So you’ve decided to use live chat for customer service. Welcome to the future! It’s pretty nice here. Implementing live chat is a big step to ensure customer retention and satisfaction, but how do you optimize live chat?
Remember, adaptability is key when implementing and setting standards for live chat. Always listen to your customers–especially where customer service is concerned. Use these best practices as a jump-off point:
It should go without saying, but customers expect live chat to be near-instant–30 seconds or less. If you make customers wait more than 30 seconds before receiving the first response, then your live chat might frustrate more than help.
If you are somehow overwhelmed with chat requests and can’t fit everybody into your 30-second response window, be sure to auto-generate a message indicating the estimated wait time. Efficiency also means granting your customer service representatives access to relevant information from previous customer chats. This gives your live chat team context, which helps improve the customer experience.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of an automated-feeling live chat. It’s important to have re-set responses for FAQs and for managing multiple customers, but remember that your representatives are interacting with another person. A big part of “acting natural” is maintaining your brand voice throughout the chat process. Your company style guide should give direction to the customer support team to give clues into what sort of “natural” your company expects.
Make chat buttons visible and accessible on all pages. Post decidedly prominent chat windows on your most frequently visited pages for conversions and questions. You have this great new tool– make sure your customers see it when they’re most likely to need it. To start, place a hanging chat bar at one of the bottom corners–customers have become accustomed to this configuration on many other sites.
Accessibility also means placing redirects to chat on social media pages, and even at the end of emails. By targeting multiple channels, you will be able to help more people, solve problems quicker, and gather valuable data that will further help to optimize your live chat usability.
Be honest about your limits
Live chat, however fantastic, cannot solve all problems. Set realistic expectations for your support teams. Live chat should not change your basic principles of customer service. Remember that customers would rather hear an honest “I don’t know, but I will find out” than wait forever and get incomplete or inaccurate information.
You may encounter limitations with live chat when a complex question or difficult customer pops up. Present visible links to call or email customer support as a part of the chat window–your customer service might be more effective in some situations with other channels.
List your live chat availability in a prominent location, and take note of timezone differences. Your peak work hours might vary wildly from your customer’s peak usage. Determine when key pages experience heavy traffic and adjust your customer service schedule accordingly. This same strategy can apply to your proactive chat practices, where you:
- Notice the frequently visited pages, or pages where lingering occurs.
- Take note of the peak time for these occurrences.
- Implement a timer or event sequence for an original proactive chat window to pop up (like when an extended period of time lapses between item –> cart and checkout or multiple FAQ visits).
- Remember to be friendly, but not smothering.
Live chat gives you a great opportunity to connect with customers where they’re most comfortable. Give them the treatment they deserve by running a top-notch customer service operation and watch satisfaction soar!