Managing an Interactive Virtual Chat Room: 7 Best Practices

Virtual events have been the talk of the virtual and real-world for a while now. Organizations in various industries are opting for virtual events. Be it the education industry, the technology industry or even the non-profit sector. They are all taking advantage of all that virtual events have to offer. One of the most important features for any event, regardless of your industry or event goals, is live chat. vFairs offers a variety of live chat options, and over the years we’ve developed lots of tips and tools to help hosts and event users connect seamlessly within virtual events. Read on for our virtual event chat room best practices!

Why You Need to Integrate Live Virtual Event Chat Rooms

It’s a no-brainer that having a quality customer relationship is one of the key elements to a successful business. It’s imperative for a company to maintain a positive relationship with its customers, as it’s directly reflected in the word of mouth impacting brand value. 

According to a survey by Techjury, 75% of the respondents stated they prefer to have a live chat over any other channel. 

Especially in a world where physical connections are almost impossible to maintain, you might wonder; how do businesses continue to sustain themselves? Long gone are the days when connections were all about emails or phone calls. Businesses are now moving toward quicker means to connect with leads before someone else does.

Why Should You Use Live Chat?

Ensuring 24/7 communication with live chat does more than helping you build a long-lasting experience with your customer. Here are some other key areas of business that are also directly impacted by live chat:

  • Catalyzes your sales funnel: With much quicker response times, a chat room works as a lubricant that helps in making your customer journey smoother.
  • Real-time support: It allows you to connect with your audience on the go. It also helps you spot pain points, improving your customer metrics wherever possible.
  • Improved ROI: Through reduced queue times, positive word of mouth, and preventing sales funnel drop-out, you will be able to achieve better efficiency and overall ROIs.
  • Improves attendee experience: Anyone attending a virtual event will be looking to learn something new and build connections. Effective chat rooms help attendees do both, thus improving their experience and willingness to attend your future events.

Now that you know why you need virtual event chat rooms, let’s brainstorm some ideas to make them fun so you can get the maximum benefit out of these. 

hybrid event networking

How Do You Make Virtual Events Fun And Interactive? 

There are a few sure-shot ways to make your virtual events not only fun but interactive as well. Some features of the virtual event platform allow you to attract remote audiences making the experience a memorable one. Let’s see how you can power networking and seamless interactions in your virtual event. There are live chats, live webinars (which allow for two-way communication), polls, surveys and quizzes. To top it all, virtual events allow gamification. Scavenger hunts, trivia and leaderboards keep audiences engaged.  

However, virtual event chat rooms offer extensive opportunities to engage audiences. They nurture leads, allow networking and help attendees build connections. With modern technology drastically empowering customers with ease of information, there has been an increasing demand for live assistance, quicker resolution, and brand engagement

Ideas to Make Virtual Event Chat Rooms Fun

There are a million ways you can make your virtual event chat rooms go an extra mile in engaging audiences successfully. Here are some: 

  • Prepare a list of icebreaker questions. For example: What city is on your bucket list? What would you be if you could be anything in the world?
  • Include speed meetings. Pair people who don’t know each other for 5-10 minutes to connect and network. This is a fun and easy way to build connections. 
  • Contests and trivia: the host could ask questions, and participants with the most interesting answer win a prize courtesy of the sponsors. 
  • Q&A with the experts. I.e. a keynote speaker or an industry influencer. 
  • Host a 15-minute pet party. Who wouldn’t want some time with their furry friends during the day right? Add that in and let attendees share their pet troubles as a break. 
  • Spice it up with a lip sync battle. After an entire day of sessions and work, attendees can be put into virtual chat rooms to have a lip sync battle. 

Virtual event chat rooms are widely used for converting visitors to prospects, keeping churn rates in check, and rapidly improving response rates. 

Not only are they worth diving into further, but it is also worthwhile to learn and adopt virtual event chat room’s best practices to enhance your customer’s experience. 

Best Practices for Managing an Interactive Virtual Event Chat Room

Now let’s discuss some best practices for virtual event chat rooms that will help you deliver an exceptional customer experience at virtual events.

1. Use the Two-Fold Approach

The best way to segment your virtual event chat rooms is by incorporating two types of live chats: public and private. 

A public chat is more like an open forum where visitors are able to post questions and also help others in need. Messages sent in a public chat are visible to all, and anyone can easily access them for their queries.

In contrast, a private chat works for individual conversations in which a visitor typically hovers over an online user’s name and sees a button to initiate a private chat. Clicking on that opens a private chat window where you can chat with visitors. Once you are in a direct message chat room, the audio/video call icons are available and tapping them can initiate an audio/video call.

2. Place Your Chat in a Visible Area

Visitors are likely to drive their actions based on instincts. It’s important to place yourself in your audience’s shoes to understand what they want. The popular placement of a chat feature is usually in the bottom right of the event page. However, the positioning also varies according to the visual format of your page. Just ensure that the chat feature is not too obtrusive and it does not annoy your visitors.

Eye-tracking research shows that people often scan web pages and phone screens in an “F-pattern”. To deliver an effective chat experience, we advise you to place the chat button on the right side of the screen.

3. Allow for Audio and Video Chat

Integration of visual and auditory elements in your virtual event chat rooms can accelerate the scale of engagement to another level. Given the growing demand for interactive tools that are leading companies to switch from physical events to virtual, it’s also essential to make the best use of them. 

Why it is important to use audio and video options:

  • Helps to identify pain points faster and provide solutions in real-time.
  • Personalized experience can lead to improved lead conversions.
  • Adds another dimension to your event, multiplying the success rate. 
  • Enables one-click solution to any queries.

embedded live chat

4. Collect Customer Feedback After a Chat Ends

Collecting customer feedback implies that you care about their opinion. You involve them in the decision-making process which makes them feel like an integral part of the company — resulting in a positive brand association. In a virtual event, your exhibitors can integrate a points-rating (1-5) survey at the end of every chat. This way they can benefit in the following ways:

  • Gauge customer satisfaction
  • Improve communication 
  • Build trust

5. Grant Access and Visibility to Representatives

Make sure your reps can access your audience’s profiles in order to have meaningful conversations. Additionally, add tags and comments to profiles to make the process more transparent.

6. Have the Option to Extract Chat Logs

Since your objective is to nurture connections, the story shouldn’t end with the event. In order to continue your processes, make sure your event provider allows you to extract chat logs.

7. Make Sure Your Virtual Event Chat Rooms Are Measurable

Your event provider must generate reports that depict essential data in terms of chat trends, number of chats, and so on. This is essential in order to track and analyze what works and what doesn’t.

Our Take on Live Virtual Event Chats

Live chat is a commonly used feature in virtual events, regardless of the type of event you’re hosting. We understand the importance of long-lasting connections and the need to interact with each other. Virtual event chat rooms provide customers with a built-in text/audio/video chat experience to assist with qualifying leads.

embedded chat in vFairs

Here is a quick summary of best practices for interactive virtual event chat rooms: 

  • Have private and publicly accessible virtual event chat rooms 
  • Place the chat rooms or chat icons in a clearly visible location 
  • Add in video and audio chats, don’t restrict to text chats only 
  • Collect feedback after your chat session
  • Collect chat logs 
  • Have measurable virtual event chat rooms 

Virtual Events You Can Use These Tips At

Here are some of the most popular virtual events that organizations are hosting in 2022, that you can apply these tips to for your own events. 

1. Virtual Conferences & Summits

The demand for virtual conferences has skyrocketed due to their stellar outcomes. With powerful online tools for engagement such as virtual event chat rooms, scavenger hunts, etc., organizers have been able to reach a wider audience. They are also able to invite keynote speakers from across the globe, save costs and fulfill their objectives in a more effective manner than a physical conference would have allowed them to.

Virtual event chat rooms allow attendees to network with one another in a virtual conference. They come together, share ideas and connect with like-minded professionals from the industry. 

See how VMUG attracted a global audience to host a successful Virtual Conference.

virtual event lobby

2. Online Trade Shows

We all agree that the basic goal of any business is to enhance profit by maximizing leads. But were we really maximizing them if we weren’t reaching a global audience? The best part is that it’s never too late to get it right. Hosting a virtual trade show & expo can enable organizers to engage prospects across the globe using live chat tools, educate them about their offerings using live webinars, and eventually convert warm leads with an online shopping cart within their event, in a shorter time. 

Organizers can have 1:1 sessions or group sessions with their attendees in virtual event chat rooms to get a better understanding of their requirements. Likewise, event exhibitors can search for new prospects and strike up conversations through chat rooms as well. If all goes well, it could even lead to a sales call right within the event platform!  With more targeted conversations with potential leads, they can effectively convert them. 

virtual exhibit hall

Want to know how to host an online trade show? Read The Ultimate Guide to a Virtual Trade Show.

3. Virtual Career Fairs & Job Fairs

Top organizations around the world find their best employees by increasing their reach and virtually meeting their future employees.

Taking them online can improve the quality of applicants with the help of various features in the virtual event chat rooms such as built-in 1:1 or group audio/video chat tools, job boards, and effective video assessment tools. Not just this, but a virtual career fair gives employers the opportunity to showcase their employer brand to a global audience.

Want to learn more about hosting a virtual career fair? Read ‘The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Career Fairs’.

job fair

4. Virtual University Fairs

Universities often set up a number of programs and fairs in order to help their students get a head-start on information and opportunities to reach their education as well as professional goals. For this purpose, leading universities use their events to encourage top prospects from across the globe to come to join their institutions.

In order to engage with global top students, however, the first step is to be visible and accessible. You can access virtual university fairs through any smart device, from any corner of the world. With this diversity, here’s how virtual events of the following type help students and alumni engage with universities as well as top employers across the globe, benefiting all the stakeholders in the process.

Types of University Fairs 

  • Virtual Open Day– allows prospective students to absorb the rich culture at your university, interact with faculty and fill lead-capture forms through a virtual event. They help you attract and engage three to five times more students as compared to a physical event.
  • College & University Fairs– helps universities showcase their infrastructure, culture and programs to a diverse prospective student base from across the globe. In addition, a virtual education fair helps educate the student masses about higher study options through one comprehensive event.
  • Virtual Student/Alumni Networking Fair– connects students with successful university alumni and boosts engagement with rich interactive tools such as webinars, discussion forums, audio/video/text chats.
  • Virtual Job Fair–  helps students/alumni network with leading employers and find sustainable careers via an accessible, online platform, rich in interactive tools.

an image of a university fair

Universities can engage with their prospective students, and get highly qualified leads if they use the virtual platform to engage with the incoming audience effectively. Using virtual event chat rooms is just one of the many ways they can do this. With live chat tools, they not only build lasting relationships but also get a chance to understand the needs of students and see which of them will potentially be joining them. 

See how Cornell University benefited from hosting an engaging Virtual Education Fair

Before we walk you through the process of making your virtual event chat rooms interactive and facilitating engagement, let’s discuss how you can plan virtual events. 

How Do You Plan A Virtual Event? 

Remember to plan your virtual event articulately to avoid glitches and last-minute terrifying scenarios. Planning a virtual event begins with defining your objectives, and having your target audience clearly mapped out. 

Another critical stepping stone in planning your virtual event is choosing your virtual event provider. Follow the following planning checklist to plan your virtual event:

  • Set a clear objective – decide on a quantified objective (product promotion, sales or lead generation). Use this to drive metrics that you plan to achieve with your virtual event.
  • Know your audience – identify your target audience and base features as well as content that they will most relate with.
  • Timing is everything – do your research well in advance and pick the days when all your partners, exhibitors and visitors are available (this means avoiding weekends or days with mega sports/cultural events).
  • Get partners on board – Notify, brief and train all your exhibitors and sponsors about your virtual event well in advance in order for them to create and provide their material.
  • Promote, promote, promote – prior to your event, strategize your marketing channels such as social media, email lists and official websites. Setup informative landing pages and think about how you could get people to spread the word.
  • Create compelling content – It is important to deliver what visitors want. Use surveys, polls, and questionnaires to devise presentations, articles, brochures and other collateral that delivers your event’s purpose.

landing page example

Now that you know how to plan your virtual event, the next step is to make your event interactive and compelling. An event your audience will remember you by. 

For that, your virtual event has some key components that are integral to its success. These components, or rather features also help the host achieve their objectives. Organizers often want to create maximum opportunities and ease networking. This becomes a key consideration when they want to plan their virtual event. The most prominent and diverse of these features is the live virtual event chat rooms. 

So why do you need them? Here’s why. 

Tried out our chat feature? Let us know what you think!

Click here to view The Organizer’s Playbook to Hosting Amazing Virtual Events.

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