Provide Support Review
Provide Support began its service in the year 2003. Using their live chat application, you can converse with your website visitors. The company offers a web-based as well as offline operator consoles, and we will provide you with a detailed review covering features of both the platforms.
- A huge Chat Icon Gallery which can be accessed from the web account having text on icons in twenty different languages.
- The application even allows a user to adjust the dimensions of the chat box as well as the chat button.
- It collects a lot of information about visitors which can be used for analytics.
- It provides an operator with the option to block selective IP addresses.
- You can choose the messenger type: classic popup chat messenger or a modern embedded chat messenger.
- Agents can only log in to the web console, and for logging into web account, they need to use the same password which is used by the admin.
- You can’t check the total time that the operator spent online.
- The user interface of the web account is somewhat complicated as the same menu options are added twice which is unnecessary.
Considering all the possible ways by which users and potential customers can engage with your company, live chat can the stated as one of the best.
However, amongst all the live chat service providers, there are very few which offers secure, reliable, and manageable applications.
Here, we aim to bring those products in front of you by providing completely unbiased reviews based on intense research and learning.
How engaging the live chat is, depends on several aspects. Out of all the aspects, some depends upon the functionality of the live chat widget attached, and others are controlled by the user.
Courtesy, politeness, and informativeness, can’t come along with the service you provide as it doesn’t provide the human resource but only the interface.
The interface or the medium of interaction should have enough customization options, must house techniques to avoid mismanagement, have attributes to reduce the time expenditure on every visitor, etc.
For finding out whether you can experience these options while using Provide Support or not, you can scroll down and go through each section. These sections are filled with an ample amount of information enough to take a decision regarding the product.
The web account main screen
As soon as you create the account, you will be able to log in to the web account. The free trial is available for fourteen days which doesn’t even require credit card details. After you enter the account, clicking on the Account Home will open the dashboard.
As you can see in the image, there are vertical as well as horizontal menu options. Horizontally, two menu bars are added. Out of these two, the upper menu bar lets you browse the website, and the lower bar is present to switch between different tabs present on the account.
The vertical menu bar has the same options with the difference that they are presented with thumbnails. The only difference is the “how to start” option on the top only existing on the horizontal menu.
The point we want to highlight here is the placement of three menu bars on a single dashboard. This may not look like a problem, but it can make the interface confusing for a new user.
It is suggested to have a single dashboard menu instead of adding two as they hold the same titles. This would make the reach to a feature more accessible and less puzzling.
As the dashboard is the central point of the whole account, it must hold every important information. What we found here are the download links for desktop and mobile clients, and links to various codes. Billing information, account highlights, and customization options are also added.
However, what would you wish to check first after you open the account? I guess, there is no point of showing download links after you once download them.
Instead of that, we would prefer an interface that shows us data about the visitors and operators. As an admin, it is required to brief yourself about the activities of your agents. You also need to check visitors, and how they have rated the agents and are they still having the issue.
That would be a useful addition to the dashboard which would aid in the user engagement.
Creating departments and adding operators
As Provide Support charges according to the number of operators you add, you must not want to add them in a huge number.
Although let’s consider a situation where there is a need for taking operators onboard in bulk. Such a situation can be hectic when you get the job of adding them one by one.
To lower down the burden, you get the option to add multiple operators within one go- by uploading the CSV file. From the “Operators and Departments” window, you can download the sample CSV file, and upload it after adding every operator’s data.
However, when there are less operators, you can choose to add them one by one by clicking on “Create New Operator.”
The new operator profile window will open where you need to enter the information about the agent. It is not required to fill all the blanks but only the ones which are start marked.
After you add all the information, you can assign him a department or multiple departments. You can choose to send his chat transcripts to the entered email automatically.
Adding him will allow you to perform certain actions such as moving an operator above or below the other operators, editing his profile, and removing him.
Similar actions are available for departments as well. For introducing a new department, you only need to place a title as other details are not compulsory. The added department is required to be assigned to any of the operators.
However, when we examined the screen carefully, we found multiple options missing. Do you think it would be fine to provide everyone, the same access level?
The dashboard, the operator window, and (the settings which we are going to discuss next) can only be approached using the same password. For the web account, there are no multiple login options. The operators can only log in to the operator consoles which can only be used for conversations.
Thus, if you want to provide someone admin access or allow him to have complete control of the application, you need to share a common password with him.
Also, there is always a requirement for multiple access levels. For instance, you need to provide someone access to settings, but not the operator list or vice versa, then that won’t be possible.
You don’t get options to track the time that an operator spent online. There is no possibility to check the start and end time also. Thus, even if they are away or not attentive to the customers, it may seem tough to detect that. Such shortcomings in the application’s structure can cause issues when you need to evaluate an agent. However, it can also be evaluated using the post-survey options where a visitor gets the opportunity to rate the support executive.
Next, we will be moving to the web-based operator console which is the operator-side interface for a conversation with the visitor.
Web-based Operator Console
There is a separate login for this interface as its work is completely different from the web account. The web account is for adding and managing the operator and department list, and to make changes in the settings based on requirements.
You can find its link through the dashboard or the operator window or ask the Provide support’s agent to send you the link. However, we were unable to find it on the website.
Firstly, let us brief you about the interface. The console has left panel which shows the name of the person with whom you are engaged. The panel is also used to show the new chat requests and to switch between the chats. On the right side, there is a chat window and an input area where you type the message.
Below that, you will find two tabs denoted as Operators and Visitors. Whatever Information is provided here remains visible to all the operators irrespective of the access to the web account.
As you can see, the operators sections provide the basic details about an agent and has a call invite option. Whenever you select this option, it will automatically open a room where you and the invited agent can chat. However, it will not affect other chat rooms where the chat is going on.
Whenever a visitor sends a message, it appears on the left panel, and you get a notification too. You have the option to accept or deny the chat. Although we clicked on the deny button, the notification ring did not stop which could be annoying. On the left panel, the option to accept the call kept appearing.
When you select the deny option, it sends an automated message to the customers that all operators are busy at the moment. In case, even after receiving the message, he keeps the chat box open, you can accept the chat afterwards.
Under the visitors tab, you get the information about your customer. The visitors tab present on the web console provides limited information in comparison to the local client. Thus, it is always better to refer local client when you need the information about the visitors.
Also, when you are using the online console, the information never gets saved. It will be deleted as soon as you refresh or close the webpage. However, the downloaded client keeps the data forever. Even after you log out and log in again, it remains saved.
The web account doesn’t show the details of the host, ISP, OS, and user agent. This data can be considered necessary for analytical purpose.
The local account also has a geolocation tab. You can check the location of all the visitors through the map. It helps to provide an admin with a better idea from which country they are getting more engagement.
Customization and inbuilt gallery
In the account settings, you will find several submenus which will let you edit each and every element related to the live chat.
The interface, i.e., the chat box through which the user reaches you matters a lot. Better appearance may attract a larger number of customers to engage with your agents.
Thus, customization features can be considered as indirect lead generation tools. The attributes also help in the branding and marketing of the service or product; the color you denote to chat box, the image you use, etc., all acts as promotional tools.
There are three predefined messenger themes which you can access through the Visitor Chat Messenger window. These themes are available in various shades amongst which you can select the one suitable to your business or branding.
You can even adjust the dimensions and position of your chat box. You are even allowed to alter the minute elements such as turning on the notification for visitors when an operator is typing.
However, there a few more additions which we would like to see included on the web account. Comparing it with MyLiveChat, we can conclude that appearance could be improved more.
For instance, if you want to add gradient shade instead of solid shade, that would not be possible using Provide Support. It was just an example, and similar to this option, MyLiveChat provides more advantages. Provide Support needs to add effects for header and footer, allow a person to edit the color and appearance of text boxes individually, add font-related features, and much more.
Form and content editing options
The windows which appear before and after the conversation holds high importance. Before you initiate a conversation with a user, you may need some information related to him. It is one of the ways by which a website gathers the user details.
After the chat ends, you may need to place a survey by which the customer rate the person. That’s also necessary as it is one of the best ways to know about the performance of agents.
During the chat as well, there are predefined texts which automatically appears whenever the visitor opens the chat window. Thus, whatever you add as predefined messages must be appropriate as the consumer interacts with the text first and then with the executive.
Here you get enough option related to start chat form fields and for post surveys. In case of pre-chat forms, you can select from thirteen different types of field types.
For post chat surveys, you need to download the predefined zip file, customize it, and upload it back according to your need.
Settings to enhance the user experience
Even though we have discussed about multiple features related to customization and creating forms, there are many more which handles the behavior of the application.
Some settings guide how to chat box should be presented. The correct usage of these settings would help to enhance the user experience.
You can choose the email address on which the person can send the email in case the agents are offline. The email can be altered as many times as you want. However, if you do not wish the chat box to appear offline at any time of the day, you can choose to keep it online all the time.
But it is not suitable to keep the messenger online when you do not provide 24/7 support. Rather than that, you can redirect the user to another page when he finds the chat offline.
This “another page” could be the help page of your website, contact form, or ticket generation window. It is really helpful when you need to attend users every hour of the day.
The content is added on every section of the messenger: header text, welcome message, department welcome message, closing message, text indicating no operator is available, etc.
The application has prewritten statements to fill these content requirements. In many cases, it is not possible to edit whatever the application adds, but it is not the same when Provide Support is considered.
You can edit each system generated a message from the “system messages” window. Now, this would be in your mind how to it will help to enhance the UX?
The user experience with live chat depends upon the interaction. When the visitor is going to interact with the software rather than a human, the messages should be selected perfectly fitting to the situation.
Perhaps, the predefined ones are found to be suitable. However, in case you want to be more courteous or brand your product through a tagline or use a special way of addressing user, this feature gives you that opportunity.
In case, you have a higher number of Spanish speaking users, then it would be better to keep the chat box language as Spanish. But then what about the users of other languages?
The application provides us with 20+ language options for the messenger’s content. But you can only select one out of all the languages.
Selecting a particular language may cause a negative effect, and you may also lose a lead if the potential buyer doesn’t speak the selected language.
In this case, the application must show the messenger’s language according to the geolocation, i.e., Spanish for people located in Spain, the same for the French, and so on.
This will significantly improve the engagement as the visitor will be able to contact in his native language.
In the same section, you can also choose the time zone whose time stamp will appear in the chat. There is the provision of selecting the encoding language too. This could be helpful when you need to translate transcripts generated in different languages into one single language.
There are a few other settings also such as turning on SSL connection while transferring the data, selecting the call transfer strategy, etc.
You will also come across privacy-related features (adding personal data processing consent form, removing personal data, etc.). However, we are on the edge of discussion here as we have covered nearly all the important settings present on the web account.
One important aspect still left for discussion is the downloadable console which is the next in the queue.
Desktop console dashboard
The desktop console has better usability than the online console. The desktop console will provide you with menu options which are absent in the online console.
When you compare both the consoles, you will find desktop console is more informative. In addition to the details provided by the online console, it also delivers you with the geolocation of the visitor. You can also get the details about the chat rooms and events.
If we talk about the working of the application, it is somewhat similar to the online console. You need to accept or reject the visitor who appears on the left panel. All the ongoing chats will appear on the same panel.
To switch between the chats, you need to click one to open it. After that, the complete chat appears on the right side.
On the top, you can see a menu bar which has four different tabs. From the file tab, you can set the online status. It only has two options whereas MyLiveChat offers four.
From the tools option, you can choose to use the canned responses; the best way to give fast replies which saves time. There is a file transfer manager too.
The settings can be discovered through the tools menu by clicking on the Options tab or from the toolbar present below these tabs. We will discuss the settings in detail under the next section. Other than that, the client provides the option to create a report or directly go to the payment window.
Advanced client settings
As we have already told you the client has better functionality, it is obvious that it has more settings than the web console. Without settings, it would become tough to make changes. Every time, whenever you need to alter a feature, you have to switch to web account from the web console. Thus, with no doubt, it is better to use a desktop console in Provide Support’s case.
As you can check the above image, you will know that the settings are divided into twelve different sections. Because there is a huge number of settings, we can’t give you an idea about the efficiency of each and every feature. However, we will aware you about what the settings contain and what it lacks.
There are general settings which has behavioral features such as auto-start and minimizing features. Proxy settings are provided under the connection tab which let you add a custom proxy server by adding a proxy address, username, and password. These features are generally found in most of the application.
However, their spell checker is an exclusive addition where an agent can choose amongst multiple languages, and the checker works for all of them. You can also select what kind of mistakes it should detect, and what it should neglect. There is a split word suggestion feature too.
The other tabs: operator, visitor, geo-location, and co-browser, let an operator select what all details he wishes to remain visible on the dashboard. For instance, if you do not want the IP address to appear on the screen under the visitors tab, you can uncheck it.
You can also change the console language to German, Russian and Chinese where the by default language is English. Overall, it has an appreciable number of features rendering good user control.
The application’s exclusivity lies in its data collection features. It collects as much information as possible about the visitor which can be used to determine the nature of consumers contacting the company.
The user interface of the web account is slightly old-fashioned due to its rigid design. Adding the same menu twice has made it a little complicated as well. Thus, this can be improved.
However, priority should also be given to adding agent management and agent tracking features. The admin must be able to track how much work and what quality of chat their agents are doing.
Besides this, their efforts of making it easier for the admin and agents to conduct chats are visible in the desktop console.
We have already discussed the number of setting which are included in it. The possibility of using canned responses renders better engagement as the agent will be able to reply faster. You can even send the responses in multiple languages.
Overall, if they work on their operator tracking features, and add access levels, the application’s functionality will be improved to a very great extent making it better than many other live chat services.