Live chat best practices help organizations convert website visitors into prospects, reduce churn rate by extending support across their journey, and drastically improve resolution rates.
Why do you need live chat software?
Gone are the days when customer service was all about phone or email. Customers now expect queries to be addressed and resolved rapidly, leading companies to find new ways to provide exceptional, real-time customer service.
And that’s where live chat comes in.
According to g2crowd, live chat has a 73% 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. Such as:
What will be the cost of transitioning from a typical email based support system to a live chat support system?
How many customer requests do you receive per day? How many of them are simple common queries?
What is your agents' utilization time?
What are your operating hours? How many chat requests do you receive during offline hours?
What kind of customers do you serve? Do they use smartphones and communicate online?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to find the right live chat solution for your company.
But just having a live chat software won’t solve all of your problems, the key to delivering an engaging live chat experience lies in following the proper live chat guidelines.
Why do you need to follow live chat practices?
Governing daily communication with live chat practices ensures consistent customer service across all your customer touch-points and organizational hierarchy.
Here in this blog, 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
1. Place your live chat window in the right-hand corner
When it comes to live chat best practices, it really helps to 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.
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; they will check there through instinct.
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 their eye without the need for them to scan around the whole page trying to find it.
2. A chat window on every web page
Offering live assistance across your popular web pages is absolutely essential when implementing live chat. These are the pages most often visited by your customers.
According to eMarketer, “63% of customers who chatted said they are more likely to return to the site, and 62% reported being more likely to purchase from the site again.”
This shows how important the presence of a live chat windows are. Much of the time, users don’t reach your site through the homepage and routes 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.
Implementing live chat software on your site makes customers happy, boosting your sales.
3. Take the first step and grab your customers’ attention
At times, your customers may find themselves navigating around your website confused, not knowing where to get the information they want.
After a while, they simply leave. Unfortunately that’s another potential opportunity lost.
But, you didn’t do anything wrong. Right?
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. That way you won’t leave your customers feeling helpless.
4. Improve conversion with AI-driven chatbots
AI-driven chatbots are already helping organizations to improve engagement and boost conversion rates. Make AI-driven conversations a part of your daily live chat.
Through sequence based chatbots, you can anticipate and respond to customer needs, steering the course of conversations contextually. Al driven 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?
Sales bots represent a new innovation among chatbots. They are built exclusively 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.
With a thorough knowledge of their customers' behavior, businesses can make the initial conversation much more engaging and improve the chances of creating a conversion.
5. Communicate in a smart way
“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” ― Stephen R. Covey
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
“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 cheerful demeanour. This can interfere when it comes to building rapport.
Here are some tips on how to create a 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 Acquire, to make voice and video call, remote cobrowsing, screen sharing with CRM (customer relationship management) and foster closer connections and smoother conversation with a human touch.
7. Low response time
Even in this digital era, 75% 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 almost instantaneous levels, boosting conversion rates and sales at the same time. 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 share installed, agents can easily access the content on customers’ screens. Sharing data, or giving demonstrations, becomes a lot easier using screen share.
Let’s have a look at the advantages of using a screen share 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.
Companies, such as Acquire, offer screen share tools so you can provide top-notch service to your customers. Combining screen sharing with live chat takes support to another level.
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 different elements on a particular web page.
Customer service agents can continue live chatting with customers while viewing their computer screens. Cobrowsing, when integrated with live chat, reduces response time and provides real-time support for your customers.
If you are worried about the security aspect, there is no need. Privacy is the first priority when programming this software. The whole communication is secured with PCI DSS encryption standards. This means only a support agent has access, with the ability to follow the clients’ browser windows and help them in real-time in the utmost safety.
10. Encourage self-help adoption
Integrating the help center or knowledge base into your live chat program allows your agents to offer customers a vast pool of information at their fingertips. Even if the agent can’t fully unpick the problem, he can still provide support by directing them to the relevant help document. 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 keywords, making it easier to search articles.
One of the finest examples of integrating a knowledge base into a live chat program is that of 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. From above you can see how useful they can be. 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 so queries 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 elaborate with a number of methods to better serve your customers.
13. Integrate a CRM with live chat
What if your agent gets caught up in something that takes them away from a live chat? Most of the time, clients have to start again from square one when they come back.
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 holistic conversation between your customers and your brand.
14. Adopt 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. User comfort
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. Ask them for feedback, reviews, and use this valuable information to provide the most confortable user experience possible.
So, what's your take on it? Do share with us.