Customer Support Gets Personal With Facebook Connection

LiveChat's support service Facebook integration provides service reps with a customer's name, email, and a snapshot of their identity.
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The live support service LiveChat is using Facebook integration to speed and personalize connections with customers. "With just one click, you can tell the online representative who you are," CEO Mariusz Cieply said in an interview.

A website visitor who initiates a chat session will be presented with a Connect with Facebook button that the user can click to sign in using his or her Facebook credentials, including access to basic profile details and the user's email address. Those who decline to take advantage of this option can sign in the old fashioned way, by entering their name and email address into a form. But the Facebook method is faster and has the advantage of allowing the customer service representative to see the person's face and click through to their Facebook profile.

On return visits, the business can also "invite that person to chat in a much more personal way," Cieply said.

Based in Poland, but with most of its customers in the U.S., LiveChat serve some large organizations including the Linens and Things, ING, and the Better Business Bureau, but also caters to small businesses that want to offer more personal support through their websites. Chat is a common feature of many customer service suites and some other real-time support specialists such as LivePerson, but LiveChat has carved out a niche with a cloud service and an emphasis on integration with other products and services. LiveChat also integrates with Zendesk and LogMeIn Rescue, a remote access tool for PC troubleshooting, as well as e-commerce products like Magento, and customer relationship management products including, SugarCRM, and Highrise. It offers plugins for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

The Facebook integration takes advantage of Facebook authentication to sign into the service and grant the application access to the user's profile. Because access is granted to the LiveChat application, rather than the individual website that has embedded the app, the application can then recognize the user on any other website that uses the LiveChat service. That could be particularly useful for businesses that operate a network of related websites.

The Facebook integration feature was added late last month, for no additional charge. LiveChat accounts start at $36 per month for a single operator console and scale up with discounts for larger installations; for example, it costs $249 monthly for 10 operators.

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