through the remainder of the installation. Clear, easy-to-understand instructions are bundled with the download and are also available on Crafty Syntax's website.

Integrating Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14

To integrate Live Help with your site, you'll need to add a bit of HTML code to your web pages. Click on Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14's Department tab; select your options, such as the choice of online chat graphic; then click Create to generate the HTML code.

You can generate different code for each section or department of your e-commerce site. This allows you to assign different chat operators with specialized knowledge to each department.

When a chat operator is available, an icon (that you can customise) appears on the web page inviting the visitor to chat by clicking on it. When no operator is available, the icon changes, inviting the visitor to send a message for a later email response. You can develop a custom input form that asks the visitor to enter a name and email address in addition to the question or comment.

Using Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14

You'll need to create one or more chat operators by clicking on Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14's Operator tab. You assign each operator to handle one or more departments.

Operators use a web browser to log on to Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14's menu, then click on the app's Live Help tab to start checking for chat requests.

You or your operators can leave the Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14 browser window open in the background while performing other work. An Auto Focus option brings the window to the foreground when a chat is requested. You can also have the software generate an audio alert.

You can establish a rule for automatically inviting someone to chat, such as five or more page visits.

Once in chat, you can type responses manually or answer by referring to a list of responses developed beforehand.

Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14 offers more than just chat. You can monitor visitors as they enter your site. You can view each visitor's IP address (or name if it's a former chat visitor) and referral source, such as a search engine and the keyword used.

Complete reporting and analysis

Crafty Syntax Live Help 2.14 is chock full of reporting and analytical capabilities.

As you would expect, it maintains a record of each online chat. It also records details about each visitor. This allows you to view valuable information, such as the number of visitors each month that are referred by other websites. Other database views let you see which search engine keywords bring you the most visitors, information that can help you plan search engine pay-per-click campaigns.

You can see which of your Web pages attract the most visitors and prepare a graph that displays page visitor trends daily for the past month and monthly for the past couple of years. You can also explore visitor paths, to see where they go from the first page they land on.

Crafty Syntax Live Help: Specs

  • Requires MYSQL database
  • Requires MYSQL database

OUR VERDICT

Is Crafty Syntax Live Help worth it? Certainly, the app's price is right. Live Help is a free, open source application - however, the author does appreciate donations. Other online chat services such as LivePerson Pro can cost around £50 per month per operator. The greatest expense of operating a live chat service is for the time of the operators who respond to questions. Even though operators can do other work while running the app in the background, the demands on their time may be too costly to support the sale of goods or services with a low value or slim profit margin. That's a calculation only you can perform.

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