In today’s marketplace, service quality is everything.
According to a research conducted by Digital Trends, “73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant.”
Consequently, it is extremely important for you to not only provide exceptional service, but to provide exceptional ‘personalized’ service.
In this section, we will offer tips and tricks that will help you do just that.
“Hi, how may I help you today?”
This question is simple and innocent enough. However, it doesn’t really do much to inspire confidence in your ability to help via live chat. Why? Put simply, it’s just not personal enough. Customers want to engage with an agent they view as a friend or an ally who understands their needs – especially when they are experiencing issues. So, how does that friendship or alliance begin? By greeting the customer with their first name, and introducing yourself, of course.
Instead, try a greeting like this:
“Hi Robert! This is Maria. Thank you for contacting ABC Company via Live Chat. I understand you have billing questions. To better serve you, could you please tell me more about your concern?”
This greeting is much more effective because it does these five very important things all at once:
a. Address the Customer by First Name
If your company’s live chat software includes a pre-chat survey feature, you should utilize it to request for your customer’s name before the chat session begins.
Conversely, if your live chat supports custom variables or any similar type of mechanism, the software should be able to automatically pull the customer’s name from their login account on your website.
Either way, you should always address the customer by his/her first name in the greeting. If you were not provided the customer’s name in the pre-chat survey, you should always ask for their name, and be sure to use it often during the chat.
“Thank you, James. Could you please tell me how I may be of assistance today?”
b. Give the Customer Your Name
Introducing yourself to the customer is an equally important first step to establishing rapport, and any possible alliance or friendship.
By providing your name, you are not only inserting a human element to the interaction, but more importantly, you are assuring your customer that you will personally take ownership of their concern.
Never rely on your avatar photograph and/or name in the visitor’s chat window to inform your customer who you are. Customers are much more comfortable when operators introduce themselves directly, and in an open and inviting manner.
c. Thank the Customer for Visiting Your Website
This is much more important than it seems. Picture yourself walking into any brick and mortar shop in your local area. Consider the way you feel when you walk into a shop and someone greets and thanks you for stopping by as soon as you walk in the store.
Makes you feel like you matter to them, right? Well, the same thing applies online. It’s much easier to build rapport with customers who feel like they’re appreciated.
If you’re not thanking your customers in your greeting, you may just be making it harder for yourself to enhance the customer experience during the chat.
d. State the Customer's Reason for Contacting You
If your company’s live chat software utilizes a pre-chat survey form, it might be wise to include a drop-down list for the title, “Reason for Contacting Us” or “I Need Help with…” as a mandatory field for your customers to disposition before being routed to a chat agent best trained to assist them.
That way, you will be able to include in your personalized greetings statements like:
“I understand that you have billing questions…”
“I noticed that you are concerned about…”
By doing this, your customers are assured right off the bat that you understand the reason for their chat request, and are fully prepared to assist them.
e. Make the Offer to Help
When offering assistance to customers, always ask how you can help in the form of an open ended question in your greeting:
“Tell me more about…”
“How may I be of assistance…”
This way, your customers are more likely to communicate their expectations to you in an open manner, and the types of replies you receive from customers will be much more elaborate than a mere “Yes” or “No” answer.
Don’t wait until you’re two or three sentences into the chat to ask. The longer you wait to get to the point, the more likely an irate or upset customer will become ever harder to handle.