Today, companies must provide customers with personalized, seamless customer service across all channels. But that’s not all—the modern customer also expects to receive speedy support from a real person, which means the days of putting customers on hold are over.

Given these expectations, implementing a live chat feature should be a no-brainer for your business. In fact, when implemented correctly, live chat can significantly improve customer experience and a company’s bottom line.

Live chat fulfills all of the modern customer’s needs: it’s personal, flexible and quick. Actually, according to the 2018 Customer Service Benchmark report, the average live chat response time is just two minutes, whereas the average response time for an email is 12 hours.

If you’re still not sold on live chat’s ROI, you should be when you hear this: FurstPerson reports that 77% of consumers won’t make a purchase unless there is a live chat feature available.

At GetFeedback, we’re well aware of the importance of a live chat program that runs with minimal hiccups. That’s why we’ve created a live chat playbook that ensures we’re always providing the best customer service possible.

Here’s an inside look into our best practices for live chat customer service.

Best practices for live chat customer service

GetFeedback’s live chat customer service playbook will educate your customer support team on everything from how to deal with disgruntled customers to how to structure your writing style and responses.

1. Keep it casual and friendly

Compared to other forms of customer communication, live chat is much more relaxed. Keeping responses short, sweet and free of jargon will help customers from feeling rushed or intimidated. This may also encourage them to ask additional questions and provide more honest feedback.

However, casual doesn’t mean unprofessional. Maintaining a balance of informal and professional is an excellent rule to adapt to this particular support channel.

However, casual doesn’t mean unprofessional. Maintaining a balance of informal and professional is an excellent rule to adapt to this particular support channel.

2. Be mindful of your writing style

When replying to any question or inquiry, be conscious of how you are presenting your responses. Every customer should be given a chance to read, interpret, and ask questions about any step of instruction.

Large chunks of text can be awkward to read and may result in making things more complicated. On the other hand, sending each step as an individual message offers customers the opportunity to follow directions and ensure they are on the same page as you.

If an issue requires a more extensive look, be sure to send the customer a message stating that you are accessing their account and will provide more detail after you’ve assessed the situation. Making it clear that you are still available and working on their inquiry, especially if more time is required to determine what the solution is, goes a long way.

3. Leave the bot-speak to actual bots

Don’t be afraid to showcase some personality in your live chat conversations. Each message sent to a customer should be friendly and professional, but you have the chance to inject a little personality into your messages.

When on live chat, use emojis, exclamation marks, and the customer’s name to add a personal touch and a human element to the support experience.

4. Clarify whenever possible

Whether you’re walking a customer through detailed instructions or trying to diagnose the issue at hand, being crystal clear is critical to each case’s success.

Repeating the issue or question back to the customer is a great way to ensure you fully understand the problem at hand and that you’re on the same page.

5. Take your time with each customer

Sometimes the fastest answer isn’t the best one. Depending on the issue, other departments may need to be consulted, or you may need to check out the customer’s account for yourself to see the extent of the issue.

Make sure the customer knows what you’re doing and check in with them while you work through an issue. Managing a customer’s expectations will help you give them the best support experience.

If you feel like you need more time to address an inquiry but want the customer to know you’re working on it, try using one of these message templates:

  • “Would you mind if I checked in with ______ about your inquiry? I want to be sure I’m providing you with the most accurate solution. Is _______ the best email address to use to follow up with you?”
  • “I’m going to need to escalate this to our _________ team. Would you mind if I followed up with you via email?”
  • “I believe I’ve found the solution to your issue but I need to do a bit of testing on my end first. Can I follow up with you at your ______ email address?”

Final note: dealing with angry customers on live chat

Angry customers are inevitable. Taking the high ground is always the right path when you find yourself dealing with a difficult customer. This means extending kindness, respect, and professionalism. In doing so, you ’ll protect the company’s reputation and help diffuse a potentially challenging scenario.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with disgruntled customers:

  • Apologize regardless if it’s something out of your control. Acknowledging their frustration can go a long way and can help dilute their anger.
  • If the opportunity presents itself, repeat their issue back to them to confirm you understand fully. Not having a clear indication of the problem can make them even more frustrated, which is never the goal.
  • If applicable, try to connect them to their customer success manager (CSM) to further assist them.

Let’s put it all together: sample transcript

Check out the sample live chat transcript below to see all of these tips in action.

Tym A: Hi there! Thanks for getting in touch. How can I help?
Visitor: Hi. I have a survey with fields I thought I had set up to sync with Pardot, but I do not see responses in Pardot.
Tym A: Oh, no! Sorry to hear that. Would you mind letting me know which survey you’re working with?
Visitor: It is called “Our CSAT Survey!”
Tym A: Awesome. Thank you! Give me one moment to pull your account up.
Tym A: So, it looks like we’re receiving an error on our end for this survey’s Pardot connection. Usually we see this error when the login credentials in Pardot were recently updated but weren’t updated within GetFeedback.
Tym A: What you’ll need to do is remove this Pardot connection and re-add it to your account with the updated login credentials. You can then reconnect your survey to Pardot (you won’t need to rebuild your mappings).
Visitor: Okay, that makes sense.
Visitor: Thank you! It looks like that worked!
Tym A: Absolutely! If you need any further help, feel free to send me a chat request again or email us at [email protected]. 🙂

The quick and easy nature of live chat can make resolving issues a breeze for both your customer service team and customers.