Community chat

A community chat is an instant messaging service integrated into a website, enabling users to communicate with each other.

Forums have long been places for exchange between groups of website users. Today, they’re increasingly taking the form of a chat to meet web users' need for immediacy.

However, community chats are based on the same principle of putting ordinary users in touch with other "ambassador" users. These "ambassadors" help by answering questions about site use, a product, or service offered by the brand, etc.

The major difference between a group forum and a community chat also lies in the speed with which users' questions are answered. With instant messaging, responses will generally be much faster than with a forum, which can prevent missing out on a sale on an ecommerce site, for example.

Community chats are also available on social networks, such as on the Facebook Messenger app.

In an e-marketing context, community chat can be seen as a form of click to chat. Here, the people answering users' queries are other users, but this solution doesn’t preclude the integration of a classic click-to-chat option to enable contact with an advisor.

A genuine customer relations tool, community chat can meet a number of different objectives:

  • Create an engaged customer community around the brand
  • Benefit from a genuine user support service
  • Reinforce user confidence to encourage transformation

For a community chat to bear fruit, however, it must be integrated into a genuine customer experience management strategy. To achieve this, "volunteer advisors" need to be identified and "trained" in the brand's values.

However, it's not a question of selecting them. Volunteer advisors are generally the most active users, and they should retain their freedom of speech. To ensure that they provide quality responses to other users, however, it's important to supervise them and monitor their chat activity, without forgetting to take their suggestions into account.

Community chats are therefore important customer relations tools on which companies can rely.

By offering consumers the chance to chat with visitors, brands can lend credibility to the answers they provide. Consumers trust other users more than advisors or salespeople, so the brand increases its chances of making a sale.

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