Live Chat is a powerful and timely way to connect with customers and be able to directly impact and quicken the buying process. It can also greatly enhance overall customer experience and remind people why they love and enthusiastically support your brand. There are many other compelling reasons to make Live Chat a vital component of your marketing and support efforts. If you are about to get your company’s initiative started, make sure to follow these live chat best practices.
From the very beginning, make your initial message very straightforward, yet with a friendly tone. A short greeting with an invitation to ask questions or chat will suffice. Do not abuse the privilege of this instant access to a potential customer’s screen by being too forward or pushy.
Something like— “Welcome, let me know if you have any questions.”—is just fine.
Some chat systems will automatically pop-up after a certain amount of time on designated pages of a website, while others choose to not present themselves to the visitor and remain an easily accessible contact option they can choose to initiate.
Empower your agents by providing them with a protocol to follow and access to all the information they will need to respond to the expected range of questions when engaging with customers. It is important that live chat agents have a steady demeanor and not panic if they get stumped by a question. It is alright for an agent to tell someone “I do not have that information can I get back to you?” Over time continue to fill in the gaps in your program by updating your protocols and information libraries on a very regular basis. Make sure your strategy includes continuous, ongoing training and education for your live chat agents. And finally, make sure to always follow through with promises of an email or other type of escalation.
Agents should always be professional, be able to relate to the customer and be able to demonstrate knowledge and expertise. The tone of the dialogue should also be appropriate for your industry. Investment firms will have have a more serious tenor than a company that sells flip flops. Live chat is another important touchpoint to educate or reinforce to a customer what your brand or company is all about. No matter what persona you end up taking on, make it conversational and make sure the visitor knows they are dealing with a real human being.
Live chat can function to support existing customers as well as to convert interested visitors into new ones. Be sure to hire and train agents that have the proper mix of customer service and sales DNA for the types of visitors and interactions you expect them top be having on a daily basis. Supporting and keeping existing customers is obviously a high priority, but do not miss out on opportunities to have agents use suggestive selling techniques. If done properly, these recommendations will come across as helpful to the customer and are never pushy in nature.
This does not mean that you are just providing canned responses to all the commonly asked questions. By having thorough responses that are quick to deploy it will give the visitor a quick answer and allow your agents to multitask and help more customers. Give these responses a personal touch and always assure the customer you are here to continue to answer questions and provide additional support.
If you do not ask you do not get, as the saying goes. Train agents to make it a regular practice to ask customers that have positive experiences and seem to be fans or advocates of your brand to give your company a favorable review, to “like” your Facebook page or another call to action.
Before settling on a live chat provider be sure to take several for a test drive first. Start by engaging with the chat functionality on their website. See how the agents respond and use the product themselves. This should be a solid indicator as to the range of capabilities, as no one should be better at using their own product. From there, go to some other websites in your industry that the provider lists as a user of their product. Each of these providers should also be able to give you a demo from an agent’s perspective as well to help you make the best decision for your company.
Live chat should not be your sole method of communication, but rather a significant part of a comprehensive strategy to be available in all the ways your customers are comfortable reaching out to you. This will vary based on your demographics, industry and products/services you offer.If you do not plan on having agents available 24/7, then you need to make sure that visitors are informed during this time and directed to another means of connecting such as a contact form with a place for them to communicate their request.
Follow these live chat best practices and harness the powerful impact and connection capabilities this essential marketing and support tool can deliver for your customers!