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Live Tech Support – Click Here (Part 2 of the review)

Live Tech Support - Click Here (Part II of the review) - iStudioWeb.comThis is Part II of the review -see Live Tech Support – Click Here (Part I of the review).

Most of the live web site chat services look very generic. Don’t get me wrong, they all look different and unique, but when I look at their web site my experience of web developer tells me that the web site looks “generic”. Images, layout, the way the information is presented – everything looks “just like everybody else”. However, some companies are not doing it in the most efficient way. They either overwhelm a prospective customer with information or deprive of it, pushing the visitor to contact a sales person. While I don’t have an overall universal solution for this, I believe some of these services can get a better job done with their web sites.

With all that said – let’s continue with a review.

LiveChatInc – this web chat software provider offers various solutions for businesses of different sizes, leaning towards larger scale businesses. The company is selling various solutions (LiveChat Contact Center, LiveChat Communicator, LiveChat chat server) for businesses of various scales. While not the best solution for small business, their services still within affordable range at $33 per operator per month for LiveChat Contact Center license. There are some add-ons for LiveChat applications, like Microsoft CRM for Contact Center, MSN and ICQ protocol plug-ins and even Remote Desktop add-on.

WhosOn – all-around live web chat solution provider. Offers hosted, installable, dedicated server and ISP live web chat solutions. Hosted solution – most suitable for small business yet too expensive for any meaningful use – is priced from $45 per month per operator (with $30 per additional operator license). If you want to monitor additional web sites – that’s another $30 per month. Optional ability to change the chat window design will hit you with another $20 per month. For a small business to monitor 3 web sites with 3 concurrent operators the monthly cost would be $165, and that’s before customization cost.

WebSiteAlive – very customer-friendly live chat service. Even the cheapest plan allows unlimited web site monitoring and 2 concurrent operators at any time. The interface is web-based which is somewhat limiting, to my understanding. The real difference between the versions are the reporting features – Lite version of live help software is totally stripped of any reporting, PRO has about half of what PRO+ offers. Not sure it’s a good upselling technique, but I am no marketing department. Price varies from $29.95 per month for Lite with 2 operators licenses to $97.95 per month for PRO+ with 2 operators licenses. Additional operator license is only $9.95, which seems a better offer then competition.

(Continued – Read Part 3 of the Live Help Service Reviews)

Live Tech Support – Click Here (Part 1 of the review)

Live Web Site Chat Services Review - iStudioWeb BlogLast couple of days one of our clients and I spend quite some time researching providers of online chat service. This is one of those services where a visitor of your web site can click on the image with a smiling lady and supposedly chat with a friendly (or not so friendly) sales person.

The advantages of this sales tool and live help tool are numerous – you can see how visitors move from one page to another in real time, you can engage them in chat when they reach certain part of your web site or even walk them through your site! Various services allow popping up an invitation window after certain period of time, based upon certain rules or pages visited. We looked through several live help services and I have decided to share some of the research on live help service with readers of this blog.

BoldChat – overall we got a good impression of this live chat service. The setup consists of putting special code on your web site and downloading a Windows-platform software (they don’t have Mac version, as far as I know) to keep track of visitors, engage in live chat sessions and so on. The drawbacks are confusing list of features and a little higher price then most competitors – $29.95 per operator per month, $79.95 per 3 operators per month (there is a discount that adds to pricing confusion).

Live2Support – very confusing pricing model. Chat services are divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold plans with different number of operators available for each “denomination”. Cons: basic (bronze) lacks most of the basic features, poor sales representatives level. Pros: rich features on the pricier plans, ability to use both web interface and Windows-based software to keep track of users and chats, advanced chat functions – chat sharing, transfer, moderation. Pricing: from $9.99 Bronze plan with single operator to $69 for Gold plan with 10 operators.

LivePerson – one of the most expensive providers of live web site chat services. I was unable to find any mention of the pricing online, but through a chat session with a live operator I was quoted pricing from $99 and up per month per operator. The sales agent was very pushy, offering some discounts on a “take it or leave it” basis. They, however, are very popular service, powering many large-scale web sites.

(Continued – Part 2 of Live Chat Review series)

Flock Built-In Blog Editor

Flock – the social web browser built on top of the Firefox – has a built-in blog editor. When I first launched it I was hoping to have some sort of Notepad for quick and easy blogging. Something that would look like Performancing plug-in for Firefox.

Unfortunately blog editor from Flock falls short of any other editor, even the one in WordPress itself. Editor window is very basic. Although Flock’s Accounts and Services tab allows you to have more then one blog configured, you have no idea what blog your post is coming to. XML-RPC API that WordPress uses is called MovableType. Maybe they are the same, but for non-technical people this is more then confusing.

Ability to choose from half a dozen fonts and regular named sizes doesn’t quite cut it to be a quickie notepad for any blogger. I can hardly imagine anyone using this crippled tool. Unfortunately, as with the whole concept of Flock, a thing that tries to be too many things for too many people ends up being nothing for all people. Here’s my prediction for next year – Flock will flop.

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