Along with social media apps, live chats are also becoming more popular among business owners and customers nowadays. It is a fast, interactive, and fun way to reach out to current and potential customers through active messaging and continuing customer support. When executed properly, live chats could result in business growth and revenue increase. Below are the best live chat practices that you should follow to deliver the optimum level of customer service and support.
Best Live Chat Practices to Enhance Customer Support Quality
Using live chat to increase customer satisfaction can be a successful way to improve your business. Live chat is a great way to connect with customers and provide them with support quickly and easily. By using live chat, you can solve problems faster and make customers feel appreciated.
Live chat also helps build relationships with your customers, which can lead to future sales opportunities.
There are several best practices you should follow when using live chat to boost customer satisfaction:
1. Take Initiative and Be Proactive
Messaging can be exhausting, to be honest. Dealing with similar inquiries for the entire day can bore you and there is a solution to that: TAKE INITIATIVE and BE PROACTIVE. During live chat sessions, customers expect live chat support agents to be aware of their needs and note their frequent queries. To increase customer satisfaction, initiate conversations after taking note of all the customer expectations and customer needs. A live chat button on your website can help customers feel that their inquiries can be answered timely and that a team of dedicated agents will be ready to assist them.
Also, keep in mind that live chat agents are also service agents, and starting a proactive chat can make way for other opportunities such as upselling and new product promotion. Initiate chat requests that make the customer feel welcome and valued, and if you feel that he or she is having a hard time in selecting and purchasing an item, extend your help.
2. Practice Live Chat Etiquette
Customers, whether on the phone, by email, or through other instant messaging methods, can be rude sometimes. It is no longer a surprise that contact center and live chat agents share different stories about dealing with angry and demanding customers. If not demanding, some can be very indecisive. To give the best customer experience, make sure to practice excellent chat etiquette. This is similar to good manners and being polite. Customer queries that are repetitive, or rude remarks should be handled professionally. Live chat teams are always expected to use positive language, express empathy to the customers and their concerns, and avoid negative phrases that could throw them off.
For sure, we all make mistakes, and if you are a member of a chat support team, admitting your shortcomings is necessary. Customers appreciate humility and willingness to learn so customer service agents must be capable of receiving negative customer feedback and using it to improve their skills. Aside from the words and language that you use, your tone also determines the quality of support that you are willing to extend to your customers. Customer satisfaction rates may increase or decrease depending on how your customers feel about your conversation. Make sure to carry a positive outlook and make their live chat experience worthwhile.
3. Provide an Estimated Waiting Time And Stay True To It
To this, all of us could relate. Nobody wants to wait for long, and worse, nobody would ever want to wait with an indefinite time frame. While live chats are considered real-time, for starting companies and businesses, support channels do not operate 24/7. This means that no matter how active your live chat on your website is, there are still times when responses can be delayed. To solve this issue, live chat conversations use automated responses to create an impression of a 24/7 support experience for customers. This is very helpful, but a customer may have a problem that is totally different from other customers. Website visitors may flock at a certain period opposite to your business location’s timezone so initiating and maintaining conversations can be tough.
One live chat solution to this problem is to set up an away message, reassuring every customer that their inquiry will be handled as soon as possible. You may also ask them to join another live chat session and live support services on a specific period or schedule. With this, you will make live chat available without exhausting all your business resources or compromising breaks. Never ever give an estimated waiting time that you can not follow.
4. Ask Customers To Rate Their Experience
We always see or hear this immediately after contacting phone support, online chat support services, and help desks for technical issues, and truly, this practice is an effective way to assess your live chat performance and identify certain areas in need of improvement. User experience plays a vital role in implementing live chat support best practices that will aid in the customers’ need for consistent support, improve customer satisfaction rates, and live chat assistance quality. At the same time, agents will also be able to develop better communication, negotiation, and upselling skills, if necessary.
5. Thank Customers For Their Feedback
Thanking your customers for their feedback is a great way to show that you appreciate them. It can also encourage them to contact you again in the future if they have additional questions or problems.
When a customer compliments your company or product, respond positively and thank them for their kind words. This will show that you value their opinion and are grateful for the business they’re bringing in.
“Hey, thank you for the feedback. I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying our products so far. If there’s anything else we can do to help, please let us know!”
6. Appropriate Use Of Emojis and GIFs
Some customers appreciate quick responses in a full text while others tend to be more visual. Using emojis and GIFs in live chat helps create a friendly and fun atmosphere. It also makes the conversation with the customer lighter and more relaxed. However, emojis and GIFs should be used appropriately via live chat. It is ideal to insert cute and creative emojis after a customer commends your service and support, or after coming up with a purchase decision. Avoid using emojis when customers are complaining, frustrated, or disappointed as this could create an impression that you are mocking their complaints and not taking them seriously. If a deal has been sealed, you can send a simple thank you GIF or emoji later in the chat.
7. Respond quickly
When a customer contacts you through live chat, respond as soon as possible. If the problem is urgent or complicated, try to offer a solution right away. This will show that you care about your customers’ experience and are willing to help them out ASAP.
As a rule of thumb, aim to reply within 60 seconds. If you don’t know the answer or are busy with another customer’s issue, tell your customer that you will get back to them as soon as possible.
If the customer is asking a lot of questions, be patient and answer each one thoroughly. Don’t forget to thank your customer for contacting you and let them know that someone will get back to them as soon as possible.
8. Explain Everything Clearly
When dealing with a customer, be as clear and concise as possible. Don’t use words that your customers may not understand or that are too technical.
It’s also important to make sure you explain everything clearly. Don’t assume your customers know what you’re talking about because they may not. If you’re explaining a complicated issue, break it down into smaller pieces.
To make sure you are being clear and concise, have someone else proofread your work before sending it to the customer. You may find that what you thought was clear and concise is sometimes not.
When a customer asks a question, answer it completely before moving on to the next topic. If you don’t have an answer, tell the customer that you don’t know and then get back to him or her as soon as possible with an answer.
This is especially true if your customers are asking about technical issues. If you don’t know the answer, tell them so and then get back to them with an answer as soon as possible. If you’re not sure how long it will take to find an answer,
9. Highlight the Fact that They Are Chatting with a Real Human
While live chat software is undeniably helpful, some of them have the tendency to sound or feel too robotic. If you are a business owner, make sure that the one live chat best practice that you instill in your agents is to put a strong emphasis on the fact that they are human agents. Customers know that it is possible to start a chat without a real person facilitating it, but they will appreciate it more if they will chat with real humans.
In order to emphasize the agents’ human qualities, set a professional-looking profile picture instead of using the company brand or logo as a display photo. Agents should also chat with customers using common phrases used by humans. The human touch is what will make the customers feel comfortable and valued. The language should be polite, friendly, and lively. If you want to give a nice chat experience to your customers, make a chat channel that is interactive and comprehensible. Flexibility and skills in different languages are also an advantage to the customer.
This is a good way to make your customers feel that they are not just chatting with an automated system, but with someone who really cares about their problems and needs.
10. Organize Chats through Message Tags
For businesses offering live chat support to customers, live chat services could result in hundreds and thousands of chats from people with similar and different inquiries and concerns. One of the best practices to improve customer live chats is message tagging or labeling. Receiving the same inquiry about a certain product can be exhausting and may cause unnecessary clutter on your website or social media page inbox. Group the messages which include the same topic for the agents to browse each chat accordingly.
One example of this is healthcare accounts under a specific medical insurance provider. There could be a hundred chat messages inquiring about the status of their insurance application and the best way to organize them is to label them with messaging tags such as Insurance Inquiry, Insurance Application, and New Clients. Some project management software and chat software also have features where you can label chats according to the priority levels so that agents could easily open chats that are urgent.
11. Measure Results Regularly By Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Constantly measure the effectiveness of your live chat strategy by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help you identify areas where improvement is needed and make necessary changes accordingly!
A live chat is all about real-time responses for some. But for businesses, there are several factors that should be considered to accurately evaluate the performance of live chat agents. Conversion rate is one of these factors. A good live chat agent or chat support agent should be able to effectively convert an inquiry to a sale. Other businesses also consider referral rates and frequency of website visits as an indicator of an effective live chat service. KPIs are necessary to give superb support experience for your customers and measure your service level standards if it is already competitive enough to become the primary customer support channel for your business.
12. Monitor Customer Service Metrics
Customer service metrics go hand in hand with KPIs. In call center companies, there are several metrics that must be considered. In a chat support team, the First Response Time (FRT) is the most crucial. The FRT measures how quick the agent’s response is to a customer’s inquiry. The quicker the response, the more capable your team is of handling a possible influx of inquiries.
Another factor is the Customer Satisfaction rate. CSAT is measured by determining the First Contact Resolution (FCR) of each agent to an inquiry. The higher the FCR, the higher the CSAT will be. Review chat transcripts and compare and analyze the response time of each agent to the customer.
13. Utilize CRM Tools to Streamline Process
Nowadays, the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools helps hundreds and thousands of businesses in streamlining daily processes and company operations. It is important to consider regular communication with clients to be updated with their needs and demands. Moreover, an effective and organized CRM could help a business store and collect customer information and keep track of the previous chats so that the new agent will be able to handle the conversation flow naturally and professionally. CRM strengthens the connection between the company and the customers and is also very beneficial in generating and keeping leads to maximize marketing and sales opportunities for sales teams.
14. Monitor Canned Responses
One live chat best practice to boost customer satisfaction is monitoring canned responses. This will help you avoid robotic, unenthusiastic answers that can be picked up by your customers as a sign of indifference. It’s important to be aware of the canned messages you use and make sure they are updated with current information on a regular basis so that your answers don’t sound outdated or out of place.
When using automated chat responses in live chats, canned responses are one of the most common situations and problems that are extremely annoying to customers. Canned response refers to pre-determined replies to common customer questions that a chat agent receives. While canned responses can be helpful and convenient, they can also be problematic when the response sent is not connected to the question or inquiry of the customer.
It is important that you carefully choose the canned messages to be used by your agents. You should also consider having a separate category for “frequently asked questions” (FAQs). This will allow you to have a separate set of canned messages that will be sent to customers who ask the same question over and over again.
15. Train Your Customer Support Team Properly
Make sure that everyone in your company knows how to use live chat effectively. This will help speed up the process and prevent common mistakes from happening.
As a rule of thumb, the agents should only be allowed to send prewritten responses when they are unable to answer a customer’s inquiry. This will help you avoid sending irrelevant answers or information that might offend your customers. Chat scripts are a good way to do this.
You should also make sure that the agents are able to give answers that will actually solve a customer’s problem. It is not enough to simply satisfy them; you want your customers to be happy with your service.
The agents should be trained to ask questions before giving a response to make sure that they are addressing the customer’s concerns properly. This will also help them gather more information about the customer’s issues and concerns.
16. Assign the Best Agents for Live Chat
This goes to business owners who want to set up live chat services for their company. Assigning the best agents for your live chat services is a very important and crucial thing to do. There are individuals who are good at talking via phone and resolving customer calls verbally but are struggling in written conversations and chat support. The qualifications for a chat support agent or representative are very similar to the requirements for the customer service position. However, make sure to assign the agent with good written communication skills, grammar, and tone.
Live chat agents carry the identity and branding of the company. While imperfect grammar and spelling can be tolerable, especially when in a rush or urgent task, frequent mistakes may affect the customer’s level of interest in joining live chat sessions, and may still opt for other communication and customer support channels. Moreover, make sure that agents will receive regular training to update their skills. Aside from their communication skills, you may also conduct training in conflict resolution, stress management, and upselling.
If you are having difficulty hiring live chat agents you can outsource your live chat to a third-party service provider. You can use the internet and search for outsourcing companies that offer live chat services, or you can contact Digital Minds BPO Services, a leading BPO company in the Philippines.
If you want to know more about live chat and how it can help your business, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to assist you.
17. Use Live Chat In Conjunction With Other Customer Service Tools
Live chat software can be used in conjunction with other customer service solutions, such as email support, technical support, social media, phone support and self-help portals. This will help you streamline the customer service process and reduce the number of questions that customers have to ask before they receive an answer.
Live chat software can also be used in conjunction with other sales and marketing tools, such as a CRM or website analytics tool. You can use live chat to track customer visits, find out why they visited your website, and which pages they viewed. Then you can use this information to better target future marketing campaigns.
Live chat software can also be used in conjunction with an order management system. You can use live chat to provide customers with the information they need before and after placing an order.
This is especially useful for e-commerce sites because it gives you a chance to upsell or cross-sell additional products.
Chat support services have lots of similarities with call center services but there is still a thin line that separates the two. In call center services, customers can talk to agents, hear their voices, and feel that they are being taken care of. For chat support, agents should be very meticulous in initiating conversations with the customers by using the proper positive language, and tone of voice, and adopting a type of approach that feels sincere, yet professional and intimate. Always remember that the customer is always right, and you should have unlimited ways of making them feel that they are valued.
Happy customers, in return, can give your business more leads, the best feedback, and strings of positive recommendations. Keep working and improving your customer service and support system, and we are very certain that we will see you on top in the future.
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