Making the investment in live chat software is a big step for your business. It allows you to save money, connect with your customers in a profound way, and build a base of lifelong customers.
Like phone support or in-person customer service opportunities, live help software allows your live chat agents to communicate with your customers and resolve concerns. However, without the added benefit of body language to rely on, some representatives might not know where to begin in a live help session.
What’s the good news? A successful live help session is as easy as following three simple steps. Here are the things every chat representative should do at the beginning of every chat.
1. Prepare Before You Begin
When your customers request a live chat, is there a place for them to explain their issue or reason for chatting? While some chat types (such as those started by a website pop over) plunge the representative and customer right into the chat, most live help sessions allow the customer to ask a question, explain a problem, or offer some sort of comment while they submit the help request.
This is like a cheat sheet for your representatives. Why? Because it lets you know exactly what resources your rep needs to retrieve before the help chat begins.
Ideally, your company will review your live chat sessions on a regular basis to look for common problems, questions, and other issues your customers chat about. Then you’ll compile this information into a resource (such as a FAQ page) your agents can reuse during their own chat sessions.
This is a lifesaver because it means:
- Your answers will be well-crafted, even on complicated issues, because your agents don’t have to write them on the fly.
- You will be confidently able to answer every concern quickly without needing to spend 10 minutes researching a solution. Shorter chats lead to happier customers.
- You’ll save a lot of money because you’ll be able to help more customers in less time. You’ll also be able to assign a single representative to multiple chats at once – something that’s very possible with the chat software and your resources.
But what if what your customer wrote before the chat isn’t their problem? Is pulling up information (that turns out to be irrelevant) a waste of your time?
No! In fact, taking the time to do this is almost always beneficial. It keeps your live chat agents familiar with your company’s content resources, making future help sessions even more efficient.
2. Greet Them and Make an Appropriate Amount of Small Talk
Though the tone of your live help session depends on why your customer is contacting you, beginning any conversation with polite small talk is a great way to establish a human connection. Since conveying emotion through text is different than using voice inflection, taking the time to make small talk will significantly help the relationship among your live help agent, the customer, and your company.
Consider leading the conversation by asking some of the following questions:
- “How are you doing today?”
- “How is your day going?”
- “Happy Friday! Are you excited for the weekend?”
- “How’s the weather where you are today?”
If your customer responds negatively (such as, “My day isn’t going well – I’ve got this problem that’s your company’s fault!”), don’t worry. This can easily be turned around through the live chat software. Simply communicate that you’re also concerned. Consider something as simple as, “Oh no! Let’s get that resolved for you right away so we can help your day go a little better.” A small amount of compassion can show the customer you’re on his or her side.
Just remember small talk is important, but don’t spend too much time chatting about your customers’ cats! Remember that live chat is an opportunity for your business to connect with your customers (and ideally make a sale). Spending too much time on irrelevant conversations wastes your business resources and can wear your customers out before the “help” portion of your chat.
3. Restate the Customer’s Issue to Show Understanding
Once you’ve established a relationship with the customer through small talk, it’s time to show that you understand his or her issue.
For example, say you provide small business IT services and a customer contacts your company for support. “My internet isn’t working,” they might say. In this case, you might want to keep the conversation simple and avoid terms like “network latency” and “wireless channels.” Just remember communicating on your customers’ level, not down to their level.
A great way to demonstrate understanding is by using a technique known as mirroring. This method allows you to effectively communicate with your audience in a way that makes them feel comfortable and safe during your live help sessions.
Mirroring in live help works the same as it would in face-to-face conversations. As Lifehacker writes, “Instead of arguing your point in your own private way, mirror the person you’re talking to in body language, speed of your voice, volume, and even your word choice. You need to be subtle when doing this, but it’s a subconscious way to make the person you’re speaking with more comfortable.” The same principles apply during live help sessions, too.
Restating their problem and mirroring accomplishes two things. First, it shows that you’re listening to the customer and care what they have to say. Second, it helps you clear up any misunderstandings. Your customer isn’t as fluent in your product as you are, so they might not understand their own problem as well as you need to in order to solve their issue.
An Important Reminder
We mentioned this earlier in the article, but it bears mentioning again: it’s much more difficult to convey important emotions in your text than it is when you have the chance to speak person-to-person. But this can easily be remedied.
Live help software helps you overcome this limitation – if you follow the steps described in this article. Take the time to set the stage for your live chat, and you’ll find your customers responding with positive emotions towards your company.
As you can see, it’s quite easy to begin every live chat session right. With so many benefits from using live help software and how easy it is to create great chat experiences, it’s a smart investment for any business to make.