WP Engine uses a chat feature on wpengine.com to answer questions for users browsing the site. However, a large number of existing customers would use this chat interface to submit technical support requests, which was an inefficient use of the sales team's time and expertise.
This was a clear indication that many customers were not aware of the appropriate process for contacting our dedicated support team. So, an abrupt solution was put into place in November allowing a user to choose whether they were a new or existing customer, then that user would be sent to either the sales or support team. Our sales team saw a large reduction in chat volume as a result (see graph below) and support satisfaction remained consistent, which was great.
Since visitors who chat are more likely to convert into customers, I was tasked with increasing the number of sales chat engagements while retaining this user segmentation. I was also tasked with creating a custom Livechat theme to match WP Engine's brand and make it feel more integrated with the website (rather than a separate embedded piece of software).
I researched existing chat applications such as HipChat, Slack, and Facebook Messenger, identifying features that users may expect to experience. I setup a demo Livechat account to work in a safe playground. I also setup a separate instance of the WP Engine website so I could demo the full experience for stakeholders.
I designed the new sales chat interface to trigger an instinctual, emotional response to the chat window. It pops up after a few seconds to draw the eye, and the overall design suggests that Rebecca (a real sales team employee) has already initiated the conversation. The number 1 enclosed in a red circle creates a sense of urgency as if it were an unaccomplished task, like an unread text message or email.
We saw an increase of over 175% for sales chat engagements within days of launching the newly designed segmented chat window, and that increase has remained consistent.
What I Learned
- Livechat has a good API with documentation
- Effective design caters to human instincts and expectations
- iframes are neat (not)