In today’s fast-paced world, customers prefer to chat for a faster and more convenient way to interact with businesses for customer service. It is considered superior compared to traditional methods like telephone calls for the following reasons:
Chat is less personable. Customers can convey their message easily with less emotional investment in the conversation. They have time to think and they have to build less courage to talk. It is more convenient to type a message rather than interacting in real time with another person.
They can have it in writing. If there’s a matter that needs clarification, there’s a message trail that both parties can refer to later on.
It takes less time. Customers can also resume whatever it is that they were doing while waiting for a reply from the chat representative. They can open multiple windows and do different activities, not wasting too much time waiting for a response.
In our years of dealing with businesses and customer concerns, here are our suggestions on how your website should have this tool on your website.
1. The Contact Us page
Website visitors usually look under Help or Contact Us when they want to find the chat so it would be helpful to place a “link to chat” on the Contact Us page.
When the link to chat is not clear on the Contact Us page, users see it as an indication that the company does not want their customers to contact them. Even if the Help page contains a lot of information, or if the website has an FAQ page, customers still prefer a chat option when they can’t find an answer specific to what they are experiencing.
2. Don’t Just Rely on Floating Buttons
Some websites offer chat options but only through floating buttons on a corner of their home page. Some customers who are looking for something in particular on a website tend to ignore popping up buttons. Customers appreciate seeing a big Live Chat Now button as it saves them from navigating through pages they feel they don’t need.
3. The Floating Chat Button Should Contrast with the Rest of the Page
We’re not saying that floating buttons on a website are completely useless. Actually, it is a very helpful feature but people tend to ignore them when they are placed somewhere else other than the standard one (bottom right corner of the page) or their visual design does not make them stand out enough relative to the rest of the page.
4. Use Live Chat instead of Ask a Question
Chatbots have been recently used to replace human-assisted chat and because it technically is not “live chat” they can’t label it as such and generally label it as “Ask a question.”
While chatbots and FAQ pages can be helpful tools, some customers prefer to skip them all in all and directly ask their question to a customer chat representative who will surely have a response to their dilemma.
5. On Product Pages
If you have a site that sells products or service, it would be helpful to have a chat link not just on your contact us page but also on your product us pages. Sometimes, when inspecting products, customers may require clarification regarding features and specifications that might not all be listed in your description. People don’t have to navigate elsewhere if you have a chat link on your product pages.
6. Inform Users of the Usual Response Wait Time or Specify Available Chat Hours
Not all businesses can afford a 24/7 customer care service. Informing customers when they can expect a response is essential so they don’t waste time glued on their screens to get a response when there are no reps available.
There are also times when there are too many inquiries for your chat reps to accommodate, periodic messages that inform users about the state of the agent allows them to have more patience waiting for a response.
Customers also appreciate getting messages like, “Still checking” or “I’m still working on that” if their request takes unusually long to respond to. It lets them know that the agent has not abandoned the chat entirely.
7. A Separate Chat Window
Chat is one of the few exceptions where we advocate opening up a new window or tab for a business’s website navigation. It is easier to user refer back to information (such product details or order numbers) that they may have questions about when they can switch to different tabs or windows. It also makes it easier to explore whatever links the agents will provide
8. Have Precautions for Possible Interruptions
Internet disconnection or other reasons can cause chat interruptions. It would be frustrating to have to wait on queue just to continue a conversation or get a different chat agent who is not aware of their issue. Chat reps should provide a reference number to the customers to avoid this. It could also help if they ask for their phone number or email address in case of a chat session interruption.
9. Send Customers a Transcript of the Session
Customers appreciate having a transcript of their conversation with a chat rep. They could use it as a reference to quote the agents in case there is a dispute or some type of issue.
A transcript also restrains customers from being rude as users can use it as proof to complain about their behavior.
10. A Canned Response Should Not Take Long
As a business, you should know what customers usually ask and your agents should have prepared responses to them. Users are aware when their questions are common and simple and they expect quick responses to those uncomplicated questions. Your reps should have some “copy-paste” answers in their arsenal.
11. Avoid Starting the Conversation with “How Are You”
It is important for chat agents to be polite but efficiency is a matter of importance. Users want to get their issues resolved as quickly as possible so instead of asking "Hello! How are you?" a better starter is “Hello! How can I help you today?”
12. Disclose that You Using a Bot
People tend to have a higher expectation when they are corresponding with a human rather than a bot. They also tend to be more polite when they know that it is an actual human on the other side of the chat window.
Bots require messages to be clear and understandable and customers can better calibrate their language when they have this knowledge. Sometimes they feel they have wasted time with pleasantries when they realize that it is a bot that they were talking to so it is good to be upfront with them when you are using a chatbot.
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