The rules of engagement for phone and email conversations are pretty well known at this point. But what are the rules for live chat conversations? It’s a new-ish channel for communication and it blends the familiarity of texting with the more formal nature of business conversations. As a small business owner, sales rep or live chat support operator how do you deliver the best experience? Our fine team of online web chat experts have sourced the definitive list of top ten tips for live chat etiquette excellence. And we promise there won’t be a quiz at the end!
#1. Use emojis. Yes, you read that right. We’re kicking off this list with emojis. When you’re talking to a website visitor through live chat, the true meaning behind your words can sometimes get lost in translation. The person you’re chatting with may think you’re being rude when that’s not your intention at all! Emojis help communicate the emotion you’re trying to convey and those silly little pictures can be worth a thousand words.
#2. Don’t use ellipses. Those three little dots can be interpreted as condescending in a text-based conversation. Instead of trailing off, just be direct.
#3. Punctuation is your friend, not foe. Punctuate accordingly. Using an exclamation point to show excitement or a question mark are important for quick and personal text conversations. The key is to never use them together repeatedly. Are you crazy!?!?
#4. Avoid caps lock. When it comes to online web chat, caps lock is the equivalent of shouting. If you were meeting with a customer face-to-face in a store, you wouldn’t raise your voice to them.
#5. Patience is a virtue. Sometimes it can take website visitors a bit longer to respond or finish a thought. Avoid interrupting when someone is trying to type. Especially on live chat, they may be looking for something or testing something out. Just wait and it will all work out.
#6. Use proper grammar and spelling. Make your English teachers proud. Just because live chat conversations are less formal than email, that doesn’t mean you can afford to be sloppy. Browsers include spell check. Use it! You can have a personal conversation and still stay polished.
#7. Know your audience. Knowing your audience is key when you’re chatting with website visitors. Just like giving a presentation or writing marketing materials it’s important to use the words your customers use. If you’re chatting with doctors use the word “patient” instead of “customer.” You may also use a more formal tone with doctors compared to chatting with social media marketers.
#8. Don’t be a pest. Avoid asking, “Are you still there?” Use this only when necessary. Sometimes a customer truly forgets they were chatting with you. If you pester them with this question too much it makes them feel as though you’re trying to get rid of them.
#9. Speed is key. Keep it short and sweet. Live chat support is an informal and quick way for customers to get information. The more information you can give your customers during a chat, the better!
#10. Be nice. If customers are reaching out for live chat support or potential customers have pre-sales questions, either way they are asking for help. Remember that no matter what kind of day you’re having, it’s your job to be kind and helpful.
And there you have it! Now take out a sheet of paper and a #2 pencil. There’s pop quiz! Ok, there isn’t a pop quiz. We just highly recommend you follow these steps. The goal, after all, is a stellar live chat experience. Are there any best practices we’ve missed? We’d love to hear what works best for you! Leave a comment to share your thoughts below.