Live Chat – What’s the Sweet Spot?

Live Chat – What’s the Sweet Spot?

The sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort. We often hear the word sweet spot in regards to sports. A baseball player hits the sweet spot on the bat, you hear the “crack” of the bat, and a home run is scored. A basketball player hits the sweet spot of the hoop from downtown, you hear nothing but the “swish” of the net, and 3 points are scored. But what is the sweet spot when we’re talking about live chat as a lead nurturing tool for prospective students?

Live Chat is an online customer service software. The majority of online retailers use it to offer assistance to customers in hopes that it will result in a sale or better the customer’s overall experience on their website.  Anyone who has shopped on a major retailer’s website has seen the “Do you want to Chat?” box pop up when they are browsing.  Were you glad this happened?  Or did it annoy you and disrupt your shopping experience?

For higher education institutions, the goal of live chat is to improve prospective students experience with your school/program by providing online help.  You don’t want to annoy prospective students, so it’s critical that they have a positive online experience and this includes live chat.  So how can you do this?

Creating a solid foundation for live chat is critical, and it starts here.

Live chat button

  • Location-location-location – They say it about real estate but it’s true for your live chat too!  Locate it so prospective students can easily find it when browsing your website. Sounds simple, but many institutions fail at this.  Don’t frustrate your prospects by making them hunt for your live chat button.
  • Only visible when available – It’s magic!  When your team is logged in and ready to chat, it appears.  When you team is not logged in, it disappears.  Don’t frustrate your prospective students by allowing them to click for a live chat only to find that no one is available to chat with them.

Live chat pop  

  • Yes or no? – Do you want your prospective students to receive a pop-up-box that invites them to ask a question?  This is something that should be thought about and discussed internally at each school.  This can be a proactive way to offer help, or sometimes, it can feel obtrusive.  What’s in line with your brand and marketing goals?
  • Timing is everything – If you decide to have a pop up box for live chat, you need to time it correctly.  If it pops too soon then you’re not giving your website a chance to answer questions for your prospective students.  If it pops too late then they may already be frustrated or left your website completely.  The goal is to engage prospective students when the conversation will be the most productive.


  • Education is the key to success – I’m sure we’ve all hear this before, but it’s true.  Ensure your live chat team is educated and comfortable with the programs and services being offered.  There is nothing worse than asking a question and the person on the other end doesn’t know the answer or doesn’t know where to direct you.

A solid foundation is critical for the structure of a home.  We don’t want to spend time, materials, and money to build a beautiful home just to watch is crumble to the ground.  I believe a solid foundation is critical for the success of live chat on any higher education institution’s website.  Spend your time and money wisely by thoughtfully building a solid foundation – both you and your prospective students will reap the benefits.


How I lived, saw or experienced one of MindMax’s values this month.

Get Results – Learn Always – Align to Mission – Build Meaningful Relationships – Ask for Help.

Align to Mission

Last month we started live chat for a new school.  In order to provide a positive online experience for their prospective students, it was essential that my team and I aligned to the school’s mission.  We want to make sure we’re representing them the same way they would represent themselves.  The key to this communication – both before, and after, live chat is launched.  Prior to going live, we met with the school to learn about the courses we would be chatting about so we could provide accurate information to prospective students.  After going live, we continued to meet with the school to review both the accuracy and tone of our chats.  This ongoing communication with our partners ensures that we positively reflect the school’s brand.