Before we talk about live chat tips, here’s a fun fact!
In 2013, Poncho, the Weather Cat, was launched. Embedded with AI and NLP, this bot began to demonstrate all that could be done through chatbot technology.
Ultimately, Poncho could give a local weather forecast for anywhere in the world, provide daily horoscopes, tell jokes, and otherwise engage users in fun conversations.
Today, this technology is everywhere – certainly in most eCommerce enterprises’ live chat feature, with a more serious purpose – to provide a rapid and effective response to shoppers and potential customers.
But what happens when a chatbot cannot answer a tricky question or understand a customer’s response? That bot turns the conversation over to a live brand advisor who takes the discussion forward.
The Awesome Responsibility of Live Chat Conversational Commerce Agents
How your brand advisor or conversational commerce agent engages and communicates with a customer can make or break the brand image, the relationship with that customer, and, ultimately, determine whether that customer goes away with warm fuzzy feelings or frustration and anger.
Face it. A live chat conversation depends on the written word. And even though trite, the adage, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” still fits.
So, let’s look at some live chat tips that your conversation agents should embrace if they want to be great brand ambassadors and keep those warm fuzzy feelings in the air.
#1 of the 6 Live Chat Tips: Be an Active Listener and Repeat What the Customer Has Said
You have to validate what the customer is saying and show that you understand and are empathetic (you know – put yourself in the customer’s “shoes”). Your response must repeat what the customer has said and then state exactly what you are going to do. Here’s a typical example:
Customer: I haven’t received my order. Where is it?
Agent: Oh, I am so sorry you have not received your order yet. Can you give me the order number?
Customer: Yeah, the order number is 67825. I want it now, or you can just cancel the order and give me a refund. I’ll find it somewhere else!
Agent: If you can give me just a minute, I am going to track it for you right now. Can you wait?
Customer: Yeah, I’ll wait.
Agent: Great. I’ll be right back.
(Short Time Lapse)
Agent: OK. I have tracked the order, and here’s the great news. It arrived at the UPS location last night and is on the truck for delivery today. In your area, it says that you will have the package by 7:00 pm tonight.
I am putting all of this information in your customer account. If you do not receive your package tonight, let us know immediately. In the meantime, I am emailing a coupon for 20% off your next order. Please accept our apologies for what has happened.
Note: This agent knows what he is doing.
- He repeated the customer’s issue verbatim.
- He could have referred the customer back to her emails of order confirmation and shipping so she could track the order herself. That would probably have angered the customer more. Instead, he did the tracking for her and confirmed the delivery time for the package.
- He gave an additional perk so that the customer feels she is heard. And that the company will go out of its way to please her. This is the type of relationship-building that will foster the kind of loyalty you want.
#2 of the 6 Live Chat Tips: Use Words that Exude Politeness and Empathy
It’s hard to remain calm and polite when someone is “yelling” or berating you in a live chat session.
You’d probably like to say this to the customer on the other end, but you know you will not. Instead, you need to have a list of phrases you can use when a customer is angry and frustrated.
The key is not to respond in the “heat of the moment.” Choose one of those pre-written phrases to try to move the customer into a more rational mode. Here are a couple of examples:
- I’m so sorry that you have had this experience. I will do everything possible to get this resolved as quickly as possible. Can I get a few more details?
- I totally understand your frustration. I would be frustrated too. Let me get some details so I can fix this.
Your goal is to “calm that customer down” as quickly as possible. Your empathy statement at the beginning should help. Then, as you ask for details, the customer will have to return to a more stable emotional state to give them to you. Once your customer is no longer “emotionally flooded,” you are ready to get to the issue’s nitty-gritty and resolve it.
#3 of the 6 Live Chat Tips: Use Simple, Direct Language
Jill Landry, Customer Support Director at Trust My Paper, says this: “…agents come to us armed with a college degree. They have spent four years producing formal scholarly writing, and now they are asked to reverse all of that. It’s the biggest hurdle they have during their training.”
Here are some examples of the types of phrasing that need to change if you are moving from an academic to a customer conversation environment:
Wrong: In order to address your issue, I will need you to provide me some additional detail.
Right: Let’s get to work on your issue. Can I ask you for some more details?
Wrong: With respect to our return policy, I will be happy to email you a copy of those procedures.
Right: Let me walk you through the return process. We can get this done in a minute or two.
Wrong: The vast majority of our issues with shipping are resolved within a few hours, and yours should be no different.
Right: Most shipping problems are solved within a few hours. Let’s get yours fixed right now.
Look through the typical phrases that you used for descriptions and explanations in your academic writing. Are you repeating them now? Go over those most common that relate to your chat writing and re-write them. If you’re still unsure, get on a competitor’s website and open up a chat, ask some questions, and look at the language those agents use.
#4 of the 6 Live Chat Tips: Be Like Hemingway
You probably read Old Man and the Sea as a high schooler. You probably loved how easy it was to read – very few adjectives and adverbs. Short and simple sentences. Just like I am writing now.
Dump all of the academic writing skills you had to practice for years – complex and compound sentences, phrases, and clauses. As you begin to write as a conversational commerce agent, re-read every sentence you write before you click that “send” button. Are sentences short and simple? Is the vocabulary at about the 7th-grade level?
There are the tools you can use to check these things – Grammarly and Hemingway Editor, to be exact. When you begin, use these tools. Over time, you’ll have mastered these skillsets, and such writing will become second nature.
#5 of the 6 Live Chat Tips: Know Your Products/Services Inside-Out
You want to sound like an expert when you chat with customers. You don’t if you have to take long pauses to ask other people about the details of the products or services before getting back to the customer. Ken Whitten, Customer Support Director for the writing service, Best Essays Education, puts it this way: “We offer a huge array of writing products and services, and we expect customers and potential customers to have questions about them.
We also expect our live chat agents to be able to answer them quickly and completely. All of our agents must complete a full training program before they are ever put ‘on the line.’ Lots of our competitors use answering services, to their detriment.”
#6 of the 6 Live Chat Tips: Be a Brand Ambassador
Every interaction that a customer has with a company leaves an impression. Your job is to promote the brand as one that cares about its customers, answers questions quickly and is committed to resolving any issue or problem that may arise.
If you take these live chat tips seriously and put them into practice, you will play your part in brand ambassadorship well.
In the End…
It’s all about the customer today. And that customer can demand far more than he or she could in the past. It’s a highly competitive world out there, and consumers can be quite fickle-minded. One of the critical elements of customer satisfaction is the type of experience they get when interacting with the brand. What’s more, they no longer wish to wait on the phone listening to the “elevator” music. They want instant answers; they expect amazing service, even when they are not the most pleasant communicators. Live chat addresses these pain points. Your job is to be the best communicator that you can be while you address those pain points. These 6 live chat tips will help you do that!
Author Bio: Diana Adjadj is a copywriter and customer support specialist for a number of eCommerce enterprises, including popular writing agencies like Supreme Dissertations and Classy Essay. When not writing or consulting, Diana is working on her bucket list that includes exploring every coral reef on the planet.