10 helpful tips for better customer chats

Customer service is a “crucial battleground” now more than ever; but are you are losing or winning?

The stakes have never been higher. When a customer has a lousy experience:

  • 56% will never use that company again
  • 25%+ will recommend that their friends not use the business
  • 14% will share the experience on social media
  • 20% will post a review online

According to New Voice Media, U.S. businesses in 2017 lost around $75 billion annually due to poor customer service, compared to an estimated $62 billion in 2016.

As gloomy as the situation may seem, there’s relief on the horizon – chat.

Enter our hero, Live Chat

In the past, live chat was always considered something that would be “nice to have” but not really affordable or practical. Instead, businesses would turn to phone and email options instead.

Well, the times are a’changing!

live chat, customer service, intercom, Lucky OrangeIMPACT reports that live chat is a true untapped medium with 70% of customers saying that live chat has the highest level of satisfaction for them, even ahead of emails (61%), apps (53%), social media (48%), and phone (44%).

It makes sense. Live chat is easy to use for both operator and visitor and offers a fast method to answer questions and connect with visitors quickly.

The best benefit of all? Live chat literally pays off – the American Marketing Association found in a study that live chat increases conversion rates by at least 20%! Customers who use live chat are also three times as likely to make purchase than those who don’t use chat.

Translation: Live chat works, and it works well.

Chat tips for a better experience

thumbs up, agreement, Lucky OrangeNow, as great as live chat can be, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room – bad customer service exists in live chat, too.

Sometimes operators can sound too artificial while others may be failing to listen to what the customer is really asking.

To make the live chat a more memorable (and effective) experience for customers, here are 10 tips that will bring your live chat game to the next level:

  1. Introduce yourself & use a photo. Remember that at its core, you’re having a conversation. Framing it as an interaction between a business and a customer can make it intimidating and impersonal while introducing yourself as a real person makes it a more relatable experience. Be sure to add your (real) profile photo for an even more personal touch.
  2. Listen with empathy. Understand the customer’s situation, acknowledge their struggles or headaches, and help them find a solution. Be sensitive their frustrations to make them feel valued. And remember: a little empathy, the ability to share or understand the feelings of others, can go a long way.
  3. Stick to positive language. Don’t just say “no” to customers. Instead, turn it around with positive interaction. For example, don’t just say, “The product isn’t available.” Instead, say, “That product is no longer offered, but I would be happy to introduce you to a similar product that has all of the features of [product one] and new features that may also satisfy your needs.”
  4. Don’t get too technical. Unless you know that the person on the other end of the chat is able to talk the (technical) talk, keep your answer simple. Some experts suggest using the ELI5 (Explain It Like I’m 5 years old) technique. We here at Lucky Orange suggest instead to assume you’re talking to your grandmother. Keep your answers short, clear, simple, and not overly complicated. Be sure to keep this in mind when adding and sending canned chat responses, too.

Helpful hack: Canned responses help save time when juggling multiple chats or answering repeat questions by providing operators with pre-crafted messages. Make sure you use just one canned response per user to avoid sounding like a bot!

  1. Speak their language. If you had bilingual staff, utilize their language skills to provide a more comfortable conversation with customers in their own native languages. Your efforts will resonate with these customers! For those who don’t have bilingual staff, be wary of using Google Translate. While it can work well for languages like Spanish or Mandarin, other translations for languages like Romanian or Italian may not be as accurate.

Helpful hack: If the majority of your audience speaks a specific language, it’s highly suggested to hire operators who are native in that language.  

  1. Turn to live view & co-browse. They often say that a picture speaks 1,000 words, and co-browse is even better than that. Operators will be able to see exactly what page the visitor is on and then co-browse with the customer but digitally leading her to the right product or answer to her question.
  2. Lean on those help documentation links. For instructions that require more than three steps, link to a help document instead. It will make it easier than scrolling through a chat window for instructions and build a knowledge base for customers to refer to.

Helpful hack: Not sure of what to put in your knowledge base? Use your chat logs (always included with your Lucky Orange plan) to better understand what your customers are asking.

  1. Know your products. It sounds simple, but don’t overlook one of the most basic aspects of customer service. Operators should know their products or services inside and out. Make sure each operator knows the latest features, products, and services. Provide a printed “cheat sheet” if needed to help junior operators navigate common questions.
  2. Follow through with your customers. Don’t leave your customers hanging! Answer chats quickly, and if you don’t have an answer, make sure you follow through with your promises to your customers. For example, if you say you’ll follow up with an email, make sure you send that email with an update.
  3. Don’t stray from the topic. From an operator side, avoid asking customers irrelevant questions or sending unrelated information. It doesn’t just complicate the chat, but it can make it difficult to solve the customer’s problem. If the customer strays during the chat, remain courteous but try to steer the conversion back on track.

Tl;Dr: Chat is a better experience for all

Customers prefer chat, and it’s proven to increase conversions and customer satisfaction. For operators, it’s an efficient and essential tool that is easy to use. With live chat growing in popularity, there’s no excuse for a business not to utilize it.

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