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How to give great customer service through online live chat

Live chat is one of the fastest growing customer service, sales and marketing tools on the market, and it isn’t hard to see why.

Live chat can be added to a website quickly, is relatively inexpensive, and increases website engagement 6-fold. Larger businesses took the lead with utilising this technology at first, but it is becoming more prevalent – so much so, adoption by SMEs is expected to grow by as much as 87% over the next 2 years. (Source: Live Chat Revolution whitepaper)

We know that introducing a new customer contact channel can be daunting, and you want to get it right from the outset, so we have put together a list of tips to help you give exceptional customer service via online live chat;

Keep it real

It’s important to remember that the people you chat with are more than just words on a screen. Just like any other communication channel, you are dealing with real people who need to feel understood, supported and valued. Be human in your responses, show empathy for their issues or concerns, and remember to give real answers to questions rather than rehearsed soundbites that make you sound like a chatbot.

Be responsive

If site users are left waiting too long they will assume the chat function on your site isn’t working or, even worse, that you don’t value their enquiry. This outcome is more frustrating than simply not having live chat, and you should avoid it at all costs.

Think of live chat like you would a phone call or face-to-face interaction; tell the customer if they are going to have to wait a few minutes while you get the information they need. Ideally, you will have all the answers at your fingertips, but users will wait if they know you’re coming back.

Be proactive

Proactive chat is a common setting available on most live chat software; it allows you to start chats with site users by making the window pop up on screen rather than waiting for them to start the conversation. Use proactive chat to encourage engagement and help website users. You can do this manually or set chats to start automatically on specific pages, page sections or in response to something a visitor has viewed, searched for or interacted with on your website.

Look at the data

It seems obvious, but you would be shocked at how many businesses fail to take full advantage of the insights their live chat data can provide. Look at monthly reports, keep an eye out for trends and make adjustments to help get the most from this channel.

Say, for example, you run an estate agency and notice a lot of chats ask about properties in a part of town you haven’t worked in previously. By monitoring this trend, you’d know the customer-base was there and could choose to expand your reach.

Another thing you should look at is the volume of chats that take place outside of normal working hours. If it becomes clear that your customers want to talk to you in the evenings or at weekends, you should consider providing live chat around the clock. You can do this yourself with a new hire, or use an outsourced Live Chat service to help keep costs to a minimum without reducing service quality.

Manage expectations

As we said before, if your response is going to take a while, let the user know. Moreover, if there won’t be someone available to take chats at all, you need to make sure your customers can see that.

Every live chat solution should have the functionality to either switch it off entirely when you’re offline (so it doesn’t appear to site visitors), or change the content so that the chat box becomes a “contact us” form. Be clear with the times customers can, and can’t, speak to you via live chat. It will keep expectations in check and avoid disappointment.

Find out more about Live Chat

Live Chat is the fastest way to increase website conversion, maximise marketing investment and improve online ROI. Download our free whitepaper now to find out more about this innovative technology and what it will do for your business.

Want to try it for yourself?

You can trial our Live Chat Service free for one week with no ongoing commitment. Use your free trial to see how many new enquiries you’ll gain. Call us on 0333 202 1005 and join the #LiveChatRevolution!

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