Live Chat Etiquette: 10 Tips for Being Polite on Live Chat

Live Chat Etiquette
Live Chat Etiquette Tips

More and more websites offer live chat support today so that their customers can get immediate and thoughtful service whenever they need. However, sometimes like many other tools live chat is being misused and customers instead of receiving smooth and pleasant customer experience leave the chat room angry or disappointed. Why does this happen? You cannot ignore the fact that live chat etiquette already exists and customers expect specific behavior and attitude. When the pattern is broken customers feel frustrated and rate your service as poor.

Chat conversations can be easily saved and shared on social media, like this happened with Amazon’s dissatisfied customer who spread the word about negative experience with one of employees. To avoid such situations you need to train your customer service team to treat customers politely and with respect. In this blog post I would like to offer 10 tips for being polite on live chat.

Think and speak positively

Negativity can infect your team like a disease and will reveal itself in various situations triggering bad feelings and mood. Positive attitude and thinking on the other hand lead to great mood and improves employee performance. With negative thinking lots of stress-producing hormones are released. These hormones influence the normal functioning of your brain and do not let you think clearly. Just get rid of negativity in your day-to-day work life:

  • Avoid saying “NO”. No business can give every customer a yes every time. However saying “NO” from the very beginning of the conversation will bring more negativity while delivering bad news. Wrap your bad news in positive phrases, offer an alternative and apologize.
  • Create positive atmosphere in your office
  • Smile while chatting with customers
  • Focus on what you want to achieve
  • Reward yourself and your team for great job

Offer empathy

While chatting with angry and frustrated customers the main task is to diffuse the situation. Empathy statements allow you to establish a connection with the person in chat room. These statements create trust and mutual understanding. Here are a couple of them:

“I would feel the same in your situation, let’s see how I can help you….”
“I know how frustrating it can be, we will do our best to sort this out….”

It is important to show that you are on your customers’ side and you are their advocate.

Ask permission

If you need some time for investigation, would like to push URL or invite your co-worker to assist you during the chat session, ask a permission to do so. E.g.:

“Would you mind holding while I am checking your account details?”
“May I invite our technical specialist for better understanding of your issue?”
“Would you like me to navigate you to the page with detailed product description?”

If you need to transfer a chat, explain clearly why you need to do this and who will assist your customer further:

“I am sorry, my shift is over, I will invite my co-worker Jane Smith to assist you further”

Thank for reporting bugs

If your customers come with a detailed bug description, with a feedback about your products or services or with feature suggestion, thank them sincerely and follow up after the bug has been fixed or a new feature released. In such situation silence is a killer. Any type of warm thank you will be appreciated. You can reply with a “Thank you for bringing this to our attention” or preferably “We really appreciate you taking time to report this issue”.

Sound helpful, not patronizing

Helpful can sound patronizing when said in the wrong way or at the wrong time. Kate Nasser has a great article on this topic and offers excellent recommendations for avoiding patronizing tone while communicating with people.

Keep in mind that not all customers want to be treated the same way as you want to be treated. Listen to your customers and find the best approach to them after analyzing carefully their needs. This will help you not only to be polite on live chat but also will show that you care about people.

Never keep your customer waiting

Silence in a chat room is something our customers will never accept. Keeping them waiting is the worst thing you can do. Follow these rules if you want to treat your customers with respect:

  • Respond to a customer within two minutes of customer’s latest response
  • Accept an incoming chat request within one minute after it has been initiated
  • Check in with a customer if a customer has been unresponsive for two minutes

Close the conversation properly

Proper chat conversation closing is as important as a greeting. It is not enough just to say goodbye. There is an established scenario for closing the chat conversation in live chat etiquette:

  • Thank your customer for the time taken to discuss their issue
  • Ask your customer if the issue has been resolved and if there is anything else they need assistance with
  • Say goodbye

Forget the words “I don’t know”

Not knowing the answer to a question is a difficult scenario for anyone to be in. However, this is not the situation when you should say “I do not know”. Your customers do not care that you do not know something. They expect you to provide them with a solution.

Calm down and find this out for them. Phrases like “Give me a moment I’ll find this out for you” or “Let me quickly check this for you” will not reveal that you are helpless here or do not know something. They will show your effort to assist and take care of the issue.

Use proper grammar and spelling

Ensure your customer support team has excellent grammar and spelling skills. Otherwise your customers will think you do not value them and your entire business will seem unprofessional.

Stay on topic

Do not lose the track of conversation even if a customer wants to discuss something else. Your main goal is to solve a customer’s issue. Steer the conversation back in a polite manner and continue working on the customer’s problem.

The bottom line

According to Accenture survey 66% of consumers switch to other brands due to poor customer service. That is why excellent customer service level should be the main goal for any business. Good customer service leads to more benefits for your business such as improved customer loyalty, increased sales and greater reviews. That is why it is important to remain professional and be polite on live chat. Customer loyalty will be the greatest reward for this.

Olga
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Olga

Head of Customer Service Advocates and Social Media Coordinator at Provide Support, LLC
Olga is a Head of Customer Service Advocates and Social Media Coordinator at Provide Support, LLC. She is a writer and blogger on customer service innovation, customer service excellence and customer support technology.
Olga
Join me

4 thoughts on “Live Chat Etiquette: 10 Tips for Being Polite on Live Chat

  1. I hope all companies find your website to learn the practices you teach about care. The quality of the service in general is terrible in the companies, the attendants are very unpleasant and do not treat you with respect. I assure you that if you improve this service, you will greatly increase your income.

    1. Thank you for your comment. You are right, not all companies focus on customer service quality. However, the happier your customers are, the better are your sales. Happy customers spread the word about your business and new customer come to your online store attracted by positive reviews.

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