The Insider List of Live Chat DON’Ts
Needless to say, we’ve seen a lot of live chat in our day. We’ve celebrated compelling live chat successes alongside our clients, but we’ve also slumped our shoulders and shaken our heads at some live chat fails along the way. Our tools are intended to empower your sales and support teams to achieve their full potential, but in the end, we can only provide the tools, some sage advice and hope that you “Fly little birdie, fly!”
Sometimes hearing what not to do can serve as an equally good starting point down the road to success. So here are ten simple mistakes to avoid with your live chat service.
1. Don’t set yourself to ‘Available’ unless you truly are available.
There’s nothing more frustrating for visitors than when they engage with a Chat button only to be met with silence. Live chat (‘live’ being the operative word) is all about real-time communication with your website visitors. There’s no point in adding live chat to your website if you can’t make time to chat with your visitors. Be sure to only set yourself to ‘Available’ when you truly are available, and be sure to set your status to ‘Pause’ when you are pre-occupied or need to step away from the live chat application.
2. Don’t leave your visitors hanging.
Whether you’re using live chat for sales, support or both, it’s important to always set expectations with your website visitors and don’t leave them hanging. Just as with other communication channels, if you need a little time to research something or confer with a team member, it’s okay to ask your visitor to wait a moment, or if you need more time, to follow up with them via email or phone. Just be sure that you are properly communicating wait times and follow up actions – there’s no such thing as over-communication in live chat.
3. Don’t overdo shortcuts.
Shortcuts are like makeup – it should look like you’re not wearing any. While the intention of shortcuts is to increase efficiency in your live chat communications, they shouldn’t interrupt the flow of conversation. Keep this in mind both when setting up your canned responses and also when using them. Make sure that you are using a tone of voice that is consistent with your brand’s communication style and try to avoid robotic sounding responses. So even when you have a somewhat related shortcut that may not be the most effective response, err on the side of visitor engagement rather than a few saved keystrokes.
4. Don’t be a creeper.
Live chat software provides a powerful arsenal of visitor engagement tools, including robust visitor information, social discovery features, sneak peek and more! Even though you have all this information at your fingertips, be cautious when using it. Don’t go Facebook stalking and ask your visitor how Myrtle, her pet turtle, is doing – that’s a sure way to get any visitor to exit and never return. And when it comes to sneak peek, don’t jump the gun on your response before the visitor posts their message – they may not be into mind-readers.
5. Don’t abuse co-browsing.
Co-browsing can be a very effective tool in guiding visitors through your website. However, when not used properly, it can quickly become distracting and frustrating for your visitors. Any time that you wish to redirect your visitor’s screen to a new page, be sure to ask permission first. They may be honing in on a piece of content on their screen, and unexpectedly navigating them away from that webpage could come as a rude surprise. When using the co-browsing feature, also be sure to only redirect them to pages that contain the SnapEngage code, or else the chat window will disappear and leave your visitor wondering what happened to that nice agent she was chatting with?
6. Don’t forget your manners.
Live chat communications can often take a more informal tone than other channels, simply due to the brevity that typing naturally produces. Typing and reading paragraphs of eloquent prose doesn’t lend itself to the impatient nature that characterizes the internet population. But brevity does not equate to rudeness. While it can take a little warming up to, live chat communication styles should reflect the brand’s voice and always focus on addressing the visitor’s question or issue. Avoid series of one-word responses and be mindful of using sarcasm (doesn’t always translate in chat). When training new chat agents, have them review previous chat transcripts and monitor live chats from other team members to get a feel for conversation styles.
7. Don’t get your visitor channels mixed up.
Each agent has their own comfort level when it comes to the number of concurrent chats they feel comfortable managing at any given time. When you’ve got three simultaneous chats going, it can be difficult to maintain response times and consistently deliver excellent service, let alone keep all the conversations straight! The last thing you want to do is answer a sales inquiry with a support troubleshooting response – that’s not a good vote of confidence for your prospect. When toggling between conversations with visitors, be sure to take a second to confirm that you are in the correct chat channel before submitting your response.
8. Don’t respond to your proactive message with your proactive message.
Visitors who aren’t familiar with proactive chat technology, which happens to be a large population, don’t realize that your proactive chat invitations/messages are automated. In other words, they think that you are personally reaching out to chat with them. So, imagine the scenario… After being on your homepage for 15 seconds, your visitor is greeted by an automated proactive message , saying, “Hi there, how may I help you?”. Your visitor responds, “I have some questions about your pricing.”, and the chat is routed to you. In an effort to reduce response time, you use your standard shortcut for incoming chats, “Hi there, how may I help you today?” It sounds ridiculously repetitive, right? Consider setting up multiple shortcut options to coincide with your various proactive prompts for a seamless interaction. This will ensure that your visitor chats get started off on the right foot.
9. Don’t make a copy-paste faux pas.
Just as with shortcuts, the copy-paste function can be very useful for getting information to your visitors quickly and efficiently. But before sending your message, be sure to take the extra critical second to double check that your pasted text or image is correct. Heed particular warning when toggling between your visitor and team chats. That reaction .gif that you intended for your team might not be suitable for your visitor conversation.
10. Don’t forget to follow up.
The most important action with any sales or support communication is follow-up. Listening to your customers and closing the loop on outstanding questions, issues and feature requests will help cultivate an audience of loyal promoters and keep your product moving forward. We recommend integrating your live chat solution with your CRM, Help Desk or other technologies to streamline workflows and follow-up actions. Read more about Using Client Feedback to Drive Innovation.