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Getting The Most From Live Chat

Have you used a Live Chat function on a ecommerce or service website?  Recently I have found it to be a very convenient and effective option for getting answers about a service and resolving a online sale that didn't go as expected.

Research backs up these experiences  too.  A report by Forrester stated that '44% of respondents said that having a live person answer their questions was one of the most important features a website could offer'. 

Further research from eConsultancy claims that 'Live Chat has the highest satisfaction leveles for any customer service channel with 73% compared to 61% for email and 44% with phone.'  

So here is the latest in best practice for implementing a Live Chat feature in your website.

 

Live Chat Means Live

If you are going to install a Live Chat function on your website, it needs to have a dedicated staff member to respond to it in real time.  Ideally responses should occur within 30 seconds.  A 'Customer Service Rep is typing' alert should be used to ensure the customer knows you are responding.

 

Ensure Live Chat Feature Is Displayed Prominently

A live chat window should pop up after a visitor has been on the site for a short period of time to make them aware of the feature.  It should then be easy for the customer to minimise the window to avoid disrupting their user experience.  Place the live chat window consistently across all pages for easy access.

 

Clearly State Hours Of Operation

Displaying when your Live Chat is operational ensures your customers knows whether or not to expect a response.  Ideally this should be at least normal business hours in your region with extended hours increasing your potential to satisfy customers at a time that is right for them.

Here eWay has stated it's hour of operation as 24/7 as well as an option for the department you wish to speak with.

Getting The Most From Live Chat 1

 

Provide Out Of Business Hours Options

Most companies can't provide a dedicated 24/7 customer Live Chat.  However a backup could be that the Live Chat window converts to a message channel that provides an expected response time once customer service is back.  

Getting The Most From Live Chat 2

 

Include A Photo Of Your Chat Representative

Many customers may assume that your Live Chat is an automated system where they end up talking with a robot.  Humanise it with a photo of your Live Chat representatives and allow them to use conversational language while remaining brand appropriate.

 

Use Automated Responses Where Appropriate 

If a customer encounters difficultly along the process of a transaction, an automated chat could help engage them to ask for help in completing checkout for instance.   

 

Extend Live Chat Functionality To Social And Email Channels

We all know our customers spend a lot of time on social media and will often look to your Facebook page for information about your business.  So why not extend your live chat to your social channels to communicate with them where they are.  A link in your email signature also serves as a way of making customers aware of your Live Chat function.

 

Take The Opportunity To Gather Feedback

Once your Live Chat conversation has been completed, use the interaction as a way of gathering feedback about the experience.  It could gauge the level of satisfaction, provide feedback on areas of dissatisfaction and how you could improve your service.

 Getting The Most From Live Chat 3

Live Chat provides you the opportunity to interact with customers at the right time and right place for them.  It allows for the customer to have flexibility in their purchase behaviour, help them resolve issues in the purchase journey and ultimately enhance the customer experience.