here is an update what the development team has been working on in the last weeks:
We have removed the limit of 10 concurrent chats per Bot – this applies for the Bot API, Answer Bot and Guide Bot as well.
Clients who configured multiple front line bots in the same tier to deal with a high surge in customer demand can now use just one bot instead.
We have added a ‘context ID’ parameter to the Bot API options. The contextId can be useful when free text input is expected. In this case there is no buttonId to identify where in the process of a multi-step dialogue the visitor currently is, so a contextId comes in handy (you can find the documentation here)
We have updated the Analytics Report > Visitor Environment -> Pages report to not cut off URLs at 80 characters anymore.
We improved the UI of the Chat Agents tab > Add existing Agent option to better display the list of available agents.
Hub: Fixed an issue where the Facebook page the visitor was chatting from did not appear in the ‘From URL’ field.
Fixed an issue in the Analytics Report > Queue Time where chats form visitors that closed the chat while in the queue did not appear in the report.
Fixed an issue where the admin dashboard would not load in Internet Explorer 11
Fixed an issue where the Logs CSV export showed “chat responded” as false for responded chats, when data was deleted after it was sent to the destination
Fixed an issue where the Admin Dashboard appeared to ‘flicker’ when a banner was showing while scrolling down.
Fixed an issue when sending Secure Data Transfer before accepting the chat resulted in the visitor being unable to reply
Fixed an issue where the minimize and close buttons were not clickable in the Edge Legacy browser
Fixed an issue where messages with special characters like Kanji were not truncated properly
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However, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is aware that during an infectious disease outbreak — such as Covid-19 — it may be necessary to disclose a patient’s PHI without their written permission in order to treat them or protect the public health.
Therefore, certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule during Covid-19 regarding the disclosure of patients’ PHI without their written authorization can be waived without sanctions or penalties in specific instances — because Covid-19 is a national Public Health Emergency.
Let’s unpack this to answer the most common questions healthcare organizations about the HIPPA Privacy Rule during Covid-19. When can a patient’s PHI be disclosed without their written authorization during the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency?
What is the HIPAA Privacy Rule?
The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the security and privacy of peoples’ Personal Health Information (PHI). When a patient’s Personal Health Information is in electronic form, it’s called ePHI.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides the standards for healthcare companies to completely protect any PHI or ePHI that’s collected, processed, transmitted, or stored, and make sure that patients can access it and amend if it is incorrect or has become corrupted due to identity theft or errors.
If your organization has contact with PHI in any way, you have to develop privacy procedures and policies that adhere to the privacy rule and use authorizations as instructed by the HIPAA. Otherwise you risk a HIPAA violation which can subject you to fines and penalties.
Can we disclose PHI without patient authorization for treatment purposes?
Yes. Covered entities and business associates are allowed to disclose PHI if it’s necessary to treat the patient — or any other patient — without a patient’s authorization.
Coordination and management of healthcare services by one or more healthcare providers
Can we disclose PHI without patient authorization to public authorities?
Yes. Covered entities and business associates may disclose PHI without written authorization to public health authorities such as any local or state health department, the CDC, a foreign government agency that is collaborating with a public health authority, or any person or entity who has been granted authority from or is under contract with a public health agency.
Can we disclose PHI without patient authorization to someone who might have COVID-19?
Yes. If state law or any other relevant law permits, covered entities can disclose PHI without written authorization to anyone who may have been exposed to Covid-19 or is at risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19. They may also disclose PHI to anyone who they believe can prevent or reduce a serious health threat to a person or to the public by receiving the PHI in question.
Can we disclose PHI without patient authorization to family and friends?
Yes. Covered entities and business associates are allowed to share PHI without written authorization with family, relatives, friends, or any other person involved with the patient’s care. They can also share PHI if they need to when trying to find and notify family members, guardians, or people responsible for the patient — to inform them about a patient’s location, condition, or death. This can even include the police, the press, or public at large if it’s necessary in an emergency situation.
Covered entities should at least try and get verbal permission from patients or be able to reasonably infer that a patient wouldn’t object. But if a patient is incapacitated or not available, covered entities can share PHI if they believe it’s in the patient’s best interest.
Can we disclose PHI without patient authorization to the media or public at large?
No. Unless excepted as outlined above, information about an identifiable patient e.g. tests, test results, or illness details, cannot be disclosed to the media or public at large without the patient’s written authorization, or the written authorization of the person legally authorized to make healthcare decisions for the patient.
However, if a patient hasn’t specifically objected to the release of PHI, a covered entity may release limited facility directory and basic information about a patient’s condition, such as “critical, stable, deceased, or treated and released.”
Are there any other HIPAA restrictions or changes we should be aware of?
HIPAA Security Rule
Covered entities and business associates must continue to apply the administrative, physical, and technical safeguards of the HIPAA Security Rule to electronic protected health information (ePHI) to protect patient information against intentional or unintentional impermissible uses and disclosures — except as permitted by the HIPAA telehealth penalty waiver for healthcare providers.
Covid-19 HIPAA Telehealth Penalty Waiver for Healthcare Providers
Healthcare providers — specifically — won’t be subject to sanctions or penalties if they violate certain HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules when providing telehealthcare in good faith during the COVID-19 nationwide Public Health Emergency.
Minimum Necessary Requirements
Covered entities and business associates still need to be careful to comply with HIPAA’s minimum necessary requirements. PHI disclosure should only be the minimum amount of information required to accomplish the purpose of the disclosure. But minimum necessary requirements do not apply to disclosures to healthcare providers for treatment purposes.
Other Applicable State and Federal Laws
There may be other state or federal laws that apply to the disclosure waiver granted under a public health emergency. All covered entities and business associates governed by the HIPAA Privacy Rule should make sure they are up to speed on relevant local laws that may restrict disclosure of PHI during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Contact SnapEngage to learn how we can help you stay HIPAA compliant during and after Covid-19
SnapEngage’s HealthEngage is the world’s first HIPAA compliant live chat. Our Covid-19 Coronavirus Symptom Checker Bot offers a sequence of questions and answers to help patients understand their options and staff to answer questions quickly. Download our Guide to HIPAA-Compliant Chat and ensure that your business is compliant with the HIPPA Privacy Rule during Covid-19, and beyond.
Since the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released its Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications in March, healthcare organizations want to know what it means to provide HIPAA compliant telehealthcare during the Coronavirus crisis. These FAQs answer the most common questions about the HIPAA telehealth rules for healthcare organizations during COVID-19.
Which HIPAA telehealth rules are affected by COVID-19?
HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules — HIPAA covered healthcare organizations won’t be subject to sanctions or penalties if they violate HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules when providing telehealthcare in good faith during the COVID-19 nationwide Public Health Emergency.
Which HIPAA covered entities qualify for the telehealth enforcement discretion during COVID-19?
Healthcare providers only — The HIPAA telehealth Enforcement Discretion applies to all healthcare providers that are covered by HIPAA and provide telehealth services during the emergency or transmit any health information in electronic form (ePHI) in connection with a transaction.
Under HIPAA, healthcare providers are those organizations that provide medical or health services, bill for healthcare services, and are paid for health care in the normal course of business.
Examples of healthcare providers under HIPAA are:
Home Health Aids
Mental Health Professionals
Any other person or entity that provides healthcare
Which HIPAA covered entities do not qualify for the telehealth enforcement discretion during COVID-19?
Health insurance companies — Health insurance companies that pay for telehealth services but do not provide them are not considered covered entities for the telehealth Enforcement Discretion. Covered entities are healthcare providers only.
What patients can healthcare organizations treat under the telehealth enforcement discretion for COVID-19?
Any patient — HIPAA covered health care providers can treat any patients they normally service using telehealth or telemedicine — with no limitations. This includes both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related telehealthcare services.
It also includes both patients that receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits and patients that don’t. (Any telehealth restrictions imposed by Medicare or Medicaid do not limit the HIPAA Notification of Enforcement Discretion regarding COVID-19 and remote telehealth communications.)
What is telehealth according to the HHS?
The HHS defines telehealth as the use of “electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration.”
But this doesn’t mean that healthcare providers can jump on any platform. The OCR specifically states that providers must use non-public facing applications.
What are non-public facing applications?
Non-public facing communications mean communications platforms that are designed to only allow specific parties into the telehealth conversation. Non-public facing communications should use end-to-end encryption and support individual user accounts and log in credentials.
Examples of non-public facing remote communication platforms with end-to-end encryption:
Facebook Messenger Secret Conversations (iPhone, iPad, and Android only)
Examples of non-public facing remote communication platforms without end-to-end encryption:
What are public facing applications?
Public facing applications are not allowed under the Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth. Public facing technologies are open to the public and are not considered private. Examples of public facing communications are:
What are HIPAA compliant telehealth vendors?
HHS also notes that healthcare providers who want additional telehealth privacy should seek out technology vendors who are already HIPAA compliant technology vendors and are willing to enter into a business associate agreement (BAA) with covered entities.
Even though the OCR assures covered healthcare providers that they will not be penalized for using less secure tech communication products during the Public Health Emergency, it advises telehealthcare providers that they should make an effort to use end-to-end encrypted technologies and inform patients of privacy risks when they can’t.
How long will the HIPAA telehealth rules for COVID-19 last?
The Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth will last as long as the declared Public Health Emergency during COVID-19 lasts. A Public Health Emergency lasts until the HHS Secretary determines that the Public Health Emergency is over. He can extend it for additional 90-day periods, but ultimately, the protection against HIPAA penalties for telehealth ends when the Secretary says it does.
What happens if the Public Health Emergency officially ends, but healthcare providers still need to use telehealth?
While the HHS Secretary may declare a national Public Health Emergency terminated, healthcare providers may still find that they are dependent on telehealth and telemedicine in their regional areas to service patients — coronavirus related or not.
Healthcare providers who are dependent on non-HIPAA compliant technologies to service their patients may find themselves in a grey zone when it comes to HIPAA sanctions or penalties.
The best way to prepare for this is by integrating HIPAA compliant technology today with a Business Associates Agreement in place. Otherwise you may find yourself scrambling when the telehealth Enforcement Discretion is terminated.
Contact SnapEngage to learn how we can help you stay HIPAA-compliant through COVID-19 and beyond
ShapEngage’s HealthEngage is the world’s first HIPAA compliant live chat. We’re set up to address your needs through COVID-19 and beyond. For example, our COVID-19 Coronavirus Symptom Checker Bot offers a sequence of questions and answers to help patients understand their options and staff to answer questions quickly.
Get set up with the leading HIPAA compliant conversational platform designed for healthcare today, and you won’t have to worry about continuing to provide exceptional service while staying HIPAA compliant tomorrow.
Live chat for marketing is a secret weapon. Most marketers just haven’t figured it out yet.
In the customer support world, live chat has been a breath of fresh air in the recent years. The need for personalized interactions seems higher than ever. Live chat has one of the highest customer satisfaction rates at 83%.
In this guide, I’ll show you why live chat is so loved by consumers, how it fits into your marketing, and how you can use it to maximize all your existing marketing assets (with examples and copy/paste message examples you can use).
Why is live chat such a powerful marketing tool?
A direct line of communication with people in your target audience is extremely valuable—no doubt about that. But you’re already on top of your emails and phone calls. These channels seem as close to real-time conversations as possible, and they’ve worked well for you.
So why should you focus on live chat? To answer that question, let’s look at some live chat stats that 99firms and G2 have collected.
Live chat is fast and efficient
Speed is important to your potential customers. Consumers expect a response time under 10 minutes, and 79% of them prefer live chat for exactly that reason—because it offers instant responses.
You could even say that live chat often plays the role of a store assistant in a physical shop. For the shopper, it creates the feeling that the answer to any questions they have is only a few moments away—no waiting in uncertainty.
As it turns out, that’s how many companies feel, too: 87% of them adopted live chat specifically to connect with their website visitors in real-time.
Live chat is convenient
Let’s just get this out of the way real quick. Most shoppers don’t want to talk to sales. At least not right away. The perfect happy medium is live chat. This allows businesses to answer critical questions fast and efficiently.
We are now living in a world where global commerce is happening remotely, due to COVID-19. Think about industries like retail – where shopping has transitioned from brick and mortar, to digital. As companies are shifting their sales and support teams to become a fully connected remote workforce, live chat becomes even more critical.
As many as 42% of consumers say they prefer live chat over other customer support channels because they don’t have to wait on hold, and 51% of them prefer it because it allows them to multitask.
On top of that, 51% of consumers say a business needs to be available 24/7 for support.
These numbers confirm a simple, but powerful assumption: they want to talk to you on their terms. If they can’t, chances are they’ll look for an alternative solution.
Live chat lets you be proactive
If you can anticipate your customer’s needs, you can win. Some 48% of consumers favor companies with proactive support, and the best live chat software will let you do exactly that.
Proactivity works: more than one-third of initiated proactive chats got a response. Showing up with the right message at the right time could drive your customer experience through the roof.
Live chat fuels customer retention and increases revenue
If you picture 100 people that come to your website, about 95 to 99 of them aren’t ready to take an action you want them to (like subscribing and purchasing). That’s based on the average website conversion rate of 1.84% to 3.71% for e-commerce and 2.23% to 4.31% for B2B.
No matter how good your marketing strategy is, it may take a while to convert your website visitors. The good news is that 63% of consumers who used live chat on a website are likely to return to that site.
To top that off, 22% of companies recorded a 5-10% increase in revenue thanks to live chat. Live chat is a long game, and it pays off.
4 ways live chat can support your marketing
Live chat is about timeliness, relevancy, and efficiency. For it to work, you need to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person.
Of course, this is true for every channel you use in your marketing. However, unlike social media posts, whitepapers, or even emails, live chat feels personal, direct, and instant. For the person receiving your message, the expectations might be higher than you’re used to.
Here are the four main ways live chat will support your marketing efforts, which will in turn give your sales team a consistent stream of quality sales opportunities.
Supercharge your content promotion
When you publish a new piece of content, you probably already have a standard promotion process, such as sharing on social media, emailing your subscribers, and posting on relevant forums.
If you haven’t considered live chat for content promotion yet, you’ll love this. Based on what your website visitors are already reading (i.e. the blog pages they’ve visited), you can set up a rule-based chat message that pops us and invites your visitor to check out your other piece of content.
You’ll see the best results with this if you make the recommended piece of content hyper-relevant and related to what they’re already reading.
Generate leads, even when you’re offline
Remember the statistic that said people want you to be available 24/7? Here’s how you can make the most out of that expectation, while also driving lead generation.
Let’s say someone visits your website and looks at your products and your pricing page. They want to talk to a live person, but it’s after your office hours. While they’re on the pricing page, they get a chat prompt that invites them to ask any questions they may have about pricing.
When they do that, a chatbot answers their question. It’s exactly what they were looking for, but they know that there are no chat agents online right now. They get a prompt to leave their information so you can look after them the first thing tomorrow.
And just like that, you’ve generated a qualified lead—literally in your sleep!
Cross-sell and upsell
Attracting and nurturing new visitors is just one of your goals as a marketer. The other big one sits deeper in the sales funnel, and it includes recommending the right products or services at the right time.
This is another big area where live chat can help. You can send contextual messages based on the specific product page the visitor is viewing. Based on their answers, you can upsell them to a product you know fits their needs better, or cross-sell a complementary product.
For Amazon, cross-selling and product recommendations contribute up to 35% of their revenue. Whether you’re launching new products or just promoting your existing ones, timely recommendations with live chat can be an impactful strategy.
Create a fully integrated user experience
People crave consistent experiences, and online behavior is no different. A report from PWC revealed that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience jumped from 20% to more than 80% over the last decade.
A great live chat service will give you the advantage of integrating all your systems for full context about a lead or a customer at any moment.
For example, by integrating your live chat with your CRM, you can quickly get all relevant information about a contact, such as previous conversations, purchases, and more. You’ll never have to ask them to repeat something they’ve already told you, and the process of buying from you will feel seamless on their end.
8 use cases and examples for live chat in your marketing
I’ve outlined eight use cases for proactive, rules-based live chat messages. They will help you start conversations at the right moment, nurture your potential customers, and increase sales.
Recommend other blog posts with live chat.
Recommend a lead magnet upgrade with live chat.
Start a conversation on any product page.
Start a conversation on the pricing page.
Offer campaign specific support.
Reduce cart abandonment on checkout pages.
Ask an open ended question on the homepage.
Welcome back a returning visitor.
Use case #1: Blog post > Recommend other blog posts
When someone lands on your blog post, it means the headline resonated with them and they wanted more.
If they stick around and indicate they’ve actually read the blog post, that’s gold. For example, they’ve stayed on the blog post for at least 45 seconds, or they’ve scrolled to a certain depth. This is where you can send them a live chat message such as:
Like what you’re reading? Dive deeper on [topic] in our newest blog post [add link here].
If this post is useful, you’ll love our most popular blog post on [topic]! Check it out here [add link here].
Use case #2: Blog post > Recommend a lead magnet
This is a particularly great use case for your returning blog readers. If your live chat software allows you to track such information, tailor messages specifically to those visitors that read your content often.
Instead of recommending another blog post, suggest a highly related lead magnet. It will ideally be in the same category. This will not only feel extremely relevant, but it will also help your sales reps customize their conversations in the future!
Use one of these messages:
Are you looking to take your [topic] to the next level? Grab your copy of [checklist, whitepaper, etc.] for hands-on tips [add link here].
You like reading about [topic]. We like that. If you want to learn even more, get our tried and tested tips in the latest [ebook, cheatsheet, etc.]. Get it here [add link]!
Use case #3: Product page > Start a conversation
Your visitors might be on your product pages for many reasons. Maybe they’re researching various price ranges between you and your competitors. They might be looking into specific features and looking for the best option. The level of their interest may vary by a lot.
However, the longer they stay and the more product-specific options they look at, the higher the chances they’re considering buying from you. This is why it’s good to start a conversation.
You can use simple messages such as:
Hey! What can we help you with? We’re only a message away.
You’ve been browsing for a while. Any questions we can answer for you?
You can make this an open-ended prompt, or offer a few options that lets them click on one of them:
Option 1: No, I’m just browsing
Option 2: I need help choosing a product
Option 3: Something else
These can then return automated replies, as well as allow the visitor to ask for a real-time chat with a sales rep or a support agent.
A real-life example of how this all works can be found on Nextiva’s Cloud PBX page. In the example below, a live chat has started during “after hours.” What initially began as a feature question, soon escalated to pricing info. The agent asked for a name, phone number and email address so that the sales department could reach out with specific pricing info.
Use case #4: Pricing page > Ask if they need support
For service providers, software products, and other companies that offer tiered pricing, visitors on the pricing page are often some of the most purchase-ready ones.
Use a similar approach as in the previous use case. If they come to the pricing page multiple times within, say, a week, or if they’ve spent more than 90 seconds on it, you can ask any of these questions:
Do you have questions about our pricing? We’re online right now, so let us know how we can help.
What do you want to know about our pricing?
Use case #5: Campaign-specific landing page > Offer campaign-specific support
Are you driving traffic from an email campaign or a paid ad on search or social media? The benefit of doing that is having a dedicated landing page.
With a campaign-specific landing page, you can get even more specific about the messaging that’s triggered. For example, if you’ve launched a new product, you can designate a number of chat agents that will specifically support visitors from this campaign.
You can use any of the appropriate messages from earlier use cases, or you can simply indicate to these visitors that live chat is available if they need real-time support.
These support agents are prepared for that particular campaign, so they can have more specific conversations about your new launch, bring deeper value to the visitor, and ultimately increase sales.
Use case #6: BOFU pages > Offer support to lower churn/cart abandonment
There are other bottom of the funnel pages—pages close to the end of the decision-making process—that aren’t pricing or product pages.
This includes pages that cover shipping and returns, subscription cancellation, and any page in the checkout process.
If customers get stuck on any of these pages, or if they keep returning to it, it signals that you might be losing them. To help them solve these pain points, you can send them a chat message such as:
What do you want to know about our shipping/returns policy?
What brings you here (i.e. cancellation page)? Let us know if there’s an issue with your subscription.
Is everything you wanted in your cart? Let us know if we can help.
Use case #7: Homepage > Ask an open-ended question
This is an easy, low-effort way to welcome a new visitor to your website if they’ve landed on your homepage.
When the homepage is the starting point, it’s hard to know why they’re here. So feel free to ask them a simple question:
Welcome! What brings you to our website today?
You can either leave it open-ended, or you can offer clickable answers such as:
Option 1: I want to learn about [topic]
Option 2: I’m researching [your product]
Option 3: I’m just browsing
As they pick their option, an automated reply can serve the right link, or simply let the visitor browse.
Use case #8: Returning visitor > Welcome them back
Finally, if someone keeps returning to your website without taking action, they might simply need a small nudge to take action.
Welcome them back with one of these messages:
Welcome back! What can we help you with?
You’re back! Are you ready to get started with [your product]?
If you choose the second one, offer some options they can choose from. For example:
Option 1: Yes, I’m ready!
Option 2: Yes, but I have some questions first
Option 3: No, just browsing
Streamline your marketing with live chat
With these examples and use cases, you can quickly start making the most out of the marketing assets you’ve already created.
Start by listing a few pages that show high intent from the visitor, such as landing pages and product or purchase-specific pages, and use these messages as a starting point. From there, you can expand to more pages, get more specific with behavioral triggers, and test the impact of live chat.
Remember to analyze the results, rinse, and repeat when you find what works best!
About the Author:
Gaetano DiNardi is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker and Outreach.io. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter – he’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy and loves making music to stay turbocharged. To get in touch, follow him on LinkedIn.
Nextiva is a cloud communications company that enables businesses to work from anywhere. Think of Nextiva like a business phone system with superpowers. ⚡
Did you know that up to 80% of customer questions are routine? Many customers prefer chatbots for simple queries. Customers who have no choice but to ask routine questions to support agents can create a frustrating experience for both parties, leaving agents less time to focus on more complex issues.
Clients deserve the best answers quickly. Customer service agents should spend more time on difficult cases rather than answering routine questions. Deliver a delightful experience to customers and quickly provide helpful answers all without involving a human.
Answer Bot is the key to providing efficient answers, all while relieving demand on agents by deflecting incoming chats. Scaling your support team just got easier and more cost-effective. Clients can continue to get the instant help they require, agents are kept free for more difficult questions, and all customer service bot conversations are saved and stored like any other chat.
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Resolve issues before you can say, “Welcome to SnapEngage!”
Connect Answer Bot to an existing knowledge base and it will automatically pull a number of answers relating to the client question into the chat conversation. The client can choose from any article on the suggested list.
A well-structured, well-written knowledge base can resolve a high percentage of common questions. Don’t have a current knowledge base? Google Custom Search allows any website to become a knowledge base.
Bonus: Answer Bot stores all queries, making it easier to identify content gaps in your existing documentation.
Answer Bot is extremely customizable. Enable the customer service bot to be the first line of defense for clients, or strictly as backup when live agents are busy or offline. Provide 24/7/365 support to eliminate client wait times and boost overall client satisfaction.
Scale customer support teams for a fraction of the cost
50%-80% of routine questions can be resolved through automation. Offer clients valuable educational information and triage other requests accordingly. Uncover the reason for chatting in, prioritize the most urgent issues, and route conversations to the right people. As customer service bots work to provide faster resolutions, chat agents will feel more productive and focused on the most important issues.
By deflecting routine inquiries like, “How do I reset my password?” or “What is your office address?”, agents can spend more time focusing on high-value inquiries that require more time and hands-on support.
Business needs change quickly and chatbots can pivot to fit any direction that you are headed. Chat and chatbots combined handle business complexities with ease.