The Power of Hello: 4 Steps to Create Effective Live Chat Greetings

October 21st, 2015 | Kevin Gao | Communication | Blog Home
live chat greetings

We all know the old adage, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” But did you ever stop to think that this concept also applies to your live chat service?

It can be difficult to form the right greeting messages to gain a client’s trust. But a customer’s judgment dictates your ability to serve him or her. So let’s take a closer look at the importance of effective greetings and how you can harness the power of a good first impression—virtually.

Why First Impressions Matter

It takes 1/10th of a second to make a judgment based off of someone’s face, according to the researchers at Princeton University.

Can you imagine how fast that is?

It takes three times as long to blink an eye. A fast website loads in a few seconds. As quickly as a hummingbird beats his wing, we form opinions about how trustworthy others are. Further research at the University of Glasgow shows that something as simple as how you say the word “hello” dictates how people perceive you.

As a customer service agent, you might suddenly feel relieved that you serve customers through live chat, and that no one can read your face or hear your voice. But you shouldn’t get too comfortable just because you feel that you’re hiding behind a screen. In the live chat industry, word choice still matters—using the wrong words, according to psychologists, can release stress-inducing hormones in our brains. If you use the wrong words, they can act like weapons against you instead of tools. To improve your first impression with better wording, read our ebook: 120+ Ready-to-Use Live Chat Scripts for Both Sales and Customer Service.

There’s plenty of evidence that supports the concept that first impressions are not only fast, but hard to break. That translates to the significance of welcome messages in the customer service industry, no matter you are sending the messages via live chat or other channels. If you say or do the wrong thing, you can jeopardize your ability to effectively help a customer. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can keep in mind when greeting a customer to make a good impression:

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Be an Open Book

Try powering up your conversations with clarity to gain customer favor. According to psychologist Frank Bernieri, people like individuals who tend to be more expressive and easy to read. This phenomenon is called the Expressivity Halo.

A concrete way to use this information in your greeting messages is to clearly explain your intentions, and let customers know what they should be informed about upfront.

For example, if the conversation is being recorded, try lines like:

I wanted to mention that this chat may be recorded for quality assurance.
We want to let you know that this chat may be recorded and used for training purposes.

Don’t forget to add any additional information a customer might need to know, like:

Hello! Welcome to *businesses name*. Our website was down for maintenance earlier today and we’re sorry if it inconvenienced you at all. How can we help you today?

Radiate Positive Energy

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”
– Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon.com

Having high-energy greetings is vital to leaving the right impression on a customer. Radiate positivity—this gets people to open up and tell you exactly what they want, which is really what you need to start off a chat that takes you in the right direction. When you are asking a customer how you can help them, you are really asking them to hand over the road map that leads you to the best solution.

You can always stay positive and build good rapport with customers by choosing the right words to say in customer service.

There’s another benefit to sending out spirited greetings: charged emotions stir discussion, according to research by marketing experts Kelsey Libert and Kristin Tynski. This same principle that drives viral content is what gets customers to refer your service through word of mouth. Great customer support can create excitement and generate new leads for your company, as well as strengthen your reputation.

It may sound hard to inject your chat with the right level of enthusiasm. But simple things, like using a customer’s name in the greeting messages and peppering conversation with exclamation marks when appropriate, can show the dynamics of speech you would utilize in real-life.

Try lines that show emotion and vigor like:

Good afternoon! How may we assist you today?
Welcome back *name*! It’s great to see you again. Did you want to pick up where you left off?

Listen Up

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
– Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

A good greeting doesn’t just end with your opening line—it starts with a willingness to listen and openly engage with a customer’s needs.

Here are some tips for being a good listener:

  • Clear your mind for a moment. Just listen to what the customer has to say. You will have time to respond, but even the best-crafted response isn’t half as good as one that comes from active listening.
  • Put yourself in their shoes. It’s easy to assume that a customer should understand things the way you do. But maybe customers can’t navigate a website because they’re from an older generation, or their load times are slow. Maybe a customer speaks another language, or you’re so familiar with your product that you aren’t able to see things from a customer’s point of view.
  • Repeat after them. Clarify a customer’s question or request by restating it. It not only shows that you were paying attention, which they will appreciate, but also puts you in a better position to make sure you actually understand their needs.
  • Ask questions. Sometimes we’re afraid people will lose patience if we ask too many questions. When you’re facing a frustrated customer, it’s understandable that you don’t want to lose face. But it’s important that you really know what’s going on in order to get to the core of the problem and offer a great solution. To ask better questions, read our blog post: 4 Essential Questioning Techniques for Live Chat.

Use a Stellar Script

A good script developed with the tips listed above can make a huge difference, and save your team from lost time and unnecessary stress. Remember, an effective script starts with a good greeting, so work with your team to produce phrases that not only reflect your company well, but give out the impression to customers that they’re in good hands.

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[Free Download] 120+ Ready-to-Use Live Chat Scripts for Both Sales and Customer Service

If you’re having trouble developing your own script, Comm100 has you covered. Download our live chat script—in it you’ll find top-notch greetings, as well as scripts for a number of other common scenarios that live chat agent deal with on a daily basis.

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About 

Kevin Gao is the founder and CEO of Comm100. With over 10 years' hands-on experience as an entrepreneur, he's always ambitious to revolutionize the way of online customer service and communication. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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