Interactive websites indicate a new era in browsing – A case study with CometChat

There has been a subtle rise of virtual personal assistants in the last couple of years. It started with Siri, the witty personal assistant on the iPhone. And is rapidly gaining popularity since Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Echo have been taking the world of intelligent home technologies by storm.

But the reason behind this rise is that these bots were made to feel less robotic. They instilled a sense of personalized conversation and provided a human channel between machine and man, which in turn, kept users engaged.

What if this is applied to websites?

The internet is a place where we are increasingly spending more time every day. So it is quite a no-brainer to notice that this intuitive approach of humanizing technology has also made its presence felt on the internet. Beyond making visitors feel more comfortable on a website, these technologies also serve the purpose of keeping users engaged. Something that is very important for the success of any online business/website.

The most primal way of adding an element of ever ready customer support, to keep potential buyers engaged, on any website is a chatbox. You might have visited websites where a small box pops up on the bottom of your screen with an automated message asking if you need any assistance. Though it is true that chatboxes give users a sense of interaction, they lack the variety that a modern website demands.

In this post, we will take a look at CometChat to understand the evolution of the humble chatbox into something that the internet needs (and can sustain).

Why do websites need an engaged audience?

Whenever buyers are out to shop or are interested in what a brand has to offer, they are said to be in an “awareness stage“. According to a B2B Procurement Study conducted by Accenture, company websites are the most popular location for these buyers to research.

That study further states that, in spite of being the most popular avenue to research a brand, 63% of the visitors on these websites feel that the information provided is inadequate. So to invest efforts and engage these potential customers by delivering the most relevant message to the right person at the right time is extremely important for any business.

In a nutshell, for any website, it is necessary to keep users engaged because

  • Engaged users are more likely to make a purchase
  • They are more likely to share your content, thereby making your brand grow on social media.
  • Engagement also results in getting goodie points with Google and a chance to get bumped up to that coveted first page of search engine results.

According to the research firm Forrester, 44% of US online customers feel comfortable in interacting with a chat service to get answers to their questions during an online research or purchase. This number is on an upward trend, with an increase of almost 12% in two years.

Merchant integration of technologies such as bots and natural language interfaces will lead to remote goods purchases by mobile totaling $2.1 trillion by 2021 – Juniper Research

Forget the technicality if numbers bore you. Another perspective that would help to get the point across is from the point of view of a user.

  • Would you like to send an email on a business website and wait for 2-3 days to get an answer or would you like an instant reply?
  • Wouldn’t it be interesting to discuss an article you’ve been researching on in real time on the web page?
  • Would you like to jump through link hoops to find a PDF or would you just like the author of the article to send it to you?
  • Would you like to sift through a multitude of pages to find the information you need about a product or would you rather have someone lead you to it and assist in making the right purchase?

The answer to the above questions would indicate the fact that you prefer a website that allows you to engage proactively in a conversation. You like to know that the system responds to you too and not just the other way around.

What are some ways in which you can increase the engagement on your site?

To give you an idea of how a modern website should achieve that, we will take a look at CometChat. A leading solution for anyone looking to integrate customer interaction services to their websites. CometChat boasts of having the most diverse toolset of customer engagement. They have turned the humble chatbox into a feature rich mega bundle.

Apart from the important live chat feature, here are some ways in which you can make sure that your website users are hooked on to your site.

Voice and Video Chat

Cometchat features - Audio video chat and voice calls
Voice calls and Video chats Group plus one-on-one)

Pretty self-explanatory, but this feature allows your users to connect with each other in real time. Suppose you have an academics website. This would allow your students to engage in group discussions.

With the individual audio/video chat, you can make sure that your students get personalized attention.

Guest Chat

visitors-chat - Cometchat features
Extremely simple way for guests to interact with you and your community

This allows non-signed up members to join the conversations on your website as a guest. The temporary login is simple and you can modify the guests’ access according to your needs. I’m pretty sure first-time visitors will get impressed by this. I know I would.

File sharing

share-files - Cometchat features
Share files without leaving the website!

Okay so now you have a fancy beefed up chatbox. What good is it if members need to exchange files and have to open another tab to visit Drive or something else. Takes the whole engagement thing out of the picture, doesn’t it? Well, CometChat has got your back. Your users can just exchange files right from the chatbox.

Screen sharing

screensharing - cometchat features
This takes personal attention to a whole other level

If your users get stuck with a transaction or during a DIY project, you or any other members of your site can easily help them navigate by sharing screens.

Collaboration

This is one of my favorite features from the CometChat arsenal. It allows users to create and collaborate on a report or article. It is extremely easy to use, color coded and so convenient when I am researching with my teammates on our next article.

 whiteboard and writeboard - Collaboration - cometchat features
Whiteboard (Right) and Writeboard (Left) – Collaboration tools

This collaboration feature manifests in the form of a Whiteboard too. Just in case there was an idea you need to sketch or a math problem you need to work on.

These features barely cover the entire suite of features that CometChat offers. We have just picked the ones that set CometChat apart.

How do I get CometChat?

The latest update of CometChat reduces the load exerted on the server by up to 50%. That makes it twice as fast and less resource intensive as before.

Almost all of CometChat’s features run on websites, mobile apps, and mobile SDKs. Most of them are available as desktop software too. It installs on virtually every site. The installation guide on their website has enough information. From a developer’s perceptive, you don’t need to have any technical knowledge of installing the CometChat plugin on your site. Once you purchase, you will be given a few guidelines on how to proceed and a lot of different versions of CometChat to download. Each version is suited for a different platform (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc). Proceed and download the one best suited for you.

Even though the installation is as easy as it gets, always remember to backup your files and database before making any major changes to your website. The basic version of CometChat only shows your friends who are active on the site. You can still create groups and other people, who aren’t in your contact list, can join too to have a discussion. The advanced version is packed with a lot more features.

Real-time engagement on a website can be a game changer. The comment section has been around for a long time and just like Apple says, even though things are perfect, they need to evolve to become better (in reference to them killing the 3.5 mm jack).

CometChat offers pretty intuitive tools to allow your website to grow into a thriving community. It’s more than a chat plugin, it’s an ecosystem of useful tools that can fulfill the need of a human element on a website. How you implement these tools depends on your personal growth strategies. The scope of its application is only limited by your imagination. So go out there and build a website that nobody wants to leave!


About The Writer

Umair likes to devote his time surfing on the net gathering all the happenings around the world into one place, his mind. In his leisure time he likes clicking pictures.