Making Proactive Chat Work for You

Have you ever been shopping in a store and had multiple employees come up to you and ask if you need any help? Or perhaps the same employee asking you multiple times? Well, if you have, then you might know what I’m talking about when I say – please just let me shop in peace!

Have you ever been shopping in a store and had multiple employees come up to you and ask if you need any help? Or perhaps the same employee asking you multiple times? Well, if you have, then you might know what I’m talking about when I say – please just let me shop in peace!

When shopping online the same thing can happen by using proactive chat ineffectively.  Proactive chat is an online chat technique that has proven to help increase online sales and be a valuable tool for customers.  In fact, according to recent research, proactive chatters are 6 times more likely to buy – if chat is used effectively.  On the other hand, if proactive chat is used incorrectly it can have the opposite effect.

For example, I was online shopping and a chat box popped up – “Hello, do you need any help?” – it felt like I was in a brick and mortar store with a pushy sales person chasing me around.  I was annoyed! I ended up leaving the site because I didn’t want to be bothered.

This site’s poor use of proactive chat resulted in their loss of a potential customer. Here’s how this site could improve their use of proactive chat:

Be friendly and make it feel personalized:

The message I received sounded unfriendly and definitely not personalized. Therefore I automatically assumed that everyone received the same message.  If instead I had received a message that was relevant to the page I was on and maybe offered some related advice or incentive to chat then I would be more inclined to respond.

Consider what triggers the proactive chat

When should the chat pop up? How many times should a chat pop up? As a general rule I would say once is enough and too soon is too much.  Don’t use proactive chat to repeatedly badger your site visitors.

Give your site visitors some time to look around the site before the launching a proactive chat pops up.  If the chat pops up right away the site visitor will feel that you are too pushy and be inclined to leave the site before they receive any more.

Make them want to chat

The proactive chat should be helpful and inviting from the start! Offering the customer a discount could be that last push the customer needs to buy. “Interested in this sweater?  Here’s a 10% off discount if you purchase it today.”  What customer wouldn’t respond positively to an unexpected discount offer!

If the website I mentioned above was aware of these tips then they would have secured a new customer.  Proactive chat has great potential but if you know how to use it.

Live Chat Security – Someone May Be Watching You

When you come to a website and you see that “chat now” button you probably didn’t consider that clicking that button could be opening a door to your thoughts. Be warned! Depending on the live chat functionality in use on the website your privacy may be in jeopardy. What you might not be aware of is that some chat vendors provide the Chat Agent with the ability to see what the Website Visitor is typing before the Website Visitor hits the “send” button. You might not think this is a big deal – but we at Velaro do.

From Edward Snowden to the Russian authorities watching your every move at the Olympics in Sochi – we are in a constant battle to maintain our privacy.

live-chat-securityThe best way to stay vigilant is to be aware of those situations where you’re at the greatest risk of falling prey to those who just have to see what you’re doing.  Here’s one you probably didn’t think about – live chat.

When you come to a website and you see that “chat now” button you probably didn’t consider that clicking that button could be opening a door to your thoughts.  Be warned!  Depending on the live chat functionality in use on the website your privacy may be in jeopardy.  What you might not be aware of is that some chat vendors provide the Chat Agent with the ability to see what the Website Visitor is typing before the Website Visitor hits the “send” button.  You might not think this is a big deal – but we at Velaro do.

At Velaro, we believe that the security and privacy of the information shared between Chat Agent and Website Visitor is paramount.  This is why some of the largest e-commerce vendors, financial institutions, local government agencies, and universities trust Velaro to provide live chat on their websites.  These organizations put a premium on live chat security and this is often one of the top reasons why they select Velaro.

Live Chat Etiquette- 7 Tips for Your Next Live Chat Experience

Live chat is a powerful tool that a number of large companies are now leveraging to make their websites better. Aside from improving online customer service, live chats boost sales and keep users engaged with the site. Here are a few live chat etiquette tips we’ve put together from both a user and a represenatives perspective to make your next live chat experience a bit more pleasant.

Live chat is a powerful tool that a number of large companies are now leveraging to make their websites better.  Aside from improving online customer service, live chats  boost sales and keep users engaged with the site.  Here are a few live chat etiquette tips we’ve put together from both a user and a represenatives perspective to make your next live chat experience a bit more pleasant.

Exchange Names

The first and most basic tip for both parties is to exchange names.  This is especially crucial for the chat representative.  Some users may not believe that a real person is on the other end of the chat log.  By opening with “Hey there my name is John, how may I help you”, you add the personal touch required to initiate a productive live chat session for both parties.

Friendliness Still Counts

Positive is neutral – neutral is negative.  When you’re chatting online, whether you are the consumer or the representative, keep in mind that communicating a sense of positivity is not easily accomplished.  In fact, studies show that people tend to react negatively to messages in which the sender had no ill will.  In the case of live chat, it’s especially crucial to convey positivity!

That’s why this catchy little phrase- “positive is neutral and neutral is negative”- is an excellent live chat etiquette rule of thumb. Something as simple as “Hey, thanks for answering my question it was a big help!” seems natural.  Whereas, “ok”, seems just plain rude.

Miscommunication Can Happen
  • Avoid Sarcasm at All Costs: Joking around in a business setting can be an effective way to lighten up the mood.  However, in a live chat setting sarcasm is nearly impossible to interpret.

  • Put Yourself in Their Shoes:  In a live chat scenario both parties have an agenda.  The customer needs questions answered and wants more information.  The live chat representative wants to help the user find what they are looking for and make their user experience as pleasant as possible.  Bearing in mind what the other party is looking to get out of an interaction is a dependable way to avoid miscommunication.

  • Jokes Get Lost In Translation:  Similarly to avoiding sarcasm, avoiding jokes is a live chat etiquette best practice as well.  Often times the receiver may not perceive the joke as its meant to be.  In some cases they may misinterpret what is meant to be a joke as an insult. To avoid inadvertently insulting an innocent soul, avoid jokes in a live chat setting.

Focus on the Answer First Detail Later

Responding in depth is often viewed as good customer service and a display of effort.  When you’re engaged in a live chat it’s generally a better practice to respond with as few words as possible.  You want to be concise, while still conveying the message you need to.  If you absolutely have to add more detail, make sure you answer the question in the first few words, then elaborate.  Below are two live chat examples, which would you prefer?

Version 1

User: “Where can I find the contact us page?”

Rep:” The top right hand of your screen on the navigation bar”

Version 2

User: “Where can I find the contact us page?”

Rep: “It’s funny you ask that, the contact us page can actually be seen by clicking a number of links on our website.  If you scroll to the footer of the site you will see a link to the contact page, there is also another link to the contact page located on the sidebar, finally you can get to the contact page from the navigation bar, all the way to the right”

I think you get my point.  In version 2 the chat represenative is still trying to be helpful and supportive, but by being so wordy, the user isn’t getting the answer they want and they will most likely leave the site.  Although detail can be a good thing; in a web chat setting concise is always better live chat etiquette.

How to Handle Questions About Competition

You know that old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all”, it was the cornerstone of your etiquette lessons growing up.  Well consider “If you don’t have anything nice to type, don’t type anything at all” the cornerstone of your live chat etiquette.

Often customers will ask you about pricing and features of other companies.  These are fair questions and legitimate concerns for potential buyers.  Don’t take this as an opportunity to slam the competition.  Instead speak candidly about the competition and focus on the benefits of your product as opposed to the shortcomings of your competitors products.

If you are a customer, just know that your live chat representative is there to help you in any way they can, but you must realize they are working for a company who would not appreciate them sending business to their competitors.

PLEASE DO NOT SHOUT

When you walk into a store and you have to return a good or ask a question, it is generally considered rude to shout at someone.  We also know that shouting is an excellent way to not get what you want out of an interaction. From a customer representatives standpoint shouting at a customer is surefire way to get fired…really fast.  The same ideas apply to live chat etiquette.  There is just something UNSETTLING ABOUT BEING SHOUTED AT.

Customers:  It’s completely understandable that you are frustrated and need help.

Representatives: If a customer shouts at you its generally acceptable to ask “excuse me sir, did you accidentally hit your caps lock button”.

Grammar and Spelling Are Crucial

As we’ve said a number of times before, a live chat setting is a business engagement.  It’s not like you’re text messaging your friends on the weekends.  Communicate on live chat like you would sending a business email, not texting your buddies.  Just be aware of common grammatical and spelling errors to maintain professionalism.

If you follow these seven simple live chat etiquette tips you’re sure to have a friendly, enjoyable, and most importantly fruitful live chat session.