6 Best Practices for Online Chat Support

3 minute read

The popularity of online shopping has grown tremendously. And, with customers spending more time and money online, this has raised customers expectations for online services. Traditional email and phone support channels aren’t enough. Today’s customers expect online chat options so they can talk with a customer service agent.

Online Chat best practices

Online chat is important because it provides a real-time solution that helps increase customers confidence in their decisions.

Online chat also differs from the traditional email and phone support. With online chat, one customer service agent handles a number of customers while appearing to be attending to each customer one-on-one.

Below are some basic practices that should be implemented to maintain the highest quality customer experience for online chat.

1. Accept Online Chat Requests Quickly

Train your customer service agents to demonstrate a sense of urgency whenever requests are initiated by a customer. The best practice is to accept a chat request as soon as you receive it.

Do not make the customer wait. Waiting may mean missing out on an opportunity. Start with a simple, warm “hello” and let the customer lead the conversation.

2. Show Customer Empathy

Train your customer service agents to show empathy for each customer. If a customer senses that you sound impersonal, it creates an impression that the customer service team does not care about their problem.

For example, training your customer service agents to view the problem from the customer’s point of view. How would they expect the problem to be solved if it were them?

A best practice is to hold live training sessions with customer service agents with customers. This way you can share best practices real time too.

3. Provide an Online Community

An online community is a great way to offer self-help support. Customers can browse and search the community to find questions similar to their own. Or, ask their question to the community.

Often, common questions and problems can be resolved in the community before the customers need to start any kind of customer service conversation.

But, it’s still a best practice to offer chat in your customer community – customers are going there because they have problems. And keeping your customer service agents present in the community will ensure they are best supporting your customers.

4. Document Frequently Asked Questions

Customers expect their problem will be resolved during the course of the conversation. If a new resolution to a problem is created in a chat session, document it. Then, agents can refer customers directly to those frequently asked questions.

Customer service agents should be trained and have knowledge of where and how to find published FAQs. A best practice is to maintain the online chat FAQs in a customer community.

Instead of answering the same question repeatedly, create a knowledge base where frequently asked questions can be published.

Customer service agents can use this knowledge base in their replies and customers can proactively find answers to their questions too.

5. Be Professional

The old adage, “the customer is always right” may be true, but it doesn’t mean they are always correct.

Even though the conversation isn’t face-to-face, and may be impersonal. An online chat conversation is still a customer interaction. Customer service agents need to be trained how to handle difficult customer conversations. Even when the customer is irrational!

A best practice is to routinely audit chat communications. This will ensure that your online chat sessions are maintaining a high level of quality.

6. End the Online Chat

Many customers will simply leave the online chat when they feel their issue was resolved.

However, a best practice is to offer a survey at the end of an online chat session. Asking for a survey allows the organization to understand the general satisfaction of the customer. And, how the customer service team is performing.

Following these best practices will help ensure you get great results from your online chats!

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