Many organisations today are using Live Chat systems as an additional channel for customers to contact them through. It's quick and easy, agents can deal with many chats at the same time and it saves businesses lots of cash but, it cans also cause significant damage if not conducted correctly.
Live Chat software providers make it easy for these systems to be set up and implement onto a website, they provide lots of guidance on how to personalise the chat box and make it match your website. What they don't do too often is help us to understand how to still deliver effective customer service though live chat.
Albert Merhabian suggested that 55% of a message is transmitted through body language, 38% through tone of voice and 7% through words. Using live chat we only get to use the words. So, like email it can be mis-understood and things taken in the wrong context.
Here are some quick tips to help with delivering effective customer service over live chat systems:
Be Human - Yes it's a piece of software, but customers want to know there is a human at the end typing responses. Use their name and ask questions to find out what they want
Maintain Engagement - Don't leave long gaps in-between responses. If you need to go away and look for something, tell the person who you are chatting to how long you will be. Break bigger slabs of text into smaller sentences and send one at a time. Use ellipsis to show that more text is to follow.
Be Professional - Don't use emoticons, jargon and abbreviations. Think about what you are writing and read it before you send it.
Be Helpful - Point customers to pages on your website by cutting and pasting links, Check you have covered everything before you let them go.
Revolution Learning and Development has designed a training course on delivering effective customer service via live chat. You can read more about it here.