Live Chat, the Perfect Channel…


Live chat is a perfect channel for many aspects of the customer experience. When customers are searching for product information or need help with checkout, chat can provide the immediate assistance they need. However, as with any channel, it is important for brands to personalise the experience and communicate in a manner that best fits the channel.

Nowadays there are many different types of chat available. ChatBots are also becoming more prevalent. This is because, if the information is easy to give and the customer doesn’t really need (or want) to have a real person help them, an exchange of simple questions and answers can provide the customer with everything they need automatically.

ChatBot can always drop into a WebChat if the information required is too detailed or a real person is needed or wanted for whatever reason. WebChat can appear on just about any Web Page you wish, and the customer can be answered by specific experts. Customer Service, Finance, even Sales can be used to answer specific enquiries.

Most good WebChat products can also give you a “Click-to-Call” option so, if required, you could end up talking to your customer, but only if they want to. Remember, they started the conversation so allow them to control how it continues.

Should your customer decide to talk, then why not offer them help by Cobrowsing? This allows you to show, and talk, your way through a question or query. If a picture paints a thousand words imagine how good it will feel to be shown the answer to a question rather than spoken to?

A well-timed chat invitation is essential to a great experience. Using analytics, determine how long customers have been browsing a webpage. Then, send a live chat invitation once the customer has been active on the page for more than ten seconds (for example). In this manner, your brand can capture the attention of customers who are considering a purchase or simply need support. In addition, make sure to offer chat on the most frequently visited webpages and employ agents who possess the skills those pages demand.

Agents should always use a natural and friendly tone. However, when agents go a step further and match the language and tone of the customer, this also adds a layer of personalisation to the experience. For example, if the customer uses a formal tone, the agent should do the same and refrain from slang words or emoticon use. If the customer shows a lighter attitude or uses emoticons, the agent should make an effort to keep the dialogue light-hearted. Just as with any conversation, the flow depends on a willingness to communicate and put each other at ease.

While it’s always important to save customers time, they need to understand the information they are given. Overwhelming customers with too much text at once is unnecessary and can prolong the interaction. Imagine if you asked a simple question that really needs just a “Yes or No” and then someone talks nonstop at you for 2 minutes! Frustrating, annoying, or just plain rude! Flooding your customer with too much information is a sure way to lose their interest.

Agents need to begin with a quick introduction, ask how they may help, “listen” to the customer (just like when you’re in a conversation, and then provide a solution in short paragraphs. These phrases can often be “pre-written” in a knowledge base. Not only do you provide exactly the right information, but it saves time and effort too.

In this manner, the agent can periodically ask the customer if he understands the communications and encourage an actual dialogue. Customers will feel more at ease and better able to process information, but please don’t talk down to them, or worse still, don’t talk “at” them.

As much as possible, the agent should stay one step ahead of the customer.

For example, if the customer has experienced an inconvenience, the agent should empathise and maybe offer some kind of gesture to remedy the situation. In addition, it’s essential to convey a proactive attitude that instils confidence in the customer. The agent should try to explain that a solution will be found, using positive language that also shows empathy and a willingness to accept responsibility for any brand mistakes. An error, or mistake, is really an opportunity to show how much you care, and your speed to rectify the problem.

At the end of every exchange, maybe consider sending a survey on the chat channel. The agent may ask the customer if he would be willing to answer a short survey that is provided through a link. In the survey, ask the customer to rate the agent’s performance, but also inquire about the overall chat experience. Was the invitation sent in a timely manner? Was the experience effortless? Such feedback will help your brand improve your chat strategy.

Live chat is a versatile channel that can assist customers at virtually any stage of the customer experience. Whether in-store or at home, customers can benefit from immediate and personalised customer service.

Author:               Shaun Holmes | Professional Services
Manager Published by:     Daktela UK ltd