Digital & Social Media

Providing Effective Customer Support Using Chat

Increasingly, customers want to access support via chat. Here’s how to get it right.

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Chatbots and chat-based customer support is an important channel for offering customer service today. Yet getting chat-based support right can be tough. Here’s what you need to know.

As brands go omnichannel in their support models, chat is getting an increased amount of attention. For many customers, chat is an easy and nonintrusive way to solve a customer support issue or have a conversation in a place they couldn’t necessarily make a phone call. At the same time, it’s important to get some of the fundamental aspects of chat right, so you deliver an experience your customers are excited about. If you’re thinking of embracing chat support in the New Year, here’s a closer look at several elements that can help you succeed.

Focus on the user experience (UX): The UX is incredibly important with online support chat. For example, when users open up the app or form they’ll use to kick off a chat, do they immediately understand what information you’re looking for? This might include their name, contact info, question, and other details. Make sure that it’s obvious what they need to input. At the same time, provide signposting so they know how long they’re going to wait to connect to an agent, when the agent is typing, and so forth.

Gather information and use alternate media: Gather as much information as possible early in the chat. The more clearly your agents understand who they’re dealing with, what the issue is, and how to define success, the better the conversation will go. In addition, enable users to send supporting documents such as a photograph or screenshot. By investing in gathering information upfront, your agents will be in a position to provide high-quality support.

Train your team: Providing chat support is different from working with customers on the phone. From ensuring fast typing speeds to the etiquette of communicating while they’re researching a topic, agents need to take a modified approach. In addition, it can be challenging to effectively communicate enthusiasm, interest, warmth, and professionalism through chat. Spending time training your team on all these areas will help ensure positive outcomes.

Know when to escalate: Not every request can be handled via chat. Train your agents to recognize these situations as early in the process as possible, whether that means inviting the customer to call the call center or handing them off to a manager. The clearer you are about your options and the limitations of specific forms of support, the more you’ll get done on each channel while keeping customers as happy as possible.

Adding chat to your support lineup can be a great investment, and it’s on the docket for many customer service strategies in the year ahead. Take the time to get it right, and you’ll capture the benefits with happier customers.