Nervous about adding live chat to your online store? Your reservations are understandable, especially if you’re used to working with customers over email.
With email, customers rarely expect an instant reply; you can use these expectations to decide which emails to answer, and in what order. Moving to live chat, however, changes these expectations entirely. Even so, holding these conversations in real-time opens up entirely new opportunities for delivering exceptional customer service.
If you’re like most small business owners, it is unlikely that you have a huge support staff who can spend their days glued to their screens in chat conversations with your customers. Instead, with a little planning and strategic implementation, here’s how to launch a small-scale live chat service.
Add a Chat Where it is Most Valuable
Chat doesn’t have to be enabled at all times, on all parts of your website. By being selective about where you enable chat, you can reduce your own workload and improve the efficiency of the service.
A good chat opportunity is one where your customer’s initial question is unclear or one where a little confidence building is needed. A live conversation is likely the most efficient means of handling this situation, so consider adding this function to:
The returns page: A customer requesting a return might need a refund, but they might benefit more from a better understanding of the product they have purchased. Here is your chance to help them feel more satisfied.
The VIP page: Integrate your chat tool with your online store order history and give your highest value customers access to your support chat channel in a way that not every customer can do.
Shipping FAQ pages: The period between ordering and delivery can no doubt be a nerve-wracking process for some customers. Having a live chat available can help resolve a lot of those “where are my items?” you may be receiving.
Divert Conversations to the Appropriate Channels
Adding live chat undoubtedly puts pressure on your capacity to support existing channels, so your chat rollout should also include efforts to reduce your overall support load.
This means preempting the kinds of questions that could be resolved completely, or at least reduced, through better page design or copywriting.
Your goal here should be to use your limited resources at hand to have more impactful and more helpful conversations with your customers, instead of acting as a human search engine for every visitor to your site.
Build Live Support Skills
Effective chat support demands a different customer service skill set. If you’re used to email support, chances are you have some communication habits that will need revising as you move to live chat. For example, use shorter messages and allow for more questions when dealing with customers; when it comes to live chat, feel free to be more personal that you were with customer emails.
If you’re ready to be thoughtful in how you roll-out live chat on your website, implementing this function might just be what you need to take your customer relationships to the next level.
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