Release Notes January 22: Minimized Chat Improvements, HIPAA security update, Legacy Gtalk / Skype agent cleanup

Here are some updates of what our dev team has been working on in the last weeks:


  • We have improved the minimized chat notification to keep the message preview visible when the visitor browses to new page or refreshes the page.
  • Accounts that have a BAA with SnapEngage for HIPAA compliance will no longer have access to the  ‘Channels’ tab messenger integrations. This restriction is required as Facebook, SMS or WeChat are not compliant with the HIPAA framework.
  • We have cleaned up the widgets where legacy agent accounts were still set up with a Gtalk or Skype ID, since these systems have not been supported for a while now. Former Gtalk accounts can be easily converted to Chat Portal agent accounts by just saving in the Chat Agents tab once.

Resolved Issues:

  • Fixed an issue in the Chat Agents tab where existing agents could not be added to new widgets.
  • Fixed an issue in the Integrations tab where new custom mappings were not saving in the Hubspot integration.
  • Fixed an issue where the minimized view of the chat looked very small on non-responsive websites.
  • Fixed an issue with the Salesforce configuration workflow, where the system tried could have tried to re-use an expired token when re-using the configuration of another widget.

HIPAA Series: Learn the Basics of HIPAA

HIPAA Series: Learn the Basics of HIPAA

How Technology Affects HIPAA Regulations

With the advent of the internet, privacy concerns about confidential information are front and center. No one wants his or her private information spread across the internet, especially when it comes to health information. This is one reason why HIPAA laws were enacted and why their policies are so important to businesses. People want to know their information is secure when dealing with any institution. Furthermore, businesses who don’t follow HIPAA regulations are subject to hefty fines. Exchanging information over the internet is a common way that companies conduct business. Whether it’s healthcare providers or insurance companies, protecting your communications with clients is a top priority. Companies that are HIPAA compliant and use HIPAA compliant software will ensure their customers’ privacy and rights.

What exactly is HIPAA?

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It contains a series of laws that were passed in 1996 that outlines how companies must transfer healthcare information. It also states that health care coverage should follow a person when they change from one job to a new job. The HIPAA laws did not occur all at once; new additions were implemented over several years. The initial law was enacted in 1996. Within the HIPAA statute, there are five titles. However, for the purposes of this introductory article, we will only be mentioning the first two and focusing primarily on Title II.

Title I

This section is entitled “Health Care Access, Portability, and Renewability.” This part of the law enables insured members to carry their health coverage when leaving one job and going to another. It also provides specific laws concerning pre-existing conditions.

Title II

This section is entitled “Preventing Health Care Fraud and Abuse” and it includes the privacy and protection laws for patients. Title II is also sometimes referred to as “HIPAA Administrative Simplification” and it consists of five separate laws that were enacted at different times. These laws include the Privacy Rule, Transactions and Code Sets Rule, Security Rule, Unique Identifiers or National Provider Rule, and the Enforcement Rule. To understand the implications and necessity of HIPAA for organizations within the healthcare vertical, let’s take a brief look at its history.

History of HIPAA

In 1996 the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was enacted, however several additions were made to the law in the following 20 years. Besides making health insurance more portable (meaning employees could take health insurance with them to their next job), the other main goal of this law was to simplify the “administration of health insurance.” The latter portion is where the additional privacy and security laws came into play. The procedures enacted to simplify the administration of health insurance helped lead to the computerization of medical records. Before this time, patient records were in paper format, which means they stayed contained in one location.

Whereas once patient health records were transferred to electronic form, they could be potentially spread across the world and accessible to virtually anyone if protective measures were not put in place. It was obvious that additional laws were needed to ensure patient privacy and security. In 2003, the HIPAA Privacy Rule was signed into law. The set of rules established under this law affected healthcare providers, health insurance companies, health clearinghouses, and health billing departments. The Privacy Rule ensures patients have certain rights as it pertains to their healthcare information. These rights involve who is allowed to access or view their healthcare records. Healthcare professionals must put guidelines in place in order to ensure they adhere to the rule. Guidelines may include:

  • Developing internal privacy methods to make sure the patient’s information is safe.
  • Training employees on how to use the methods and educating them about what the rules are.
  • Providing patients with their privacy information rights.
  • Securing patient records containing health information.

In 2005 the HIPAA Security Rule was enacted. The security rule is similar to the privacy rule in that it keeps the patient’s information safe from those who should not have it. The security rule is a set of standards that ensures a patient’s information is protected electronically. Institutions must take measures to ensure the electronic security of the records they handle. Some of the technical safeguards that companies use to ensure they are abiding by the HIPAA Security Rule include:

Why is HIPAA so important?

For institutions, HIPAA compliance is critical because violations can be costly and severely problematic for your company. The fines can range in the thousands of dollars and some people even face imprisonment if they willfully disregard the law. People who discover their privacy was violated may file a formal complaint, which is then investigated. In addition, the Office of Civil Rights conducts comprehensive audits. Here is a look at the HIPAA violations chart from least offensive to most offensive:

  • The person did not know they were in violation of HIPAA.
  • The person did not willfully violate HIPAA.
  • The person willfully neglected the HIPAA rules but did make corrections in time.
  • The person willfully neglected the HIPAA rules and did not correct it.

The fines range from $100 to $50,000 for each violation. As more and more records become electronic, institutions that work with these records will need to develop a system that protects the sensitive digital information. According to the HIPAA violation’s chart, ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. The fine may be smaller, but it’s still counted as a violation and fined accordingly. Keeping patient information safe remains a top priority for all businesses handling healthcare records and other sensitive PHI (protected health information).

Many providers prefer to use messaging services as a tool for patient engagement and to relay information. Using a messaging service with live chat availability is convenient, yet it’s paramount to ensure the chat software is HIPAA compliant. SnapEngage proudly offers a HIPAA compliant messaging solution that makes live chat secure for healthcare organizations and other businesses that handle PHI. Our secure messaging service will keep your organization HIPAA compliant while you boost your patient communication efforts. For more information about incorporating SnapEngage HIPAA solutions into your growth strategy and to receive a personalized assessment, please contact us.

Release Notes January 8: Additional status check on button click, Microsoft Dynamics Lookup Data Field Support, Bugfixes

Hi SnapEngagers,

welcome to 2018! Here’s what our dev team has been working on between the years:


  • There is now an additional status check when the website visitor clicks on the online/offline button on the page to open SnapEngage. This will alleviate issues where unexpected offline cases were created.
  • We now support the “Lookup” data type for MS Dynamics integration custom data mapping. The types of lookup fields we support are:
    • Account
    • Contact
    • Customer
  • Added an option to the MS Dynamics Integration that allows the chat agent overriding JavaScript Variables under Custom Mappings with Operator Variables
  • We added the ability to hit enter on the keyboard to search the intelligent pre-chat.

Resolved Issues:

  • Fixed an issue where the name/alias was cutoff from the chat box for the visitor on FireFox and IE10
  • Fixed a problem where the embedded Dashboard was not working in the Chat Portal.
  • Fixed an issue where the SnapEngage.sendTextToChat() API showed as visitor comment instead of agent comment to the visitor.
  • Fixed an issue for when the visitor is being redirected by the agent to another page, the message they have already written persists in the message input area.
  • Fixed an issue where the Analytics Widget Selection Filter did not allow proper scrolling to the bottom.
  • Fixed an ‘overriding’ warning where there was no ability to save Hubspot integration if different widgets use same integration.

Lessons for Effectively Negotiating Online Sales Interactions

Lessons for Effectively Negotiating Online Sales Interactions

The success of sales departments relies in part on chat agents’ ability to connect with website visitors


Did you know 53% of customers say they would rather use online chatting before actually calling a company? Furthermore, 62% of customers expect chat functions to be available when they contact a company from their smartphone. According to research, chat leads the way for people to communicate with companies online, that is when compared to email and social media contact with businesses. It’s no wonder the chat agent’s role is becoming more relevant and more critical than ever.

Businesses now realize that in many cases, the success of their sales department depends on the chat agent’s ability to connect with customers. The chat agent must successfully negotiate customer transactions in order to make sure the business excels. How the agent conducts the chat session may determine several things such as:

  • Does the person go on to make a purchase or not?
  • Does the person disconnect satisfied or discontent?
  • If the person was a current customer, did they get their issue resolved?
  • If the person was a current customer, will they refer new people based on their experiences?

If the chat session becomes negative, the website visitor may disconnect and seek out a competitor’s product and/or services. In addition, they may take their business associates and personal contacts with them. Current clients could become frustrated and take others with them, too.

A chat agent’s position may encompass many roles, including:

Assisting the customer
This could be anything from answering simple questions about a product to helping a current customer understand how to operate a product.

Solve problems: This usually involves current customers who have a problem with some product or service. Maybe the main office is closed and they want some immediate answers or feel more comfortable contacting via chat first. Either way, problem-solving requires a different type of skill set.

Connect with the customerAlong the way, chat agents must connect with the customer in some way or another. Some customers want to connect more than others. The agent who makes the connection personable will stand out in the customer’s mind.

Make a new sale or maintain an existing customerThis may be the most important aspect of the job. Closing the deal and turning the lead into a sale is a skill that requires a careful reading of the person with whom you’re communicating.

A chat agent’s role may evolve from assisting a prospect to closing a sale, that’s why every aspect of their job is so important. Connecting with the customer in an emotional sense will yield a more positive outcome. For one thing, the visitor took the first step in contacting your business so you have an interested lead coming directly to you. Secondly, we know emotional connections are relevant to business. According to Harvard Business Review, humans have the ability to bond with businesses emotionally. Businesses can use this human psychology to their advantage.

So, how can chat agents ensure they are connecting with the people they communicate with every day?

Make sure the customer has an overall positive experience

Agents who communicate via chatting do not have the benefit of using their tone of voice to convey emotion. However, they also don’t have to worry about their tone being misinterpreted. If you chose your words properly, the person on the other end can have a positive experience. When communicating, phrase things positively. For example, instead of saying, “this product is not offered in yellow” say “the product is offered in red, blue, and green.” It may seem like a small change, but it switches the atmosphere to one that remains positive.

Provide the customer with a quick response
People are generally in a hurry and are short on time. If we thought life was rushed in the past, multiply that by at least 2 now. When people interact with a chat agent, they want it to go quickly. Sometimes agents need to look up information before they can respond appropriately. What should they do then? Give a response that simply lets the person know the problem is being addressed. This provides the person with a quick response and still allows the agent time to gather the information.

Take your time
While this may seem to contradict having a quick response, it doesn’t. You want to respond to their needs quickly, but never make them feel rushed. There’s nothing worse than a customer feeling like the agent needs to move on to something or someone else. The customer should be made to feel as if they are the only person with whom the agent has to deal.

Use the customer’s name for a personal touch
Address the person by their first name. This may seem like a given, but can be easy to forget. It provides a personal touch and makes the consumer feel important or recognized in some small way.

Offer additional suggestions or options
Sometimes people contact the business without concrete direction. They need more guidance as to what product or service is best for their need or situation. A good chat agent will notice this and offer suggestions when appropriate without being pushy. In addition, when customers have problems, agents can offer solutions or alternatives for resolving the problem. This type of customer service will go a long way for the business.

The role of a chat agent is fast-paced and filled with responsibility. With the right techniques, agents have the opportunity to make important connections on behalf of businesses and better serve their clients.