An Introduction to Salesforce Chat (Live Agent)

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Salesforce Chat (formerly Salesforce Live Agent) is a native Salesforce tool that enables the customer service team to communicate in real-time with your website users. We have all seen the little ‘chat to an agent’ buttons on company websites, usually when trying to find a way to contact a support team.

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Expanding your customer service channels can open several doors for your business. Online/webchat has several benefits:

  1. It allows for quick interactions to address simple questions and issues
  2. It allows agents to handle multiple chats at once rather than one call at a time
  3. It improves ticket resolution speed and keeps call wait times short
  4. It improves the customer experience by giving customers a seamless experience across channels
  5. It opens the doors to more robust automation, like Salesforce Chat Bots (Einstein Bots)

These benefits can help your business stay ahead of the curve and meet your customers’ ever-evolving expectations. Did you know that 70% of customers expect a seamless experience across customer service channels but that only 16% of companies meet that expectation? (Source

Expanding your channels to include chat can also help mitigate issues with high case volume and swamped customer service agents. For more tips on gaining efficiencies in Service Cloud, check out our related blog.

Salesforce Chat is intended to handle smaller, quick issues that can easily be resolved in one interaction. But if your team also handles more complex issues, never fear! Salesforce Omni-Channel can help create a seamless connection between all of your customer service channels so your agents can easily handle chat as well as other channels like cases from emails and phones. Check out our blog on Omni-Channel to learn more!

Salesforce Chat Features

Salesforce Chat has a lot of great features, but here are some favourites that can help you fully leverage the tool!

Auto-Greetings and Quick Text

Chat is all about efficiency, and auto-greetings and quick text take that to the next level. In the Chat Button configuration, you can set an auto-greeting message to send automatically when a customer starts the chat. This gives customers a quick response while the chat routes to an agent and lets your team jump right in once the chat is assigned.

You can also use quick text in a chat, which is a great way to help agents be even more productive. With quick text you can pre-define common messages and responses for your agents to insert into a chat. This saves them time and keeps the customer experience consistent across chats.

Sneak Peek

One powerful tool for both agents and managers is the sneak peek feature. Sneak peek allows agents to see what the customer is typing before they actually click submit. This can help agents better anticipate customer needs and be more responsive.

It can also allow managers to see what agents are typing, which allows them to intervene with whisper messages if necessary.

Whisper Messages

Whisper messages are a handy tool for managers to give feedback and encouragement to agents during a chat session without actually interrupting the chat. Whisper messages are secret messages to the agent only and can be a great way to give feedback, remind agents about certain promos or knowledge articles, and give encouragement for a job well done!

Assistant Flag

Now you may be thinking: “Sneak Peek and Whisper Messages are great but… managers can’t monitor every chat!” That’s where Assistant Flag comes in. Managers don’t need to worry about every chat, just the ones agents need help with. Assistant Flag is a handy way for agents to flag a chat and alert a manager that they need help.

Customization and Enhancements

Like pretty much all Salesforce products, there are also amazing ways to extend the tool beyond the out-of-the-box features. Here are some of our favourite ways to customize and enhance your chat implementation!

Chat Reports and Dashboards

A must for any chat roll-out is leveraging the powerful analytics that come with Salesforce. Give your agents and managers the data they need to be successful. Chat analytics can be reported on with native Salesforce reports and dashboards so you can give your teams powerful insight into chat metrics. But why do all the work from scratch when there’s a free app from Salesforce with pre-built dashboards for you? The Chat Dashboard app by Salesforce Labs is a great way to kickstart your report and dashboard building for your chat roll-out.

Customized Buttons and Pages

One of the things we know and love about Salesforce is that there are a ton of custom branding options that can be done out-of-the-box with no code. Chat is no exception! You can customize images to show in the chat window and set custom pre-chat and post-chat pages.

Pre-Chat pages let you capture customer information, like name or email address. It can be a handy way to get information about their issue up-front, which saves your agents’ time. You can use the out-of-the-box configuration or route to a custom page.

Post-Chat pages are helpful because you can redirect users to a customer satisfaction survey once the chat has ended. Simple Survey is a great survey tool on the appexchange that works great for this! Your Post-Chat page would have a button that redirects users to a Simple Survey landing page to leave feedback.

Chat REST API

If you want a customized chat experience and want to embed chat into your company’s own applications, you can use the Chat REST API to do so! No need to worry about using Visualforce to develop a fully customized chat experience. Rather, with the Chat REST API developers can extend the Salesforce Chat functionality for other applications, including those for iOS and Android!

To learn more about using the Chat REST API, review the relevant Salesforce developer documentation.

Summary – Do You Need Salesforce Chat?

You should use Salesforce Chat if you: 

  • Have a small support team/you want to enable agents to handle multiple chats at once (rather than one call at a time)/improve ticket resolution speed,
  • Would like to cut customer support costs,
  • Would like to divert support calls/keep call wait times short,
  • Provide customers a seamless experience across channels.

Salesforce Chat may not be suitable if your support team:

  • Handles complex and time-consuming troubleshooting diagnostics,
  • Uses power tools such as Social Studio to manage customer support through social media.

Keep Learning!

If you want to learn more about Salesforce Chat, check out the Digital Engagement Data Sheet from Salesforce. For Salesforce Chat pricing, visit the official product page. And, as always, Trailhead can be a great place to learn more about Salesforce Chat and try some hands-on activities!

17 thoughts on “An Introduction to Salesforce Chat (Live Agent)

  1. Hi, thanks for this. We’ve recently started using liveagent and are struggling to find documentation on Salesforce for implementing the pre- and post-chat surveys. Do you know where we can find this info?

  2. How does someone get a job as being the “live agent”?
    Do you provide a list of companies that have purchased your product?
    Do you provide a list of companies that are looking to hire live agents?

    Thanks

  3. I blog often and I really appreciate your content.
    Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to
    bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once per week.
    I subscribed to your Feed too.

  4. Can you use Google Tag Manager to implement this? I cannot track down any documentation that tells me so

  5. Hello, we have account classification and we want to enable only a certain classification type of customer to send chat to the support team using service cloud. is it possible to restrict the use of chat?

    1. Hi Marina! Great question. You can absolutely expose/hide chat for authenticated users in a community (Experience Cloud) and even determine access by classifications of those users (you can accomplish this with audiences in a community.) If the users are unauthenticated though that may be more tricky because the chat window needs a way to identify the classification accurately. A pre chat form and/or chat bot could act as a gatekeeper though!

      1. Hi Rachel – can you point me to more documentation on this? We have chat setup in our sandbox as we are looking to deploy it before the end of the year. I don’t see the Audience Segmentation option on the Embedded Service Chat component like I do on other components?

        1. Hi JoAnn! Yes, it’s a little convoluted… you have to actually configure the page(s) you’re putting the Embedded Chat Deployment on to be shown/hidden for different audiences. So rather than having the component itself filtered, you use the page variations for audiences to control audiences for the page with chat vs. page without chat. Does that make sense?

          I don’t know of any specific documentation on this but if you need help with general audiences for Experience Cloud you can look at this help guide: https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=sf.community_builder_page_visibilty_manage.htm&type=5

  6. The Assistant Flag feature is not as useful as it could be. The limitation is a supervisor will only know a flag has been raised if they happen to be looking at omni channel supervisor. What if they are working on another task? A much better solution would be for the supervisor to get an audio alert: then they know assistance is required so cans witch to supporting an agent. Can this audio notification be added to the product road map?

  7. Salesforce Chat…. Its a complex beast which has had many iterations of development over the years because of this its not always particularly easy to configure as some settings have no effect depending on the setup you have. This is usually because there is so much documentation for the differing versions of chat.

    Even in the article I can see a mix/match for pre-chat config, one for old chat the other for new embedded chat adding both creates a conflict. One of the issues I recently has is that using the new skill based routing means that the background queue has no limit, you can set a limit but it has no effect!. This is not documented and forced us to revert back to Queue based routing.

    In short, it’s a great product, but start small and think about what you need now and into the future a little.

    1. Hi SandC — great points. It has definitely evolved over the years and one of the features that is best to start with an MVP (minimally viable product) and then build on the most basic functionality as opposed to trying to configure every bell and whistle from the start.

  8. Is this a feature that could be enabled for internal customers, i.e. for teams that need to ask other teams questions, but want to have the ability to see their place in line, and for managers to see how many chats are pending, etc. All the benefits you get with external customers, but for internal customers.

    1. Hi Nicklas, absolutely! If there are teams that support internal stakeholders/users then chat can definitely be used. You’d need a way to expose the chat for those internal users though, so something like an employee portal in Experience Cloud, a webpage with the chat window embedded, or potentially even a custom component for the utility bar in ‘normal’ Salesforce for any users with full Salesforce licenses.

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