Common live chat mistakes to avoid

Common live chat mistakes to avoid

Live chat support is a remarkably effective way of improving your engagement with your customers. However, it needs to be properly managed to allow your business to fully reap the significant benefits of live chat, and ensure the overall satisfaction for your customers.

Here are just some of the commonly made mistakes that you need to avoid when you institute live chat to ensure that this remarkable tool works most effectively for your business.

1. Lack of well-trained staff

If your live chat agents are not well-trained and highly competent, it will lead to negative customer experiences which will impact your conversion rates and even lose you existing customers. These are the qualities you should look for in your live chat agents and reinforce by training:

  • Empathy – seeing from the customer’s perspective
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent language ability
  • Excellent typing skills
  • A strongly developed sense of responsibility
  • The ability to multitask, problem-solve, and work under pressure
  • Patience
  • Being a good team player
  • A thorough knowledge of your products, procedures, and services. This is where your training programme is really of crucial importance.

2. Indicating that you are ‘Available’ when you’re not

Never leave your visitors or potential customers hanging. People find it intensely frustrating to click on a chat button… and then nothing happens. After all, live chat is all about it being ‘live’ and being able to communicate and engage in real-time. Only set your status to ‘Available’ when you are indeed available. Set your status to ‘Pause’ when you are busy, or need to be away from your live chat application.

Remember, if you aren’t able to employ enough staff to keep your live chat available when it should be, you can always outsource it.  

3. Overdoing shortcuts or canned messages

Shortcuts, or ‘canned’ responses, are a good way to increase the speed and efficiency in your live chat communications. They allow single agents to handle more than one live chat at a time.  However, they need to happen seamlessly and mustn’t impede the flow of the chat.

Canned responses must use the same ‘tone of voice’ as your live chat to ensure consistency. Above all, your responses must never sound robotic. Remember you are striving for as natural a conversation as possible.

4. Making customers repeat their story or problem

HubSpot research shows that at least 30% of customers feel acutely frustrated if they need to retell the details of their problem to different agents. Understandable, as it is a waste of the customer’s time! It also makes your business come across as disorganised and your agents as less than professional.

Also remember that good customer service means that your business should talk to customers on their preferred chat platform, whatever that might be: social media, SMS or a website chat. Utilise real-time conversation updates and omni-channel communication to ensure that every agent can see the progression of the chat. Also ensure that a chat history is saved for at least a month.

5. Wasting customers’ time

Customers opting to interact on your live chat do so because they need quick answers. The last thing they want is to be left twiddling their thumbs! If you don’t attend to them quickly, chances are that they’ll leave and go to a competitor’s website.

Wasting customers’ time will have a negative impact on the reputation of your brand or business. Make sure that you have the necessary resources to run a slick live chat application before you put one in place.

Here’s what you don’t want your live chat to do:

  • Making customers wait for attention or answers
  • Passing them from agent to agent so they have to repeat their story
  • Ending a chat while the customer still has questions
  • Unnecessarily asking them for details you already have

Remember that although customers do want quick answers, they ultimately still prefer a quality answer that solves their problem to a quick one that doesn’t really help them. Never push your agents to deal with an unrealistically large number of customers at the cost of a quality live chat service.

6. Making your customers work too hard to get support

Don’t put too many fields or options on the pre-chat form. This may frustrate and put potential customers off. Don’t ask for too many details and keep it easy to complete.

Generally, the customer’s name, location and email address will be enough to be starting off with. Let your visitor monitoring feature take care of storing other essential data. Make the customer’s live chat support journey streamlined and easy.

7. Never get the channels of potential customers mixed up

Each agent needs to find their own comfort level regarding the number of concurrent chats they feel comfortable dealing with. Pushing them into dealing with more live chats than they are able to will impact the quality of the service the agent can deliver.

It will also inevitably result in mistakes being made. Train your agents to just take a second or two to make sure that they are submitting the correct response to the correct channel.

8. Failing to acknowledge returning customers

Customers need to feel appreciated and acknowledged. They expect a business or brand to remember them and welcome them back in a personalised manner. If that doesn’t happen, they feel disappointed and let down.

Avoid this from happening by using chat history records. This should make it possible to route a customer to an agent with whom they shared a positive interaction on a previous occasion.

9. Never forget that good manners always apply

Live chat communications tend to be casual and short, and that is as it should be – it suits the informal nature of a live chat.  However, being a shorter and brisker form of communication doesn’t mean that it can be abrupt to the point of rudeness.

Agents should avoid one-word answers, sarcasm, and over-familiarity. A pleasant and informal, but none the less polite tone, should be what live chat agents should strive for. The customer should never feel slighted or talked down to.

10. Never fail to follow up

Following up is one of the most important actions of any support or sales function. By integrating your live chat solution with your help desk, CRM, and other technologies that facilitate follow-up actions, you can ensure that you always close the loop on questions, problems, issues, and requests from customers. This will form a fundamental cornerstone towards building a loyal customer base that will help your business thrive. 

Many customers love live chat, so it is one of the most valuable tools you can employ to build an excellent relationship with your customers and increase your conversion rate. By bearing the common mistakes above in mind, you should be able to make your live chat utilisation even better!

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