Professional But Human Communication in Live Chat: How Not to Sound Like a Robot

Professional But Human Communication in Live Chat: How Not to Sound Like a Robot
Professional But Human Communication in Live Chat: How Not to Sound Like a Robot

The more we apply technology, the more we need human interaction. This great observation was made by our blog reader, Theresa, as she commented on the article 3 Factors Driving Customer Satisfaction the Most in Customer Service. Yes, indeed. In the age when technology rules, natural human communication still matters a lot. Especially when it comes to online business. It’s human interaction that lets customers emotionally connect with a company or a brand, — and keeps them coming back.

Emotion that comes from the personal relationship between the customer and the company impacts purchase decisions. Statistics backs that up: 71% of B2B buyers who see a personal value will buy a product. And when it comes to customer service, every touchpoint is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your company image. Your chance to shine and charm your customers.

Establishing Strong Customer Connection in Live Chat

Communication with customers in Live Chat can be challenging. You have only a few minutes to establish a connection, preferably a pleasant one, with a complete stranger. Someone you never met in your life and who you know nothing about. And all you have at your fingertips to engage, charm and welcome a visitor is text-based messaging that sadly lacks wealth of body language and eye contact.

How do you go about sounding professional and still human while delivering fast and efficient assistance in Live Chat? In this article I’d like to share a few ideas on how you can create a friendly atmosphere in Live Chat and improve your communication skills with some simple yet powerful techniques.

1. Personalize the Online Experience

Making a great first impression is one of the most important steps to building instant rapport in Live Support. When you use your operator picture and real name in Live Chat, it adds some personal human touch to your support and makes your customers feel more comfortable when talking to customer service agents.

Starting your chat conversation with a personalized greeting is also particularly important. Use customer’s name if available and any other relevant information you have access to via Real-Time Visitor Monitoring to address customer’s request in a more personal manner.

2. Use Emoticons, The New Body Language

Does using smileys sound like a daring idea to you? In fact, when used wisely, emoticons help make customer service conversation more open and positive. They can make a huge difference in how text-based communication is perceived by customers and set the tone of the whole chat conversation;)

3. Don’t Rely Too Much on Scripted Stuff

This canned “oldies-but-goodies” can be great time-savers now and then, but don’t fall into the trap of believing that visitors won’t notice it. Saving time while losing human touch would rather hurt than help, especially if you copy and paste large paragraphs or send out your messages faster than customers can read. For human beings, flesh and blood, that’s simply not acceptable. And still you can use them, of course. Just put time and effort into working out the right strategy for using predefined responses in your Live Chat.

4. Take a Walk in Customers’ Shoes

Have you ever been served by someone rolling their eyes in irritation at “a really stupid question” while you realize that you have no idea what they’re talking about? Going through the same questions and answers again and again with no luck? Not a pleasant experience, definitely. The difference between a robotic system and a human customer service agent is that the latter should be able to feel how to make the interaction painless and easy, without frustrating or hurting the person they are chatting with.

In fact, even if you are not a robot, when you are an expert on your company products or services, it might be quite challenging to remember what it was like not to know everything.  And it sometimes makes it really difficult for you to explain something extremely basic to your customers and prospects. It’s called the Curse of Knowledge phenomenon, and it can affect our ability to communicate clearly with customers that need assistance.

The initial research of the Curse of Knowledge phenomenon was carried on in 1990 by a Stanford University graduate student in psychology named Elizabeth Newton. She studied how often a person can successfully guess a well-known song tapped by another person. Over the course of the experiment, 120 songs were tapped out, and only three of the songs were guessed correctly: a surprisingly low success ratio of 2.5%. In other words, once we “tap” something and suppose it’s really easy to catch, it is impossible for us to imagine someone not knowing or understanding it.

The easiest and most useful remedy for “the curse” is to always question the way you communicate information to customers — and try walking in customer’s shoes as often as possible.  Monitor conversation for understanding and if it looks like the customer hasn’t fully understood, go back to the last point you received confirmation they did and start it over in smaller, slower steps. Don’t rush the matter. But also don’t repeat the same stuff again and again. Turn it around and try expressing the things in other words. In case you are interested in more tips and tricks to overcome this common communication gap, check out this article by Nick Reese.

Your Turn

Would any of the above tips help you communicate with your customers more effectively and naturally? I hope you’ve discovered something new about communication in Live Chat and learned how to better serve your customers. If you have anything to add or share, I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below. And as always, thank you for reading our blog!

Provide Support is a leading software provider in customer service, offering live chat and real-time visitor monitoring tool for websites. Empowering customer service with live chat.

Julia Lewis