21 Ways to Start Your Next Chat on a Better Note

Posted by
Barry Lamm
Director, Partner Success
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 12:35

Science tells us that we have a mere seven seconds to make a first impression. Whether it’s a prompt “Hello” or “How can I help you today?” starting your communications off on the right foot will set the tone that follows.

Today’s digital-savvy, on-the-go consumers aren’t getting easier to please. From brands adopting Facebook Messenger to the rise of conversational commerce, consumer expectations are high in 2016. They’re forgoing traditional channels and looking to connect with brands where they already are: online, on social, and on mobile.

It is critical that brands welcome these digital-first consumers with the right balance of human and tech to ensure a meaningful, valuable connection. Consumer satisfaction and happiness at the end of a conversation is a CCP’s goal. And it’s one that goes a long way to build lasting brand-to-consumer relationships.

We did a quick gut check across the LivePerson team and asked our own CCPs how they turn every chat into a meaningful connection. Read on for our favorite, most effective tips.

Transform the way you connect: 21 actionable tips.

1. Introduce yourself by name. The more personal the better. Approach the conversation the way you would if the person were right in front of you, in the flesh, and frequently address them by name, if possible.

2. Be human. Always remember there’s an individual on the other side of your chat window and neither of you have the luxury of sending out cues through body language or facial expressions. Use positive language and repeat what the person had said to show you’ve understood.

3. Always stay in channel. Whether it be mobile, desktop, or tablet, this will nix the customer frustration of having to switch from one to another.

4. Act quickly. We’re all impatient sometimes! This is especially true when there’s something going wrong. Seventy-three percent of consumers point to speed and efficiency as top factors in creating a great experience. When customers are forced to wait, they also think they’re a low priority. If you need a few minutes to collect information or dive deeper into a problem, give them a status update and offer a timeframe for when they’ll hear back.

5. Think like a hero. Assure the consumer from the beginning that their problem will be solved and you’ll be with them every step of the way. Use positive, upbeat language to hammer this home.

6. Avoid shaming at all costs. If your consumer is having trouble navigating your site, understanding your product, or is just plain flustered, don’t make them feel silly, overly dramatic, or slow to learn. Try asking guiding questions like “Have you tried…” rather than “Why didn’t you…” Never be condescending — even accidentally.

7. Use natural language. Just have a conversation! Speak to him or her as you would speak to a colleague you’re friendly with. Remember to remain professional with proper grammar and a warm yet polite tone. Also, avoid jargon as much as possible. Your consumer may not know the terms or acronyms you throw around at the office.

8. Read the room.  This really comes down to being empathetic and understanding the consumer’s disposition. If they’re cranky, you might not want to try #17.

9. Get a 360-degree view. Dig deeper and consider the why behind your consumer’s request. Understanding the entire situation lets you better connect with your customer and take charge of the conversation.

10. Exude confidence. Know your product! Showing that you’re confident in your own knowledge improves their trust in your ability to provide insightful support.

11. Be curious, creative, and thoughtful in your solutions. Constantly seek better ways to accomplish each task so you’re growing on the job and can assist more customers more efficiently in the future, and be sure to share great fixes and creative tips with your team.

12. Be thankful. Showing gratitude for his or her patience or ongoing loyalty can go a long way. Also acknowledge the consumer’s support for the brand. For example, just shooting a quick “Hey, thanks for your patience today!” will demonstrate your appreciation.

13. Take a few steps back. There may be details you can’t see because you’re focused on moving forward. Assess your consumer’s scientific sentiment in real time to get a full picture of his or her story with your brand.

14. Don’t be a phony. That is, be transparent from start to finish. If you’re sincerely stumped, keep the shopper updated on your progress and let them know you’re enlisting additional support.

15. Understand you can’t be perfect — and neither can your brand. You’ll have hiccups along the way, and it’s important to be upfront with your consumers when something on your end goes wrong. Most likely, they’ll be cool about it.

16. Consider emojis. Didn’t think you’d see this one on the list? In a 2015 study, consumers rated service professionals who used emoticons higher than those who didn’t. But notice, I said “consider” — as in, consider your brand, tone, and overall product or service before plopping a smiley face into the conversation. When used correctly, emojis can mimic the level of connection we get from non-verbal communication during face-to-face conversations. Just be careful (and use them sparingly)

Related read >> To Emoji or Not to Emoji? Best Practices in Live Chat Etiquette

17. Cobrowse away. Sometimes shoppers need a little extra support. If he or she is getting frustrated navigating your site or filling out a complicated form, suggest a secure cobrowsing session. This lets you go through the experience together.

18. Hug your haters. Turning a bad experience around can turn even the biggest haters into brand advocates. A 5% retention increase can boost your company’s profit anywhere from 25% to 85%.

19. Back off. If your customer decides they don’t need your help after all, don’t force it on them! They’ll come back if they change their mind.

20. Use intel for more relevant responses. Use behavioral analytics to see where your consumer has been on your site, and to respond with more relevant information.

21. And, above all else: Listen.

Customer care professionals lead the way.

Now’s your time to shine. Show your company or business how to nurture brand loyalty and retain consumers through a new approach to customer service. No more computer-generated responses or heavily scripted phone conversations. It’s simply people to people. :)

Anything we missed? Please share your customer service success stories below! We’d love to hear how you make meaningful connections with your customers every day.

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