Live Chat Support 101

The past two decades have witnessed emails going on to become one of the most preferred modes of contact in customer support. The reason for this newfound affinity was straightforward. They were easy to use, track and respond. Though email support isn’t dead, chat as a support channel has become more engaging and favored among customers in recent times.

A study conducted by Forrester predicts that about 53% of customers would abandon1 their online purchase if their questions do not get instant answers. It was also found that customers who use web chat spend 60% more than those who don’t2.

The ability to provide real-time communication while cutting down the time taken to resolve customer queries in ease has made chat support a crucial part of customer support. Brands of all sizes, catering to different markets have widely adopted this mode of communication to connect with their customers. The reason behind this shift is simple, live chats enable you to get instant responses from support agents

Importance of Chat Support

Time and again, multiple studies have shown that customers of all business models have preferred chat assistance over emails and phone calls. To put things in perspective, 42% of users prefer to be assisted through chat3, while only 23% preferred emails and 16% sought after social media. This preference pattern can be traced back to their response rates. Live chats have the fastest response rate, where the average time taken for a customer to get a response is 2 minutes, while brands took an average of 10 hours and 17 hours to respond on social media and emails respectively.

With communication getting faster each passing day, businesses are bound to ditch the “we’ll get back to you” or “This might take 2 to 4 business days” phrases. People want instant replies to their queries and businesses need to comply. And live chat has paved the way for businesses to meet their customer expectations. However, there have been many instances where live chat has not been particularly satisfying for the customers. Thus, business owners who consider live chat should make sure the following boxes are ticked when they interact through chat.

Have a Human Tone

Customer support conversations have been mechanical for far too long that a simple change in the tone of replies from customer support personnel fetches a great deal of appreciation from the customer side.

Canned responses are a great way to cut down the average response time and, at times, even take care of customer query entirely. But when it is extensively put to use, they tend to become inefficient to the point where chat support has to be ditched to get further assistance.

Similarly, chatbots are increasingly paired up with AI to get them to learn from every previous interaction, better up their responses and make them sound as human as possible. While these techniques eliminate burden from support agents, they can only be used as a bridge until the customer is connected to the support team, rather than relying on them to take over completely.

When a customer takes a satirical/sarcastic route to express their dissatisfaction, automated responses, more often than not, are bound to thank the customer for their positive feedback.

“I’m glad I had to wait 2 hours to get a burrito delivered. Now I want two. Thank you :)”

Most probably, an automated response is going to read the smile emoticon, “thank you” and “glad” as positive feedback and reply by thanking for using their service. Here’s where live chat support comes to the rescue, and businesses are better off avoiding such errors than regretting later.

Show Empathy

A customer contacts you, probably because they have a problem with your product.  An empathetic support executive will be able to understand people better, make the customer feel heard, and be able to give the right solution at a quicker pace. Chances are, your customers might still leave positive feedback, even if they did not get the exact result they initially anticipated. Being empathetic also lets a support team understand what the customer follow up questions might be and proactively answer them.

Canyon bicycles, a brand that has a huge following throughout the world, has gone the extra mile to offer multilingual live chat support. Their automatic routing system also connects its site visitors to the most relevant support personnel based on their preferred language.

Make it Easy

Though chat support is becoming the most preferred mode of contact for consumers, not many companies have a live chat icon or window on their website that is easily accessible. On the other end of the spectrum, some companies tend to have pop-up chat windows that hide the entire page. This too can be intrusive. Recognizing the needs and pulse of your audience/customers can go a long way in understanding when your customer might probably need assistance.

For example, a product company can have a chat icon on the homepage as opposed to a large pop-up window. A considerable amount of your visitors might just be on your page for the sake of it, or to learn who you are and what you do. These information are generally on the homepage, and if the visitor is bombarded with a pop-up window that blocks these content, it can get annoying. On the other hand, the pop-ups can come to action at a corner of the features page, given, a person who reads your product’s features is looking to know more about your product and would need further assistance.

Document Your Customer Conversations

Chat conversations are easy, mainly because the data does not go misinterpreted or misheard. Emails became a hit in customer support due to this factor while phone support topped the charts for its prompt assistance. Chat support is a system that can deliver with the benefits of both, given, the business providing chat support transcripts the conversations and use them to render quality assistance.

Transcribing customer chats gives valuable insight into customer perspective, thoughts and user behavior. It would also prove to be resourceful while looking into bettering your products, or overall chat assistance. A copy of these transcriptions can also be sent to your customer email for their future reference.

Initiate Conversations

Live chat has repeatedly proven to increase sales and customer engagement across businesses. So why wait until a customer initiates a conversation? Proactive chats are the holy grail to convert your existing traffic into leads.

Bluesodapromo, a promotional e-commerce site has seen a whopping 60% increase in salesby just adding proactive chat to their marketing strategy.  They make sure all customer questions are answered by their account managers and give customers the feeling of being heard. By chatting proactively with their customers who skim through the shopping section, Bluesodapromo makes sure shoppers leave their e-commerce site with a satisfactory purchase and an empty cart. Their strategy has also pumped the company’s average order value to $700.

Let Your Expedition Begin

Above all these factors, chat support is also one of the most cost-effective methods through which you can provide assistance. With low cost and high efficiency, add on these elements in your customer service ecosystem and reap the benefits in ROI, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

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