There are a large number of chatbots, customer support suites available today. The technology is advancing all the time, enabling even small enterprises to offer chat services on their websites for little cost.
However, with the many software options on the market available, all with varying packages, prices, and levels of service it can be difficult to decide which is the best for your business.
Hopefully, this deep-dive into JivoChat will help. What follows is an in-depth review of the service, with a walk-through on everything on offer and my thoughts after implementing the chat on one of my websites.
So if you are ready, let’s jump in.
Who are JivoChat?
JivoChat was started in January 2012 as an affordable, reliable, and easy-to-use provider of Live Chat services. This customer service software was developed initially for the English, Russian, Portuguese, and Spanish markets; and it was thus developed to have a multilingual widget.
Later, the language support pack for the widget was expanded to include Turkish, German, Dutch, and Indonesian languages. Currently, JivoChat is used in over 278,400 websites that serve people in different nations spread across all the continents.
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JivoChat is a multilingual business messenger platform that allows a business to connect and interact with its customers. This makes it an online customer service software.
As a platform, it comes bundled with an online live chat software, web analytics, and callback feature that is seamlessly integrated with a VoIP PBX software. VoIP PBX and its usefulness are explained later.
The platform is deployed using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, and it is developed, deployed, and maintained by the Delaware-based JivoSite, Incorporated.
This SaaS software is provided through 2 service plans, and the person or company that uses any of these plans is called the subscriber. The subscriber is provided with thin client software that can be appended to a website. This thin client connects to the JivoChat software that is hosted in remote servers run by JivoSite.
The thin client is the app that is installed in the computers and smartphones of the customer support staff who are going to use JivoChat. Currently, there are different thin clients to be installed in Windows OS, MacOS, Linux OS, iPhone, Android smartphone, and the website.
The advantage of hosting the main software in a company-managed remote server is that the JivoChat engine can be updated by the company and all the subscribers will immediately benefit from using an updated software backend, even though this may require them to individually update their thin clients.
Additionally, any newly created app in the backend engine can be connected to the client.
This client-server model impacts integration of the thin client with third-party apps and plugins, because each of these third-party programs must be compatible with the backend software.
All connections between third-party apps and the backend software are mediated via an application programming interface (API). These third-party programs are collectively described as add-ons, and they serve to extend the functionality of JivoChat.
JivoChat – Main Services
The JivoChat comes with the following 2 main elements:
This is an applet that can be embedded in a website where it serves to display the chat window. This on-demand chat window is what allows a customer to contact the support staff. For this reason, this widget is called the chat or livechat application because it is what the customer sees and uses.
This is the thin client software that the customer support staff installs on their computer or smartphone, and it connects to the chat application in the website, thus allowing for the support staff to interact with the customer.
This is a password-protected SaaS program that requires each user (i.e the customer support staff) to be authenticated and authorized to use the app.
This authorized employee is called an agent. This app supports point-to-multipoint (P2MP) which means that one agent using the app can communicate with 2 or more customers (who are using the chat widget).
The agent application of JivoChat comes with a clean user interface that features tools for classifying types of customer queries, setting canned responses, showing keyboard shortcuts, and typing indicator that notifies the support staff that the customer is typing a message.
JivoChat supports 2 types of communication: passive communication which is initiated by the customer using the chat application, and active communication which is initiated by the agent.
At times, the website webmaster can set the agent application to initiate communication with the customer if the customer clicks on the livechat application, or spends a specified duration on a webpage, or searches for a specific term in the search form.
This communication is initiated by relaying an automated greeting message that invites the customer to start chatting with the customer service department.
My thoughts on JivoChat
The fact the widget integrates well with content management systems such as Wix and WordPress is a top feature for me and extremely important.
A number of my sites work via WordPress so having a service that fits seamlessly with this, was a priority.
Its lightweight scripts of code allow the LiveChat SaaS to load quickly on the website. Additionally, it is very easy to install the widget into the website via the dashboard.
You can also customize the font, label, and color scheme of the widget; as well as widget alignment and position in the webpage. This is one of the reasons why JivoChat is so versatile and means you can tweak it to fit your branding with ease.
Customization is supported by live preview that allows one to see the changes made to the chat widget.
Here are some of the other reasons I was satisfied with the JivoChat service.
The number of quality integrations provided to expand the use of JivoChat are a big bonus for me. These include:
JivoChat can be integrated with Facebook Messenger, and this allows for the agent to immediately access the Facebook inbox of the website’s Facebook page.
Therefore, if a customer sends a message using Facebook’s direct message platform, then the agent can receive this message in the agent application.
This allows the agent to initiate an active communication by directly calling the number provided by a customer. As mentioned earlier, JivoChat’s PBX software supports call scheduling, and this allows the customer and agent to plan when to have a phone conversation.
JivoChat is a multilingual platform that should be able to allow an agent to communicate with customers who speak different languages, and for this reason, the chat translator is provided as a default integration.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
JivoChat comes with CRM tools that allow the subscriber to monitor and analyze how agents are interacting with customers. It also allows one to track when the agents are online, and how often they respond to queries of customers.
Canned and Suggested Replies
JivoChat allows the user to create a reply for a commonly asked query. This reply is called a canned response, or canned reply because it can be automatically set as the first answer to be displayed on the chat widget if a customer asks a specific query.
JivoChat also allows one to create suggested replies. When the agent is trying to answer a customer query, the agent application can suggest an article in the knowledge base where the agent can find the answer to the customer query, and this helps the agent to more accurately reply to the customer.
JivoChat backend software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to find an article that best matches the question being asked.
A suggested reply also called an AI suggestion, is the proposal for an agent to find the answer to a query in a specific article.
Block and Concealment
The subscriber can set the widget to be concealed when there are no customer service personnel to answer queries. It also allows one to ban unwanted users, and block messages that contain certain offensive words.
This LiveChat allows one to set an email channel that forwards chats to a specific email address. JivoChat provides its own proprietary email server where its subscribers can create their own customized email inbox using the jivo-mail.com server, e.g firstname.lastname@example.org, where chats can be forwarded to.
JivoChat allows the subscriber to track what visitors are viewing in the website.
This app allows for chat history to be stored in the cloud.
JivoChat also provides a consent form that requires the visitor to the website to acquiesce to the processing of his/her personal information by the website. This allows the website to be GDPR Compliant.
With regards to the end-user experience, it does not require the customer to fill in details in a pre-Chat form before (s)he can start a chat.
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A Look at the Agent Console: Using JivoChat
This is the user dashboard that the agent accesses after logging into the agent application using his/her credentials. As mentioned earlier, this console has a clean UI, though it does not have a consistent UI.
Still, the panel layout is pretty standard, and one can easily identify why it has 3 columns: the left column is a list of chat messages sent by customers, the middle column contains the message that the agent is currently handling, and the right column has the contextual information.
Collaboration Tools for the Team Department
JivoChat allows the subscriber to use create customer service team using the Department feature. This feature allows the subscriber to organize the agents who are going to use the thin clients into groups, with each group being described as a team.
Each team can be assigned a trigger chat, which allows a customer request to be routed to the appropriate department, e.g the triggered chat enables a customer with a query about billing to be routed to chat with the billing department (and not the maintenance department) of a company.
This pairing of a trigger chat to a specific team is what creates a department in the JivoChat profile.
The trigger chat can also be a location so that customers in a specific location are answered by customer service department assigned to that location, or located there. The trigger chat is what creates a proactive chat in the app.
JivoChat provides phone and 24/7 live support to its subscribers. Nonetheless, an agent may not be immediately available, and one needs to wait for them, or hang up and try again after a few minutes.
Regarding how to use the SaaS suite, JivoChat provides webinars and a number of in-person training lectures.
There is also a knowledge base that contains articles that help the agent to learn how to better use the agent application. It also allows one to learn how to configure the chat application in the website so that it can connect well with the agent application.
To optimize the security of its apps, JivoSite offers a bug bounty program that allows security researchers to be rewarded for identifying vulnerabilities in any of the JivoChat thin clients, or core software.
There are 2 service plans, the basic free plan and the paid professional plan.
Basic Plan = FREE
This is a free service plan that can be used by up to 5 agents. It gives the subscriber access to the chat application and the agent application that can be installed on a desktop computer or smartphone.
This plan allows for use of JivoChat in unlimited websites for making an unlimited number of chats, and the subscriber even benefits from 24/7 customer support.
The plan also supports team chats and can store up to 2 months of chat history. Additionally, one can set the multilingual chat platform to support different languages. Moreover, this plan comes with basic CRM functions.
Professional Plan = $19 per month (annual billing)
The paid plan is billed per agent per month and comes with a 14-day free trial.
As expected, it comes with all the features of the basic plan, along with some premium features that include storage of unlimited chat history, support for chat transfer between two agents, support for setting canned responses, and the ability to monitor visitors to the website in real time.
This real-time visitor monitoring feature provides information about where the visitor is located based on IP address and the referral link that directed the visitor to the website.
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