Live chat support has grown rapidly in recent years—and with good reason. It’s become a popular choice for users, with more than 42% of online consumers saying it’s their preferred method of communication with a brand.
It’s a feature that offers countless benefits: like being able to instantly offer support in the form of answering questions or providing guidance on products and services (that users may have otherwise missed). It also can boost revenue for your business: in one survey 77% of consumers said that they wouldn’t make a purchase on a website if there was no live chat option available.
At AB Tasty, we’re big advocates of using a live chat, and think it’s a tool that should be used across industries.
If you’re skeptical of live chat’s benefits, or are new to the tool, here are our top 10 tips to successfully integrate this feature into your site.
1. Be Conversational in Tone
Think of how you would handle a customer query over the phone or in-person. You want your live chat tool to be a fast alternative to other forms of support while still building a rapport and being personable with users. If the tone of your company is fun and colloquial, make sure this translates in your chats!
Start conversations by introducing yourself, and include pictures or avatars of your customer support representatives. It helps bring a human element to the interaction.
2. Use Emojis When relevant
The rise of text-based messaging has made emojis a part of our everyday conversations. While they may not be appropriate for all businesses or in every chat (depending on your established brand voice or the context of the conversation, for instance) using emojis can be a fun and helpful addition to this form of communication.
In written communication, not being able to hear a person’s tone or see their expression can lead to misunderstandings, which emojis can actually help avoid.
3. Indicate When Agents Are Online
You’ve likely seen a green light/dot on chat boxes to indicate someone is online. This signal is an important visual cue to visitors, reassuring them that someone is readily available to answer their questions. This is particularly important if you only have customer support representatives available during specific work hours (not 24/7).
During off-hours, setting up automated messaging is important so users aren’t met with radio silence. These automated responses should clearly indicate when a representative will be available to chat, but also be able to provide information on more basic questions in the meantime (potentially sidestepping the need to wait for human assistance altogether).
More on automated messages below.
3. Set Up Automated Messages
One of the most frustrating things about calling customer support may be the automated operator in the beginning. You could have a situation that doesn’t fit into one of their categories, or accidentally click a button that sends you to the beginning of the script again. You want to avoid this sort of repetition and rigidity with your live chat feature, but that doesn’t mean solely relying on your support team being available around the clock.
Automation can be extremely useful in handling less-complex questions, as mentioned above. It can also help save time by asking a few introductory questions that acclimate incoming support agents—they’ll have the necessary details to get to the root of the matter while more efficiently managing their time (and other requests).
4. Speed is Essential
Live chats create a certain level of expectation among visitors: speed and responsiveness. In fact, 79% of consumers surveyed by eConsultancy said they preferred live chats because their questions were answered immediately.
Your response time will be a huge contributor to users’ overall satisfaction with the experience. As we mentioned, using a blend of human agents and automation is a strategic way to answer visitors in a timely manner and avoid bottlenecks.
5. Make Chat Icons Clear and Easily Accessible
Make sure your chat icon is clearly visible and easily accessible across your website.
It should be as clear as any other social icon—i.e. in the corner of a page or along with the top navigation bar—and be instantly recognizable as a chat feature to visitors.
6. Use Tab Notifications To Ensure Chats Aren’t Missed
More often than not, people are toggling between different tabs on their browsers when they’re online—which means a response from your team could be missed without a clear notification.
Make sure that your live chat tool shows a notification in the tab when there is a new message so it doesn’t fall through the cracks.
7. Show When Agents Are Typing
People want to know that they’re being listened to. Showing when your agent is typing provides peace of mind to users waiting on a response.
One of the chief goals of customer support and live chats is to quickly provide clarity to users. So, actively communicating (even implicitly with typing ellipses, for example) will contribute to users’ overall satisfaction with the experience.
8. Allow File Transfers
From screen share photos to documents, customers on live chat may need to quickly share information or visuals with live agents to provide context on the issue or question they have—which in turn helps with customer support. Enabling an easy file transfer is a win-win for both businesses and customers.
9. Don’t Open Chats in a New Window
Users don’t want to be redirected all over the place when they’re looking for help—using a live chat should be a simple (not convoluted!) process.
Keeping the chat on the current page keeps things straightforward and streamlined, while also making sure users stay in the conversation.
10. Frequently Review Conversations
Customer support chats are a goldmine for consumer insights. By frequently reviewing these conversations, you can spot recurring trends and improve the overall user experience on your site or with your product/service.
For instance, these chats could signal its time to improve the navigation of your website or bolster the FAQs section. As always, data is the key to understanding your users and knowing how to continuously optimize their experiences. These live chats are no exception—it’s invaluable, direct, feedback that your business should be using to its full advantage!
As you can see, there is a multitude of reasons as to why you should have a live chat feature on your site (which range from customer loyalty to higher revenue per visitor).
Not only will live chats improve the workflows of your entire customer support team, but it’s also quickly becoming the go-to for consumers. Take these tips as guidelines for getting started or improving current processes—and see the benefits for yourself.