Category: chat customer experience best practices

4 Things Your Support Team Should Do In Chat

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I’ve designed start-up chat support for banks, libraries, consulting companies, medical practices, and contact centers. When I set up a chat platform for my clients, I have two goals. First, I want to deliver a fast and complete support experience. Meaning, I want to answer the customer’s questions and solve any issues. And second, I want zero customer frustration. That means, customers shouldn’t have to escalate to get help, they shouldn’t have to move to a call or email, and delays should be minimal.

Here are four things I insist upon when I implement a chat support channel with my customers.

1. Screen Recordings and Screenshots

When an eLearning customer reaches out to my team for help over chat, we’ll go into the client’s customized portal to see what they see. Then, we’ll do quick screenshots or screen recordings to walk them through the steps to solve their issues.

Yesterday when an eLearning customer asked how to add certification from my Telephone Skills class to her LinkedIn profile, I did a quick screen record and sent it to her.

2. Check for Understanding

I tell my team never to assume they understand what the customer is saying and to instead, merely ask the customer what they mean. In our chats, check-ins read like this.

4 Secrets About Human Tone In Chat That Nobody Will Tell You

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Chat support is not supposed to be rote like an ATM transaction. The idea is to insert a personal tone so you can build rapport and even delight customers. I have my clients do four things in chat interactions to make them more human.

1. Use “I” and “We” personal pronouns because they instantly make the tone personal.

2. Acknowledge customer concern, meaning speak to your customer’s pain point, “I realize this has been frustrating for you.”

3. Apologize, when appropriate. A sincere apology helps you restore confidence and regain goodwill. It can be as simple as, “I’m sorry your tablet isn’t charging for you.”

4. End chats on a positive note. A QVC Chat Agent ended a chat with me positively, like Chick-Fil-A employees always finalize order taking in the first drive-thru window, “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 wrote this article because a workshop attendee wanted to know how to make her chat support more personal. I even filmed a short YouTube video offering these four secrets that you can use to train your employees. Show this video to your employees to help them make chat interactions more personal.

Do These 2 Things To Make Chat Interactions Pleasant and Easy

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When I need to reach out to a company, chat is almost always my preferred contact method. It’s usually quick, and I can be doing other things, like replying to email or making a quick call, while I chat.

Your customers like the ease of chat, too. But it’s not enough for the chat to be convenient and fast. You need to be creating rapport in conversation and speaking your brand voice. That’s why today I am giving you two things you (or your employees) can do to make chat interactions flow like friendly face-to-face conversations.

1. Use Personal Pronouns

Use personal pronouns, I, we, me, you – to make written communication sound more warm and personal. Pronouns, especially “I” and “you” – humanize the employee, and the customer and they bring a personal tone to a chat exchange.

Use personal pronouns in your chat like this actual chat I had last week:

“Oh, Myra, I am so sorry to hear that you received expired products! I credited $7.38 to your account, which will be automatically applied to your next order.”

And don’t write like this:

What You Can Learn About Chat From Amazon’s Chat Agents

Last week I worked with a fantastic new client in Cleveland on the chat customer experience. After my workshop in Ohio, I chatted with Amazon about a problem with my Kindle Oasis.

I immediately made screenshots of my chat and sent the images to my Cleveland client. My hope is that my takeaways might help my customer as they prepare to go live with chat in just a few weeks.

And then I thought, why not share my chat experience with you, too.

In this post, I have my exact chat interaction because it’s important for you to see the key points.

Click here for larger image.

Chat Example

Here’s what I want you to notice.

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:

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

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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.

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

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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.