We all, at some point in our lives have had interacted with a live chat agent online. The encounter could have happened while you were confused about making a choice between two similar products that have almost the same features on an ecommerce site or while buying a subscription for a tech service.
And it also seems fair to take the much needed help of the live support available these days on almost all the e-business sites. To clear the air before taking a final decision on buying a high-end product or a service online is always wiser. It helps one to take a better and informed decision.
But, the big issue is that the people sitting over the live chat do sound robotic at times, and sometimes even uninterested. Actually, interacting with customers over live chat requires a certain degree of specialised training and talent. It’s one of the biggest mistakes to assume that a well-performing phone support representative would also be great at providing live support. If I could say that, live chat is a different art form altogether in context of providing customer support.
Why Live Chat Is Considered So Different As Compared To Phone Support
Firstly, live support agents have to handle multiple chats at a time. So, it becomes a prerequisite for them to be a good multi-tasker. Secondly, interacting with the customers on a live chat requires one to learn a new language of its own, where it has its own vocabulary, sounds and patterns. And, it certainly requires a bit of training and a special talent to be successful in this specific role.
Besides, it’s impossible to make a person learn everything from scratch related to this art of resolving issues while chatting live with unknown people. So, a person getting into it must have some god-gifted qualities and traits in sync with this challenging role.
Methodologies That Actually Work on Live Chats
#1. The Words, Tone and Attitude Actually Matters In A Live Chat
Just remember one thing that first impression is your last impression, and you will not be given a second chance to make a first impression over live interactions. Either you have made in the first 2 minutes into your conversation or the customer is gone for forever.
The most important aspects of a live conversation is the selection of words you use and the tone in which you interact with a customer. As a customer cannot not see you or hear your voice on a live chat, it becomes extremely important for a live chat agent to use words that sounds courteous and polite and at the same time. Further, the ingrained tone in his written sentences should not give a perception to a customer that could make him feel not taken care of.
A few things one must take into consideration while assisting a customer on live support :
- Always Showcase Yourself as a Polite and Cheerful person : Train yourself on not to reflect your current mood, if you are feeling down or in a bad mood. No matter what, you have to sound polite and positive at all times.
If customer is facing a problem, even if you don’t have an immediate resolution for him, your positivism can do wonders as its infectious in nature.
Always sound optimistic towards the solution of a customer’s problem and half of the worries of a customer would automatically be gone by seeing your confidence and the positive frame of mind.
- Never Be Sarcastic : Sarcasm could totally destroy the rapport that you would like to build with the customer over a live chat. It’s a big NO for a person who is sitting as a live support agent before a computer. Even if the customer is a bit irate and is pushing you to extremes, try not to lose your cool and remain helpful.
- Never follow a Casual Approach While Interacting : Some agents do become a bit casual while interacting with a customer and thereby indulge into prohibited doings like use of incomplete sentences, not using punctuation where required, replying with just a “yes” or “fine” to a customer’s question.
A customer is never going to appreciate a “yes” against his 100 words long query or a doubt. Try to reply to him with a complete and comprehensive answer.
The ultimate aim of explaining all the above points is to set up a correct tone for a conversation on a live chat.
#2. Make Sure Not To Use Jargons
Use of jargons is another major mistake a lot of live chat agents make on a daily basis. Live support people usually overestimate the customer’s knowledge about a product or a service. So, they use many of these terms which happens to be too technical or sophisticated, or the language they use among their peers. On the contrary, most customers have been found unaware of thee jargons.
In general, live support agents tend to forget that the reason of them being in this role is to explain varied things to a customer in a layman’s language. That is why they have been hired and is the only purpose of their existence in a certain organisation.
It’s better to explain things in a simple and easy-to-understand language and at the same time, you need to ensure that the customer has understood what you are talking about before moving further.
Don’t take a customer for granted. Explain each step clearly in the customer’s language.
#3. Personalize Your Live Chat Conversations And Avoid Sounding Like A Robot
Companies these days hand out a proforma or a script to the live support agents for their help and also to standardise their replies towards a certain set of common customer queries. However, it is not mandatory to use these preset templates while answering some unique question of a customer.
Many agents at live support in order to save their time, use these templates to answer every single question of customer, irrespective of the fact that whether it fits in providing a resolution for that unique query or not. This way, agents sound more robotic and dull in the whole conversation leading to a customer leaving it on an unhappy note.
What agents don’t understand is the point that template responses are to be used only when a customer has asked a question exactly matching to that specific template. In every other case, they need to answer in their own words after understanding the query and on their understanding of it.
If it is becoming a difficulty for you to type a unique response every single time, then at least try to modify the canned responses as per the customer’s query so as to not sound like a robot who always gives a predefined answer to a question.
Leave the script and provide a human touch to the live conversation
#4. Show Some Empathy Towards a Customer’s Concern
Simply answering a question like when computers respond to human’s instructions doesn’t look professional, especially on a live chat. Take a few seconds to understand the exact issue and then come up with a unique solution. Always try to put yourself in the customer’s shoe and try to understand the issue from their perspective too.
Consider a customer who is interested in product A, but you know by heart that product B will better suit his requirements. Instead of going for the briefing of the important features of both, try to explain to the customer why product B will be a better choice for him.
Remember, it’s not the features of a product customer cares about, his quest is about finding an exact solution to his problem. And if you can get that sorted out, then you become a kind of a demi god for them.
#5. Honesty is the Best Policy
In the above example, you recommended product B over product A to help customer in buying the best available product suited to his needs and requirements. But, what if product A happened to be more expensive and hence would have made more money for your company ?
Remember, there could not be anything worse than misleading a customer over live support, especially if it is all about touching the bottom line. Always give your best opinion by clearly laying out the facts regarding why a product is better than the other and why you are recommending a certain product over the other.
In case, you don’t have a perfect answer or a recommendation for the customer, don’t lie. Tell it frankly, that you don’t have the relevant answer for him at the moment, or you can borrow some time from the customer and then later on can provide him with a better-suited reply. Even, some live chat portals have this functionality to transfer a chat to some other agent, who has got a better answer to a specific question.
#6. Make Appropriate Use of Technology
Almost all live chat platforms these days comes with a few handy features like triggers, shortcuts and departments. These are indeed very effective when dealing with customers on live support and can surely save you a handsome amount of time and money. But, the meaning of a live chat gets destroyed the minute you think of using any of these tools.
Remember, the very purpose of a live chat is to establish a personal connection between you and the customer. These fancy features often made the interactions robotic in nature, which eventually puts off a customer. These additional tools provided should not serve as a substitute to a friendly and personalized conversation.
So, the next time you think of using any such tool, please make sure to think for a minute or two, about whether it is going to enhance the quality of your interaction, or is merely going to make it “more efficient”.
The use of any such tools should only be made as a last resort to resolving a user’s problem.
#7. Instant or Quick Reply Is a Mandate in Live Chat Support
Customers who want their queries addressed over a live chat interaction are obviously the ones who are seeking an instant resolution. Also, the meaning of live support is completely lost if you are not quick to reply.
It is totally different from an email support, where you can have all the time in the world to respond as per your convenience and comfort. Once a chat has started, make sure to be as prompt as you could be in your replies. The moment a customer senses that you are lethargic and dull at responding, he is more likely to withdraw from the conversation itself.
As a matter of fact, studies also reflect the same findings, where it has been concluded that 60% of the customers expect a response from a live chat agent within 60 seconds from the time they have submitted their query.
Never ever make a customer wait on a live chat customer service.
To conclude, I would simply like to ask you a few generic questions. The way you would respond to them will make all the difference. Would you like to wait for more than a minute or two over a live chat on any business site on the web ? Would you like to be treated as a customer who is not taken care of ? Would you expect single word replies from a live support agent against your long and precisely drafted queries ? Will you appreciate a sarcastic tone from a live chat representative ?
If the answer to all these questions is a NO, then it is quite evident that by now, you have already got the gist of the whole draft.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of this increasingly popular customer support tool. Customers these days expect a greater personal attention. The manner personalization is growing with each day passing by, the importance of live chat support will be further boosted.
Virus Positive Technologies is a prominent name in the field of Software Testing. We provide QA testing services to IT firms worldwide at a very competitive and cost-effective prices. Our seasoned team of QA Testers and Software Testing Engineers possess a vast knowledge in the said niche. Being in the Industry for more than six years and having an extremely successful run, we have already delivered a number of successful projects to our clients from around the world.
Alongside Testing, we also offer customised customer support services (especially tech support) under several verticals such as live chat support, technical support, non-technical support, email support services, account management, CRM management and billing management. We make use of the best live chat CRMs known in the present times, such as ZenDesk, SalesForce, Live Chat etc.