Great service is remarkable. When was the last time you had a wonderful customer service experience? You probably remember it quite well. That’s because great customer support tends to be so rare these days. Building those customer relationships is critical for SMBs in particular because each customer interaction is the best chance for word-of-mouth marketing. That’s why we recommend you use live chat support software. In fact, 69% of consumers report that they are likely to recommend a company after a positive customer support experience. Not sure what level of service you’re providing? Deliver poor support at your own risk! Approximately 44% of US consumers switch to a competitor following a poor customer service experience.
5 Tips for Creating Great Customer Support with Live Chat
How can small businesses create great support experiences? When budgets are tight and time is even tighter, small businesses need tools and solutions that make it easy to create great experiences. Live chat software is one of the easiest, low cost and high impact solutions for SMBs.
"Live chat ensures your customers are heard. It’s a fast response. Live chat prevents a small problem from not getting attention becoming a bigger problem over time,” shared Maran Hidskes of Bytesized Hosting.
Maran’s company provides hosting and storage solutions. Based in the Netherlands, his one-man shop has the highest satisfaction rating of the hundreds of thousands of Pure Chat users. He achieved a 99% satisfaction rating with live chat support.
After thousands of live chat support conversations, in-depth interviews and more we’ve boiled down the expertise of our small business customers into the top five tips for great live chat support.
Tip #1: Instant Answers
Consumers expect an answer now. Respond to incoming questions quickly. Chat now! And keep the conversation going. Don’t wait to respond. Even though live chat software makes it possible to handle a lot of conversations at once, use your judgment. If it’s taking you too much time to manage multiple threads, limit the number of conversations you tackle at once. “Chat also allows us to be much more responsive to our users’ needs. Phone conversations are clunky and slow, and it takes a lot longer to resolve problems when I need to put you on hold and then find a technician who’s not already on the phone. Phone calls are ridiculously inefficient for both us and for the caller, and I think people are starting to realize that they’re best left as a last resort,” - Daniel Derasmo, Service Desk Analyst at TechGuru.
TechGuru’s outsourced IT strategy and help desk service company in Minneapolis, Minnesota has a 96% happiness rating using Pure Chat.
Tip #2: Empower your team.
Approximately 25% of consumers report switching to a competitor because they are tired of being kept on hold. If you’re the business owner or manager, make sure your team has everything they need to serve customers immediately. If marketing, sales or support representatives can’t make decisions quickly, it defeats the purpose of live chat. Give them a budget for discounts or eliminate siloed communication.
Tip #3: Training.
A reported 29% of consumers switch because they are annoyed by a lack of staff knowledge. Yikes! Training is critical to ensure you’re able to deliver the best live chat support. Ensure your team is knowledgeable on your products, services and on your customers. Help them understand your customers’ needs, wants and stage of customer journey. Make sure that you have the right person responding to chat messages. The summer intern or new hire may not be the best person to chat now. If live chat on your website is a prospect’s first point of contact with your company make sure to put your best foot forward. That may mean having your most senior sales or marketing person respond to incoming messages. Checking live chat details like pages viewed or referral source can help tailor responses.
Tip #4: Remove Friction.
Making live chat available on your website is the first step. To maximize the number of conversations, don’t ask for name, phone and email up front. Even though live chat can be a great channel for lead capture, gather those details later in the conversation when it’s more natural. Another way to remove friction is to ensure that your team is available for the maximum amount of time each day. Using time shifts, a dedicated live chat operator or mobile apps for on-the-go will help increase availability. It’s not ideal for a website visitor wanting to chat now get interrupted with an email form. Remove any barrier to the conversation for the ultimate live chat support experience.
Tip #5: Be Human.
It’s common sense. Treat customers or potential customers with the care and attention they deserve. Although tools like canned responses can make it a breeze to respond instantly, don't use them so often that you sound robotic.
“The good thing about chat is that it’s less formal and each person can bring their own personality to it,” says Erin Mann, a User Services Manager at ITHAKA, “With email or on the phone, the tone is different. Using chat, you have more freedom to show who you are as a person. We use exclamation points and smiley emojis. That’s super important and helps with good ratings!”
Maran Hidskes from Bytesized Hosting agrees and takes it a step further, “Sometimes you have very nasty customers… If you shower them with love, they will come around. Kill them with kindness. A nice and polite attitude goes a long way.”
For many small business owners, there are very few things you can do to improve your customer support that’s both easy and impactful. Most things take a lot of both time and money. Fortunately, live chat support accomplishes both. Afterall, what’s the point of business if not having great conversations with current and future customers. These top five tips remind us that the best customer service tactics are simple. Create the best human connections (even on digital platforms) to create the best customer experience. Get started with live chat now!