Live chat support: Best practices for using your live chat tool to keep your support and engagement game up and running
It’s a new year with new beginnings?—the birth of multiple fads and trends in every industry in the market. Being surrounded by a lot of buzz around trends and innovations, particularly, in the domain that I’m part of—messaging and live chat support, it’s quite an interesting environment, I must say. Marketers and decision makers are sharpening their ears to avoid missing out on such trends to build their caravan of tongue twisters and ‘marketify’ every leg of information that they can catch hold of—old wine in a new bottle.
Listen! Trends are great, but if you don’t get your basics right, there is no point in following trends. A picturesque roof with a leaky ceiling defies the purpose and utility of the roof anyway. So, let’s disconnect ourselves from the noise around trends for a bit and pay ode to the basics. Let’s nod to the saying of ‘old is gold’ and appreciate the multifold possibilities of using a live chat tool to its fullest capacity.
Since we are talking about getting the basics right, I think it’s time to define live chat, considering it’s current possibilities.
What is live chat support?
Live chat or live chat support is an asynchronous messaging solution that allows your business to connect with website visitors, prospective and existing customers, in real-time through interactive and personalized conversations within your website.
Simply put, live chat is like the coolest superhero with superpowers that could change the world for good. A superhero that can take multiple forms and mimic outcomes of other powerful tools in the market. It is intelligent, versatile, empathetic, connected, and most importantly, engaging. These days, live chat tools stand as a one-stop solution to provide a singular interface for sales, marketing, support, and engagement requirements.
Why live chat?
Businesses are always thinking of ways to connect with people and build meaningful relationships with them. They use tools that enable them to provide timely responses, staying truly connected with their customers and prospects. Typically, after the advent of modern messaging as a makeover in the live chat support industry, conversations have become seamless and context-rich.
There is simply so much you can achieve with your live chat tool, and the possibilities are limitless.
If we get down to talking about the most popular use cases or rather ‘jobs’ done by a live chat tool, it’s user engagement and live support—providing an engaged support environment, mainly. An engaging support environment can be achieved by involving the business in different aspects of the customer or prospect journey by ensuring self-help, availability of agents, and empathetic conversations. Proactive messaging, conversational online support, context-sensitive campaigns, and empathetic communication are some of the things that help you achieve a highly engaged environment. The best part of implementing a live chat support solution, though, is the fact that you can provide personalized and tailor-made live support to your customers.
Truth to be told, personalization is one of my favorite trends under the user engagement and support umbrella. I love how my food delivery app suggests delivery options based on my ordering pattern. I love how multiple e-commerce sites use personalized messages to send tailor-made offers for me, based on my purchase history. If they can do it, why can’t we?
Best practices for live chat
In this post, I’m going to talk about some live chat support best practices. A series of basic processes that, if followed, leads to 3x increase in user engagement and customer satisfaction. No, this is not a blind promise. It’s a genuine timeless strategy to utilize live chat tool to ace engagement on your website.
Be helpful, not intrusive
There is a common myth that adding a chat widget on all your web pages increase the probability of engagement. While there is nothing wrong with having a chat widget on all your web pages, it’s important to ensure that the chat experience remains a non-intrusive one. Remember, the idea is to help the customers on the right page and at the right time. In other words, your chat widget should be highly mapped to the intent of the user on a particular page.
The first step to achieving an intent match is ensuring that you place the chat widget at pages with context-relevance. For instance, most customers like to receive offers before they checkout their cart. Many people have pricing related queries on the pricing page. So, it makes sense to include a proactive chat widget on those pages with messaging channels routed to the sales or pricing team.
Have a journey map of your users and understand their pattern and time spent. Keep experimenting with the position and visibility of your live chat widget. What works for one webpage might not work for another. It all depends on your user’s intent and the amount of information you provide on your website.
Setting expectations informs the user of your availability. There are multiple live chat tools in the market that provide only a single off-business hour option. However, it’s important for you to select a live chat tool that enables multiple business hours settings, where you can automatically set different business hours for different teams based on the categorization and assignment of chats.
While mentioning your business hours, ensure that you provide an engaging away message, so that your customers don’t get dejected or bored. Remember, every visitor on your website is considered as your hottest lead and you do not want to miss out on a chance to interact with them because of your unavailability. Your messages can be:
“Hey there! You’ve reached the product support team. We are doing some deep thinking right now and are not available to take your queries. Shoot out your query and we’ll get back in touch after the mentioned time interval. Distance cannot stop us from thinking about you!”
“Hi there! You’ve reached the product helpdesk for XYZ. We are currently unavailable to take your queries. Request you to share your email ID so that our live support agent can get in touch with you soon”
“You’ve reached the guarded secret haven of sanctity. Worry not, all your problems will be solved here. Our maesters have gone to sharpen their pens and clear the clutter. Please spell out your query and you will hear back from them soon!”
Setting expectation sets the right foundation for a trusted interaction with your customers. Never fail to do this.
Be real and human-like
Let’s face it, conversations are best when it happens between humans with a name and face. This might feel like a basic step, but it has so much importance. Research says that 73% of people prefer responding to chat heads with a believable name and image of a real person. It’s important to give a face and persona to your support agents. Sometimes users prefer to connect back with the same support agent. In which case, a person with a name example, “Jeff from Freshchat” is better than chatting with a nameless avatar on the chat head.
Next, ensure that your conversations are empathetic and meaningful. Whether you are integrating a bot solution or having a live chat agent answering to queries, it is important to set the tone of the conversation right. Being polite, contextual, and empathetic ensures greater response rate from your customers.
While using a live chat tool, the live chat support agent can check context-based information on the user journey and time spent on the website to better understand the queries and provide relevant responses on the go.
Use automation to your advantage
Chatbots and voice bots are the talk of the town. 57% of consumers are interested in chatbots for their instantaneity. As per Comscore’s research, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. As far as engagement is concerned, the thumb rule of engagement is to be where your customers are. If your customers are trying to reach out to you through messages, then be present before them. If you cannot be available at all times, then deploy a chatbot that can solve basic queries for your customers.
There are other uses of automation in a live chat solution to help you bring down resolution time and first response time. This can be done by using tools that allow you to automatically route and assign tickets to particular support pools and individuals. This increases the productivity of your support team and allows them to concentrate on things that actually matter—engaging with customers.
Be where your customers are
Ensure that you are available at all the touchpoints of your customer’s journey; just be there for them, whenever they need you. End of the day, a business that is in close proximity to its customers is a business that wins the customer’s trust and loyalty. These days users are spread across multiple messaging portals and might prefer to chat with the business through those messaging channels, for example, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and so on. It’s important for your live chat tool to have an integration with all these interfaces to provide a truly seamless conversational support.
Another aspect of ensuring proximity is to use a live chat support tool that embraces diversity in language. Ensure that your live chat tool supports multiple language settings. Real-time translation and automatic language interpretation are features that help your business go truly global.
Think beyond text
Have you been hearing a lot of text is dead, lately? Me too. Don’t worry, that can be taken care of using your live chat tool as well. Go for a live chat tool that allows you to navigate between multiple channels and formats of communication—video, audio, GIFs, and text.
Be aware of the multiple features offered by your live chat tool, such that you can utilize them to the fullest extent. Features like co-browsing can be used to instantly gain control of your customer’s screen and do your magic on their ecosystem directly. Think about this, it’s not just about helping your customers, you are actually giving them a choice to decide on how they can be helped and approached; all this, using your single live chat tool.
Self-help is the best help
As far as live chat support is concerned, a fool-proof FAQ section and an extensive solution article section improves your customer engagement by 30%. Most of the basic customer queries can be answered by maintaining a good document suite. That doesn’t mean your FAQs and solution articles need to be text-heavy and dragging. Think of ways to introduce engagement in your help section. Build context-sensitive help solutions such that the users are automatically offered with relevant content whenever needed. Make it more conversational. Include videos, images, and processes to cover all aspects of support.
Be a communication ninja
End of the day, the support ecosystem is a game of conversations. In order to ace user engagement using your live chat tool, you need to be a rockstar communicator. You must give utmost importance to your messaging.
Ensure that you have an understanding of the context before getting into a conversation with your users. Context-sensitive messages are the key to grabbing your prospect’s attention. Also, make sure that your conversations are not dry and half-hearted. Your live chat messages need to be proactive when needed, engaging, relevant and responsive at all times. Make sure that your message has a personal touch as it improves the chance of your prospect responding to your message.
Let’s look at ways to make your messages personalized on your website:
When a visitor arrives from a specific page
When a certain high-value prospect lands on your webpage, it’s imperative for you to send a personalized message through your live chat support tool, that carries their company’s name or any other referral source that the visitor is redirected from. This can be done by setting a conditional in-app campaign to include the name of the source.
When a visitor spends a certain amount of time on your page
You can share a personalized message based on the webpage that your visitor is spending time on. For instance, when a visitor is spending more time on the product features page, then you can send a prompt on your live chat support tool, asking the visitor the main problem they are trying to solve using your tool. And how you can help them solve it. If the visitor is spending time on the pricing page for more than a stipulated time, you can send a discount or limited period offer tailor-made to suit their requirements.
When a visitor doesn’t complete their task
They are probably unsure of how to proceed with a particular task. This stands out as an engagement pause or break. You can send out a message through your live chat tool, prompting them with the next step on your product or suggesting them to check out a particular video or document that they can refer to.
When a visitor visits your page for the first time
Space out your prompts and share a catchy or helpful welcome message depending on the page they land on. Your welcome message should depend on the touch point on the user journey. For instance, if you can attribute the visit to a source, then you know that intent of the person. Your welcome message should be proactive but not intrusive. You should let your visitors know that you are available to answer queries and also provide an alternate link to schedule a demo if they are interested in purchasing the product.
To sum it up, by judicially leveraging the various features that a live chat support tool offers, you can easily ace the game of engagement and conversational support. This paves a way to the road to success in terms of obtaining an outstanding CSAT and NPS. You can be that business which your customers look up to and love. Get chatting!
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