The Basics of Live Chat Customer Support

The Basics of Live Chat Customer Support

Learn the basics on how to set up a live chat on your website, some best practices, and the most important things you need for a successful live chat. Read our latest blog post!

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There are many ways how you can help your website visitors: via email support using a help desk, a FAQ section, or providing phone support. However, did you know that most users prefer live chat as a communication channel?

And that’s why you should implement a live chat into your customer support strategy if you haven’t done it yet.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at live chat as a customer support communication channel, how it works, how it can help your business, and how to choose one!

But, first, we’ll go over the basics so you can get the topic from the inside out.

What is live chat?

It is a technology that lets a company or a customer service team communicate with customers in real-time. It can be messaging apps or software where agents handle live chat conversations with website visitors.

When is it time to provide live chat support?

There’s no definite answer to this question. However, ours would be whenever you’re ready for it. However, it’s good to think over some points that would help you to decide.

Let’s look at them.

Think about your business type

business’s type is a crucial factor. A live chat tool might be very useful if you have an ecommerce website where customers can buy items or services directly from your online store. It might be a good idea to have an agent on hand to assist website visitors, answer their questions, and speed up transactions. Revenue might also increase as a result.

Identify your target audience

Then, think about who is your target audience and what needs they might have. When your visitors are proficient in computers and are used to getting information online immediately without contacting anyone directly, maybe a chatbot would be a better option here.

However, if your website requires more complex interaction than just scrolling through, it’s worth implementing live chat support no matter how advanced your target audience is.

💡 Check what your buying persona prefers for contacting you for support.

To give you some numbers, around 79% of customers prefer live chat over other communication channels due to its immediacy. Live chat assistance takes the lead over email and phone support.

How to implement your live chat support tool?

Use integrations

In most cases, it is relatively easy to implement. For instance, Smartsupp, thanks to its integrations with ecommerce platforms and website builders, lets business owners and customer support teams implement a live chat in just a few clicks.

Very often, it does not require IT expertise at all. But, before you choose a tool you’re interested in, it is necessary to check how to implement it. You can verify it yourself by starting a free trial and giving a platform a go.

Follow tips in the help tab

Checking out the help tab is another way to see what the implementation process looks like. There should be a detailed tutorial on how to do it.

Read articles and watch videos

Also, some of the customer support platforms offer video tutorials and articles. They are very helpful because you can easily follow the instructions and stop the video whenever you need or scroll through the article.

🎥 See the video tutorial on how to add Smartsupp to your website (only 2 minutes long!)

Check out the reviews about the support team

Apart from that, checking reviews can provide great insight into the ease of implementation and responsiveness of the live chat support team. Even if you choose a platform and it’s a bit challenging to install a live chat on your website, you can reach out for help to the support teams.

But, it happens that not all the teams are as responsive as they should be. So, you can check on them by reading the reviews as well.

Ok, but some may ask - where to read the reviews? There are many sources to read about chat experience: Facebook Groups, forums, and review platforms such as Capterra or G2.

How can you support your customers via live chat?

With live chat, you can support your customers or website visitors in various ways. First things first, you assist whenever customers need it. Your agents can answer questions about your service or product and also guide them when they have some technical issues or any other concerns that come up.

However, when choosing robust customer service software for chatting with customers, you can do even more than just answering customer queries. For example, you can:

  • send files to streamline the support process
  • follow the user to know exactly how they navigate the site
  • use live chat apps to be in touch whenever you are
  • see visitors’ detail’s about their purchasing history and offer better shopping assistance
  • use live chat translation feature to support customers from all over the world

Providing immediate support is the primary goal of live chat, but you can additionally provide excellent customer service through it.

How can live chat support affect your business?

Live chat tools are highly beneficial not only for visitors but also for business owners. You can benefit from providing live chat assistance by:

  • gathering customer feedback about a customer experience
  • collecting valuable leads
  • understanding website visitors’ behavior
  • driving sales through conversations
  • building relationship
  • increasing customer satisfaction
  • improving workflow thanks to integrated operations software
  • increasing AOV

You might miss major opportunities if you don’t offer live chat support.

However, a good tool makes it much easier to gain advantages like these above and increase customer service experience.


How to choose a live chat support tool?

Choosing good software is crucial. But it’s not that simple since many of live chat tools are available on the market. You need to take your time to find one that fits your needs which might be a daunting task.

That’s why we’ve prepared a few tips that may help you to choose the perfect live chat app.

Here are some things to consider when choosing the software.

First, figure out what features are the most essential for you and your customers. Whether it is a basic chat functionality like chat transcripts, chat history, or maybe a live chat widget customizability, video recording, a message sneak peek, reporting features, video chat, or pre chat surveys - it’s good to know what you care about the most.

💡 A good idea is to make a list of must-haves and nice-to-have to narrow down your options.

Consider ease of use next. An intuitive tool for live chat reps and site visitors might be a game changer. This way, you may lower the chances that someone will give up on contact with you because it’s too complicated.

Additionally, it’s vital for your workers to have reliable, easy-to-navigate live chat software, so they can effortlessly manage all the customers’ issues.

Then, think about the price. How much does your budget allow you to spend on a live chat tool? How are your finance statistics looking (perhaps you have Plumb Outsourced Accounting)? It’s an essential consideration before investing in live chat software. Look at the subscription plans and their capacities.

Next, compare them to other tools that catch your attention.

After establishing what features you need and how much you can spend, it would be much easier to make a decision or, if necessary, make compromises. It might be worth checking how to upgrade if you need a more extensive plan later on.

📰 Learn more here: 7 Factors to Consider when Researching Live Chat Apps

Here are some live chat tools to check out if you still don’t find the perfect solution for you after considering all these factors.

Live chat tools:

Among these tools, one stands out as a perfect choice for those starting their live chat journey (and not only!).

Smartsupp as a live chat support solution

Smartsupp is a great live chat software for small support teams and large ecommerce businesses to assist in a customer’s journey, increase customer engagement, or improve customer experience.

Smartsupp: live chat key features and benefits

Learn what Smartsupp has to offer and how you and your customers can benefit from it.

Connect with customers in real-time wherever they prefer to

Thanks to integrations like Facebook Messenger or Google Analytics, you will be able to offer support on various platforms, for example, social media sites, and analyze the data you might gather during conversations.

Smartsupp offers many other tools you can connect easily: Joomla, Drupal, Boxoja, or other CMS and eCommerce solutions.

Provide site visitors a personalized customer experience

Visitors’ insights enable support reps to view all the visitors’ detail, such as location, name, or shopping history. All this information makes it possible to customize their chat experience through better recommendations based on previous purchases.

Better your website and gain valuable insights with video recordings

Video recordings is one of the key features of Smartsupp. As a result, you can see how visitors navigate the website, where they hit blind spots, what’s problematic for them, and check customer engagement on your site.

Live chat functionality is also available alongside the video recording feature. Watch the recordings in the Admin panel, where you can:

  • use playback speeds
  • skip moments when a visitor was inactive
  • view a live chat conversation and how a visitor navigated the site at the same time

With these options, you can save a lot of time by not having to watch all recordings and gain valuable information about your customers or visitors.

Help your visitors round-the-clock with chatbot

Besides a live chat solution, Smartsupp offers chat services - a great solution to provide help even after office hours or when your agents are offline. Chatbots can save time by dealing with frequently asked questions or repetitive tasks. It’s excellent shopping assistance as well.

Additionally, it can be used as a filter before talking to a live agent.

Save time and money

A quick response to customer issues is crucial when working as a sales representative.

When potential customers have to wait for your answer, it’s more likely they will change their minds and give up shopping in your store. To avoid that situation, use the shortcuts texts feature. With shortcuts, you can send a pre-written message to the visitor in seconds, save a lot of time and avoid missing a selling opportunity while using live chat apps.

It’s also a great live chat feature for recurring questions, a thank you note after leaving customer feedback, or whatever you find helpful.

Create your chat window design

Using API, you can create a chat window widget that looks seamless with your website. Choose the color, and shape, and build your online presence and brand awareness using the chat.

Use the live chat app and assist customers wherever you are

A live chat app is a helpful feature that lets you or your agents help on the go. You can stay connected with customers and prospects no matter where you are.

Collect valuable leads and never miss a chat

Contact forms gather information about your customers, such as email addresses and the issue they have.

For instance, when your agents are offline and prospects want to reach a salesperson, potential customers can leave their contact details using a contact form, so you can get in touch with them and not miss a sales opportunity.

Improve your service using customer data

You can observe your team’s effectiveness with statistics. The provided data lets you monitor:

  • number of conversations
  • how many new conversations have your team members handled
  • number of resolved conversations
  • response time
  • when agents were online

And also statistics on individual agents. So you can improve and track performance of your team based on the data you collect.

Smartsupp is a great live chat tool. If you want to try it out, sign up for a free trial.

Live chat support: best practices

Here’s what to do if you want to provide the best possible customer service when offering live chat support.

Best practices for managers or leaders of customer service teams

Provide your agents with learning opportunities

Make sure your team is prepared to handle support tickets and resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

Offer them various training programs and resources your team can use to improve and develop their skills. As a result, they are prepared for a variety of scenarios and are less stressed. Moreover, be approachable and share your expertise with them.

Use reporting to control chat volume

Managing many customers might be a hassle. Too many of them might negatively influence the overall efficiency of an agent and, in the long run, cause burnout.

You can monitor the chat volume and agents’ workload with reports and statistics. For example, if chats tend to pick up in the evening, make sure you have enough team members on hand to handle the increased volume.

Don’t let the chat widget distract site visitors

A big live chat window that cannot be minimized is not inviting to have a chat at all. That’s why you should ensure that a chat widget’s size is optimal - it’s not too big but also big enough to be noticed when a visitor wants to contact you.

Luckily, you can use Smartsupp live chat to adjust the chat window and chat widget as you want.

💡 To meet customer expectations, use a live chat app and pre chat forms, so a live agent can share the task with someone who is more experienced and handle chat requests at ease.

Choose a live chat tool that supports foreigners

As a manager, make sure that your support team is able to help a customer who does not speak your mother tongue. In that case, choose a live chat tool that has features like live chat translation, so you can offer chat support to everyone who needs it and resolve a customer’s problem in every language.

Best practices for agents

Be friendly and helpful

Even though it seems obvious, it’s still important to bring it up. Show your website users that you’re happy to help by using a positive tone, responding as soon as possible, and taking the time to understand each issue fully.

Try to engage website visitors

You can increase customer engagement in various ways. Using Smartsupp, you can send proactive support messages to let users know you’re ready to help anytime. Additionally, emojis and personalized conversations work well.

📰 Learn more here: 5 Ways to Engage Your Visitors with Live Chat

Encourage visitors to leave feedback for monitoring customer satisfaction

Using a quick poll, invite website users to provide feedback. By asking a short question like “Was it helpful?” you’d be able to find out how satisfied your customers are and engage them during the conversation.

Get in touch with visitors proactively

Reach out to customers before they do. There can be some people who may be having difficulty using your product or service out there. So using proactive messages, you can help them before they encounter major problems. As a result, you build a connection with potential customers and show them that they are important to you.

💡 You can send a proactive message to a customer and let them know about upcoming events, such as a big sale on Black Friday.

Follow these best practices to provide your site visitors with excellent live chat support.

Summing up: the basics of live chat support

Live chat support is a great option if you’re looking for a way to provide quick and efficient service. It’s easy to get started even in minutes (with the right live chat software).

Plus, your customers will appreciate being able to get help right away when they need it.

To check if it’s effective customer service for your business, try out Smartsupp - **sign in for a free trial **to provide an amazing customer experience!