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  • To Chat or Not to Chat – that is the Question!

    Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014

    by PhonePRO


The role that online chat plays in Customer Service can no longer be ignored.  The benefits are many – it is cost effective, convenient, personal, takes place in real-time, and most of all, customers love it – mostly, it is done right!  In fact, according to a recent study from eDigital, Live Chat has the highest satisfaction level for any customer service channel with 73% – compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.  Surprised?


So the question isn’t really whether or not to chat, it is HOW to do it well.  Just like all forms of Customer Service there is a misconception that chatting online with customers should be “intuitive”- that people should just know how to do it.  Nothing could be further from the truth – Customer Service in all forms requires skill – as well as practice, practice, practice!  The key to customer satisfaction when implementing chat is making sure that agents are trained and know what is expected of them.  Here are some best practices to start:


1)      Pick the right agents.  It is important to realize that a great customer service phone agent may not be great at chat.  At the same time, an agent who struggles with issues like voice tone on the phone might be a good fit for chat.  Be sure to consider writing skills, grammar, speed of answer, and general online conversation and personalization skills.  The main question to ask is “how will they represent our brand online?”


2)      Greeting:  Just like a phone call or in person interaction, a greeting sets the tone for the entire conversation.  It should be professional, friendly and short.  Customers do not want to hear a “commercial” for your company or about your latest promotion before they can explain what they need.


3)      Listening:  Be a good chat “listener.”  People often have several questions at once and it can be infuriating if a customer agent answers one question but ignores the rest.  Answer all questions if possible so customers don’t have to repeat them.


4)      Wrapping it up:  Again, this one is similar to a phone call or face to face interaction.  It is important to summarize the transaction/interaction and provide a final offer of assistance.  Example:  “As we discussed, I will email the receipt for your purchase right away.  Is there anything else I can do for you today?”  And as always, thank them for their business!


The main benefit of Live Chat is that it can make Customer Service quick and easy.  A 2010 Harvard Business Review article, Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers, supports the importance of making it easy for customers to do business with us.  According to the article, “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.”


PhonePRO has been making it easy for companies to deliver great service for almost 30 years.  We can help with communication skills with internal and external customers, leadership training and more.  Give us a call at 800-888-4893 or email to chat about your training needs!


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