How to Chat with Customers on Your Website: 15+ Best Practices
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Providing excellent customer service requires being able to communicate effectively with your customers. Even a small mistake can lead to a big headache, so you need to do it right.
But what is right, actually?
In this blog post, we will discuss best practices, customer support chat tips, and chat software trends. All to enhance customer interaction on your website. Don’t worry, you won’t be left in the dark.
Benefits of chatting with customers on your website
#1 increased customer engagement
When customers are able to chat with you or your customer service team in real time, they are more likely to stay on your website for longer and continue doing business with you. A fruitful chat will likely lead to them remembering your brand and recommending you to others.
Also, make your chat window easily accessible on the website so that users will be able to reach you effortlessly. To see if users struggle to find this or other elements, watch session replays of visits to your website and make changes accordingly.
#2 improved customer experience
Having a live chat feature on your website can also improve customer service, as quick and easy support is essential for keeping users happy. Chatting with them allows you to quickly resolve any issues that customers may have, thereby reducing frustration and increasing satisfaction.
#3 increased sales
Your customers want to buy from a company they can rely on, and live chat helps to build that trust. Being available to answer their questions shows that you care about your clients’ needs and want to help them make the best decisions for themselves, which can lead to an increase in sales and conversions.
#4 reduced internal costs and resources
Introducing a simple chat service can reduce the need for phone calls or face-to-face interactions, leading to significant cost savings for your business. Just imagine if you have five people working on the phone being paid $20 per hour – that would cost you $100 every 60 minutes!
But with direct chat, your customer service team members can serve multiple customers at the same time for a fraction of the cost. Such conversations also massively help to free up time for your customer service team so that they can focus on other tasks.
📰 Read more about The Importance of Excellent Communication in Chat Customer Service.
We could list ever more benefits, but we think you’ve got the idea – there are plenty of reasons to start chatting with customers on your website! But how do you actually go about doing so?
How to chat with customers on your website – 15+ best practices
Since you’re fully aware of the benefits of live chat, it’s time to learn about the best practices for using this service.
#1 Be responsive
Reply to customer inquiries in a timely manner. If you take too long to respond, the customer may get frustrated and go elsewhere.
While automated chatbots are here to help, they can’t always answer every question. You still need to have a human touch, so your sales team (not just your customers) have to use the chat widget you install on your site.
Make the chat window an integral part of your website, otherwise you risk losing leads. And no one wants that.
The best way to be responsive is to set up an auto-responder that sends a message as soon as a customer initiates a chat. This lets them know that their inquiry is being handled and someone will be with them shortly.
💡 To provide even better customer service for first-time visitors and regulars, place a chat icon somewhere visible but not disturbing on a customer screen.
#2 Be friendly
Kindness is key when chatting with customers. Use a friendly and professional tone during all of your interactions to build trust and rapport, which is essential for maintaining good relationships.
Always, always be polite when chatting with your users. Remember: customers are the reason your business exists, so treat them with respect.
#3 Create a couple of templates
To save time, it’s helpful to create a couple of templates or canned responses that you can use in different situations. For example, you might have one template for when a customer first initiates the chat, and another for if they ask about a specific product.
Thank you for your purchase templates can be useful as well, so check that your chat software provides this chat feature. Just make sure you don’t sound like a robot!
#4 Provide help and value
Your current or potential customers don’t just write to you for chit-chat – they need help with something. That could be anything from finding the right product on your website to solving a technical issue.
Your job is to assist them in any way you can and provide as much value as possible. This doesn’t always mean giving them what they want – sometimes, it’s better to steer them in a different direction if you know there’s a better solution to their problem.
The goal is to provide the best customer experience possible, even if that means going the extra mile.
#5 Be professional at all times
It’s easy to be driven by emotions when you’re chatting with a customer, but it’s vital to keep your cool at all times and remain professional. This can be difficult, especially if the customer is being rude or uncooperative, so you must remember that they are not the enemy.
If you have a bad day, take a break from live chat. There’s no use in taking it out on the customer if they didn’t do anything wrong (or even if they did). You need to be able to give them your full attention and focus on providing the best possible customer service.
One word too many, and you’re at risk of sounding unprofessional. It’s better to catch the crucial moment when you’re tired or in a bad mood.
#6 Have a lot of patience
Your customers don’t need to be tech-savvy to use live chat, but they may not know how to properly communicate their problems. This is where your patience comes in handy.
You need to be able to comprehend what the customer is trying to say, even if they’re not communicating it very well. Ask clarifying questions and get as much information as possible before trying to solve the problem.
Don’t get frustrated, even if it seems like the customer is not making any sense. Be patient and understand that they are coming to you for help.
#7 Keep an eye on your grammar, spelling, and jargon
With crystal clear communication, you will avoid misunderstandings and provide a great customer experience. Whenever you use live chat, you need to avoid using textspeak (like “u” instead of “you”), and watch out for typos.
Also use proper grammar and punctuation at all times. This can be difficult if you’re typing quickly, so take the time to proofread your messages before sending them.
Try to keep your language simple and avoid using jargon. Not everyone is familiar with technical terms, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
#8 Have linkable resources at your disposal
Sometimes, customers may want to see things for themselves instead of just taking your word for it. That’s why it’s useful to have linkable resources at your disposal, like product manuals, guides, and chat FAQs.
You should have a help center or knowledge base if the volume of requests or chat volumes you receive is high. This way, you can quickly find the answers to customers’ questions and provide relevant links.
If you don’t have this kind of assets, don’t worry – a simple Google search will do the trick. Just be careful that you only direct users to reputable sources.
#9 Set clear responsibilities
Who answers when, and how?
If you have a team of customer service reps, you must define clear responsibilities. Decide who will answer live chat and when they’ll be available. You might also want to consider setting up different shifts so that someone is always available to chat and handle customers’ issues at all times.
Also, decide how you’ll handle customer service requests. Will one person be responsible for all of them, or will you have different reps handle various types of requests?
Having a clear service and business plan in place enables your customer support reps to provide the best possible service and maintain the right workflow in customer service teams.
#10 Define your business hours
Feeling like 24/7 support is a bit too much for you? That’s perfectly understandable. You can set up your live chat to only be available during business hours, or even just certain days of the week.
This way, you can still offer customer support without having to be available at all times. Your business customers will appreciate knowing when they can expect a response, and you’ll be able to provide them with the best possible service during those hours.
Don’t forget to set up an away message when you’re not available so that users will know when they can expect a reply. With a chatbot built in Smartsupp, you can automate such away messages – and much more.
#11 Don’t be afraid to ask for help or time
The fact that you’re offering live chat on your website shows that you’re committed to providing excellent customer service. But even the best customer service reps may need a helping hand themselves sometimes, especially with complex issues.
If you ever feel like you can’t handle chat requests or need more time to find an answer, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from a colleague or take a few minutes to look for the answer. The customer will appreciate your efforts, and you’ll be able to provide them with the best possible service.
This way, you won’t confuse or mislead the user, which is a huge part of providing excellent customer service and signing off on a great chat experience.
#12 Use positive language
No matter how difficult the customer’s request may be, always keep your tone positive. This doesn’t mean you have to be overly friendly or fake – just avoid negative words and phrases, like “no”, “can’t”, and “don’t.”
Instead, focus on what you can do for the customer. For example, instead of saying “I can’t do that”, try “Let me see what I can do”. This small change in language can make a big difference to how your customers perceive you – and your company.
Even if you can’t solve their problem, you’ll at least have made an effort to help them. As such, positive language is just one small way you can provide an excellent and consistent experience that makes customers happy.
#13 Always thank your customers
You might have thought that this one was a given, but you’d be surprised how often customer service reps forget to say thank you.
When you’re talking to a user, always take the time to show gratitude – whether it’s for a question, their business, or even just their time. A simple “thank you” can go a long way to making your customer feel valued, even if their request turned out to be more difficult than you thought or even impossible to solve.
You can prepare some canned responses to thank your customers. Some chat solutions deliver this feature, so you can always have a ready answer at your fingertips. Since you won’t have to spend extra time typing, it also helps with improving your average response times.
Of course, don’t forget to say thank you when the chat is over. This is your last chance to leave a positive impression, so make it count.
#14 Ask for feedback
How do you know how you’re doing if you don’t ask for feedback? At the end of every chat, ask the current user for feedback about the overall experience or an earlier issue and if they’re satisfied with the service they received.
If they are, great! You can pat yourself, and your team, on the back for a job well done. However, if they’re not, this is an opportunity to learn and improve.
After all, there’s no such thing as perfect customer service – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for it.
Asking for feedback shows your customers that you care about their experience and are always looking for ways to improve. If you’re a team leader, you can analyze this feedback to see where you need to make changes to your customer service strategy.
#15 Consider omnichannel communication
Let’s say that a customer starts a chat on your website but then has to leave before they can finish it. Losing that interaction would be a shame, wouldn’t it?
Omnichannel communication is a customer service strategy that allows customers to continue their chat conversations with you, even if they have to switch channels. So, in the example above, the customer could continue their chat on your mobile app or through a different communication channel, like email.
For this, you could use appointment scheduling software to book a time for a call back if resuming the live chat or sending an issue aren’t appropriate for the issue. And then, you can also leverage a social media management tool to plan your social messaging across various platforms.
Omnichannel communication allows you to provide a seamless customer experience, so it’s becoming increasingly important as customers expect and demand better service. With this strategy in place, you always know where your client is on their journey and can pick up a conversation right where it’s left off.
📰 To master customer interactions across all communication channels, see the best practices for communicating with your customers using a web chat.
#16 Use the right chat website software
While the chat tips above will certainly help you provide better customer service, they won’t mean much if you don’t have the right chat software in place.
For example, a solid chat platform can help you with:
- increasing conversion rates
- making chat conversations engaging
- improving your chat strategy
- dealing with customers in real time
- obtaining customers’ contact details
- improving the customer service experience
- tracking visitors
- dealing with customers’ issues
without hiring an external customer service team.
There are a lot of different chat providers, smart chat tools, and concurrent chats out there, so do your research and find one that fits your needs. Smartsupp may well be the perfect choice.
Chat with customers using Smartsupp
Smartsupp is a chatbot and live chat solution software for all business models: solopreneurs, startups, SaaS companies, complex businesses, and big corporations – the sky’s the limit. Thanks to this feature-packed chat system, staying in touch is super easy.
How does Smartsupp streamline customer communication?
With a solid chat platform like Smartsupp, improving customer satisfaction, devising a chat strategy, and answering customers’ issues are all a breeze.
Let’s take a look at what it can do for you.
💻 Many communication channels – so you can interact with users via various digital channels like email or Facebook Messenger for business.
💻 Personal and team shortcuts – work like canned responses. It’s possible to prepare some ready messages and then change them on the go using the available chat app to provide personalized experiences.
💻 Team and chat agents statistics – allow you to view key metrics such as response time, conversations replied to, and average rating (the list goes on). Facilitates monitoring your sales teams’ performance and checking on your business productivity.
💻 Office hours availability – lets you set your office hours and makes your chat visible only for limited periods of time.
💻 Video recording – an excellent feature if you want to gain a better understanding of your business customers’ behavior.
💻 Customizable chat window – customize the chat box to match your website’s design. Choose the color and size, then add agents’ photos.
💻 Integrations – easily connect with your CMS system or other tools like Google Analytics, WordPress, or PrestaShop to improve your workflow and monitor chat analytics.
These are just a few of Smarsupp’s chat capabilities. There are also: chat history, chat transcripts, visitor tracking, intuitive chat user interface, measuring customer satisfaction scores, and many other useful features to help you provide an amazing customer support experience. Check them out!
Time to chat with your customers like a pro
How would it feel to chat with your customers and actually enjoy it? With the customer support chat tips and tricks above, you can become a customer service pro in no time.
Remember those chat strategy guidelines: be positive, helpful, thankful, and always aim to improve. Do those things, and you’ll be well on your way to providing excellent customer service and a great chat experience.
Sign up for free and provide your customers with the best customer service possible with Smartsupp!