Live chat customer support has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years. But, this should come as no surprise; it’s beneficial for customers and brands alike.
Live chat undeniably improves customer service levels. Companies appreciate it for its customer satisfaction and loyalty-building benefits. Customers, on the other hand, have learned that the little box in the corner of the screen is where they can instantly get any support they need, whenever they need it. And they like it! In fact, they like it so much that over 80% of customers are happy (and using) live chat customer support.
There’s no more being put on hold on the phone or waiting to get their emails replied to. They appreciate how easy it is to use and how efficiently their issues are dealt with.
However, while live chat popularity is increasing, there’s still the issue of companies managing to do it well and keeping their customers happy in the process. Because simply having live chat customer support won’t cut it. It needs to be efficient and personalized to increase customer satisfaction. Otherwise, it may end up having the opposite effect.
And, with the coronavirus pandemic we are currently facing, it’s never been more critical to keep your customers satisfied and engaged. The first wave widely affected businesses all over the world and even led to bankruptcy in plenty of cases. So, with the second wave in full force, you will need to be prepared.
Good communication is key to your business surviving any lockdowns, restrictions, and other hurdles thrown at you by the virus. It’s crucial to maintaining a good connection with your customers and showing how committed you are to keeping them happy. Having a comprehensive customer support strategy will keep your team happy as well and what’s more, well-structured, effective live chat can also be a source of revenue.
Keep reading to find out the best tips for live chat customer support so that you can improve your operations and stay ahead.
1. Standard Operating Procedures Are Key
You can’t do anything well without proper structure. The quality of customer support your team can offer is directly affected by how clear and organized your customer service processes are.
To maintain your high standards or improve your current ones, you need a detailed procedure that everyone can easily follow through.
Having specific rules and operating procedures in place can ensure that your customers receive the quickest and best answer. For example, every good customer support system has standard processes and scripts for answering routine customer queries. Say a customer wants to return a product, your customer service reps must be able to provide that customer with immediate information on your company’s return policies. And, refer them to the appropriate department for solving their query in a timely manner.
Clear standard operating procedures will also help you provide consistent customer support. This way, customers will know what to expect and won’t be complaining that they get a different answer every time they talk to one of your reps.
On top of this, customer support teams are also proven to be more efficient when SOPs are put in place. They are useful both for training your teams and for simplifying their workload. Having multiple customer service scenarios, segmented by various customer types and clear procedures means that all they’ll have to do is follow them for the best results. They take out any ambiguities and allow them to resolve customer queries with confidence.
2. Decrease Response Times
Since live chat’s popularity is based on how quickly it solves queries, you will need to focus on delivering this to customers as efficiently as possible. Short response times translate into good customer service and high levels of customer satisfaction.
To improve your response times, define them clearly. Let’s say each question must be answered in 90 seconds or less. This way, your customer support teams will have a clear KPI and they know that they cannot take longer than that to respond to a customer. Even if that answer is ‘We are still processing your request’, the customer must feel that they are being tended to and you didn’t step out for a coffee.
To make things as efficient as possible, and especially if you are short on staff, you can use predefined answers to solve the most common customer queries and automate as much of your live chat customer support as you can.
No need to a whole mind map out of it, but your live chat agents will have more time to focus on the important parts of the issue if they will have a couple of pre-made answers available just one click away.
3. Personalize Live Chat Sessions
Your live chat customer support must always be professional. But, that doesn’t mean you should not be open and friendly. Customer experience is based on how well you make them feel and how engaged you are in your communication with them.
Show your availability and be approachable right from the start with a welcoming message to make them confident about talking to you. Be empathetic and make your customers feel important and appreciated. Listen closely to what they are saying and address matters directly. If they are angry or upset, maintain a calm and professional tone and assure them that you are doing everything to help them. Being professional, composed and friendly is a must – 42% of customers will do business with a competing company if they experience an interaction with a rude or unhelpful staff member.
Through the course of the live chat conversation, a good tip is to sprinkle in your customer’s name and ask more personalized questions. This will bring the conversation up to a more individual level and increase their engagement and the chances of them becoming a repeat customer.
To end your conversation right, make sure you thank your customer and ask if there is anything else they require your help with. You can also add how happy you would be to help them with any future issues. Although chat often feels impersonal, adding a touch of personal branding into your conversational tone adds the human element back.
4. Use Social Mimicking
With live chat, your customers can’t see you and they have fewer cues about how the discussion is going. However, you can make some efforts to close this gap and mimic human interaction.
The concept of social mimicking is how you can overcome any communication issues and keep your customers engaged in the conversation. It’s a great live chat tip you can use for maximum efficiency. It works by mirroring their preferred manner of communication and adjusting your language and tone to theirs.
Agents need to be responsive and show empathy by observing and adjusting to the customer’s approach.
For example, say your customer is a 20-year old who wants to upgrade their current subscription to your service. Their style will most likely be casual and familiar and they will most likely use straightforward language. When your response is similar in nature to how they write, they are more likely to feel that you hear and understand them and you will help them with a quick solution.
Once the customer lays out their issue and you get a better sense of what their approach is, you can adapt your own tone and language and continue the conversation in that direction. This will help you establish an emotional connection. Remember that your main goal is to make your customers feel cared for. They need to feel your brand is relatable. So, deliver an empathic, human response.
A good tip is to put yourself in their shoes. Personalizing a customer’s experience is what keeps them loyal to your brand. So, listen carefully to their issue and maintain a positive attitude throughout the conversation. Easily getting all the information you need will also help you deliver the best outcome.
5. Break Up Walls of Text
As we’ve mentioned before, one of the things customers expect is a quick and easy resolution. This should also translate into how you chat with your customers.
Any response you give them needs to be bite-sized and easy to understand. This means that you shouldn’t let your chat session turn into an email or a wall of text. Separate several ideas into paragraphs and keep each message no longer than two sentences.
For example, if you are explaining the steps your customer needs to take to solve their issue, avoid writing all the solutions in one message and then pressing send. Breaking things up with will make it easier for them to understand the steps. And give them a chance to ask questions as you describe each step if they have any.
6. React to Your Customer
Another good tip you can use to make your live chat customer support conversations more personable is to react to your customer as they lay out the issue they need support for. You will need to send them some cues that you are listening to them because they can’t see your face and how engaged you are in the conversation.
That’s not to say that you should interrupt them, though. The idea isn’t to bother them. It’s to make them feel heard and to relate to them on a more personal level. To show empathy, don’t wait until they’ve finished everything they’ve had to say. Add some indication now and again that you are still there and you are following what they are saying. A simple ‘Yes’, ‘I see’ or ‘OK’ will do.
7. Reuse Frequent Responses
You can save a lot of time reusing your most frequent customer support responses. For best results, you can organize customer queries and your responses into categories and prepare scripts from saved conversations.
Having scripts will allow your customer support team to be more prompt and confident in their answers. They won’t be scrambling trying to figure out the best response for a particular situation because they’ll have it right in front of them. It not only improves your team’s efficiency but also your customers’ experience.
8. Use Offline Messages When You Are Not Available
You may not be able to provide customer service 24/7. So, when you are unavailable, you need to make that clear to your customers. You don’t want them to think you are simply choosing not to respond. It’s all part of providing a good customer experience to let them know exactly when they can contact you.
Let customers know your availability by providing an offline message. Let them know when your live chat agents will be available and, if possible, include an option for customers to leave a message. With their email address, the question / ticket can be added to the live chat system for follow up and even added to the database of your CRM or marketing automation software (it is good to know the difference), to use for profile building and creating a 360 degree customer view. Try to be as specific as possible about when you will get back to them.
Setting up appropriate live chat support processes takes some time and there are many angles to how you can approach it. Fortunately, even if you are just starting out, there are two things that will leave customers always happy. Reaction time and pro-customer support.
Even if everything else fails, responding quickly and doing your best to help the customer out will leave a positive image of your brand each and every time. If you add good leadership to the mix, you are looking at a CSR team that will bring your brand to the next level.
Vlad Falin is a founder and blogger at Costofincome, where he writes about online business and digital marketing tools.
By Vlad Falin|January 8th, 2021|https://www.3cx.com/blog/unified-communications/live-chat-customer-support-tips/