Chat allows us to react instantly and show that we’re taking the request seriously.
Studies show that hate is increasingly spreading online, with anti-Semitism being especially prevalent. The project "Be'Jachad - Gemeinsam.Gegen Hass" built a platform where young people can report anti-Semitic incidents – and be empowered to make the internet a better place. To reach their target group, Be'Jachad added Userlike live chat as a direct, anonymous contact channel.
The Jewish population reports feeling more and more threatened by the hostilities they’re facing both on- and offline. That’s why the need for a platform arose, where one could easily address such incidents. When Tobias Rosin, project manager at the Jewish Forum for Democracy and against anti-Semitism, and his team started with Be'Jachad, they first evaluated how to increase awareness for the new project.
Looking at their target group, they knew they wanted to add live chat as a contact channel on their website. "It’s just closer to the way young people communicate today," Rosin says, "so we felt it would be a great fit for our use case."
I like that the user decides how much personal information she wants to reveal. In the chat, you don’t need to give your phone number or name. That comes up later once trust has built up through the conversation.
When researching different live chat providers, they came across Userlike on Stifter-helfen, the software portal for non-profit organizations. Rosin explains that they had to check-off some crucial criteria first, data privacy being one of them. "Our project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, so we’re obliged to adhere to strict data security standards. Of course, this is also an indispensable factor for the people using our chat, who are sharing their personal stories."
Together with the Userlike support team, they went through their list of requirements and confirmed that the live chat fulfilled all of them. Rosin gives three reasons why they decided on Userlike:
Next came the chat implementation. "That was a breeze," Rosin recalls. "We also appreciated that we could easily customize the chat design to our website’s look to make it stand out more."
Rosin likes that chat allows them to provide fast and precise answers, something which used to require long ping-pong email conversations. "You also get direct feedback after a chat has ended, like 'Thank you, that helped me!' Emails generally take more time and are missing this feedback option."
It can be a traumatic experience for a young person that’s taken the courage to tell someone their story, looking for support – only to get lost in bureaucratic processes and not receive any direct feedback. With chat, we can react instantly and show them we’re taking their situation seriously.
However, when putting live chat to the test, Rosin noticed that though web visitors made use of the chat, it wasn’t to the extent they’d expected: "The chat is definitely an eyecatcher, encouraging young people to reach out to us. But our expectations for the chat had been sky-high. We thought that it’s the medium that kids are using these days because it’s closer to the way they talk, their way of living, how they express themselves."
Rosin and his team learned that communication has diverse attributes – especially in their use case where it’s about sharing personal, troubling experiences about anti-Semitic or racist incidents. He believes that every medium – phone, email, live chat – has its specific strengths and weaknesses.
"What’s vital is offering a mix of contact channels so the individual decides which she prefers. Chat allows a fast, anonymous way to get in touch, that’s why we wouldn’t want to miss it. Oftentimes, it’s the first contact point from which a relationship of trust develops. Once that’s established, people feel comfortable to open up more and tell us their stories."