Americans send about 26 billion text messages every day, with the average person sending 15 texts per day. So, it's safe to say that communicating through text has become second nature for most people.
It’s not surprising then that chat is one of the preferred methods for people to communicate with brands (more than 40% of people prefer live chat over other contact methods because it prevents them from being placed on hold). Surveys show that customers feel most satisfied during their buyer's journey when using a live chat feature (92%), compared to voice (88%), email (85%), and even social media messaging (Facebook 84%, Twitter 77%).
Chat support is a must. But if you’re using chat for customer support, you know it’s different than other channels like phone or email. If you don’t know the differences, you can make costly mistakes.
No worries, we’re here to help. Read on to find out five common chat support mistakes and how to fix them.
Mistake #1 - Taking too long to respond
People may be used to wait on the phone, but patience is low for chat.
Research shows that there’s a 10X decrease in your chance of making contact with a prospect after a wait time of 5 minutes.
Even worse, a report by Forrester and American Express shows that 20% of Generation Z (people aged 16-22) would stop using a brand if they’re too slow responding online chat for customer support.
Often, the problem lies in that there are very few live chat agents for the volume of visitors, so they’re not available for the chat requests.
How to fix mistake #1: Have a dedicated chat team ready and trained to respond on time and use chatbots after hours or during down times. Also, make sure you have enough agents to keep up with the number of support requests on your website.
Mistake #2 - Not replicating the tone of your customer
A common mistake is sticking to the script in such a way that support reps ignore what (and how) the customer is saying.
Your brand may already have a particular voice and style that you use in your marketing messages. It's okay to use the same tone during chat support, but there’s a better way (especially if your brand is formal and serious).
That way is empathy, replicating the tone of your customer.
Bear in mind that text messaging is usually relaxed and informal, so that’s the approach most people will use when chatting online. You should respond in the same way.
How to fix mistake #2: Never talk down to your customers, but stay professional while mirroring their style. If they want to chit chat, that’s fine; if they’re direct, be direct back. This is a conversation, after all.
Strive for a balance of brevity and clarity and avoid jargon and industry lingo. Never assume customers know your product or service the way you do or that they’re tech savvy.
Mistake #3 - Not building on the conversation
This mistake happens when live chat agents ignore (willingly or unwillingly) the customer’s previous interactions with the company.
Perhaps the client has already called the customer support line or sent an email a few days before. If that’s the case, she shouldn’t have to explain everything again from the beginning — especially in writing. It’s both frustrating and time-consuming.
People hate scripted replies that offer no solution to their problems, but overworked and poorly trained support reps tend to rely on templates and scripts.
How to fix mistake #3: Use a reliable CRM that keeps track of the buyer’s journey and train your support reps how to use them effectively, entering detailed notes about each case for later use by other agents.
You can go further and build on the conversation in real time, with analytics that tell you what page they’re on as they chat, and what actions they have taken to resolve their support issue.
Even if you use templates for FAQs, the answers can still be personalized using the name of the client and addressing their problem directly, customizing a few words from your script.
Mistake #4 - Bombarding customers with questions
It’s true that you need all the information you can get to help your customers, but typing or pasting several questions at once is a big mistake.
Customers will feel overwhelmed and probably won’t respond to every single question, so you’d have to ask them again.
Sometimes the questions don’t come from the agent themselves but from the chat box. Some chat platforms require customers to fill out a form with lots of fields before letting the person enter the chat!
How to fix mistake #4: First, if you have a form to collect information, just ask for basic details to personalize the chat and don’t go overboard.
Second, once you are chatting live, pace yourself and ask one question at a time. “Listen” to the client’s story and dig deeper into their needs with follow-up questions.
Mistake #5 - Redirecting to another channel
Imagine explaining your problem at length to the chat support agent and then being told you must call the service line to get your issue resolved. Argh!
Don’t make that mistake with your clients.
Many companies have intricate processes to escalate and solve customer problems, which require customers to call different numbers or send emails, complete forms and other frustrating tasks.
How to fix mistake #5: Fixing this mistake requires reviewing your internal policies and procedures so chat agents have the resources and the authority to solve all types of problems. Simplify and use design thinking to improve your customer’s experience.
Measure and improve constantly
Live chat for customer support is a great way to connect with your customers and create a great experience. But there’s certainly a learning curve if you’re just implementing this tool.
Make sure to strike a balance between automation and trained staff and be sure to follow up with customers after the chat session has ended.
Finally, monitor and track your chat support interactions to spot and fix any mistakes, and improve on the positives. Remember that satisfied customers will translate into more revenue.
Looking for alternatives to boost your chat support?