How to make the most of live chat?
The main goal of efficient customer service is to solve problems and act quickly. Customers don’t like waiting – 73% of them say that appreciating their time is the most important thing a company should take care of to provide them with a good service (according to the Forrester study). One of the efficient communication options with the client is live chat, i.e., a chat in real time via company’s website. It allows you to dispel doubts, present an offer, inform about the price list, and much, much more. What should a chat on the website look like, should there be a bot or a human on the company’s side, and what are the best practices in live chat conversations?
What is live chat support?
What is real-time chat? Live chat support or live chat is a type of communication that allows you to naturally establish contact with visitors to the website – current and future customers. Thanks to this communication method, we have the opportunity to conduct an interactive and personalized conversation which takes place in real time via the website. Chat is a widget, i.e., a window in a selected place on the page.
Such a simple messenger allows customers to ask questions that bother them while browsing the site. How can live chat help? The possibilities are nearly endless. The client may, i.a.:
- get help with the choice of a specific product or service,
- receive support with order fulfillment,
- report a problem, e.g., make a complaint or return a product/service.
Why real-time chat?
Real-time chat is another direct point of contact with the customer – often the first. The user browsing the website isn’t always motivated enough to look for additional information in other sources such as corporate social media channels. That’s when chat can step in offering help here and now.
If we delve into the most popular examples of using a live chat tool, user engagement and active support are the most crucial. Establishing an effective support team should be tailored to the various stages of our client’s “business journey” and take into account its various aspects. This can be achieved by ensuring the possibility of self-service, consultants’ availability, and the required empathy during the conversation. Activating messages, online support, and contextual conversation are the most important factors that will help achieve the intended goal. The biggest advantage of implementing a live chat support system is providing customers with personalized and tailored live support.
Research confirms that 51% of consumers are more likely to stay on the site when it offers a live chat solution. This type of fast communication is readily available and clear. The client doesn’t have to describe the problem by e-mail or wait for reaching a consultant. Support is available immediately, live – during the service team’s working hours, or around the clock, if we decide to take advantage of AI.
Live chat practicality comes from the fact that it allows you to transfer files or even conversations to another consultant, manually or automatically invite users to a chat. It notifies employees about new visitors to the website as well.
A chatbot or human?
Before we move on to good practices in creating and developing a live chat, it is worth considering which party should support it: our skilled employee or chatbot, with access to almost unlimited knowledge, but devoid of empathy?
How do chatbots beat people?
The already mentioned undeniable advantage of chatbots is their 24/7 availability. Investing in round-the-clock service staffed by employees is possible but necessary and profitable only in a few cases of the largest international corporations. In other cases, employees working 1 or 2 shifts are a great solution. In addition, sometimes the work of specialists can be greatly supported by artificial intelligence. Bots can answer increasingly complex questions and assist in selecting a product or service when a human can’t do it. Thus using a chatbot in sales can be a very good idea.
Although small talk is not their strongest point, chatbots can look into a previously built database of questions and answers, then conduct a successful conversation. The use of “machine learning” allows bots not only to search for specific answers but also to learn from previous conversations with clients, conducted by “human” specialists. AI technology is also much less likely to make a mistake, and gives precise answers.
Another advantage of chatbots is their ability to perform repetitive work for a long time (this can be a problem for people.) Answering the same questions that often appear in conversations with customers is not a problem for a bot. Automation allows relieving employees of performing tedious tasks and gives them more time for creative or more demanding work.
Why should customer service still be supported by the people?
Despite these chatbot advantages, it is difficult to imagine a complete customer service without the human factor. There are still at least a few issues where artificial intelligence needs to be refined to successfully solve all problems and give a feeling of satisfactory service. Among the most common problems related to the bot’s contact, which customers pay attention to, we find the chatbot’s inability to solve the problem and the need to contact a customer service employee as well as the bot’s lack of understanding.
Despite relying on AI, chatbots can’t learn empathy. A “human“ approach to problems, understanding customer frustration, and a sincere willingness to solve the problem are still people’s predominance over bots. Automated bots aren’t developed to replace human workers, but to support them in their work. They can create more and more perfectly tailored product proposals, prompt answers, and provide personalized service. On the other hand, the employees’ tasks include solving complex problems and using unconventional solutions that bots can’t fully cope with.
The bot customer service is also difficult, and often even impossible, when very complex and unique problems occur. This was experienced by the Atlassian Apps Support team in Deviniti which introduced a widget option on the Marketplace website as well as the Support website. The purpose of the live chat was to relieve employees of simple inquiries and problems from customers by reducing the number of tickets booked. For this purpose, answers to basic questions and problems with the applications were prepared as a source of knowledge.
In practice, the vast majority of questions turned out to be complex and required an individual approach on the employee’s part: clients shared ambiguities, sent screenshots from the application, and described technical issues that the bot couldn’t handle. The support team entered the talks, asking for details necessary to solve the problem. As a result, the introduction of the live chat service didn’t respond to the basic customer needs and additionally absorbed the resources of the technical support department. In a situation where user problems are complex, conditioned and dependent, it isn’t possible to resign from employee’ service who will approach each issue individually. Then their knowledge (which the bot could acquire) counts as well as the ability to connect individual threads and focus on comprehensive service.
Good live chat practices
How to get the most out of your live chat tool? Using the right software alone isn’t enough for complete success. It’s also important to follow good customer service practices through the chat. We want to present the most important of them.
Be helpful but not obtrusive
It’s commonly believed that adding a chat option on a company’s website will increase the likelihood of customer interaction. While chat option is a nice to have on all your pages, it’s important to make sure that this option doesn’t overwhelm users. Remember that your goal is to help the customer in the right way and time. In other words, the chat option should be tailored to the needs of the user on individual subpages.
The first step in achieving compliance in this field is making sure that each chat widget fits the context. Most customers prefer to see offers before they go to the cart section. Just as many people only incquire prices on the price list subpage. It’s a good idea to include a chat in these sections that encourages contact through conversation channels operated by the Sales or Quotation Department.
To perfectly match the chat with the recipients’ expectations, experiment with its position and visibility. What works for one group may not work for the next. It all depends on the users’ motivation and the information you provide via your website.
Set user expectations
There are many tools on the market that don’t have the option of adjusting your working hours. That’s why it’s so important to choose a solution where you can automatically set different working hours for different teams, based on categories and chat allocation. You can also use automated chatbot help which will be available to customers around the clock. If it doesn’t resolve the matter, it will refer to customer service.
Staying on the topic of working hours – make sure the messages sent during your absence show the right level of engagement, and your customers won’t feel disrespected or bored. Remember that every visitor to your website should be treated as a potential lead.
Your message can be:
Light and nice
Hi! This is the customer support department. At this point, we are unable to respond to your inquiry, but if you leave us a message, we will get back to you as soon as possible. Distance won’t stop us from solving your problem!
Good morning! We are the customer support for the XYZ product. We are currently unable to accept your application in person. Please leave a message with your e-mail address included, and our consultant will contact you as soon as possible.
Welcome to the land of milk and honey! Don’t worry – all your problems will be solved here. Now our experts have gone out to sharpen their pens and their wits. Please make your request and we will respond to it as soon as the specialists return.
Be real and human
According to the research, customers don’t mind talking to bots, but they mainly use them to start a conversation with a service employee, ask a product question, and obtain information about the shipping and return policy. It’s important for users to clearly define when they are talking to a bot and when to a real employee.
Research shows that 73% of people prefer to use a chat service when dealing with a real name and photo of a real person. It’s important to give your chat consultants a face and personality. Sometimes the user prefers to communicate with the same consultant in the case of reaching out for the second time. In this situation, a conversation with a person having a name is a better solution than talking to an unnamed chatbot.
Also, make sure your conversations are empathetic and meaningful. Whether you’re using a chatbot or opting for a live chat with a real consultant, it’s important to keep the conversation tone right. The standard of speech, compliance with the conversation context, and empathy have a positive impact on your support department’s image in the customer’s eyes.
Automation is your advantage
According to Capgemini’s research, by the end of 2022, an average of 70% of consumers will replace visits to a store or bank with a conversation with a voice assistant. At the same time, we are increasingly often using the help of bots to solve basic problems and obtain information. This role is perfectly suited to an automated chatbot that, by offering ready made conversation topics and hints, allows you to conduct a successful conversation, while relieving employees.
Automation in customer service won’t replace a conversation with an agent, but it will allow you to:
- pass only more complex inquiries and problems to employees,
- collect all information about the client in one place and provide it to the employee,
- assist clients in choosing a product or service,
- save employees’ time by redirecting repetitive activities to bots.
Be where your customers are
Make sure you are available to the customer at every stage of their journey through your offer. Currently, users have a wide variety of messaging options to choose from, and it is highly likely that they will also chat with brands using channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Twitter. The Gladly report confirms that 43% of customers contact businesses via live chat and 25% via social media. The ability to integrate your live chat tool with the aforementioned instant messaging services is crucial to provide your client with smooth and continuous support.
Another aspect of ensuring accessibility is choosing software that supports multiple languages. Make sure your tool allows you to change the language settings. Real-time translation and automatic linguistic interpretation are the features that will make your business truly global.
Inform about each stage of problem-solving
Good customer service isn’t only about time but also about a specific approach to the problem. The company image can quickly become associated with the employees’ unreliability if use general information and phrases in their conversations with customers. It is very important during the chat to inform about every stage of solving the problem: from its acceptance, to transferring it to the appropriate employee or department, through sending a refund for the purchase. Try to include the most specific data in the conversations. Instead of “as soon as possible,” choose “up to 15 minutes,” and replace “soon” with “within 24 hours.”
Self-service assistance is the best help
In terms of real-time support, a well-structured FAQ section and a wealth of tutorial articles can increase customer engagement by 30%. To solve most basic problems, it is enough to provide customers with reliable documentation. However, that doesn’t mean the FAQs, articles, and tutorials need to be lengthy and boring.
How can you make it easier for the customer to find the information they need? A good idea is to introduce a solution that, if necessary, will automatically adapt to user’s context and needs. Make it as encouraging as possible to start the conversation. Add video materials, photos, and functionalities that will provide customer support in all aspects. The answers contained in the FAQ can also be used by the chatbot, passing them on to the client during the conversation.
Be a communication ninja
In order to gain customer interest using live chat, you need to channel thoughtful messages.
Before starting a conversation with a user, make sure you understand the situation context well. Contextual messaging is the key to capturing your customers’ attention. In addition, avoid your messages being dry and casual. Choose messages that are engaging, relevant as well as responsive every time. Moreover, if necessary, they will encourage the customer to contact you. Also, avoid common phrases such as “Thank you for your interest in our offer. Hope to see you soon.” Instead, make sure your messages are personalized – this will increase the chances of user response.
Let’s look at ways to personalize messages on your website:
When the user visits the website for the first time
Say hello to your potential client – send a welcome message tailored to the page they visited. Adapt the content to the context that interested the user. For example, if you can assign the visit to a specific source, you can also learn about the client’s needs. The welcome message should encourage contact but shouldn’t be too insistent. Give customers a sign that you are ready to respond to their inquiries. Also, offer them the opportunity to schedule a demo if they are interested in purchasing the product.
When a visitor comes to a page from a particular site
When a key customer comes to your website, it is even necessary to send a personalized message. It should contain the name of the company and use information from other sources which directed the client to your website. This can be achieved by making it obligatory to add the source name to the query in the application.
When the visitor spends a certain amount of time on the website
You can prepare a personalized message based on the page content to which your client devotes time. If the user spends more time on the subpage with the description of a given product, you should send a message via your chat tool asking about any ambiguities or problems that you can help to solve. If the user spends more time on the pricing subpage, you can send a message offering a discount or a time-limited special offer.
When a user doesn’t complete a specific action on the page
If a potential customer isn’t sure what steps to take, they might end up losing their interest or even giving up your services altogether. Unless you schmooze! The live chat software tool will help you – you can send the user a message with a hint about the next step or with redirection to the appropriate tutorial.
Benefit from live chat
Why do you need live chat on your website? To deliver the best customer experience. Thanks to this small box on your page, you can support the sales process, answer questions and even explain from scratch how your product works and how it might help the customers in meeting their needs. You can be there for your customers whenever they need assistance. Let’s not forget about chatbots. These are great options if you want to provide 24/7 service and avoid repetitive questions sent to your reps. What is more, chatbots can be great at the first-contact stage for your customers. When the problem becomes too complex for the bot, one of your agents can take over the conversation.
It is worth keeping in mind that a well-conducted conversation can lead to successful sales and bring you loyal customers. Why not benefit from live chat then? With Freshdesk, you can:
- configure a chatbox on each page,
- set auto-replies,
- design chatbots tailored to your business demands, and many more.
To use the full potential of live chat, you require a proper system that can handle all your employee and customer needs.
Use Freshchat at your company
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