What are the best practices for live chat?

Contemporary customer service is a very demanding area. Customers expect a quick and substantive answer, meaning help that will give them a solution to their problem here and now. They also want to use the communication channel that is most convenient for them. Companies that offer multi-channel assistance are therefore perceived as friendlier. Live chat is the communication channel that gives you the greatest chance to act quickly. Read here about what live chat is, what its benefits are, and how to make good use of it in customer service.

What is live chat?

Live chat is currently one of the most popular contact center communication methods options. It enables a client and an agent to talk in real time. It’s usually installed as a chat window on a website or mobile application. Research shows that 53% of consumers choose a method of contact that allows them to talk to an agent in writing rather than by phone, and 42% of these prefer live chat.

As part of a chat with an agent, the customer can obtain effective and quick help with a purchase, receive an answer to their inquiry, or get recommendations for products and services offered. All of this happens without any extra effort – all they need to do is type a question and read the answer. This solution is becoming more and more popular, especially now the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is taking live chat to an even higher level.

Live chat is also sometimes mistakenly confused with chatbots. In terms of UX they are very similar, but the two are distinguished by who handles the chat. In a live chat, it is a human agent who is on the other side of the connection. Chatbots, on the other hand, are supported by Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

Benefits of live chat

The benefits of installing a live chat in customer service are numerous. They are not limited to quick conversations with customers. 

Live chat affects the perception of a brand, building its position and relationships with customers. There are definitely more benefits, so if you are still wondering whether you need a live chat yourself then be sure to read on and learn about some other advantages.

Increasing sales

Live chat has a huge impact on lead generation as well as sales. Research shows that it can generate 3 to 5 times more conversions than without, and it can also achieve a ROI of 6,000%. Additionally, customers who use live chat are 3 times more likely to make a purchase than those who have not had such contact.

Why is this? A potential customer has immediate access to the service team, who can provide immediate assistance and influence the purchasing decision of a visiting consumer.

Improving customer loyalty

Customers, despite the fact that they make more and more purchases online, are still not as trusting of internet shopping as they are of the traditional form. Live chat guarantees a form of direct contact with staff, who in a stationary store can advise on the spot or answer a question about whether or not and where a specific product can be found.

Providing your brand with the possibility of hassle-free and immediate contact shows it as a company that is customer-oriented and willing to solve their problems.

Knowing customer problems

Customers are more likely to share a problem when they can write rather than talk about it. They feel more confident and have no fear of being judged. This form also supports clients who do not find it easy to adequately describe problems verbally and do not want to be perceived as a problematic person. Chat contact is less emotional. We do not have to overcome the stress threshold that can occur during telephone calls. 

The chat format is also better than phones for the service team. Why? Because they have the ability to archive conversations. Thanks to this, even if an employee does not forward information about a problem or complaint, it is noted and can be sent to the appropriate people responsible for a specific area of activity.

Boosting productivity

Live chat allows an agent to do several things at once that they can’t do on a phone call, for example. At the same time, the customer service representative may have several chat windows open in which they can solve several issues at once. This definitely increases the efficiency of the contact center. However, don’t go to the extreme – the agent should not handle too many requests at once, because they risk not being able to focus on the problems of individual clients and therefore not properly resolving issues.

Resolving problems more efficiently

As we have emphasized several times, live chat provides quick support and assistance. It is not only a way in which an agent can respond to the client at an express pace. If a business has a knowledge base and articles that can support customers, the agent can provide links and references to specific content that can help the consumer. This is convenient both for the consultant, who does not have to present the individual steps of each procedure, and also for the client, who will know where to find the answer to a particular question and can return to the knowledge base at any time. 

Another possible feature of chats is screen sharing. Thanks to this, an agent can show the user how to solve a problem step by step. This function cannot be performed by phone calls or messages sent via email.

Building a competitive advantage

Many companies still do not use a live chat option. What does this mean for your brand? The percentage of people buying online is increasing with each passing month. If you decide to implement this solution, it puts you above companies in your industry that do not offer it in their customer service. Remember that live chat does not only provide quick help for the client, but also the opportunity to build relationships and loyalty. During a conversation, you can send information about current promotions and competitions or send a customer satisfaction survey.

Expanding your market

Do you think because you have a website and social media channels set up that you have an online presence? Unfortunately it’s not that simple, and there is no guarantee that you’ll be noticed by potential customers. A company whose website structure only has a store, but does not have any special options such as contact with the service team or news, will have a problem acquiring customers. 

Live chat is a great way to make your online store come to life. It shows that there are people behind the store who want to ensure comfortable shopping, as well as provide quick assistance if necessary. Additionally, you can consider a section containing news, blog entries as a form of content marketing, or pop-ups that will allow users to subscribe to your newsletter.

Obtaining customer feedback

We have already mentioned sending forms to clients. Live chat is an ideal source of customer feedback. From conversations with a client, we can draw conclusions about their brand image. However, there are many more opportunities and methods to obtain opinions during a live chat. At the end of the conversation, you can ask the customer to fill out a form that will be sent via a link. You could also suggest that the customer leaves a review on Facebook or Google, or even complete an automated survey after the conversation is over. Most live chat systems have the option of creating a built-in survey that is shown at the end. 

Gaining feedback during a live chat conversation is valuable because the customer is engaged and will be thinking intensely about the brand at this point. They are therefore more likely to want to give an opinion on the company and the service right then.

Creating reports and analyzes

Telephone and email reports mostly contain numbers, so they don’t carry more value than purely statistical ones. Reports and analyzes that can be performed on the basis of live chat are much more extensive. The simplest ones usually include the agent’s performance and the number of chats held. More complex ones may take into account customer details, e.g. geolocation.

Reducing your expenses

If you’re looking to cut costs in your business, live chat is a great channel to help. Telephone support is expensive and does not meet the expectations of most customers. As already mentioned, consumers prefer to write about their problems rather than talk on the phone, but they still require an immediate response. Consumers shifting from phone communication to live chat allow the company to save both on phone calls and on technological aspects.

Live chat costs no more than an email provider. Forrester’s research has shown that live chat customer service is 17% to 30% cheaper than phone calls. Why is this? First of all, live chat allows both the client and the agent to multitask. Therefore, they can handle several live chats or reply simultaneously on other communication channels, such as social media. This is called chat concurrency.

Best practices for setting up a live chat

Saving time, ease of use, and meeting customer expectations. The use of live chat is reflected in a company’s profits. However, the mere implementation of this solution will not bring results. There are a few extremely important points to remember:

  1. Exceed customer expectations. Excellent customer service guarantees building relationships with customers, strengthening loyalty, supporting the brand image, and building trust in it. All of this translates into higher sales and real profits for the company.
  1. Use the appropriate language of communication. Remember that your company should be consistent on all customer service channels. The language of communication should be defined in your company’s business strategy. Remember that the vocabulary used should be fully understandable to clients and not too specialized. Pay attention to grammar and spelling mistakes.
  1. Specify the hours when the chat is open. How your chat will operate is dependent on how big your company is, what the philosophy is behind it, and what human resources you have available. If you can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that’s great. Let’s be honest, however, that most companies do not have this option. Therefore, there must be specific, visible information about the hours of chat activity next to the chat window.
  1. Use ready-made conversation templates. Ready message patterns allow for even faster communication. However, you should still remember about taking an individual approach to clients. That is, not to act on a “copy and paste” principle, but to give messages a human element.
  1. Choose the right tools to implement live chat. A great solution is to use our Plumm tool. It allows you to communicate from one place with all of your clients and colleagues. Plumm allows you to integrate all live chats in one panel. You can also create a database of the most frequently asked questions from customers, have access to all customer data, the ability to write internal notes, make an ongoing analysis of expenses, access your SaaS administration panel, create analyzes and reports, and much more.
  1. Use Artificial Intelligence (AI). Clients often have a problem with basic issues, so the help of Artificial Intelligence, which allows you to automate processes, is extremely valuable both for them and agents. The former receive a response even when the chat is not working, and the latter won’t waste time on simple, repetitive activities that can frustrate the team.

Over to you

If you want to build your brand position in the modern market, you can’t help but introduce a live chat service. Live chat is a solution that brings companies measurable profits and benefits, both financial and image-related. The benefits are mutual, as it is a tool that supports both the customer and the service team. The consumer receives quick support, which in their eyes creates a pro-consumer image of the company. The company saves time and support costs, thus increases profit.

There’s no way two ways about it – in order to count on the market and ensure customer rotation and loyalty, you need to introduce live chat. Using tools such as Plumm enable the effective implementation of this solution. It is intuitive and easy to use, so try it out today!

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