Six live chat tactics to get (and retain) customers

In an effort to share more stories from more people who’ve done it before, we’re excited to bring you a guest post from Influx, a complete customer support operation on demand: they build support teams for eCommerce brands through to tech, answering tickets, chats and phone calls, 24/7, while regularly training and improving your team. Allowing you to grow faster. For more stories like this, check out our tips on keeping your customers supported between support emails and cultivating that word of mouth magic.

Live chat plays a key role in today’s service funnel: it’s a casual, direct way to support customers, spark sales, and capitalise on the potential of new leads. At Influx, we’ve spent the last five-plus years working with numerous customers on their e-commerce support solutions, we’ve accumulated quite a bit of know-how when it comes to delighting the masses.

Live chat, specifically, is tricky — it is at once both personal and removed, and what we’ve learned is: great agents need to strike just the right balance to communicate well with customers.

For example, an excellent, effective live chat should be engaged, direct, and personable, but never overly pushy or familiar. The right etiquette is essential, and the answer isn’t the same for every company.

Once you establish your company’s standards, however, your team will be armed with the tools they need to convert prospects quickly, provide memorable a service, and share the wealth by training new talent with their skills. Trainable, scalable, and constant success.

This past year we have spent a lot of time working on our own live chat experience. Here are our top six tips.

1. Timing is everything.
There’s a fine line between being readily available and overly aggressive, and you want to mind it carefully. While a customer won’t always reach out for assistance, it’s important to keep an eye out for who may need it — and to have just the help they’re seeking.

Do your best to identify customers who may need you, and be proactive about starting up a conversation. Allow them to make themselves at home and check out your site before saying hello — you needn’t scare anyone off — and don’t take it personally if they don’t want to chat.

Tip: Configure your chat system with automatic welcome messages or questions to engage customers — it ensures prompt, effortless connection. Remember to allow enough time for a customer to browse before you chat them up. No one likes to be interrupted!

2. The devil’s in the details.
Personal invitations, page details, and focused messaging will boost conversion rates and overall conversation quality. Don’t automate for the sake of creating a system, fine-tune your chat method to better serve customers. Call them by name — it’s so much more engaging than a blanket gesture.

Every instance of personalization connects more closely with the human on the other side of your chat, so focus on the message. Johnathan Dane of PPC agency KlientBoost recommends using specific keywords and phrases for each page: “Make your automated messages specific to the URL visitors are on, or from the ad they clicked through.

Doing so has helped our clients at KlientBoost increase conversion rates while also helping us improve their messaging.”

Tip: Dial your chat messaging into the specifics: through automated, make messaging unique and well matched to particular promotions or product pages.

3. Focus on what matters.

We love live chat messaging because the whole process is just so simple. Don’t make things complicated!

Be quick at grabbing a customer’s attention.

Keep messages concise and focused.

Focus, focus, focus — the whole point is to maintain a conversation.

The unofficial industry rule for live chat is that a customer should never need to scroll — if they do, you should have simply reached out via email. Live chat services exist to reach out, clearly communicate what a customer should do, and help them understand why they should do it, with ease.

Plus, there are perks to being a “live” service — if questions or other topics come up, it’s easy for your customers to simply ask for help.

Tip: Start crafting essential messages following template structures: they offer a simple, no-fuss format. Check this out:

[Your choice of greeting] + [What can we do to help or Instruction Set] + [Map out the next steps]

4. Make it truly nice to “meet” you.

The core of great service — and conversation — is chatting with real people. While you want to be sure to answer questions efficiently and direct customers where they need to be, you also want it to be clear your a real live person through clear and open communication.

Bots don’t always quite get the job done, and your customers can sniff them out! Don’t let them mistake you for a robo-helper — put your best foot forward and spread some good vibes. You’re a real person, so act that way!

Tip: There’s no one-size-solution for friendly conversation, so pay attention: your customer will give you clues. Fun-loving, free-flowing, or formal, customers come to live chat so they can discuss a situation quickly, easily, and with an honest-to-goodness human.

5. Make the most of your resources.

Keep your chat light and your information direct: your FAQ section offers a powerful tool to keep conversations moving along. The details of diagrams and step-by-step instructions can offer customers the exact information they seek, but they too can drag down your conversation. Which can not only prove to be tedious, but rather boring.

If there’s one timeless rule for reducing customer effort and boosting everyone’s joy, it’s to minimize the boring.

Sending a link through a chat puts your most helpful tools directly into a customer’s hands, without any extra fuss.

Your house knowledge base or FAQ resources offer a consistent resource to your team: the information comes to them pre-vetted for clarity, consistency, and usability, and it provides a lasting resource for customers in lieu of obnoxiously long chat scrolling.

Tip: Once an instruction stretches to multiple steps or images, send the customer along with a link.

6. Let’s be real.

Put a name to the face and a face to the name: your customers want to know who exactly is on the other side of a chat, so tell them! Customers can be skeptical, and you wouldn’t want them to wander away because they think they’re talking to a robot.

Personalizing your support reps proves a powerful tool for boosting the quality of your interactions — and turning a quick live chat into a conversion.

Friendly, accessible photos and personal names are just what you need to top off a real-life, authentic chat tone for premium positioning.

Tip: Don’t skimp on creating characters. Photos are a must, as are names, bios, and intros. Even though a customer may have never interacted with your team before, they’ll feel like they know a real person, and that makes for comfort and confidence.

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