The Best Ways To Provide Customer Service Via Live Chat


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There is a massive opportunity for brands operating within digital channels to optimize the way they communicate with and provide service to consumers online. Instead of forcing customers to call your representatives or visit your brick-and-mortar location to get questions answered, create a live chat system that reduces the amount of effort a customer must exert to receive service. Simply having a system that allows site visitors to get their questions answered is a great step, in fact over 40% of customers favor websites that have a chat function readily available.[1] However, to truly make an impact on how customers perceive your brand’s eCommerce ability requires a significant investment of time, training and resources.

A common mistake that plagues many live chat programs is the use of chatbots to complete service requests. It is no secret that consumers prefer to deal with actual humans over robots, especially during service requests, and setting up a chatbot will only help solve the most surface-level customer issues. But even staffing your live chats to be answered by real employees is not enough. 29% of customers become annoyed by scripted employee responses,[2] meaning that those associates that handle these chat requests need to effectively empathize and personalize the interactions they have during each and every individual interaction. This approach is more time-consuming and expensive than setting up a bot to answer the most frequently-asked questions, but the investment will limit the number of frustrated customers that interact with your website.

Chat platforms can be significant to your organizational website’s success because it caters directly to the market you are attempting to serve. Online purchasing is at a higher level than it ever has been before, and the proliferation of the market has impacted customer perception and preferences. In fact, 63 percent of consumers who spend between $250-$500 per month online prefer eCommerce brands that offer a chat function.[3] By catering your online services to match the evolving desires of the customers within this channel, your brand is proving to these consumers that you are striving to provide as much value as possible. In doing so, you are establishing the foundation for long-term customer relationships.

Ultimately, the goal of any action within your brand platform is to create positive experiences for your customers. Creating an optimized live chat will do just that, by limiting the boundaries that exist between a customer and finding the answers they seek. Close to half of customers do not have a positive experience on live chat,[4] meaning that those organizations that do expertly train their employees to reach a consistent level of success will be able to separate themselves from industry competition. To ensure that you keep your customers maintaining a positive perception, a key area to focus on is the response time from when a customer logs-in to a live chat, and the time it takes for your associate to respond. If your team does not respond in a timely fashion, customers will feel underserved, ultimately resulting in poor customer satisfaction and a potential loss of revenue. Additionally, if the process is too taxing, it is likely that the customer will move on and try your competitor’s site.

Live chat offers customers and employees another opportunity to communicate efficiently and effectively, helping to push customers along the desired path-to-purchase. However, without the correct training program and reliable employees manning the helm, it can have a potentially negative impact on your brand’s ability to connect with consumers. Those brands that do already have a live chat in place can gain immense value by implementing experience measurement programs that evaluate the timeliness and effectiveness of associates via this channel.


Daniel Bakst
I am the Social & Digital Marketing Associate for Second To None. Second To None is a Customer Experience research firm helping brands measure their existing CX via mystery shopping, voice of customer surveys, sales/marketing compliance audits and related custom research programs. We serve leading brands within the retail, restaurant, ecommerce, banking, healthcare and education sectors. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2016 and continue to live and work in Ann Arbor. Go Blue!


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