Conflict Resolution Strategies With Live Chat

How to handle angry chatters

keep calm and chat onWe’ve all heard the compelling stats repeatedly proving that it’s easier to keep existing customers than acquire new ones. As competitive landscapes become saturated across industry verticals, customers are increasingly looking to customer experience as a differentiating factor when making purchasing decisions.

But keeping customers happy can sometimes prove challenging. Here are some tips to help front-line customer support agents deal with difficult conversations over live chat.

Listen and remain calm.

Sometimes easier said than done, but try to go to your happy place. Clients who choose live chat as a venting channel can sometimes come off a little harsher than they may through other communication methods (the natural effect of written communications). Focus on listening first and solving later.

Avoid taking a defensive stance.

Whether the customer is right or wrong, check your attitude at the door. And when clients use more aggressive tones, don’t take it personally. Instead, try to take an objective approach to the discovery phase using positive language.

Gather the facts.

Be sure not to react and instead work quickly to gain an understanding of the issue at hand without offering immediate opinions, agreement or disagreement. Repeat their concerns to ensure clarity, and be sure to ask relevant questions that communicate a willingness to assist.

Be polite, understanding and sincere.

As mentioned earlier, tone is often lost in written communications. Approach the situation with empathy and try toning down the issue by using conversational calmers like “could be”, “perhaps”, “sometimes”, “maybe”. And for heaven’s sake, PLEASE DON’T USE CAPS LOCK!

caps lock

Focus on constructive solutions.

The most important thing to remember is that you are there to help solve a problem. Try to temper or remove emotions from the situation and focus on finding an agreeable solution to the problem at hand. When customers bring up unrelated issues, steer the conversation back to the problem in question. When offering assistance or proposing a solution, try to be as clear as possible, using supporting visuals (i.e. screenshots) when available.

If the solution is outside of your control or area of expertise, it’s ok to transfer the chat to another team member or ask for their email to follow up later, so long as you properly prioritize the issue within your team. If worse comes to worse and you’re not able to come up with an acceptable solution, ask your client to suggest a remedy.

Don’t forget to follow up.

Follow-up is perhaps the most important step in turning a frown upside down and ultimately retaining a client. Whether you were able to solve the issue during the chat, or are following up with a proposed solution, be sure to always keep your promises and check in to make sure that the issue has been resolved. A little follow through goes a long way!

Use every situation as a learning opportunity.

The best approach to conflict resolution is proactive management of issue escalation. Turn negative customer experiences into learning opportunities by reviewing cases with your team and proposing ways to prevent similar situations from arising in the future.