Chatting Rooms

Chatting Rooms, more commonly known as chat rooms, are virtual places where people meet online to talk to each other with text, audio and video. Chat rooms have been very popular since the early days of the internet and their popularity has not faded over time.

People of all walks of life enjoy using chatting rooms to talk, joke, share their experiences, exchange ideas, thoughts or simply get to know each other. Chat rooms are like interactive message boards where you post a message and get responses right away. Additionally, chatting rooms typically come with private messaging features which allow chatters to take a public conversation with one individual into a private area.

The invention of webcams certainly had a great impact on chatting habits. While in the early days chat meant exchanging text messages, now chatting is a multimedia experience where chatters exchange not only text but also audio and video. You can use a microphone to have a voice conversation with other chatters and you can use a webcam to have a video chat as well. In fact some people don’t even bother typing they simply talk and broadcast themselves with their webcams; they have video conferences instead of simple text-chatting sessions.

Some of the most popular chatting rooms are offered by major Internet companies such as Yahoo and America Online. Yahoo Chat used to be the most popular chatting place of a large number of internet chatters. Unfortunately because of its success it was also a preferred target of spammers and bot creators.- Bots are computer programs that are used to spam chat rooms, they usually use female screen names to entice male users to click on links to adult sites. -Yahoo chat rooms were also used by pedophiles, like many free chat rooms available on the web. Nowadays, many restrictions have been added to Yahoo chat to prevent abuses by spammers and sex predators. AIM chat rooms are also available and are still quite a bit popular especially among people living in America. Google also offers chat rooms, in a 3D environment, with Lively. The Google Lively rooms can be added to other sites and people visiting those sites can enter the rooms and chat. Social networking sites also allow their users to join chat rooms. Myspace has chat rooms available to users who are logged in where they can chat with other Myspace users online and present in the rooms. Some ‘older’ sites such as ICQ also have chat rooms though they are not as popular as they used to be when there were fewer other chatting rooms to compete with.

Of course major internet companies are not the only ones to offer free chat rooms, in fact you’ll find chatting rooms available on many less known sites. The difference with major chat rooms and non-major chat rooms is of course the number of users you’ll find. Typically Yahoo chat rooms and AIM chat rooms will always have many users present and chatting. Google Lively is a more recent site therefore it has yet to gain the momentum chat giants such as Yahoo has.

Some chat rooms like the Yahoo chat rooms require that the user not only join Yahoo but also install a piece of software on his/her computer. Other chat rooms such as AIM chat rooms do require user registration but are completely web-based and don’t require any software download. There are also chat rooms that don’t require any form of registration at all, the user simply chooses a nickname and enters the chat room.

While many chat rooms are available for free and accessible to anybody who meet the required criteria to enter the rooms- like age restriction or site membership – others are only accessible when the user pays a fee. Indeed there are paid chat rooms as well. Usually paid chat rooms are moderated chat rooms which are dedicated to a restricted group of individuals. Very often you will find paid chat rooms on dating sites. Some paid chat rooms are offered as part of a membership package for a paid site. Sometimes those paid chat rooms will also allow limited access to non-paying members.

Nowadays anybody can create his/her own free chat rooms simply by adding a few lines of codes on his webpage. Many people add chat rooms on their profiles on social networking sites or on their blogs. Those chat rooms allow anybody who visits a web page to chat with the owner of the page if he/she’s online or with anybody else visiting the page at that time.

Internet chatting rooms still have many glorious years ahead of them while they will certainly evolve with technology and web surfing habits they will still remain popular as internet users are continuously looking for quality chat rooms to join.

3 Ways to Create a Personalized Experience With Live Chat

Remember those days in the late nineteen nineties when the Internet was in its infancy, websites took a century to load, and the only way you could deliver top flight customer service was either through a Hotmail email account or on the phone? We have surely come a long way in the past two decades not only in the realm of customer service in general but also in the broader context of an all-encompassing Internet presence in particular. Live chat has, for instance, seamlessly transitioned from Yahoo chat rooms to millions of customer centric websites where it is regarded as the front runner among all the major customer service channels. Here are three ways in which you can leverage the power and potential of live chat software to personally connect with your customer communities not just only during the live chat session but for many years to come based on a sustainable relationship which you can and should develop with all your customers:

Personalize the Live Chat Experience
Every live chat interaction between your chat agents and your customers usually starts with a short pre-chat form. This form typically asks for the customer’s first name and an email address. While the email address is a valuable asset to your CRM arsenal inn that you can use that email address for sustained customer engagement through an opt-in process, the first name provides your chat agents with an excellent opportunity to personalize the live chat interaction. Address your customers by using their first names during the course of the communication. You can also consider commencing the conversation with a welcome message and a reference to the city from where the chat has originated assuming this feature is active in your live help application.

Example: “Hi Mike, this is Daniel from (your company’s name). How is the weather in Seattle?”

This will put your website visitor at ease instantly and set the stage for a really productive dialog. Your customer will take full cognizance of the fact that there is a real person on the other side of the magic window and not a prosaic computer simply auto responding to their chat messages.

Send a Thank You Note
Use the email address your chat visitors provide you to send out a personalize thank you message once the chat session concludes. The message can include:

– An opt-in link for a newsletter or an alert sign-up
– A link from where your customers can download a copy of the chat transcript for reference purposes
– A Call to Action (CTA) with an offer

Integrate Live Chat with your CRM
If you are currently using a customer relationship management application (CRM) such as SugarCRM, Salesforce.com, RightNow, or one of the products from the big guys such as Siebel, PeopleSoft, SAP CRM or Microsoft Dynamic CRM, ask your live chat software company if they have an app that integrates their application with the CRM solution of your choice. One of the key advantages of this integration is that it will help you personalize your chat communication further by providing your live chat operators with access to phone records, chat records, purchase history and any other data your CRM is set up to capture, classify and categorize.

Spruce up your Visitor Chat Window
Your live chat agents can not only personalize the user experience through targeted communication but can also connect with your customers through visuals. Encourage them to use smileys and emoticons provided to the by your live chat service. The picture of the agent or an avatar can also add that personal touch to the entire experience.

According to a consumer trends research study conducted by ATG Global, 90% of customers believe that live chat is beneficial to them in achieving a positive and personal user experience. Implement these personalization tips and you will notice a visible increase in the number of customers who will award you a remarkable customer rating the next time you go out to survey them.

Facebook Chat – An Addictive Online Activity?

To say that Facebook is addictive is to state the obvious. A lot of people just cannot live without Facebook — they use it to check on friends and family, share news and gossip, plays games and pranks and so on. But another facet of Facebook that has really turned regular internet users into Facebook addicts is chatting.

Yes, Facebook chat is one of the reasons why millions of people visit and stay for hours on Facebook everyday.

Here’s how it works: By default, the moment you login, you are shown as online in the Facebook chat widget that appears at the widget bar at the bottom of any Facebook page. Unless you click “Go Offline” in the Options of the Facebook chat widget, you will be seen by friends as “online”.

And guess what. Chances are you will see a notification of a new chat message from a friend. If you have few friends, of course, this won’t likely happen. But if you have friends in the hundreds, then be prepared to accept chat messages.

Chatting online is a way of communicating with contacts, friends, and family instantly. It is not something new, but because Facebook developers knows that chatting is one of the top activities online, they added this to Facebook.

What makes chatting on Facebook addictive to some is that you chat with real friends and contacts you really know and not some stranger as you would experience in other chat networks. So a simple “Hi” chat message from a long lost friend could turn into a hour-long reminiscing “do you remember the old days” session. And before you know it, the one hour turns into two hours.

Then another chat notification shows up, this time from another friend. And not for long, you find yourself chatting with two or ten people. Yes, it happens. This may not be a big deal if you’re not busy, but if you are at work, this could kill your time and delay your work.

Another reason why Facebook chat is addictive is that Facebook makes it so convenient. No more need to login to another website or software (like Yahoo Messenger or Skype) just so you can talk to your Facebook friends in real time. The chat bar is always there, and you can even pop out a chat window, so you can continue chatting even when you have left Facebook, as long as you are still logged in.

The only thing missing from Facebook chat is video and audio chat. However, there are third party software that will allow you to chat with your Facebook friends using video and audio. Now imagine how much more addicting it could be if audio and video were added to Facebook chat.

To avoid addiction to Facebook chat, I would suggest not responding to chat messages from friends whom you know like to chat for hours, or letting them know that you can only chat for a certain number of minutes. Chatting on Facebook is fun and can be productive, and it can be done without necessarily being addicted to it.