LivePerson live chat review
LivePerson is one of the biggest live chat providers out there. They’ve been on the market for over two decades and they’ve positioned themselves as an enterprise-grade live chat provider.
Let’s take a look at their live chat, its strong and weak points and try to come to a conclusion who could could use the software efficiently.
LivePerson trial and setup
To start my adventure with LiveEngage – LivePerson’s live chat platform, I’ve signed up for a free trial. LivePerson offers a 31 day trial which you can sign up.
The signup process was really smooth. They have a really neat way of offering instructional videos. The first email I’ve got from the after signing up had a couple onboarding videos attached to them. Normally, it’s easy to miss the instructional stuff if they are just presented as links but attachments are not that easy to miss.
The installation was pretty painless. The usual, run-of-the-mill ‘place the code on every page’ kind of thing.
Once I added code to my test page, I’ve logged in to the LiveEngage app. At the start, you get short onboarding walkthrough of the app. You get to check out all the major features and what they are used for.
For example, there’s a mockup list of visitors to show you how it should look like when there are people on the website. That’s definitely a good idea. However, I’m not sure if they didn’t go too far with it. The list is animated and you could really think that all those people are on your website waiting to chat. Maybe a static screenshot would be a bit easier to understand.
The one thing that bugged me about the onboarding is that they are trying to move you through all the features instead of focusing on what’s important at the start and offering the more advanced stuff later down the line. For example, in one of the steps, you are to set up a campaign, which is LivePerson’s way of managing routing, chat invitations and the general chat logic. I think setting up a separate tutorial for that would be more effective as no user needs that kind of deep-end information at the start.
After the setup and onboarding, I was ready to start my first chats. For some reason, the chat button took quite a while to show up on my test page and when it did, it didn’t work immediately. However, that soon fixed itself and I was able to start a chat.
Take note that, up until this moment, everything seemed quite OK. The first chat changed that.
First of all, you get this horrendous notification sound or an old, ringing phone. It seems that LivePerson didn’t update this notification since the company’s inception and I couldn’t imagine hearing it with each and every notification. I’d go mad. The notification sound for a new message in a chat is no better. The pitch of the notification is all over the place and it’s really low quality. Thankfully, the end-user notification is OK.
The second thing that really bugged me was the way chats are picked up. When a visitor writes a message and tries to send it over, it’s not immediately sent. Instead, agents get a notification about a new chat and someone needs to pick it up for the visitors to be able to send the message. Even if the visitor tries to send it over a couple of times, it won’t go through until an agent picks up the chat.
It boggles my mind why LivePerson wants to complicate/halt the chat in such a way. A lot of visitors will probably drop from chat at this moment and the ones who stay will feel annoyed. It simply looks like the chat window doesn’t work properly, even if an agent picks up the chat quickly.
After this initial ‘shock’ everything seemed to work more or less as intended. Among the things that seemed fairly interesting was an automatic ‘please hold’ message that is sent every minute or so. In these messages, the visitor is asked for a bit of time and patience. I imagine this could work out pretty well for smaller implementations where there are not a lot of agents available or for tougher cases where more research is required to handle a case.
Another neat feature is the immediate access to key chat metrics right at the top of the application. Agents get to see their current service levels, which can serve as an extra motivation to do better.
LiveEngage customization options
Most of the customization is done via the Campaigns menu. A peculiar choice since the customization options for live chat are usually broken down into separate sections like routing, chat window customization or chat invitations.
In the case of LivePerson, everything is via the campaigns menu. You can use a set of rules to include/exclude certain pages on your websites and have different kind of chat experience on each of those pages. For example, you can set up an automatic invitation on your pricing page or change the look of your chat window on specific pages.
This is pretty unorthodox as you usually have global settings that affect all pages and rules that supersede them, but it could work too with enough setup. The only question here is whether it wouldn’t take more time to set it up like this.
I liked the gallery of templates you can use right off the bat since it’s really easy to use and you don’t have to spend a lot of time on customization right away.
LivePerson live chat verdict
All in all, there are a lot of things that LivePerson’s LiveEngage does that are good but also a lot that are bad. It looks a bit like different teams were responsible for different parts of the product. For example, the onboarding team did a really good job but the chat window team messed up the logic for starting a new chat or the app team forgot to update their notifications since 1996.
If they managed to fix that, I think that LiveEngage could do well. I think the biggest gripe I have with LivePerson is it’s price. They’ve always positioned themselves as the top-dog enterprise solution. However, I don’t see that much at offer for the price they’re asking. It may come down to implementation, training and other stuff, but the app itself is definitely not worth the $49 for one agent.
Unfortunately, the core of the product suffers from strange UX decisions which definitely affects the final score in a major way.