In this day and age, we are used to communicating through short text messages in real-time. We are connecting with our friends and loved ones via SMS text, iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and thousands of other apps. So it should come as no surprise that the popularity of customer service via live chat is increasing.
Customers value the quick, on-point service that is delivered while they can keep on working on other tasks at the same time.
For contact centers it is effective because it saves time, labor, and money. Agents can handle multiple customer requests at the same time, the communication is short and not as repetitive as emails, so that customers can get an instant response to their questions.
Live chat is a great opportunity for companies, but it is a unique channel that demands specific skills.
The Unique Challenges of Live Chat
The chatting customer has one main desire: a quick solution! Even more than customers using other channels, he expects this solution to be short, comprehensive and easily applicable. That’s why he chose to chat with you in the first place.
For the representative handling the live chat conversation, this imposes particular challenges. He needs to deliver valuable answers in real-time. And not only to just one customer, but often several customers at the same time. This requires a highly concentrated agent, who is knowledgeable (or has the resources at hand to acquire knowledge quickly), can communicate responses clearly and concisely, is capable of typing quickly, and does this all flawlessly, without sounding like a chatbot.
Admittedly, for an employee that has never handled this channel, this can sound almost impossible. But no need to panic! Here are our top tips to deliver outstanding live chat customer service:
#1 Proper language
Using spell check helps to avoid typos. Spelling, grammar, and style should match the company’s language. For example, the language in the chat conversation should match that of the language used on the website. Is it more formal or should the customer be addressed in an informal style? Specific jargon or technical terms are difficult. Agents should ensure the customer understands them to avoid confusion.
#2 Getting to the point
Clear communication is the key. Agents should reply with yes or no and not over embellish information. We also recommend typing precise questions.
#3 Knowing the content
Agents need to know where to find the right resources, so that they can send the customer to the right place. For example, a specific website section or FAQ.
#4 Canned responses
It would be best if the company works with predetermined responses to common questions. This way agents can quickly provide high-quality answers. But it’s important to adapt the answer individually if it doesn’t solve the particular request.
#5 Short waiting times
Messages shouldn’t be left unanswered. It’s recommended that agents confirm they’ve read the text. In case they need some time to prepare the answer, they can let the customer know in a positive way, for example by typing “Let me quickly find that out for you!”.
#6 Avoiding transfers
Customers shouldn’t be transferred to other representatives. If it’s necessary though, the customer should know that the chat details will be transferred as well. This way he knows that he won’t need to repeat his question.
#7 Staying calm when things get hot
When answering several chat requests at the same time, things might get tense from time to time. Agents need to take some time to focus. Re-reading the last chat messages to get into the topic again might help. The customer shouldn’t feel that they’re stressed with several other customers at the same time.
Create a Wow Moment
Once agents are gaining more routine and their live chat practices are reliable, you can take service up a notch. With some appropriate jokes, easy-going manners, and attentive courtesy, you can transform customer satisfaction into customer amazement.
The importance of finding the right voice to ensure outstanding live chat service can’t be understated. It needs some time and experience, but once agents master the art of involving friendly chit-chat and an appropriate sense of humor in their communication, they will start creating really memorable experiences for your customers and gain some lifelong fans as a result.
If you’re looking for a place to start developing live chat experts, we recommend our “Live Chat Essentials” course. Agents will learn the key differences between live chat and other support channels. They will be taught how to structure a live chat conversation and how to apply questioning techniques specifically developed for live chat to uncover customer needs. Also covered is how to show empathy through this written channel to build lasting relationships with the customer.
Get started today and master live chat customer service!