Live Support for E-commerce

Browsing around the web, I have discovered that many sites are actually doing terrible customer support. It may not be their people or the tools they use, but how those two are handled. A lot of the time, when you are on a website and happen to have a question, you are not able to use the live chat option so meticulously promoted on every other page. One would think that if a company acquires a tool to assist in their business operations, they would naturally want to set it up properly and gain the maximum benefit from it. But, alas, that is not the reality which is facing us.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that I constantly stumble upon on websites which claim to be offering live chat support service to their customers:

  • Live chat button always offline – it is the typical behavior of scammers, who try hard to look legit and post chat icons only to add credibility to their website. Occasionally however, good websites can also fall to this level, through negligence or whatever other reason. Make sure you are not one of them if you care about your business reputation.
  • No time specified when live support is available – it can be a rather frustrating experience for the customer to be trying to reach you for several days and not being able to tell if you are ever online or if you fall under the first “always offline” category. Whether you operate 24/7, 9 to 5, or any other hours, this information has to be posted to the customer. And most importantly, your company should adhere to the schedule set and advertised to the user to avoid confusing them and creating mistrust.
  • Live support is unattended – the chat button is online, but whenever the customer tries to call, they can never reach anyone. No one picks up the call and there are no accompanying messages explaining why, such as the line is busy, or the support operator is away etc. This type of behavior too, creates confusion and mistrust in the customer. If you cannot serve them at any particular moment, at least you should educate them why it is so and let them know when you will be available.
  • The chat button has to be searched for – the button is either too small and unnoticeable, or placed only on one page where not all users are able to find it. There is so much information floating around these days that everybody seems to be in haste. If you make your customers work to reach you, they will most likely abandon the effort and you will never hear from them again.
  • Lack of branding and personalization – many messengers look very generic betraying the managers who did not care to update them to their company logo, maybe some nice operator pictures, customized greetings. These are not only questions of design and usability. Customers are not able to tell whether it is your company who provides support to them or they are served by a third party. This hurts your brand reputation, decreases company recognition and overall customer experience.
  • Mass impersonal chat invitations – they are simply annoying and can easily drive users away from your website. Most customers are expecting to receive personalized support, nobody cares about automations when it comes to their own experience. Be sure to target and personalize your invitation messages so that users can genuinely appreciate your offer of help.

Is your company guilty of any of the above mistakes?

Given the fact that most of the chat tools are not free, it seems a sheer waste of money to purchase something and put it on the shelf. After all, optimizing a few things doesn’t take much effort, but how much difference it can make.

See that your company doesn’t fall into the lazy bear category, and doesn’t add live support just because everybody else does it without giving proper care and attention to it.

Was there anything else that you particularly disliked about how websites manage their live support service? Sound off in the comments and let me know about your experiences.