Live chat isn’t just an option for customer service anymore – it’s something your audience expects. More than 30% of customers expect live chat on your website, and 42% say they prefer this method to email and social media.
Of course, not just any live chat experience will do. As a component of your complete customer experience strategy, your live chat needs to be tuned to your target audience. The right strategy ensures you can highlight the unique values of your brand, delight your customers, and even take a little pressure off other customer service channels.
So, how do you use live chat correctly for customer service?
1. Use the Right Technology
Using the right technology is the foundation for all your live chat efforts, so start with a live chat solution you can trust. LiveChat is one of the most popular tools trusted by 27,000 companies worldwide, and it integrates directly with Akixi 3000 for excellent omnichannel reporting – with customisable chat widgets to help keep you on brand, and a centralised environment making it easier for your customer service team to keep track of multiple conversations at once.
2. Maintain a Human Vibe
It’s important to remember live chat and chatbots are two different things. While people love the speed and simplicity of live chat, they don’t always love the idea of speaking to a robot. With this in mind, try to maintain your ‘human’ essence.
Encourage your employees to be creative with their chat responses, provided it doesn’t go against your brand image. You might want to bring your chat to life with emojis, to make you seem less robotic. It’s also important to be empathetic and engaging with your responses. Make sure your employees aren’t giving curt or complex answers to questions. A set of canned responses to common questions that your employees can adjust to suit their needs may be helpful here.
3. Focus on Speed
Speed is essential for a good live chat experience. Around 79% of customers say they prefer live chat as a means of communication, because of the immediacy it offers over other channels.
Looking for ways to improve your employees’ response times can be a great way to boost the quality of your live chat strategy. You might want to consider the following:
- Providing template responses for your employees to use when necessary, can help to speed things up – so that they can send immediate answers to frequently asked questions.
- Making it quick and easy to proofread and grammar-check a comment by embedding spellchecking systems into your live chat app.
- Using automatic routing to send chat messages through to the team member with the most availability, or the right skills to solve a specific problem.
4. Provide Positive Customer Experiences
Just because live chat is more fast-paced than other forms of customer service, that doesn’t mean it should be any less engaging, or positive. Embedding your live chat technology into an ecosystem where you can also access contact centre and CRM information will help your employees to personalise conversations and customer experiences more quickly and effectively.
Providing training to help employees show more empathy to customers, and ensure they remain patient during difficult situations is important too. You might even use dashboard metrics and tracking statistics to help inform team leaders when a hybrid working agent is having trouble with a customer. This will ensure even those working remotely can get help when they need it.
Additionally, encouraging your employees to use phrases that express possibilities such as “That’s an excellent idea, I’ll bring it up with the team” rather than those with negative terms, like “We can’t do that”, helps to reassure the customer that you understand their frustrations.
5. Offer Users the Option to Go Beyond Chat
Chat is fantastic for getting quick answers to issues, but it’s not always the most appropriate channel for every need. You may also need to invest in video and audio-conferencing tools, so your customers can request a conversation when necessary. Provide your customers with buttons to click if they need to move the chat to the next stage on an alternative channel.
Another option could be to offer screen-sharing tools, so your agents can collaborate with your customers in real time and guide them through various complicated processes. This, along with other forms of more advanced communications, can make it quicker and easier for your agents to deliver impressive experiences to your audience.
6. Record and Measure
The best way to improve any form of customer service is to analyse and learn from every interaction. Start by determining how you’re going to record your conversations for training, compliance, and educational purposes. You may need to implement specific strategies to ensure sensitive information is removed from certain records to avoid compliance issues.
If you’re going to be recording any conversation, remember you need to ask for your customer’s consent, and ensure you have a secure environment in place for storing those recordings.
Once you’ve planned your recording strategy, determine how you’re going to keep track of important metrics with analytics. Tools such as Akixi can help you to measure historical and real-time metrics such as:
- First-response rate: How often you solve an issue in the first response
- Total conversions: The total number of conversions initiated by live chat
- Total users or conversations: The number of conversations your employees deal with each day.
- Response time: How quickly your employees respond to a live chat request
7. Pay Attention to Customer Feedback
Finally, don’t forget to pay attention to the feedback provided by your customers on your live chat application. Many solutions come with the option to embed requests for feedback into the conversation as an automated response. When the chat ends, this triggers the system to ask your customer how they would rate the service.
You can also ask your customers to leave more specific feedback by providing a message box where they can share any additional comments which they think are relevant to their experience.
This will give you an excellent opportunity to pinpoint the areas where you might be able to improve the live chat experience for your customers.
Embrace Live Chat the Right Way
Live chat is a fantastic tool for today’s businesses, particularly as customers continue to embrace digital forms of communication to interact with brands. If you want the best possible chance of converting and impressing your customers with live chat, follow the tips above.