How to Tell Customers What They Don’t Want to Hear In a Chat

Text.jpgI was chatting with a company about a price drop. I’d bought something for my Dad and had it shipped directly to his home. Two days after the shipment arrived, I saw on the company’s website that the price had dropped by $20. So I reached out over chat, and this is what I was told:

“We are constantly looking for the best prices to offer our customers, and that sometimes means a lower price is featured. We do not price match and cannot issue you a refund.”

When I questioned this practice, he wrote:

“Let me see if I can write this in a way that you understand.”

I saw that reply as condescending. Later in the chat, the employee said:

“You can return the item and just reorder it at the new price. But we cannot credit you the difference.”

Now, because this was a gift for my father, I wasn’t willing to drive to his house, take the gift back, package and ship it, re-order, and then send it back to my dad.

So, I didn’t get a refund, and I also walked away from the chat with a very negative impression of this company.

There will be times when you just can’t tell your customer what they want to hear. You can do it better than this company by focusing on two things:

Continue reading “How to Tell Customers What They Don’t Want to Hear In a Chat”

Use the Right Language to Build Rapport and Sound Personable In Chat

Chat symbol and Quotation Mark

I once chatted with QVC about the status of a return. I just wanted to confirm that my return was received, but I walked away from the chat session with a WOW reaction. The WOW started with this message from the Representative: Continue reading “Use the Right Language to Build Rapport and Sound Personable In Chat”

The 3 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make with Customer Support

Man with afro hairstyle working at his desk

My website was down for 37 hours this week. Not only was the website down, but we couldn’t send or receive emails. The outage happened because something went wrong in a scheduled site upgrade on Sunday night. My hosting company was to perform a simple process that I thought would take a few minutes.

I reached out to my hosting company more than a dozen times during the 2-day outage, desperately trying to get the issue resolved and to check the status of the problem. In my multiple interactions with the company, they made three critical mistakes in the customer support experience. These are the same three mistakes you can’t afford to make with your customer support experience. Continue reading “The 3 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make with Customer Support”

Fitbit’s Chat Experience is the Best I’ve Seen In Awhile


My Fitbit bejeweled with Sterling Silver and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

I wear a Fitbit to track my steps. My daily step goal is 12,000 steps and most days I exceed that. Last Friday during a full day workshop in Austin, I got 8,000 steps just during the training. No kidding! I talk with my hands and I move constantly, so the high step count doesn’t surprise me.

I love my Fitbit. Two weeks ago, my Fitbit band broke. It just split in half. So, I went to Fitbit’s website and opened up a chat. Jomar at Fitbit helped me out.

Jomar opened the chat with, “I’m sorry to hear about the damage to your fitbit band. Rest assured, I’ll do my best to help.”

Ahhh… I loved that!

Then he said, “To get started, may I know the email address associated with your account?”

I gave him my email address and then he said, “Please allow me a moment to check your account.”

After a little time passed, Jomar said, “Almost done checking. While checking, may I know your country of residence?”

The great news is my Fitbit was covered under warranty and when I heard this I said, “Yay!” Jomar then said, “I’m glad to know I can get you back on track with a replacement to Flex’s band.”

Jomar at Fitbit was excellent. The chat was personalized, he remained engaged, Jomar effectively made an emotional connection with me and the chat was short and sweet.

My Fitbit chat experience got me thinking about something I do all of the time. Continue reading “Fitbit’s Chat Experience is the Best I’ve Seen In Awhile”

Last Week’s Big Event, “Extremely Essential Skills for Chat Agents.”

I’m sitting at my desk reflecting on the tremendous success of last week’s Big Event, “Extremely Essential Skills for Chat Agents.” The training was very well received and I enjoyed delivering this program so much.

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Extremely Essential Skills for Chat Agents: Proven Strategies for Making Emotional Connections and Delivering an Outstanding Customer Experience Over Chat

The video recording is now available for download:  $299 per organization – Register

To prepare for this training, I mystery shopped companies like Nordstrom, Zappos, QVC and to bring you the best –and worst – examples of customer service chat. I combined my fun mystery shop experience with my 5-year study of best practices of the chat customer experience. Tomorrow, my Annual Membership subscribers and registrants will get these 20 take-aways:

20 Take Aways From Extremely Essential Skills for Chat Agents 

  1. 7 Grammar rules for chat agents.
  2. Coaching the chat experience: The 6 performance metrics you need to be monitoring (and coaching on) in online chat.
  3. Sample verbatim chat transcripts from Zappos,, QVC, Nordstrom and more.
  4. The 4 big mistakes poor chat agents consistently make.
  5. How to use short and to-the-point answers to progress the chat – without sacrificing service quality.
  6. The critical importance of carefully reading and responding to customer questions. Warning: failure to do this will ruin the entire chat experience.
  7. Please tell me your agents don’t use canned responses that don’t even address the customers’ questions! If they do, you’ll stop them after this event.
  8. The secret to constructing clear sentences.
  9. How to prepare your agents to use a tone that reflects your brand image.
  10. Be brief and to the point. I’ll give you the formula for limiting the number of words per sentence so that you don’t confuse the customer.
  11. Two super easy tips for personalizing chat conversations.
  12. It’s okay to use fragments occasionally in chat discussions. I’ll show you when it’s appropriate and when it’s not appropriate.
  13. The 4 things I want you to focus on when you train your agents for online chat customer service.
  14. How to properly “flow” the chat conversation.
  15. How to effectively and quickly close the chat conversation.
  16. How to write in clear language in chat.
  17. Techniques to help you reduce customer effort in chat.
  18. Discover the number one reason customers drop the chat discussion in mid stream.
  19. Not all grammar rules apply in chat. Find out which rules apply and which ones do not.
  20. I will be performing a “Mystery Shop” chat visit on 11 randomly selected registrants of this webinar and provide a comprehensive review of your chat experience. Company names will be drawn the day of the webinar and the winners will be notified.

These webinars are offered at $299 each. The entire year can be purchased for $999. (Your year starts when you enroll.) The annual membership grants unlimited access to live webinars by the purchasing company for 12 months, a digital recording of all webinars, and 24/7 access to all archived webinars.

Extremely Essential Skills for Chat Agents

Proven Strategies for Making Emotional Connections and Delivering an Outstanding Customer Experience Over Chat

The video recording is now available for download:   $299 per organization – Register

Plus these special bonuses:

Before You Hit Send! On-Demand webinar – a $299 value!!!!

How to Write Business-Friendly Emails That Create Emotional Connections with Customers

Every email your employees send out has your company’s brand in the signature line and it puts your corporate reputation on the line. A great email can completely restore customer confidence in your brand and regain goodwill. But, at the fingertips of  a disgruntled customer, your emails can be plastered all over the Internet by way of a powerful blog. In Before You Hit Send, Myra shows your people, step by step, how to craft customized, friendly emails that completely answer customers’ questions and leave customers with a WOW reaction.

Complaint Handling & Apologizing: What frontline employees need to know

On-Demand webinar – a $299 value!!!!

In this critically acclaimed learning experience, Myra walks your employees through the 7 steps for completely restoring customer confidence after service failures and how to smartly handle problems that are the fault of customers. Your employees will discover when to apologize and they’ll learn the difference between saying “I am sorry” and saying “I take responsibility.” Myra discusses words employees should avoid when handling complaints and problems and she explains empathy in such a way that every student of this training will get it and be able to convey genuine empathy in a strategic and effective way. Your employees will leave this training equipped to regain goodwill after service mishaps…without giving the store away.

$299 per organization – Register

“I really do love your webinars, Myra. They are very well done and extremely beneficial. I always find little helpful hints in your information.”

Kristy L. Bolen
Project Manager
, Carlson Hotels Worldwide

The Chat Customer Experience Will Always Be Rote, Cold and Unsatisfactory. True or False?

Online Chat Customer Experience Myra GoldenThe way your Customer Service Representatives handle your online chat customer support can make or break your reputation with customers.

There are dozens of mistakes with the chat customer experience many new and even experienced Reps make that put your corporate reputation at risk.

The mistake we are going to address in this article is one of the deadliest mistakes. So many customer service representatives approach chat customer support in a transactional manner, almost like a simple ATM transaction. I’m here to tell you your customers hate that approach.

When I started studying best practices for the online chat customer experience in 2008, I remember listening to a consultant explain that the chat customer experience was designed to be quick and to deflect calls from the company’s toll-free number. The consultant explained that answers to customers needed to be short and succinct and that there was no time for personal connection with customers over chat. I thought that was nuts since I’d just had an amazing online chat experience with a QVC customer service rep the weekend before.

In 2008 I chatted with a QVC Customer Service Representative about the status of a product return. I simply wanted to confirm that my return was received, but I walked away from the chat session with a Beyond WOW reaction. The WOW started with this message from the Representative:

“Ms. Golden, I’m so sorry the Canon Vixia HV30 MiniDV HD Camcorder hasn’t been processed as of yet.  I know you’re anxious to have this completed.  The return processing time can take up to 17 days from the date an order is returned to QVC.  I hope your item is processed soon.”

Email Customer Service

4 important things happened here.

  1. The Representative addressed me by name. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference. Taking the time to address customers by name in a chat conversation is an easy way to establish rapport and set the tone for a great discussion.
  2. An apology was offered. A sincere, well-timed apology can disarm an angry customer and demonstrate that the company truly cares about customers. While I wasn’t upset, the apology did result in a warm feeling.
  3. Empathy was brilliantly used to relate and establish rapport. The best thing about this chat conversation for me was the fact that the Representative “Related and Responded.” It was as if she put herself in my shoes and thought about how she’d feel if her $900 credit hadn’t yet appeared on her credit card. I definitely was anxious to have my money refunded. She related to me and responded: “I know you’re anxious to have this completed.“
  4. The session ended on positive and sincere note. You’re certainly welcome, my pleasure! Have a wonderful day and please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime, we’re always glad to help.” I smiled as I read the last communication from the Representative. I felt that she actually enjoyed speaking with me.

So, now you tell me, does online customer service chat have to be rote, cold or unsatisfactory?

If your answer is no, then you’ve been paying good attention and can start right now delivering the best possible online chat customer experience, an experience that is laced with warmth and personal connection.

Bonus tip – The 4 techniques used by QVC work in emails too. One of the best ways to consistently connect with customers over chat is to get good at the personal connection in email, phone, and every contact channel.

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