7 Tips on How to Improve Live Chat Support

September 22, 2022

Studies show that over 70% of e-commerce customers tend to be satisfied with live chat support, which is quite high compared to 42% and 45% satisfaction rates for email and phone support channels, respectively. However, to leverage live chat benefits, a business has to nail that ‘sweet spot’ between customer support resources required and clients’ delight. This balance can be different for various types of businesses and target audiences, nevertheless there are still some best universal practices that every online live chat support can benefit from.

Be human

Today, according to PWC, 64% of U.S. consumers feel that their customer experience with brands lacks human touch. People want to feel valued and be viewed as individuals, and canned responses that only partially answer customer questions hardly improve a brand’s perception as a client-oriented business. In contrast to phone support, live chat gives brands a sizable opportunity to provide more personalized support. Depending on the software, a support agent can see not only from what page a client-initiated chat, but also what actions they took beforehand and pages they viewed. If the client is logged in, the agent can also use their name, order history and other details right away, streamlining the support process and dropping a multitude of clarifying questions.

Help smartly

Invest time and resources to educate support agents on how to properly communicate with clients. Bad attitude or answers lacking specific details won’t lead to improved customer satisfaction or more sales, so consider investing in agents’ training and creating support guidelines and knowledge base as a direct investment in business profitability. It is essential to chat in a cheerful manner, especially when dealing with unsatisfied clients, who are prone to paying attention to any signs of rudeness in reply. Also, aim to provide detailed specific responses. For example, some live chats provide an ability to send product cards in a chat — use it to help a client find a required item or suggest an alternative and save their time. Last thing: always proofread replies because misspellings are unavoidable when typing in a rush but reflect poorly on the brand’s image.

Respond quickly

Since a fast answer is the primary reason why customers prefer live chat more to other communication channels, a support team should aim at maintaining a short response time. Using a chat widget, people expect to have their issue addressed in less than five minutes. Proven practices to minimize response time include automatically assigning new support requests to free agents and establishing response time KPIs within the support team. Tagging also helps: by categorizing chats with tags according to inquiry or client type, related products or services, client conversations can be quickly routed to agents who specialize in particular fields, as well as analyzed for frequency and average resolution time.

Automate what needs to be automated

Smart use of quick responses and text templates, together with chatbots, can make a difference in live chat customer service, both in terms of response time and resources required to deliver high-quality support to customers. Yes, this can sound a bit counterintuitive to our first tip “be human” but it is, in fact, not. AI and automation are present in the majority of spheres of our lives, speeding up routine tasks, protecting us from hazards, and helping business be more efficient. There is no foul play in using templates while inquiring for more details or answering typical questions. However, it is important to base any automation on thorough research to tailor automatic replies to particular situations and achieve better personalization. This goes for chatbots too. While they can be a great addition to your support team, always leave a quick and easy option for a customer to switch to a human agent.

Introduce live chat cleverly

Integrating a live chat option on a website is likely to increase the number of support requests, since even customers who are reluctant to write an email or make a call to get an opportunity to easily contact support. For an emerging business with a small support team, a surge in the number of customer support tickets can wreak havoc and lead to unacceptably long response time. Carefully review the potential impact on support spending from introducing an online chat option. If you determine that a business is not yet ready for providing a smooth live chat experience to all customers, start with showing a chat widget only on particular pages.

Track live chat metrics

To assess the performance of your live chat team and measure how chat helps to boost business metrics, use analytic tools available in every popular live chat solution. Establish KPIs (key performance indicators) for such metrics as response time, customer satisfaction score, and others across the support team. By motivating team members to provide better customer service, you can take customer experience to the new level, increasing conversion and strengthening long-term relationships with clients.

Integrate live chat with CRM

Customer relationship management systems help to sync several identities of a customer, learn about their preferences and streamline interactions between them and a brand. A detailed profile of a customer supplemented by transcripts of their previous conversations helps support agents to solve their issue in a timely manner, making as few clarifications as possible, which leads to shorter response time and higher customer satisfaction score — just what we’re aiming for, right? 

It is important to mention, that some live chat services come with a built-in CRM functionality, which can assist you in converting prospects into customers in an efficient manner. For instance, omnichannel messaging platform Umnico provides a free live chat widget that has a digital pipeline to track your sales and find bottlenecks.

Now that you know how to leverage live chat benefits properly, learn more about the best live chat for e-commerce to pick the best solution for your business, and feel free to reach out in the comments section below if you have any questions.