With the ever-increasing popularity of live chat as a channel for customer service and sales acceleration, brands are poised to deliver a great customer experience on this channel. Numerous studies have shown that live chat preference varies greatly with age—millennials tend to prefer it more than consumers over the age of 35—but studies have shown that over half of consumers have tried using a form of chat at least once for customer service. With these ten steps, brands can engage customers and drive sales while turning chat into a go-to channel for consumers of all ages.
Make sure customers know chat is available.
When a live chat window pops up, customers need to see it clearly against the webpage they are viewing. This means a simple but large enough window with a good-sized, legible font as well as placing the window in such a way that it doesn’t prevent the customer from continuing to navigate online.
Send chat invitations promptly.
Geolocation features in a proactive live chat software solution can let agents know the perfect time to offer chat to a customer who may be in-store, while the intelligence capabilities of such a solution can examine customer behavior and provide web analytics to enable brands to deliver prompt live chat invitations to exactly the right customers at the right times. Don’t miss a chance to engage a potential customer and retain a current one.
But don’t send automatic chat invitations when no agent is available.
While it’s important for a live chat solution to track the right moments to send a chat invitation to a customer, it’s equally critical to make sure an agent is available at the other end. Sending a chat invitation to a customer who can’t get a response is clearly harmful to customer service and a brand’s image, so make sure there are ready agents available behind those invitations.
Be personal and treat chat like a conversation.
Live chat should be treated like any professional conversation that might take place in person or over the phone. Agents should introduce themselves by name, ask for the name of the customer, and maintain a professional yet friendly tone to humanize the customer service experience in a natural way even when some responses may be scripted.
Keep text clear but concise.
While it may be tempting to write shorthand or abbreviate words as many do on social media, it should never be done professionally. Agents should always write complete sentences with proper spelling and grammar, but keep paragraphs short so time is spent on solving the problem as efficiently as possible. Agents should also be careful not to use overly technical language that customers may not understand, and they should use consistent brand vocabulary that matches the terminology of the company website.
Be timely when responding to customers.
Time is always of the essence, so agents should answer promptly when customers follow up on a chat invitation. They should also provide a phone number in case the chat goes offline unexpectedly, and customers should be informed of wait times and when they are being placed on hold. It’s a conversation, so never leaving the customer hanging.
Switch to another channel for complex cases.
Customers should be given the option to switch to another channel when a case because too complex to solve by text chat, so agents should be able to switch seamlessly to other chat forms (such as video or audio) or another channel such as voice in order to properly assist the customer.
Use analytics to know which webpages need chat the most.
Analytics provide valuable insight into customer behavior, and this can be especially beneficial for live chat. Use analytics to determine which company webpages are most frequently visited in order to prioritize the use of live chat on the most popular pages. Skill-based routing may then be used to direct live chat to the most qualified agents, boosting agent performance and customer satisfaction.
Make chat options mobile-friendly.
For customers on the go or those who may need assistance while in-store, having chat options available on a mobile-optimized company website is a must with click-to-chat buttons. Don’t isolate the mobile customer and make sure it’s also easy to switch to another channel when needed with easy click-to-call buttons.
Provide a strong knowledge base on the company website.
Providing answers to frequently asked questions on the brand website can enable customer self-service and eliminate the need for a customer to chat with an agent at all. However, if a chat is initiated, an agent can make references to the FAQs as necessary and reduce handling time by offering quick solutions.
Live chat is an efficient, versatile channel for both customer service and sales, enabling agents to assist customers with purchases and service issues alike and driving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions optimized for live chat.
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