Fast Response Tops Customers’ Live Chat Wishlist

Live chat (infographic by Software Advice)

Pull up a few local business centre websites and you’ll find that some – if not most – feature a live chat facility.

It’s no surprise. Research shows that usage of live chat is accelerating, which should be expected as the process becomes more widely accepted. Not only is it a common sight on flexible workspace websites, some brands are taking things a step further. For instance, Wenta Business Centres is using its live chat facility as a business advice service, which they are offering to clients free of charge.

So on a day-to-day level, what do live chat customers want from your service?

The key, according to research carried out by live chat software application consultancy, Software Advice, lies in speed of response.

As shown by the infographic below, their research found that 33% of consumers would rather chat online to avoid waiting on hold, while 49% of all online shoppers prefer to ask their questions via live chat. Add to that, 56% of Americans aged 18 – 34 prefer live chat to phone, with convenience ranking highly in most users’ decisions to opt for online chat.

But while speed is essential, quality of response is also vitally important.

Alliance Virtual Offices’ chief marketing manager, Mike Sullivan, discussed live chat best practice at length on his virtual office blog. On a top level, Mike recommends monitoring live chat responses and building time into your team meetings to review the best and worst responses. It’s an important training procedure that can, and will, improve the live chat customer experience and your conversion rates.

Here are Mike’s top takeaways for live chat best practice:

  • Respond quickly, both initially and within the chat. The best experience is either a brief chat, or a long extensive one. The ones in between have slightly lower satisfaction results.
  • Be precise. Your team should be well trained and briefed to enable less effort in communication. Nothing is worse than going down a rabbit hole of question-and-answer because of poorly trained staff.
  • Be Kind: This should go without saying, right? Yes, well, sometimes website visitors can be antagonizing. Outrageous or rude behavior can trigger a backlash response in even the steadiest members of your team. Address it ahead of time because you know it will happen. Since your team knows it will happen, they are less likely to respond poorly.
  • Use Canned Messages: Canned messages are a common part of live chat, but a lot of them are used quite poorly. Our own priorities are to ensure our team knows how to find them quickly and to use them consistently, unless a specific scenario calls for a custom answer.

Read the rest of Mike’s post on live chat best practice here, with links for further reading.

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Like any customer service channel, there are ways and means to approach this practice in order to achieve the best results. Above all, don’t rush into a new live chat system — take time to research the available systems and best practice processes. Like any customer service channel, it’s important to work with your team to review their performance and to develop their skills with appropriate feedback and training where necessary.

Live Chat infographic