Chat Engagement: What It Is, How to Measure It, and How to Increase It

6 min read

So you’ve successfully launched an in-app chat feature on your platform.

Frank L.
Frank L.
Published March 15, 2023
Empty chat text box

Now you just sit back, relax, and watch as conversions rise and chat engagement goes up! 

Just kidding. We all know it's not that simple. To increase chat engagement and impact your bottom line, you need to leverage the right chat techniques. Whether you use in-app chat for customer support or as a way for users to connect with one another, certain live chat features can improve engagement and propel your business forward.

In this article, we'll dive into the ins and outs of what chat engagement is, how to measure it, and how to increase it. 

What Is Chat Engagement? 

Chat engagement is when a user or customer interacts and engages with your platform's chat feature. Engagement is often part of an overall customer engagement strategy. Depending on your product or service objectives, there are different types and levels of engagement to aim for. 

If you use chat to provide customer support, chat engagement is when conversations occur between support agents and customers. If you use chat to provide a space for users to communicate, chat interactions can help build a community between users such as in gaming or virtual events

Why Is Engagement Important? 

Chat engagement is important for two interrelated aspects of your business: customer satisfaction and sales. Chat is one of the top ways that consumers prefer to engage with companies and their support teams. By providing an effective chat service for your customers, you increase the likelihood of their engagement and, therefore, the chances of higher satisfaction with your support service.

From a sales perspective, offering a live chat option also makes prospects more likely to become customers. When your customers can quickly get their questions answered or find what they're looking for, you're more likely to see conversions or sales.

User-to-user engagement is important to help foster community and knowledge sharing. Real-time chat allows these users to forge interpersonal relationships online. When positive interactions occur through chat engagement, it helps build a stronger community.

If your platform generates trust and connection between users or between your company and a customer, you increase the likelihood of frequent interaction and higher levels of customer and user loyalty. 

How To Measure Chat Engagement

To determine if your customer engagement efforts are effective, you need to first set measurable metrics that align with your company goals. For example, if your goal is to increase sales or improve customer service, the metrics you choose might be different than if your goal is to build a community. Once you have outlined these differences, you can track and analyze your performance and make adjustments to improve your engagement tactics. 

Examples of metrics and KPIs to track include: 

  • Total number of chats per user/customer: Gives you insight into chat app and product user-friendliness. Repeated engagement may indicate that your customer trusts that it will be a helpful tool based on past chat experience. 
  • Website visitor-to-chat ratios: Measuring how many web page visitors per month vs. how many chats are initiated by those visitors can determine whether you need to improve your engagement strategies. 
  • Average resolution time (ART): In customer support chats, too high of a number might indicate that customers are waiting too long for responses or that their issues are not resolved in a timely manner. 
  • Chat to conversion rate: Indicates how often a chat conversation leads to a new customer. 
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): CSATs are collected through a post--customer support survey. Typically it asks the customer to rate their satisfaction level on a scale of one (very bad) to five (excellent). 
  • Content of the chat conversation: Analyzing the content itself can reveal how customer service agents are performing, how the app itself can be improved, and which interactions lead to conversions, retention, or churn. Pro tip: Create and use tags based on categories and frequently asked questions to keep track of common queries. 

Techniques and Features To Increase Chat Engagement 

There are many effective techniques and features you can implement to increase engagement in the chat. We'll get into specific ideas below, but before we do, here are a few general tips to keep in mind:

  • Your chat function should be visible or easily accessible at all times. 
  • Keep notifications and pop-ups to a minimum so as not to make the chat feature a source of annoyance. 
  • Automate chat functions when possible to make your chat app more efficient. 
  • Personalize interactions and chat features to create a top-notch customer experience. 
  • Use a staffing prediction tool, such as Workforce's labor forecasting software, to make sure you have enough live chat agents during peak hours. 
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Use Chatbots 

Leveraging AI through chatbots can help you increase efficiency, reduce the workload of your support team, and improve user engagement. Chatbots allow you to provide 24/7 live chat support to your users. Through conversational UI, chatbots automate repetitive agent tasks while handling an infinite number of personalized customer interactions. 

Upon first chat engagement, make sure your customer is immediately aware they are chatting with a bot and not a person. In some cases, the chatbot might be able to direct the user to a solution quickly. However, if not, the chatbot should offer the option to connect with a live chat agent or contact center rep through a chat routing function. 

Make It Accessible 

Another element that adds convenience and accessibility to your app is AI-based voice recognition technology. This feature can increase user engagement of chat for those who either need or prefer using accessibility options like text-to-speech messaging. 

Implement Proactive Engagement 

With a proactive approach, you don't need to wait for customers or users to initiate a chat. Instead, you can monitor their behavior in real time and automate personalized chat messages. For example, on an ecommerce platform, the retailer can monitor site visits to track interest in certain products. If the customer has recently purchased a product, the retailer can create a custom chat message that attempts to upsell the customer on a related product. 

Reaching out to inactive users via live chat is another way to increase chat engagement and improve sales. If you notice that a user is stuck, an instant message offering assistance can prevent them from looking elsewhere to meet their needs. 

Foster a Safe Community 

Another way to increase engagement is by developing a safe in-app chat that fosters connection and builds a stronger community. For example, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America implemented an in-app chat on its MyFuture platform, encouraging the kids to interact with one another. Through Stream Chat's auto moderation feature, you can leverage AI to help content moderators keep conversations safe and appropriate

You can also improve the chat experience by making it more appealing and fun to use by enabling emoji reactions, GIFs, and stickers. For users, these features are a familiar and fun way to convey their personality. For sales reps and customer service agents, they're a way to show off your brand's personality and build brand loyalty and trust. 

Enable Smart Replies 

Another great way to leverage AI is through smart replies. A smart reply, sometimes also known as predictive text, is a suggested reply for the user that is generated based on the context of a chat conversation. Common smart replies include, "Thanks, you too!" "Sounds good," and "I'll look into it." A smart reply adds an element of convenience for the user, as it reduces the time and effort required to respond to a message. 

Grab Attention 

To improve engagement, grab your user's attention with eye-catching features like personalized push notifications. For example, the relationship app Paired increases engagement by notifying a user when it's their turn to respond to a message or take part in a daily quiz with their partner.

From a sales perspective, your chatbot can target new customers with automated chat greetings. You can also automate announcements using templates about new product features. Depending on your brand voice, you might make it fun by sending a GIF, a joke, or another entertaining form of content to really grab their attention. 

However, it should always be obvious how to both open and close a chat window. Use clear pictures or graphics that make it easily known a support bot or agent is online and ready to assist, but don't force it on your users. We've all experienced the urge to immediately close a chat pop-up window upon entering a site. Make sure you practice good pop-up etiquette and don't bombard customers. For example, pop-ups geared toward new visitors should provide valuable newcomer tips rather than advertise unrelated pricing information.

Chat Goes Both Ways — Use It To Get User Feedback

Customer and user feedback is valuable to any business that wants to improve its product or service. The same goes for chat engagement. Requesting feedback after a chat session has concluded will give you actionable insight into what can be improved about your product/service, how the agent performed, or if the ability to chat was helpful in getting them what they needed. 

The feedback you receive will help you determine if you need to add additional functionality to your product, update your website FAQs, or upskill your customer service agents. Whatever the case might be, your level of chat engagement can be the determining factor that drives more sales and improves your business.

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