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Live chat best practices help organizations more easily convert website visitors into prospects, drastically improve resolution rates of customer issues, and ultimately reduce churn rate by offering the best possible digital experiences.
Gone are the days when customer service was all about phone or email. Customers now expect queries to be addressed and resolved almost instantly. And what better way to address these customer expectations than real-time customer service.
That’s where live chat comes in.
According to g2crowd, live chat has a 73 percent satisfaction rate as a way for customers to interact with businesses. Big companies have already started seeing the benefits of live chat software, using it to deliver superior customer service.
However, before you consider using live chat as an online customer support tool, there are a few questions you need to address:
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to find the right live chat solution for your company. And then, you're all set to start implementing live chat following the proper live chat guidelines, to deliver an engaging live chat experience.
Governing daily communication with live chat practices ensures consistent customer service across all your customer touch-points and organizational hierarchy. Following standards will also help you ensure more efficient workflows and increase accountability among your team.
Here, I have laid out the top 15 best live chat practices to help you deliver great customer service and create a memorable customer experience.
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.
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 a live chat windows are. 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 starts 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 sport brands.
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).
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.
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.
Learn more about chatbots in our guide.
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:
“Memorable customer service can only take place in a human-to-human situation.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
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:
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.
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.
Acquire offer screen share tools so you can provide top-notch service to your customers.
When cobrowsing – screen sharing's more advanced sibling – 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 confortable user experience possible.
Chatbots are more than just a trend: they're here to stay. Learn how chatbots are transforming the way companies and customers communicate.