We're going to show you the most important live chat best practices you need to follow.
Live chat helps organizations more easily convert website visitors into prospects, drastically improve resolution rates of customer issues, and ultimately reduce churn rates by offering the best possible digital experiences.
Let's dive in.
15 live chat best practices
- Place your live chat window strategically
- Make sure you have a chat window on every important page
- Take the first step to grab your customers’ attention
- Improve conversion with AI chatbots
- Communicate in a smart way
- The human effect
- Low response time
- Screen share while live chatting
- Cobrowse while live chatting
- Encourage self-service adoption
- Tag it up
- Use alternative channels
- Integrate a CRM with live chat
- Track live chat metrics
- Focus on users
1. Place your live chat window strategically
Live chat best practices are often based on the premise that you should think like a customer, understand their needs and provide contextual solutions to their problems. This is the crucial first step in the process of creating successful live chat practices.
For example, to enhance your customer experience with live chat software, place it on the right side of the page. When someone opens up a window on your site, their eyes are likely to travel to that side instinctively.
Also, it needs to be easily visible. Use a small but bright button that launches the chat window when clicked on. This bright button will catch the eye without the need to scan around the whole page to find it.
2. Make sure your chat window appears on important pages
Offering live assistance across your popular web pages is absolutely essential when implementing live chat. The pages most often visited by your customers should be fully equipped to handle questions, and are also the most likely to generate leads from visitors.
According to eMarketer: 63 percent of customers who chatted [through live chat] said they are more likely to return to the site, and 62 percent reported being more likely to purchase from the site again.
This shows how important the presence of live chat windows is. Sometimes, users don’t reach your site through the homepage and their journey may vary significantly. That being the case, you may miss the chance to get in touch with them without a live chat presence across a number of pages.
What's also important to note is that, with the right technology, you can customize the automated messages that start the live chat conversation. For example, if someone is looking for sports gear, the message could ask them if they want to know more about the available sports brands.
3. Take the first step to grab your customers’ attention
At times, your customers may find themselves navigating around your website just browsing through, not knowing specifically what information they're looking for or where to get it.
If you don't do something during this time, you risk losing them altogether.
Thankfully, there is something you can do. Take the first step yourself and grab customers’ attention when it’s most needed. Automate the live chat tool to proactively approach customers, preempting any issues they may have (you can use insight from data analysis tools on what and when people search).
4. Improve conversion with AI chatbots
AI-driven chatbots are already helping organizations improve engagement and boost conversion rates. Live chat software can easily integrate with a chatbot, so the chatbot will be available whenever live agents aren't and vice versa.
Through sequence-based chatbots, you can anticipate and respond to customer needs, steering the course of conversations contextually.
Al chatbots match a customer's question against common phrases and keywords, then suggest the next course of actions, like forwarding it to the right department, inserting relevant FAQ pages, or answering the question itself directly.
Of course, not all conversations can be handled by chatbots, but they do manage simpler conversations, leaving agents to focus purely on complex issues.
What's new with chatbots?
Intelligent bots represent a new innovation among chatbots. They are built to manage conversational marketing, taking over the entire pre-sale process. Support bots allow your customers to fill out pre-chat surveys, telling you what sort of issues your customers have even before they start typing.
5. Communicate in a smart way
It seems like a simple point, but communicating properly is the most important best practice for live chat. After all, it is the content of your responses that ultimately leads to the resolution of any issues, and keeps your customers happy.
There are a few things to bear in mind to make sure that your communication is crystal clear:
- Read customers’ messages carefully
- Give clear and accurate responses
- Give well detailed solutions
- Make sure writing is easily legible
- Proofread before sending
6. The human effect
Sometimes live chat agents find it hard to communicate with customers while maintaining a positive attitude. The sheer volume of requests or even the customer's way of speaking or expressing complaints can interfere when agents try to build rapport.
Here are some tips on how to create a better human connection over live chat:
- Personalized chat – start a chat using a visitor’s name, personalize your greeting and responses.
- Make a connection – use names and photos of agents so customers feel they are connecting with another human, building trust.
- Be positive and friendly – use a positive tone so agents aren’t misconstrued as rude. Make use of exclamation points in your greetings to engender some informality.
- Use of voice and video call – use advanced technologies like a conversational customer experience platform, to make voice and video call, cobrowse remotely, and foster closer connections and smoother conversation with a human touch.
7. Low response time
Even in this digital era, 75 percent of customers still believe it takes too long to reach an agent. Slow response times lead to high abandonment rates, but fortunately, live chat offers a way to combat this.
With live chat, you can slash your average response times down to seconds, impressing customers with your responsiveness and professionalism. Agents can even proactively initiate conversations with customers and suggest products based on their purchasing behavior.
- Accept chat automatically and inform the customer that your agent will return later if needed.
- Set automatic responses to all incoming customer chat sessions.
- Allow your agents access to customer profiles and past conversations to provide useful information pre-chat.
8. Screen share while live chatting
Sometimes on live chat, even if agents try their very best to explain, your customers simply don’t get it. In this case, screen sharing is the best option. With screen sharing, agents can easily access the content on customers’ screens and show them how to do things. Sharing data, or giving demonstrations, becomes a lot easier.
Let’s have a look at the advantages of using this technology with live chat.
- Users can easily solve problems in real-time.
- Allows for multiple screen sharing across several monitors.
- Includes a “view” and “show” mode.
9. Cobrowse while live chatting
When cobrowsing is integrated with live chat, it creates a clear, direct, communication channel. Agents can access customers’ web browser windows to guide them through as needed, highlighting and annotating different elements on the customer's page.
Customer service agents can continue live chatting with customers while viewing their computer screens. Cobrowsing with live chat, reduces response time and provides real-time support for your customers.
If you are worried about the security aspect, no need. Privacy is core to the development of cobrowsing tools. The whole communication is secured with PCI DSS encryption standards. This means only a support agent has access, and they need permission from the customer in order to interact with their page (and sensitive data are automatically masked).
10. Encourage self-service adoption
Integrating the help center or knowledge base into your live chat program allows your agents to have a vast pool of information at their fingertips. Even if the agent can’t fully solve the problem, they can still provide support by directing customers to the relevant help document instantly. Replies to customers can include images, screenshots, or files.
- Apply appropriate tags to knowledge content.
- Figure out tags that your readers would use to search for information.
- Create tags that can be associated with organic keywords, making it easier to search articles.
One of the finest examples of integrating a knowledge base into a live chat program comes from Zapier.
Whenever their clients look for Zapier integration information, they come up with the most relevant articles, facilitated by the proper use of tags in their knowledge base.
11. Tag it up
Tags are one of the most underused features in live chat software. like we said above, they can be extremely useful for finding content. Tags help categorize chats, routing them down the most appropriate path.
Observation teaches you how to categorize sets of questions based on what your customers ask. For example, our customers consistently seek help configuring cobrowsing for their communication channels. We have tagged this set of questions, so customers get forwarded to the right person.
12. Use alternative channels
Sometimes, to explain something more efficiently, agents need to share other media files with customers, such as video demos, or a one-way video call (masking clients’ faces), or even invite them to a video conference.
This is what new technologies can bring to the table, providing a way to integrate different technologies, and ensure more efficient customer service processes.
13. Integrate a CRM with live chat
What if your agent gets caught up in something that takes them away from a live chat? If the customer decides to leave and come back later, they'll need to start explaining their problem and providing their details from scratch.
CRM helps to sync individual customer identities, including name, email id and any personal preferences or requirements, providing the opportunity for your customers to pick up from where they left off. This is an extremely beneficial feature to offer with live chat, creating a streamlined conversation between your customers and your brand.
14. Track live chat metrics
Live chat metrics allow you to measure your service level standards (SLAs) and quantify live chat performance in terms of revenue goals. By adopting the right live chat metrics you can measure your team performance against your defined KPI (Key performance indicators) and highlight areas you do well, and where there is work to be done.
Create SLAs pertaining to the customer support experience and implement them across the company, making sure they are embedded within organizational hierarchy. Break your SLAs into a series of smaller measures, so you can report on those from an individual basis.
15. Focus on users
Your success is in the hands of your users, and is dependant on how comfortable they feel doing business with you. Through engaging them in conversation, you are able to better understand them.
Once you know what your clients need, you have the ability to improve and meet their expectations. Ask them for feedback, reviews, and use this valuable information to provide the most comfortable user experience possible.
Time to apply these live chat best practices
These live chat best practices are designed to boost conversion rates, improve customer satisfaction, and shorten response times.
Related: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid with your Live Chat Support
The faster and more effective you can communicate with customers, the better the customer experience. With the world being digital-first, this has become more important.
So, which of these live chat best practices did you find most useful? Are you thinking of implementing live chat on your website? Let us know in the comments.