Maximize the Customer’s User Experience with Live Chat

by JAMIE UMAK October 22, 2018

In this blog, I’ll examine a few quick ways you can enhance your customer’s experience using live chat and use the information as one tool to improve your overall user experience while enhancing the customer journey.

We’ve all experienced contacting customer service at one time or another. Needless to say, moving through an automated system only to be placed on hold for 30 or more minutes is a frustrating experience. Like many online shoppers, I prefer the convenience of chatting with customer service and getting an answer almost immediately than sitting idle with my phone.

When used strategically, installing and implementing a live chat app on your eCommerce website can not only help your customers and improve their experience, but it can give you valuable insight into who your customers are. The insight you can gather will empower you to transform your services and products to better serve them while increasing your conversion and loyalty rates.

Notebook with pen and paper clip.

Understanding the Customer and Meeting Expectations

Respect their Time

When a customer initiates a live chat, they expect quick answers from your customer service team. We’ve all been in real-life stores where you can’t find an associate to answer your questions. When using a live chat app, many services have settings that will allow customers to leave a message if you’re offline. It’s important to meet their expectations by responding to them promptly if you are online or during regular business hours if you are away.

Know Your Product Lines

In order to respond quickly, accurately, and be most helpful it’s important to know your products. Being knowledgeable about what you sell conveys trust to the customers. Especially for products where there are complex differences or high investment of cost, it can help customers to have a human answer any outlying questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, ask for their email address or phone number and reach out within a specified timeframe when you have an answer. If you say you will reach out, it’s really important that you keep your promise.

The other benefit to knowing your product lines is that you can suggest other products the customer may be interested in, recommend helpful accessories they might consider, and even direct them to installation videos or how-to guides. This is an easy way to personalize the conversation and help your customer find the best product or service for them. They will greatly appreciate it!

Prepare for Common Questions to Improve Efficiency

Sometimes, customers will want to chat with you to confirm something they read on the website, such as where your office is located, what payment methods you accept, or where your warehouse is located. For these common questions, it’s helpful to have a list of common replies that you can send. That way your customer service team’s replies are fast and standardized without having to look up the information each time.

If you find you’re getting repeated questions about specific products or services, make note of these and use this information to improve your website and product pages. Common questions can indicate that a part of the customer journey could be improved in some way. That’s an idea for a future blog post of its own! 🙂

Always Be Professional

When chatting with customers online, it’s important to be professional. Use proper grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and greet your customers by name. Even though it’s common to chat in “text speak” with friends, customers pick up on unprofessional writing which can muddy your brand’s reputation. Instead, write in a clear, friendly tone that matches your brand’s guidelines. This also solidifies trust and enhances your business’ reputation.

Initiate Custom Chats

Some live chat apps offer the capability to initiate a custom chat with a customer. For example, if you see that a customer is looking at a certain product, you can send them an instant message in real-time and ask if they have any questions. Make note of their questions in a database. Then you can use this information to strengthen your website later to more efficiently assist other customers in the future.

Another idea I have is to suggest complementary products or services during the chat. If you see they are viewing your page about shipping times, you can message them and say if they place their order today it will ship by the end of the business day. If the customer is about to purchase a device, be sure to tell them about any warranties or rebates. To customers, being proactive and helpful is most appreciated!

Personalize Your Replies

Many live chat apps allow you to see where the customer is chatting from. This is a great way to weave in personalized comments that will help them remember you. If you see they are from a part of the country in the midst of a snowstorm, you can say something like “How is the weather in Minneapolis? I heard your area got a foot of snow the other day. Wow!” Personalizing your responses will not only make you stand out, but will prove to them that you aren’t an automated bot or that you are outsourced overseas.

Show You Care

At the conclusion of a live chat, it’s important to show the customer that you enjoyed helping them. If you will be getting back to them with an answer, state a specific timeframe and keep to it.

The best way to conclude a chat is by asking them if there is anything else you can assist them with. If your customer has all their questions answered, thank them for their business.

Keep in Touch

When the chat experience has gone well, offering to keep in touch is a reward in itself. This could mean directing them to your email sign-up form, rewards club, or social media. The more satisfied they were with their experience, the more likely they will keep your business in mind for the future. Much of the best business is repeat business and friendly word of mouth. This simple final step is a great idea to build a base that keeps coming back for more.

Image Credits: Featured photo in this post is from Michelle Buchanan Photography.

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