Brad_strothkamp [Posted by Brad Strothkamp}

One clear trend in eBusiness these days is the increasing importance of interactive help tools including online chat and click-to-call. Hardly a day goes by where I do not get asked about how to best use this evolving technology. The problem is that often firms put the cart before the horse when approaching this important technology. Firms are quick to head down interactive help path without first solving common Web site problems. The result can be chat and call sessions resulting from sub-optimal site design; essentially interactive help is used because the site visitor cannot get their question answered on the site.

Consider this.

Royal Bank of Canada recently redesigned portions of their Web site and won accolades in Forrester's annual ranking of Canadian Web sites. While results of this redesign are still coming in, one interesting finding came to light related to RBC's usage of LivePerson online chat. Reactive chat sessions (i.e. chat sessions initiated by a user) actually deceased by 30% in the two months post-launch.

WHAT IT MEANS: Don't assume if you high online chat usage you are a success. In fact, the truth could be quite the opposite. The best interactive help implementations start with a strong eCommerce site. On the bright side, Royal Bank of Canada did find that the reduction in chat sessions due to the redesign allowed them to offer chat in other high-value areas of the site that couldn't be done in the past due to existing chat volumes.