Live Chat Best Practices for Better Customer Service
For any business’s growth, there are two main aspects that need to be the focus: customer acquisition and customer retention. If you are focusing on either one of them but not the other, then the growth chart of your business will be a flat line.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on just the acquisition part, unaware of how high churn rate is adversely affecting the growth. According to an insight by Forbes, less than a third of business executives give any priority to customer retention.
Whether it is acquisition or retention, both need to be the focus and one of the main part of both aspects is the customer service. Customer service is the backbone of any business.
If you have a good product, but bad customer service, you are unlikely to get any loyal customer. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, customers with better past experience with a business spend 140% more than those with a poor experience.
Considering the importance of customer services, it is important that something should be done to ensure better customer services. One of the methods to achieve this is through Live Chat on your website.
Why Live Chat?
Live chat is the quickest way of communicating with a company. Customers and prospects usually prefer to contact through live chat because they know that they are talking to a real person who will reply to them without having to wait for hours.
Live chat is a great medium to improve your customers’ satisfaction because you can quickly solve their issues. You won’t even give them a chance to get frustrated with the issue they are facing.
When customers get a timely and right solution to their problem, it will make your company reliable for them. They won’t even consider opting for your competitors.
Live chat can also help you acquire new customers. When Wells Fargo integrated online chat successfully in 2008, they saw a double-digit increase in converted shoppers.
Live Chat Best Practices
Live chat feature will be a big help in satisfying customers, but when done wrong it could backfire.
When you are adding a live chat feature to your website or platform, you are making some big commitments with your customers and prospects. They will have the perception that they will get a quick and correct response in a suitable tone.
To deliver them the expected experience, you need to follow these live chat guidelines.
Set The Expectations
Most businesses fail to deliver good customer service because they are unable to meet their expectations.
In live chat, customers expect a quick response, however, this is not always possible, especially where there is a load of chats on chat agents.
This is why it is better to set customer expectations by letting them know about the wait time upfront. Inform them about the operational hours beforehand, if you are not committing to 24/7 support.
Lower The Response Time
While it may not be possible to reply immediately when a customer chimes in on a chat, it is still possible to keep the average response time low for chats.
There are a lot of methods to achieve this.
Most obvious is to either hire more chat agents or keep the load per agent low.
Hiring more agents can be costly and not possible for every company, especially startups or SMBs.
The other option is to keep the chat load per agent low, which is possible by increasing efficiency and reducing the clutter.
Integrate canned responses in live chat so most common questions can be answered quickly without having to type anything.
Enable auto greeting message in the chats so customers know you are available to help them and it will help agent’s time as well.
Show knowledge-based articles of your product or FAQs regarding your services before customers can start a chat. This way, agents won’t have to deal with common issues that can be solved easily.
Use pre-chat surveys to collect information regarding the issue before the chat starts. This will save time because the agent will already be aware of the issue and how to solve it.
Understand Their Needs
Kindness and courtesy are at the root of the customer experience. – Shep Hyken
Interacting with a customer over a live chat is like interacting with them face-to-face.
Treat them like you would treat a customer if they were in front of you. Try to understand their needs and empathize with them so they know that they can rely on you with their problem.
Often chat agents abruptly close the chat after final response to handle other chats. This is rude to customers, as they might have some more questions. This also has a negative impact on the brand’s image.
The best practice is to always ask the customer whether they need anything else before ending the chat.
Often customers don’t reply for some time after their first message. In such cases, instead of ending the chat due to customer’s inactivity, it is best to always follow up with another response and tell them that you are ending the chat because of the inactivity.
Give Them What They Need
What frustrates the customers most during live chat is when the agent either provide an inaccurate response or provide a vague solution to their problem.
This either happens because of the incompetency of the chat agent or misunderstanding.
To avoid this, the best practice to read the chat carefully and provide a detailed solution so there is no misunderstanding between a customer and the chat agent.
Before sending the response, make sure that agent proof-reads the answer for any technical or grammatical mistakes. Use simple words in the chat so even a customer who speaks a different language than yours can understand the chat.
By implementing these live chat best practices, you can deliver better customer service to improve acquisition and retention rate.
However, live chat is just a single part of a growth strategy. If you are not working on other things as well, then you might not be able to hit your growth target.
What Live Chat practice of yours do your customers like the most?