Here are 9 tips for providing excellent live chat support


October 30, 2017

Written by

New Media Services

Live chat has been a great tool for businesses to stay connected to their customers. It is also through live chat that companies gain a profound effect on their website conversion rates for it provides real human interaction during customers’ purchases.

This only shows that customers need a sense of reassurance and quick response that can only be achieved through live chat. According to surveys, 62% of consumers who have been assisted through live chat services would be more likely to do repeat transactions.

Since live chat also provides a human element, agents have the opportunity to provide assurance and value in regards to the product or service the customer wants to purchase. The difference is surely undeniable.

Listed below are live chat customer support tips to help you build strong relationships, boost your efficiency, and more importantly, deliver a one-of-a-kind purchasing experience to your all loyal patrons.

1. Offer Customers a Copy of the Transcript

Customers usually chat with agents to pick up useful information and ask questions about areas of the product or service they are unsure of. They may want to keep the records in case they need them for future reference.

However, most customers don’t usually keep the information and there’s a huge possibility that the information can get lost. As such, providing a transcript will help solve this issue. Transcripts can be extremely useful in keeping track of all the information that a customer needs when they purchase online.

With an on-page live chat portal at the ready, you will be able to store their queries and purchase history, making it easier for your customers to get a copy of their transcript whenever they need it.

2. Use Canned Messages

Another customer support chat tip is the use of canned messages. Automated canned messages are a useful tool especially when a customer decides to use a business website’s live chat tool and must be acknowledged. Instead of having agents compose opening greetings for every customer who initiates a chat conversation, canned messages save more time.

Creating standardized templates to automate some parts of the conversation can really be of great help in augmenting your customer service and professional profile. On the contrary, see to it that you don’t rely heavily on using canned messages. Overusing canned messages can lead your customers into thinking that they are talking to a machine. Use canned messages when you are handling an enormous surge of messages to provide pre-assistance to your queries. Once there are open slots for a human operator, make sure to do a follow-up chat. This way, customers feel valued, thereby boosting their loyalty to your brand.

3. Initiate Proactive Chat

The reality is customers will not always initiate the conversation, that’s why you need to identify individuals who may need your help and raise the chat window for them to be assisted. They might refuse to engage via live chat immediately, and so showing initiative to communicate with them goes a long way.

In fact, offering a proactive chat service evokes a sense of helpfulness. Allow your customers to browse your website for a time being before proactively popping the chatbox to offer help. You can do this by implementing triggers on your web pages. Triggers can be integrated to adapt to website visitors’ browsing patterns and duration. Say, they are skimming your pricing page for almost three minutes. With triggers, your live chat widget will pop out on a given timeframe to provide assistance. Your widget can come in using various approaches such as “Want to know more about our pricing? Talk to an agent!” or “Interested with our flexible pricing? Reply Yes!”. 

By doing so, you are giving your customers an ample amount of time to get familiar and oriented with the services and products your business provides. As an action plan, it is essential to identify a list of target pages where you aim to increase the conversion rate. In doing so, you can program the chatbox’s triggers to automatically pop after a preferred pre-set period of time.

4. Set a Pre-chat Survey

Yet another live chat support tip is to set up self-service client assistance through pre-chat surveys. This is an excellent way to obtain customer information without requiring an actual support representative. It is also a seamless alternative to collecting user info before they even receive help from an agent. Using pre-chat surveys is an effective way to optimize your chat process and direct customers to the chat session they needed in the first place.

For example, when a customer initiates the chat session, they can fill up a chat form entering their name and a quick description of their inquiries. The customer can then be routed to the agent who is most qualified to handle the concern.

Make sure that the design of your pre-chat survey forms is user-friendly, responsive, and allows customers to be directed to the appropriate conversation. Ask questions that will allow your agents to quickly navigate a background check about their concerns so they can provide a courteous and immediate answer.

5. Incorporate Typing indicator

Typing indicators allows the agents to see what the customers are typing; this also gives them an insight into the types of concerns that customers may possibly ask so the agents may also respond quickly. Chat sounds are also helpful, it is a way for chat agents to be alerted if the customer’s messages have been sent or if they are waiting for a response.

Remember that chat agents are handling multiple conversations at the same time, so incorporating these basic features are essential to make your agents more productive. Ensure that these features are well set. Choose the appropriate software that is suitable to your chat agent’s needs.

6. Improve Your Typing Speed

Perhaps one of the most overlooked must-have skills when providing live chat support is the agent’s typing speed. If you are providing email support, then a 15 to 45 minute-long reply is totally normal. But since live chat takes place—well—live, your customer support agents must be capable of typing fast. Remember, in most cases, a single agent must be capable of handling multiple clients. The agility to switch from one customer query to another is crucial.

Picture this: You are speaking to a person face-to-face and they suddenly stop. Imagine the awkwardness of waiting for them to respond as if they are buffering like a Youtube video playing on a slow internet connection. 

While newly hired agents may have significantly slower typing speed, this is a skill that can be improved over time. Customer service managers and supervisors help them hone their typing skills. Implement regular training sessions that involve activities that can help them improve their typing speed. Reward them if you must after every training session to motivate them to improve.

7. Write Comprehensively

Another typing skill to consider if you want to improve your live chat support is to write in such a way customers can easily understand what your agents are saying. Remember, not all customers are well-versed in comprehending tech jargon and other terms that your in-house agents use when speaking to their colleagues.

Since you are providing chat-based assistance, conversations can scroll past very quickly, making it hard for customers to keep up (unless the customer is patient enough to scroll back up). That’s why getting to the point as quickly as possible is vital.

What can your agents do to improve their writing skills? Here are some pointers to help you:

Have in-depth knowledge of your brand’s products and services — In customer support, information is everything. That is why you need to have familiarity with what your brand delivers. Give them updates about your latest products and services as well as the changes of terms if there are any. This way, you can easily provide a comprehensive technical resolution when needed.

Use basic language — Don’t speak to customers as if you’re speaking to your colleagues. They’ll just end up annoyed. Rather, speak from a layman’s perspective. Refrain from using jargon and other technical buzzwords. Use words that are familiar to your customers. If your live chat has multilingual features, make sure to maximize it. Say, a customer is having a hard time speaking in English, then you can forward their concerns to an agent who can speak their language.

Be precise and clear when giving resolutions — Again, avoid using marketing jargon when giving directions. Ideally, as much as possible, you want to be very specific. For example, instead of saying “Go back to the user interface then click the pricing button.”, use “Click the logo at the upper right corner of your screen. Then, click the yellow button with the label pricing to see the pricing page.”. Although it may take longer than usual, it becomes easier for customers, especially the older ones, to follow.

When addressing customer concerns, it is important to aim for clear and friendly communication. Not only does it encourage customer loyalty, but it also helps improve your retention rate.

8. Show Professionalism

It may be a hard pill to swallow, but most customers who reach out for your help desk are the ones with complaints. However, agents must show professionalism at all times. Here are some tips to follow to maintain professionalism:

Show empathy — In order to address concerns from irate customers, make sure to show empathy. Empathy is more than being one with the feelings of the customer. It  is a way to understand your customers better. Yes, they grow angry and impatient. But showing that you understand what they feel and apologizing for the inconvenience can calm even the angriest of customers.

Show familiarity — Showing familiarity not only with your products and services but also with your client’s query patterns proves instrumental when dealing with varying customer concerns. Never use the phrases “I’m not sure.” or “I don’t know.”. Remember, customers have high expectations from you. This way, you are showing customers that you are geared and able to address their concerns in the most professional and fastest way possible.

Be conversational — The last thing that you want to do is to sound like a robot when sending chat messages. Chatbots are great, but nothing can surpass the level of reasoning that a human possesses. Initiating a conversational interaction with your clients is an excellent way to strengthen your ties with them and improve your brand’s credibility as a whole. Additionally, addressing your clients via a first name basis adds a personal touch to your assistance, making them feel more comfortable with your brand.

9. End the Conversation Charmingly

Admit it or not, ending a conversation is far harder than starting one. Closing phrases such as, “Thank you for reaching out to us. Have a nice day!” are excellent ways to end the conversation. You can also close it more pleasingly. 

Here’s what you can do:

Never leave a gap unaddressed — Try not to close the conversation without resolving the problem. If the client is in a rush, give them assurance that you will still work on a solution. If you are able to solve their concerns, make sure that you ask them if they need additional assistance.

Don’t forget the human touch — Incorporating a human touch into your customer support makes it easier for your brand to establish a mutual understanding with your customers. Having a personal rapport with your clients is key to long-term success.

Thank them, a real one — Admit it or not, when closing a conversation with an irate customer, most of the time, agents thank them “halfheartedly”. However, this is an extremely dangerous act to practice—even more so for live chat support agents. Train agents to always be genuine and thankful when closing a conversation with their customers, regardless of the circumstances. It doesn’t hurt to acknowledge and express gratitude for your customers’ time, trust, and feedback. These are factors that help you grow after all.

We’re Just Scratching the Surface

That is right, the aforementioned live chat tips here are just the start. As your business journey progresses further, you will learn more live chat agent skills that can help you propel your business to the top.

Don’t know where to start? Perhaps New Media Services will be of great help! NMS’ Live Chat Support service is an invaluable addition to your current customer support team. Geared with an experienced team of live chat support personnel, we ensure that you deliver exceptional assistance and customer experience while consistently increasing your leads and sales rates. 

Want to know more about our live chat services? Talk to us!

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