Proactive chat is a site's customer service chat application that is initiated manually or automatically when user behaviors trigger business rules. Reactive chat, on the other hand, is initiated by the user clicking an option to chat with an agent or representative. The representative might be an actual person or a virtual agent.
One common scenario is users lingering for a long time on check-out pages, indicating that they are considering making a purchase but are hesitating. Metrics that might be used to determine whether chat is initiated include the page URL, the amount of time the user has been on that page, the number of items in their shopping cart and the order's total value. For return visitors, other metrics might include visit, chat and order histories. Given particular metrics, when the user has been on the check-out page for a specific time period, a pop-up window might open asking them if they have any questions or offering them a special deal.
Forrester Research reported that adopting proactive chat helped Nationwide Mutual Insurance reduce its abandoned shopping cart rate 30-40 percent.