Live chat is a powerful and versatile customer service and sales tool that helps many companies to build a stronger brand image and increase profits. Still there are some businesses who struggle to generate any return from the tool and justify its cost. The main cause is usually “not enough people are using the service”. So naturally there is a question, how to get more people onto live chat.
It must be understood that getting more traffic to the chat messenger is not the ultimate goal. The fact that the live chat tool remains underutilized by users is often just an indicator that there is no sufficient engagement with customers and they remain detached and generally unconcerned with your business.
We all know how important it is to build relationships to succeed in any endeavor, including growing a business. Live chat can be one of the tools that help you to do just that – build relationships with customers and increase engagement. But like any other tool it requires the right treatment to shine in its full light.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why live chat does not work for your business and what you can do to do to fix it.
1. Insufficient Awareness
Do your customers know that they have this option, to do a live chat with you? Probably not, if they don’t call-in that much. Here’s how you can increase their awareness:
- phone conversations – if you run a call center or have a phone support line, make sure to drop in the information about live chat availability in live phone conversations and your voice machine recordings.
- email and social media – when you send out an email to a customer or do your monthly newsletter, let them know that they can contact you via live chat if they have any questions. If you don’t know how to add a chat link to your email signature, check out our blog post here. Similarly, you can add live chat links to all your social media profiles. See the instructions for Facebook, Twitter, Goolge Plus and LinkedIn.
- prominent placement on your website – is the live chat button noticeable on your webpage? Is it big and bright enough? Do you offer it on all website pages? Make sure you can say “yes” to all these questions. You may also try a floating chat button to attract additional attention to your live support service.
- website content – as users skim through your content, they may not be actively looking for support, but if you place additional text links in your articles or product descriptions, they are more likely to notice it and make use of it if they have a question. You are not limited in the number of chat links you can add to one page, so if you have a content-rich page, it is worth adding a link to any substantial peace of content. Also, you can offer incentives, such as free shipping, discount coupons and refer users to live chat to claim those.
2. Lack of Optimization
If you put in an effort to make the customer experience convenient, efficient and pleasant, you will generate more return customers whose feedback will contribute to spreading the popularity of the service and as a result, more users engaging with your website. Check these points:
- fixed live chat online hours – make sure your live chat is not left unattended and customers do not face the ever offline chat button. Even if you don’t intend to offer 24/7 support service, designate certain hours of the day to being there for your customers and answering their questions. Set proper customer expectations by letting them know through system messages what your online hours are.
- reasonable response time – don’t let customers wait to receive support and try their patience. If the chat line is busy and cannot take more callers, be sure to update the customer with proper system messages and ask them to call later or wait. If you ask them to wait, let them know the time frame within which you will make yourself available to them. The ideal solution here of course is to have sufficient number of agents to handle the load at any time of the day.
- party is typing notification – if there is any delay in customer service rep’s response, the typing notifications help to lower the pressure of expectation and reassure the customer that an answer to their question is being prepared.
- chat transcript, sound on and off, easy way to provide feedback – these small features add up to the convenience of the customer experience and help to create a positive impression about the service. So see that these are available through your visitor messenger.
3. Lack of Personalization
Customers want to be treated special. So do you want to set your business apart from the rest of the companies. Personalized interface and personalized approach delivered by the service agents are equally important to establish a unique and meaningful relationship with the customers and make them remember your business. Here’s what you can add to deliver such an experience:
- company logo – add your company logo in the messenger header and make your brand recognizable. Let the customers know that they are dealing with your company and not being redirected to a third-party service.
- operators’ pictures and greetings – add operators’ photos and personalize their greetings to welcome the customer in your support hub.
- system messages – adjust your company greetings and other system alerts to reflect the information about your company, its culture and policies.
- chat icons – use custom chat images that fit with your website design and represent your brand or the industry you are operating in.
- approach each client as an individual – call them by their name and use as much information from real-time traffic monitoring as possible to personalize the communication, to understand their problem or question more quickly, ask the right questions and tailor the available solutions to their specific needs.
4. Customer Service Strategy Always Reactive
There are customers who like to engage and there are those who like to be engaged. This division is very clear, so if you practice only a passive approach to customer service, waiting for the customer to initiate contact with you, you are missing a good half of your sales opportunities. Solution?
- use proactive chat and real-time visitor monitoring to capture the right moment to offer help and to be welcome by the customer. It is better to avoid bombarding your visitors with mass impersonal chat invitations, as you may drive them away and discourage to use live chat. But with targeted invitations, you are on a mission to save their time and effort while earning their appreciation and loyalty.
5. Lack of Attitude and Passion
Customer service agents, their self-presentation and approach to their work is an integral part of the customer experience. Even if you have all the technical stuff in place and working to your benefit and a single customer ends up having an unpleasant experience interacting with your agent, or perhaps not able to receive the necessary information they are seeking for, this may discourage them from using live support for future interactions.
Of course, customer’s impression is not always the result of the service agent’s treatment, but leaving out of scope that which you cannot fix, you’ve got to ensure your company gives the best performance possible.
- train your agents in technical and soft skills – especially if you are hiring service reps from a third-party agency, make sure the agents are qualified to answer questions about your product or service before they go live.
- watch their writing style – it should remain professional, clean and understandable, without heavy load of emoticons, abbreviations or online slang. Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, voice and tone, staying on the point are all important to deliver both positive and effective customer experience.
- motivate and inspire your reps – see that they are always active and upbeat, ready to go out and deal with difficult situations, with customers of different cultures, backgrounds and attitudes, and remain stable and positive.
The Bottom Line
Don’t give up on live chat after a few weeks of trial. If it hasn’t worked for you, take it as a sign that you need to develop a more serious approach to customer service. If you recognize this sign and make a turn in the right direction, you will take your business to a new height where live chat will be an integral part of your customer service strategy, indispensable and utterly beneficial.
Be sure also to pick the right tools for your business, which will deliver smooth and hassle-free customer experience. If you are not decided yet, check out our live chat and real-time visitor monitoring app at www.providesupport.com
What are your approaches to customer service? Are you guilty of any mistakes that you were able to recognize in your customer service strategy and fix successfully? Please share your insights with us.