5 Common Live Chat Software Review Traps to Avoid

July 22nd, 2015 | Kevin Gao | Live Chat | Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes
avoid live chat review traps

Even in the earliest days of the Internet revolution, consumers used the Web as a forum to relay their experiences — both good and bad — regarding products or services they purchased.

These days, buyers report on just about any purchase you can imagine, and reviews on the Internet have become so prevalent that many will not buy a product or service without first searching for and reviewing what other have said about the vendor or provider.

If you’re searching for live chat software to use on your website, you probably want to check out a few reviews before settling on a provider. After all, reading reviews of a live chat provider is the best way to find out if they’re any good or not, right? Well, sometimes – but, not all the time (or even most of time).

Read on to learn when live chat software review traps may lead you astray with information not as factual or well intentioned as you may expect. Therefore, here is a rundown on some of the most common live chat software review traps to avoid.

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Friendly/Fake User Reviews

This is the most common live chat software review trap. In many cases, fake user reviews find their way on to the Web because employees — or the owner(s), their friends or relatives — of a particular company are trying to draw attention to their products, services or website.

If you see glowing reviews of a live chat service — which include buzzwords such as “amazing,” “the best” or other similar terms — consider them carefully. Honest, in-depth reviews will usually include at least of one mention of something that is not absolutely perfect.

If you see a review that spouts only the highest praise for a live chat service, with no mention of imperfection at all, research the poster before accepting it at face value. An easy way to spot fake reviewers is if they have submitted only one or two posts or reviews, and those posts all relate to the live-chat service they are promoting (or the provider for which they work).

Another thing to look for in stellar user reviews is a link for the site on which the reviewer is using the live chat software. If the review is genuine, the user will likely include a link to his/her website so you can see the live chat system in action – if for no other reason than to plug or promote his/her own website.

While good live chat software providers certainly receive great reviews, be wary of remarks or comments stating, “how perfect a particular service is”.

“Top X” or “Best of” Type Review Sites

These days, there are a number of sites that do nothing else except provide reviews of products or services. Many of these websites offer rankings based on their reviews to help consumers and users find the products or services that may best suit their needs.

Generally speaking, these types of review sites offer in-depth and unbiased reviews to help users make informed buying decisions. These types of review sites, however, are not without their own anomalies.

Sites such as TopTenReviews.com, No1Reviews.com, Pandia.com, GetApp.com and many others employ professional researchers and reviewers to review products in various categories and market niches.

In most cases, the reviews are fair and objective. Nevertheless, the way that many of these rank products and services is often based on something known as “feature stacking”, a very common live chat software review trap. If you review the top-reviewed products in live chat software (and many other categories), you will see that the products with the highest ratings are the ones with the highest number of reported features.

Most of the time, products with the most features should be rated higher than those with fewer features. However, sometimes “feature stacking” based reviews many not take into consideration the actual effectiveness or usefulness of a feature when considering rankings.

Another potential flaw with this sort of methodology is that the reviews are not updated regularly in many cases. Since live chat software is not a category where major advances are not made every few months (or even yearly), many of these reviews are old and may not reflect feature sets introduced recently.

To give you a better perspective, consider that many of these “Top X” or “Best of” review sites offer reviews on live chat software solutions that are already several years old and seriously outdated.

Another potentially serious flaw with these types of reviews is the lack of in-depth descriptions of the actual features of live chat software solutions. For instance, “how easy is the chat console to use?”, “are you able to chat with several visitors simultaneously?” and “how well do visitor tracking or auto-invitation features work?” are among many important answers about live chat software that these types of reviews do not answer in many cases.

It is also noteworthy to mention that many “Top X” or “Best of” review sites will update reviews of live chat software applications or platforms – for a fee. It is also important to note that many “Top X” or “Best of” review sites do receive commissions or ad revenue for displaying live chat software advertising on their websites.

Paid Reviews

Out of all the live chat software review traps out there, those falling in the professional or sponsored category are among the most difficult to spot. As their name implies, professional reviews are written by tech bloggers and writers who are generally respected or have a substantial number of followers.

In this type of scenario, the blogger, journalist or writer may write for his own individual website or may work for a large online publication, magazine or newspaper. Nevertheless, professional reviewers all usually share one thing in common – they write glowing reviews because they are paid to do so (well, with a few exceptions).

A number of well-known websites publish paid reviews on live chat software. Some of these reviews even come in the form of “Top X Lists” or other similar formats. Generally speaking, the reviews are very well written and do usually mention a “slight downside” or two for the product they are being paid to promote.

As mentioned above, paid reviews are a bit harder to detect or spot, as they generally appear on better-known tech websites and are often written by well-known authors or bloggers. If you pay attention to a few details, though, you can usually spot the paid reviews. For instance, if you see banners or advertisements for the live-chat software that a writer gives high praise to, chances are good the author or site is, at the least, trying to drive traffic for ad revenues, or — as is often the case — being paid to write a stellar review of the service.

If the review is in the form of a list, and the live chat provider listed as number one is rated very far above the competition, chances are good you may reading a paid review or “money list”, as these types of posts are sometimes referred to. Finally, if the site on which the “great review” appears has a live chat system, and it’s not receiving the praise in the review, you should be at least a little skeptical.

Affiliates Posing as Helpful Bloggers

If you do a Google search for the term “live chat affiliates”, you will find that most major live-chat providers offer some sort of compensation program for sites that refer customers to them – and Comm100 is no exception, as we also have an affiliate program. Affiliate programs in and of themselves are a not bad thing; quite the contrary as they are a valuable tool for both vendors and affiliates. Nevertheless, affiliate reviews may not always be what they seem and can be a big live chat software review trap.

Affiliates drive traffic to live chat vendor sites using many methods (i.e. ads, links, etc.) However, some affiliates take driving traffic to a whole new level by creating reviews or comparison lists for live-chat products they may or may not have actually ever used. These reviews usually come in the form of blog posts where the writer attempts to convey his/her desire to help users find the perfect live chat platform or service. And, while some of these posts are indeed legitimate and well-intentioned, some are nothing more than bait for a big, fat commission paid by the live chat vendor.

Use the search function on the blog to find out how many posts the blogger has published regarding live chat vendors and take note of the number of links that lead to the provider. If you see, what seems to be many links or posts, chances are good that helping you find the best provider is not as big a concern for the blogger as receiving a bounty.

Another way to determine if the blogger is an affiliate is to look at the links leading to the live chat service. If when you click the link, you see an affiliate ID or similar number, chances are good that the blogger is attempting to cash in on a commission. Look for “AffID,” “ID” or something similar in the link leading to the live chat site to determine if the blogger is indeed just an affiliate who may be looking to persuade you to purchase a service just to receive a commission.

Hate Reviews

In most cases, hate reviews can also be termed “disgruntled employee reviews” – though there are, of course, exceptions. Still, these types of reviews are usually fairly easy to spot if you know what to look for. If you see a review that seems purely negative or attacks a company or its management directly, there’s a good possibility that the poster has an axe to grind.

People react to problems in the work place differently, and some result to bashing their employers on the Internet. Are the grievances or problems being reported related to the software or the vendor’s management team? Who knows? However, if you see an extremely bad review that contains the words “I work/use to work there” or something similar, don’t rush to the conclusion that the review is factually accurate.

Reviews to Consider

With all the fake, dishonest and biased reviews out there these days, you may be wondering if you can trust anyone’s recommendation for a good, reliable live-chat software vendor. Well, the answer is a resounding “YES!” – you can. Start by asking fellow entrepreneurs or techies you know personally – be it in person or on a social networking site.

Search for live-chat-related posts on your favorite social-networking site and see if any of your friends recommend the service. Many people avoid recommending bad services or vendors to others they actually know.

Even if you don’t know the people who are “liking” or “recommending” a particular live-chat vendor, chances are good the reviews or likes come from personal experience with the provider. Still, you should use a little common sense, as some affiliates do you use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking sites to try and increase their commissions. Just remember that if the “review” or “like” looks or seems like an ad, it probably is.

Trust but Verify

The intent of this post is not to scare you away from considering reviews when shopping for a live chat solution for your website – far from it. Honest reviews of a particular service can be an invaluable source of information you can use to make an informed decision. However, you must also be aware that some reviews or recommendations are not as genuine or sincere as they would lead you to believe.

So, it’s okay to utilize reviews in your decision-making process, just remember that live chat software review traps come in many forms and to balance reviews with a little common sense and a due diligence of your own.

live chat buyer's guide

[Free Download] How to Choose the Best Live Chat Software: A Buyer’s Guide

After reading this post, you probably have made up your mind to provide live chat support on your website. Our buyer’s guide can be a great tool to save evaluation costs and help you make well informed decision on which live chat solution is the best one for your business.

Download Now


Kevin Gao is the founder and CEO of Comm100. With over 10 years' hands-on experience as an entrepreneur, he's always ambitious to revolutionize the way of online customer service and communication. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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