Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Browsing around, I see more and more companies using live chat these days, which is awesome.

Of course, as someone in that game, I often give them a whirl. Most of them, sadly, take what I call the ‘Adele approach’ to live chat.

The Adele approach goes a bit like this (to be read to the tune of “Hello”):

Customer: Hi

Agent: Hello

Agent: It’s me

Agent: Can I have your name and company details so we can call you please?

adele approach

It seems that when adding live chat, companies revert to the smash and grab / give me your name and info / this is just another form you could be filling in / Adele approach.

So what’s the problem?

Well, Adele’s music is great to listen to, but I wouldn’t take her advice when starting a meaningful digital engagement.

Chat is a channel in and of itself. That means it needs it’s own engagement approach to get people into a live chat and an approach when they’re in chat.

If you’re using chat and think that the main training your people need is systems based (click here to start a chat, click here to enter a message) then you’re barking up the wrong tree.

When you train someone on the phone, it’s not about how to dial a number. It’s what you say on the phone, the questions you ask, the hold statements you use. Chat needs its own approach to mirror this style of training. With chat, your training should focus on how do we build a meaningful engagement that serves our goal and the customers.

These more engaging conversations mean you build a better pre-sale relationship (read – more likely they’ll then take a next step) with the added bonus of being able to ask some qualifying questions that relate to the product/service. Double win. Bosh.

So, if you want to say ‘goodbye’ to the Adele approach, here are a few tips to get started:

1. Your team should kick start the chat with a question. Don’t give them the Hello and wait. Ask a good opening question to kick start the conversation and find out more about the customer

2. Don’t go for the kill early in the chat. If someone is engaging on chat, 9 times out of 10 it’s as they’re not quite ready to commit to the next step. You need to build a relationship, earn their trust, then ask for the next action

3. You need a process. That doesn’t mean a script, but it does mean your team need to be clear about the kind of questions they can ask the customer at the chat stage of an enquiry to drive the conversation forwards, find out more about the customer and get things going

4. Chat isn’t a replacement for a contact form or an interactive FAQ tool. You and your team should be clear on what the value of chat is going to be for the customer based on where they are in their journey and provide the best conversation you can to help them take the next step

5. Training shouldn’t just be functional. Chat programmes are not rocket science. Most people can get to grips with the buttons in an hour or less. Put the real work into looking at the in chat experience. Role plays are a winner here. Once live, take time out as a team to review the transcripts, sharing the best bits and binning the worst

If you’ve gone to the effort of adding and staffing a live chat service for your customers, then say goodbye to “Hello”.

Focus on delivering meaningful conversations that inspire, engage and your prospects won’t be saying “never mind I’ll find, someone like youuuuu”. Ok, I’ll stop now.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.