Live Chat App Mistakes That Can Kill Customer Experience & Sales


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Life Chat App Mistakes - part 1Live chat apps are popping up everywhere these days. Companies are trying to use artificial intelligence (AI) and other live chat software to improve customer service, but in many cases they are failing. Here are two recent case studies of live chat app mistakes.

Live Chat Mistake #1: Poor Training

Whether we’re talking about the humans who are on the other side of the live chat screen or the AI bots more and more companies are using as their first line of customer service, you must train them adequately before unleashing them on the public.

Take, for example, the conversation on the first screenshot here. I presume it was a bot, not a person at that point. I could have listed this as poor programming instead, since it apparently didn’t “see” what I’d already input.

Live Chat Mistake #2: Making Customers Repeat Themselves

We all know customers hate repeating information, but far too many companies are making that same mistake with their live chat apps.

live chat app mistake - part2 (screenshot)

Live Chat Mistake #3: Ignoring the Customer’s Questions

In the 2nd screenshot (after I had repeated my question), they seemed to ignore my question about the different types of scooters I could rent, and instead asked one they cared about (“What dates do you need to hire?”).

Live Chat Mistake #4: Not Asking About the Customer’s Needs or Problem

Anyone with a sales background will know that you don’t just tell someone what they should get before doing some discovery. What are their needs? Then how do those needs align with the various options? I had to be quite persistent to get an answer.

(Sales tip: If somebody asks what’s different between two products, don’t just say “because 1 is better.” How is it better?

live chat mistake-part 3; the conversation continues

Live Chat Mistake #5: Inadequate Staffing

Live chat doesn’t feel very live if you have to wait 5 minutes for an answer! While it is true that we can flip to another screen while waiting, it means calls are lost because of a poor connection, or because the customer got sidetracked. If you are going to be slow in responding:

(a) warn the customer, and
(b) make a sound whenever the rep sends an answer.


Live Chat Mistake #6: Technical Glitches

With Microsoft they actually threaten you, warning that if you switch away to another page the chat may be dropped. And it frequently is.

In this case, the glitch was on the wheelchair company’s side, but they seemed to be blaming me! I had dutifully been staring at the three dots moving, eagerly awaiting an answer.


For the 2nd case study I don’t have all the screenshots, but I do have the full transcript. See if you can spot the mistakes they made.

Go Honda Live Chat – Powered by CarChat24
April 29 2018 08:15:20 AM

[08:15:20 AM] System:

[08:16:13 AM] System: Welcome to our live chat!

[08:16:13 AM] System: I am here to provide live assistance. How may I help you?

[08:16:13 AM] Guest: Need to get our tires switched on Monday or Tuesday, but on a tight timeline, so don’t have hours to leave the car there.

[08:16:23 AM] Edil: Hi there!

[08:16:35 AM] Edil: Alright, we can check our availability.

[08:16:40 AM] Edil: What vehicle is this for?

[08:17:28 AM] Guest: CRV 2012 or 2013

[08:17:37 AM] Guest: The tires are at your shop

[08:17:58 AM] Edil: And may I grab your name, number, and email?

[08:18:29 AM] Guest: Tema Frank (though you may have us stored as [personal details redacted]

[08:19:24 AM] Edil: Just curious, we would be interested in purchasing your vehicle from you – if we were able to make you an excellent offer would you consider upgrading to a newer model or something different?

[08:20:00 AM] Guest: no

[08:20:27 AM] Edil: Not a problem, is there anything else I can help you with?

[08:20:47 AM] Guest: Um, yes. Can you actually schedule a time when they can deal with the tires right away?

[08:21:09 AM] Edil: I am unable to do so since I am in the Customer Service department. I will forward this to our Service team and they will be able to book you in 🙂

Another live chat tone deaf response

For anyone who didn’t spot them:

Instead of answering my question, he switched to an unrelated offer. If you want to do that, at least answer the question first!

Then he seemed to have forgotten that I’d asked a question!

What is the point of customer service chat if it can’t actually do anything useful? Surely booking a tire change shouldn’t be beyond the abilities of the customer service department? Silo problem!

Also, I tried to click the box to enter their contest. Turns out, it wasn’t clickable!

Don’t make these customer service live chat mistakes!

(These two cases were originally discussed on the Frank Reactions blog.)

Tema Frank
Tema Frank, Chief Instigator at Frank Reactions, is a pioneer in assessing multi-channel customer experience. She was testing omni-channel customer service with her 1st company, Web Mystery Shoppers, before "omnichannel" was a thing! Hers was one of the world's 1st companies to do real-world testing of online and offline customer service & usability. A best-selling author & highly rated international speaker, she hosts the Frank Reactions podcast, and is the author of the new book PeopleShock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule. Get the 1st chapter free at .


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