When it comes to support options, customers love live chat. It’s quick and easy to use for the customer and the support rep. No one has to search or figure out how to use a chat box. Like email, everyone just knows how to use it.
I’ll talk about three things to remember with it but first, a bit of warning. I’ve been on both sides of live support chat and it’s a two edged sword. Done right, it’s extremely effective. If you do it wrong, customers and reps alike will quickly become frustrated.
Like phone support, you need to answer quickly. A good rule of thumb with the phone is two rings. That works out to about three to five seconds after the customer starts the chat. Any longer than that, the customer gets irritated thinking you aren’t really there.
Have an avatar
No one likes seeing a default avatar. Often times, it’s a boring shadow of a person that brings no life to the chat. Instead, use a photo of yourself. The customer will appreciate small details like being able to see who they’re chatting with. Whatever you do, don’t use that photo of the guy with a headset smiling into the camera.
Speak their language
When you first answer, keep it informal and human sounding. Don’t go with some weird “Hello. My name is Chase Clemons and I’m your support agent for today. What may I assist you with?” Instead, keep it relaxed and start a conversation like you would normally.
After the first few interactions, you’ll get a feel for how they talk. In the mornings, I sit on my front porch with a cup of coffee and listen to the mockingbirds. These beautiful birds actually reproduce the sound of other birds and animals around them. The mockingbird’s calls are always similar but a little different when they repeat what they hear.
That’s what I want you to do now. Listen to how the customer talks and replicate it. If you’re dealing with a programmer looking into missing emails, it’s okay to get detailed and dive into the world of IP addresses and whitelisting. If you’re working with Grandma trying to clear her browser’s cache, walk her through it slowly with exact info on what she needs to be looking for. Like the mockingbird, adjust how you chat based on their responses.
But wait, there’s more
There’s always more to learn with live chat but these are some great basics. Depending on the app you use (and there are tons out there), you’ll have shortcuts, ways to route chats to the right support reps, and more.
The last thing I’ll leave you with is the same thing we started with – don’t do live support chat halfway. Either commit to it as a team or stay far away from it.