Live chat can be an amazing tool to provide human help if used correctly. In fact, it can be even better than in-person retail help if you know how to use it right. The challenge is that some of the default functionality you have in your live chat software might not be set to maximize customer experience.

There are a few key principles to get right with chat, and a few ways to supercharge results. At HelpFlow, we provide 24/7 live chat teams to over 100 brands and have done millions of chats that have driven over $10 million in sales. We’ve developed best practices over time and will walk you through how to provide an awesome customer experience with chat in this post.

Even if you don’t end up working with us, there will be a lot here that you can apply with your team. So let’s get into it…

Make It Easy to Chat

In a retail off-line environment, it can be incredibly frustrating if you have a question but can’t find an employee to help. In an online e-commerce environment, the same thing happens when someone gets confused, but it’s not easy to contact somebody via phone or chat.

  • You might already be using live chat, but if you don’t have it available easily on every page, people are going to get frustrated and feel like they are lost without help.
  • Also, it’s important to enable visitors to simply click and start a chat. Don’t use any web forms to gather information or gatekeeper your support team.
  • Lastly, when someone starts to chat about connecting directly to a human agent that can help them, a chatbox can help with general questions but not complex ones. When this happens, the bot gives a similar experience as having a web form that prevents the visitor from getting help from a human.

Make it easy for visitors to start a chat and get help, and they’ll have a better experience.

Use Invites to Help Confused Visitors

In addition to making it easy for someone to ask for help when they’re confused, you also track the behavior of visitors and invite them to chat when they clearly have a question. This produces a “great timing!” feeling in customers when the support team reaches out.

  • Track browsing behavior such as clicks back-and-forth between multiple product pages to know if someone likely has a question about the difference between the products. You can also track cart abandonments, especially on shipping pages, to track when someone is concerned about something.
  • Configure your live chat system to automatically invite a visitor to chat based on his browsing actions. The chat invite should sound natural and elicit a response.
  • While the invite can be automated, when the visitor replies, it should connect directly to a human agent that can help (as if the human agent sent the invite).
Proactively reaching out to customers when they clearly have a question can produce a great visitor experience if you get the settings right.

Leverage Context to Help Them

In the off-line world, your support team will not be able to read the customer’s mind. But online, you can get pretty darn close and then leverage that to create an awesome experience.

  • Use browsing behavior to see what products they have looked at or even sections of content that they review. Do you have a pretty good idea of what they’ve seen so far?
  • If they have a question or are troubleshooting a problem, you can use the browsing behavior to know what FAQs they’ve already seen or support docs they’ve reviewed.
  • During the conversation, leverage that information so they have a feeling that you already understand the problem. You can mention what pages they’ve already looked at or even order information if available so they have a feeling of shared context.

What’s Next?

You should definitely be using live chat to help visitors, but using these best practices and tips will enable you to take the customer experience to a whole new level.

Here are some resources to dive deeper:

  • Want to learn more about how to use live chat to drive conversions? Check out our eCommerce Live Chat Blueprint
  • If you want to do a deep dive audit and have our team recommend a custom strategy to drive more conversions and provide an awesome customer experience for your store, book a strategy call today at

Even if you don’t end up working with us, I hope this post and the above resources will provide a lot of actionable takeaways you can use based on our experience working with so many stores.

Jon Tucker


Jon Tucker is CEO of HelpFlow, a provider of 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for 100+ eCommerce stores. Launched in 2015, their team of agents has produced nearly $100M in chat revenue for a wide range of stores using a conversion-focused approach to live chat.


Your Store Needs a 24/7 Live Chat Team


HelpFlow can drive sales by having our team of human agents available on live chat 24/7 to predict and save abandons before they happen, proactively reach out and engage with visitors via SMS and email after they abandon, and by answering visitor questions live on your website to convert visitors.