You’ve no doubt heard of life hacks, but what about live chat hacks? For those of you who work in a customer service role, the two can often overlap.
Communicating with customers using live chat is great in many aspects: it’s quick, it lets you multi-task, and there’s usually a whole host of features that help the interaction run smoothly. But giving that human touch over a screen… that’s not so easy.
In the hoi polloi of handling customer queries, it can be easy to forget the little touches that can turn a mundane chat into a memorable customer experience. Be positive, be friendly, be professional. You know you need to do these things, but how? Here are some top live chat hacks to make your customer service that little bit brighter, from live chat software specialists at Parker Software.
Start as you mean to go on
When it comes to interacting with customers, it’s important to strike the right tone right away. With live chat, this can be easily achieved from the start. It’s all about being friendly while remaining professional. In short, treat the customer like a human and with respect, not just a chat ticket to check off.
- Use a friendly greeting, and introduce yourself by name
- Also use the customer’s name (if they haven’t supplied it in a pre-chat survey, be sure to ask)
- Use plain, unflowery English – “How I can help you today, Bill?” is much better than “Bill, how may I be of assistance with your query?”
- Start too frivolously or casually, (“Howdy”, “What’s up”). You first need to gauge the customer’s mood
- Make small talk – the customer wants help, not to discuss the weather
Being polite and personable – without leaping into informality – is one of the simpler live chat hacks, but it’s one that many operators get wrong. By getting the chat started off on the right foot, you’ll have a smoother interaction overall.
It can be easy to cross wires in any form of interaction. The problem is, when this happens in customer service, you risk wasting time and frustrating your customer.
- Confirm your understanding of the problem with the customer before giving a solution
- Confirm the action the customer wants you to take, and ask for more detail if needed
- Include the customer, and clarify what you’re doing, why, and how long it will take
- Use jargon when identifying a problem
- Transfer the customer without telling them you’re doing so
- Send files without first explaining what you’re sending
Misunderstandings and mixed messages abound online. So, when chatting to customers through your website, it’s important to take a clear, reasoned and communicative approach throughout.
Live chat hacks for handling problems
All sorts of problems can arise for customer support teams, from difficult customers and queries, to faults on the company end. (It happens, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you deal with the faults – customers will forgive you when the issue is handled well.)
- Accept responsibility for any errors
- Apologise – sincerely
- Validate the customer’s concern, and work with them on a solution
- Take a proactive approach that shows you’re invested in solving the problem
- Take sides – (“It’s not our fault”, “You should have done it like this”)
- Use closed, negative words like “can’t” or “impossible”
When customers know that you are on their side, they are more likely to feel happy with the service – even if something has gone wrong.
All good things must come to an end
The end of the chat is as important as the start. This is where you should enforce a positive tone, and close the experience as smoothly as possible.
You might be transferring the customer to a colleague better suited to the issue, or ending the conversation having answered the customer’s query. By ensuring a happy end to your interactions, customers will be more likely to return and chat again if they need to.
- Ensure all questions have been addressed, and that the customer has got everything they need from the chat
- Thank the customer for their time
- Encourage them to get in touch with any issues in future
- Request feedback after the session has closed
- Transfer the customer to a colleague without sharing all relevant info. The customer should never have to repeat themselves
- Be too eager to end the chat – the customer will feel as though they’re a burden
- Break the tone of the chat session. If this was a serious complaint, for example, don’t sign off with “Bye Bill! Speak soon 😊”
These final live chat hacks will help cement the positive experience just before you sign off. Make sure you’re saying goodbye the good way.
Want your customer service team to be smooth operators? (If not quite perhaps in the way sang about by Sade…) These live chat hacks will make you a pro in no time.