Live Chat Mistakes Companies Make And How To Avoid Them


Live Chat. Everyone wants it but nobody wants to do it. It’s one of the hardest, easiest things that a company can do to provide stellar support. Implementation is easy: you find a tool that works for you, turn it on and put it where all of your customers can see it. But once you’ve done that, it can be exhausting: an endless onslaught of interactions, poorly worded or communicated questions, 24/7 expectations from your customers, shuttling back and forth between your ticketing system and a chat interface. There’s got to be a better way, right?

While we do have a pretty neat compilation of live chat statistics, no one has all of the answers on what the perfect live chat process for your company looks like. That being said, we’ve put together a list of 5 mistakes that companies make when imple live chat, and how to avoid them.

Leaving it unmanned

Keeping your support team staffed 24/5 (or 24/7!) is no easy feat, which means that it can be close to impossible to keep your live chat support operating all the time. That being said, how awful does it feel to type a long message into a chat box only to wait for 15 minutes or more and get no response? It is bad to lie to customers and give them a false heightened expectation for their experience. Even if it sounds bad to you, it’s better for them to know that there is no one there rather than wait for a response that is never going to come (or will come after 12 hours of waiting). Have no fear, though, if you are managing or a member of a small support team, there are ways to get around this that will offer just as good an experience to your customers.

The first option is to show your customer how many support team members are online to help them when they open the chat screen. You can even go above and beyond and let them know how long a typical response takes via live chat. While it can certainly be a bummer to see that live chat will take an hour to get a response back on, it’s better than waiting without any confirmation that your message has been received. Our live chat tool does this automatically for you. In the event that there are no support team members online to handle their inquiry, or the customer decides they do not want to wait for a response, you should provide the option for them to send their message in as an email.

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If the help desk software you are using for live chat does not offer the option of showing how many team members are online and how long the current wait time is, you should consider implementing an option that lets the customer know, via a message response, that there is no one online and their message has been forwarded to the inbox as a support ticket. Do not ask the customer to do any extra work beyond what they have already done—they are likely already frustrated, and putting them in yet another help desk support funnel and asking them to do more work could potentially lose them for your company.

Not triaging your tickets

Just as in the inbox, there is not a one-size-fit-all description of what your live chat customers will need. Just like you triage your inbox tickets, you should triage what comes through your chat.

The easiest way to go about doing this is to utilize AI. I know, I know, you’re thinking: robots are going to take all our jobs! Robot chat is the worst! First: no, they aren’t. Second: no, it isn’t. Using AI to get your customer to the right place for the best support possible is a great way to ensure they have an awesome support experience.

A simple way to do this is: if someone mentions something with keywords like “billing” or “shipping” it should automatically be funnelled to a person on your team that handles those inquiries. Nothing is worse than waiting to finally get a chat response only to get a few messages in and discover that you actually need to be put in a different funnel. Luckily, even without using bots for full chat interactions, their functionality of machine learning and natural language pattern recognition can help greatly with automatic triaging.

If you do not have an option to have a robot do this triaging, having one of the members of your live chat team do some minimal triaging would make for a much better experience for all of your customers and save your own team members time and effort as they go through their queue for the day.

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Asking for the same information multiple times

Context is so important in support and customer service software. Having to provide the same information multiple times (especially if the company already has that information) even just via email can be incredibly frustrating for customers. Imagine if, via chat, you are shuttled from one funnel to another and consistently asked to tell your story again and again. This is even worse if the person is on their phone or mobile device.

If someone reaches out to you via chat, that should be the only thing that they have to do. You shouldn’t funnel them to email, to twitter, or to phone, and furthermore, you shouldn’t ask them for their story more than once. Create context across all of the places that you provide support so that anyone who is getting involved with the ticket is able to see all of the information and not ask for more detail that the customer has already shared.

Make it easy for your company to easily move the customer from Twitter to chat, or chat to email without them having to take any extra steps to do so themselves. They may be willing to take the first step, but after that you’re likely just adding unnecessary friction which could potentially cost you a customer.

Rushing the interaction

Yes, the customer is using chat because they want their issue resolved quickly and in the moment. But, do not sacrifice quality of response or factual information for speed. 41% of customers have ranked live chat as their preferred means of support, but 38% of customers that use it have said that they are unsatisfied with their experience.

Most customers will be happy as long as you clearly set expectations. If you overpromise and underdeliver, you risk potentially losing someone who you could have easily kept happy and satisfied. Instead of rushing to get them a response that may potentially be incorrect or not as fully-fleshed out as a it could be, instead let them know that you are working on a response and will get back to them soon. This lets them know that you’ve seen the request and are actively working on a solution which gives them the same immediate satisfaction that they would have gotten from an actual response.

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Of course, once you’ve let them know that you’re working on it, make sure to try to get a solution as fast as possible. Don’t just leave off to go and take lunch and get back to them a few hours later…

Formalizing an informal medium

Chat is quick and in the moment. Unlike email, your customers are not expecting a fully expanded “Dear Sir or Miss” response. Give them what they expect. Keep the tone of your chat support jovial and fun—within the confines of your brand’s tone of course. Use emojis or emoticons, use contractions. You do not need to use any “dear”s or “sincerely”s; replace your long, wordy lists with shorter, bulleted versions. Chat is meant to be clear and concise; don’t blow it out of proportion for no reason.

Operating your chat support team can be just as easy and straightforward as setting your chat tool up as long as you equip your team with the tools they need. Allow for triage, always set the right expectations, and only ask your customer the same question once, and you’ll be on your way to chat superstardom in no time.


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