How to Make Live Chat Work for Technical Support

Technical support – well, it’s technical. Meaning, it often involves helping customers with complex problems. For this reason, phone support has been the preferred method for assisting customers remotely.

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Technical support – well, it’s technical. Meaning, it often involves helping customers with complex problems. For this reason, phone support has been the preferred method for assisting customers remotely.

Live chat, however, is increasingly becoming the support method of choice, for both customers and companies. It’s less expensive, customers don’t have to wait in long phone queues, and reps can assist multiple people at one time.

If you run a technical support unit, then, you may be thinking – “can I still use live chat, even if we’re helping customers solve complex problems?”

The answer? Yes. Definitely. Read below for tips on how to maximize live chat when helping customers with technical support questions.

Tip #1: It’s okay to ask questions for clarification

Live chat is not like a normal phone conversation. Instead of long explanations, people default to short snippets of text, and you can’t rely on intonations in the customer’s voice to help you understand context. Because of this limitation, it’s imperative to let your live chat reps know that they can and should ask plenty of clarifying questions. Train them to ask questions that are precise and simple, so that they can guide the customer to the actual issue. You can even sit down with your team to formulate questions that will help diagnose common problems.

Tip #2: Avoid jargon

“Use WebHooks or use the REST API and just frictionlessly integrate the app …”

Say what? If your customer service reps rely on jargon in their explanations, kindly train them to use language that’s more accessible to the masses. A good rule of thumb is to match the language to the customer. So if a customer is knowledgeable in jargon terms, and asks questions using esoteric language, then it’s perfectly acceptable for the live chat rep to respond using jargon that matches the customer’s level of expertise. Keep in mind that live chat is a medium that can easily “get lost in translation,” so make sure your reps are as precise and clear as possible in the language they use.

Tip #3: Visuals are your friend

For technical diagnoses, the ability to see the problem is paramount – and with live chat, you can link these features. Equip your team with remote desktop tools that allow your team to visually see the customer’s screen to the rep’s desktop. With the visual and the ability to simultaneously chat, talking through problems becomes much simpler. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.

Tip #4: Make the experience personal

Just because your reps are “virtually” helping, doesn’t mean that they can’t make the experience more personal. Have them include a photo of themselves in their live chat box (not just an avatar), make sure they use their real name, and train them to use the customer’s name and be polite through every point of the interaction with the customer.

Live chat is a great technical service tool – with the right training!

As with all technology tools, training is key. Even with the best live chat system installed, if your reps don’t know how to properly assist the customers, or if they don’t know how to communicate the solution via a live chat format, your customers will end up losing – and chances are – they’ll search for a company that can help them. Invest in training along with your live chat tools, and you’ll be able to enjoy a robust technical support platform that pleases your customers and that your agents will enjoy using.

Why Live Chats are More Cost Efficient Than Phone Support

Are you looking for ways to decrease customer support costs? Using live chat software can be significantly less expensive to operate than phone support. It can even increase your revenues, too.

Are you looking for ways to decrease customer support costs? Using live chat software can be significantly less expensive to operate than phone support. It can even increase your revenues, too. Here’s how.

The Problems with Phone Support

Tired business woman at call center sitting by the table or it iThe very nature of phone support puts your business at a disadvantage when dealing with customers.

For starters, phone support takes a lot of effort on the customer’s part. To contact your business, customers have to drop what they’re doing, find your company’s phone number, enter it in their phone, and then navigate through your menu of options.

That extra effort can harm your business. The Customer Contact Council reports thatcustomers who indicate more effort are 61% less likely to repurchase as the average customer. That’s a serious hit to your business’s long-term revenues.

There are many other problems that plague phone support. Call quality tends to be all over the board. Lengthy wait times feel unbearable since customers must actively pay attention to their phones.

Phone support is expensive, too. Setting up a call center is a massive investment – one many businesses simply can’t afford.

Fortunately, there’s a much more cost-effective way of offering customer support.

Live Help Chats: Better Support, Better Cost

Implementing live help chat as your customer service solution is significantly less expensive than managing a call center. It’s also more effective in delivering helpful support materials to your customers.

Here are some of the ways live chat can decrease the operating cost of your business.

Live Help Prevents Issues with Call Quality

On the phone, call quality issues can destroy a customer service experience. Bad call quality – even if it’s the customer’s fault – harms the customer’s experience and makes them less likely to buy from your company again in the future.

When you use live help software, however, call quality isn’t an issue. Not only that, issues with understanding customers who have accents or trouble speaking your company’s language are negated as your chat agents are reading text instead of trying to listen. This expands your ability to provide helpful solutions and win lifelong customers.

Live Help Reduces Callbacks

Many call centers have seen customers who call over and over again about the same issue. These few customers represent a very large drain on company resources.

However, live chat can reduce this drain to almost zero. Because every chat transcript is emailed at the end of each chat, the customer has an easily accessible record of how to fix his or her problem. Repeat calls are significantly decreased.

Because the entire live chat experience is text-based, it’s easy to share helpful documents or links. If you allow customers to access your solution database, you’ll allow customers to search for their own solutions, reducing customer service expenses even more.

Live Help Decreases the Amount of Time Required Per Call

Because operators can conduct multiple live chat sessions at once, the amount of time each chat takes is significantly lower when compared to phone chats. Here’s how that looks in the real world:

  • Phone chat: An operator begins the call and hears the customer’s problem. After asking for a few more details, the operator spends some time pulling up a solution on the company database. The operator then waits while the customer attempts to implement the solution. If the solution is successful, the call ends. If not, the operator spends more time finding a different solution, then waiting while the customer tries the solution out. This process repeats until the issue is resolved.
  • Live help chat: An operator begins 4 simultaneous live help sessions. The customers ask their questions, and the chat agent finds answers to each. If the first customer needs additional help, the chat agent can provide further instructions while the second, third, and fourth customers test their solutions. When a solution is found, the chat ends and a transcript is emailed to the customer.

Overall, the time taken for both help sessions was the same. But the live help operator was able to help four times as many people as the phone operator. Imagine the cost savings your business would enjoy with customer service representatives who are four times as efficient!

Live Help Gives Your Agents a Chance to Upsell Customers

Having a live chat isn’t just a way to save money – it’s a way to increase revenue, too.  Live chat has been proven to increase conversion rates and boost sales. Simply installing chat software on your website is enough to give your conversion rates an increase.

Try Live Help Software Today

As we’ve explained, using live help software solutions brings significant cost savings to your business. It can also increase your revenue, too. If you are considering switching from phone support to a live chat solution, try our software for free for 14 days and see these benefits for yourself.

Live Chat, Leads, & The Pre-Chat Survey

Like I’ve mentioned before in previous blog posts, live chat software isn’t a magic pill. You can’t just buy the software and magically become an e-commerce powerhouse.

Like I’ve mentioned before in previous blog posts, live chat software isn’t a magic pill. You can’t just buy the software and magically become an e-commerce powerhouse.

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To kill it with live chat, you first need to select the right chat vendor and secure a live chat solution that is reliable. You also need to properly hire, and train, your live chat agents and implement appropriate processes to effectively leverage your team’s talent and to continuously improve your use of this powerful technology. That said, in this post, I want to discuss an essential element to a productive implementation of live chat – the pre-chat survey.

The pre-chat survey is exactly what it sounds like – a survey (set of questions) that is presented to the site visitor once they click the “chat now” button. Once the pre-chat survey is completed, the chat agent reviews it, and the chat can then begin. With the ability to customize the pre-chat survey this can be an exceptional tool for ensuring that your website visitors can get highly efficient and effective live help.

By appropriately customizing your pre-chat survey for your organization you can expect the following:

Expedite Problem Resolution

For the vast majority of those accessing online customer service, getting their issues resolved quickly is their number one priority. Most also prefer to resolve their issues in a single interaction – no one enjoys getting passed around from one person to another. Therefore, to give site visitors what they want most, you need to get them to the appropriate person as quickly as possible. This way you avoid exposing your site visitors to something that they hate to hear: “I don’t handle that – please hold while I connect you with someone that can help you.” If you have multiple departments within your organization, you can configure your pre-chat survey to allow the site visitor to select the department that can best address their needs. This way you can automatically route the chat to the appropriate department – or person – before the chat even begins.

Make Your Live Help Efforts More Productive

Your customers expect that their issues will be resolved in their initial interaction with a support representative. The pre-chat survey is a great way to ensure that you are prepared to meet this expectation. The pre-chat survey enables the chat agent to gather information about a site visitor prior to actually engaging in a live chat. This empowers the chat agent to first determine if they can in fact address the site visitor’s issues. If they can’t, then they can transfer the chat to someone who is better suited to help the visitor. If the issue is within the agent’s wheelhouse, then they can make sure that they appropriately prepared to handle the site visitor’s needs before the initial interaction even begins. Using a well-configured pre-chat survey will make your chats more productive.

Cultivate Happy Customers

Live help software is all about creating a better online customer experience. Through the appropriate use of pre-chat surveys, the experience and willingness to help of a knowledgeable live chat software vendor, and the ability to monitor your live chat effectiveness and continuously improve – you stand a great chance of exceeding the expectations of your site visitors. And, you know what this means don’t you? It means viral spread of word of mouth. It means more business and a powerful brand.

Building a Database of Customer Live Chat Questions

By reviewing your live help session logs, you’ll be able to understand how to help your customers and deliver a better service experience.

There’s a secret resource waiting that will give your live chat agents a powerful advantage during live help sessions.

Old Style Faq

In fact, this resource will let your agents deliver the information your customers need in a way that conveys professionalism and expertise.

This isn’t some sneaky sales tactic or underhanded way of tricking your customers. Instead, it’s taking advantage of a different resource you’ve had in front of you all along: your customers themselves.

By reviewing your live help session logs, you’ll be able to understand how to help your customers and deliver a better service experience.

Plus, you’ll give your agents significant time savings, allowing them to help more customers in less time – at a decreased cost for your company.

Here’s how to build your own customer issue database your agents can use to improve every single live help session.

Benefits of a Customer Issue Database

While the steps in this guide aren’t hard by any means, they will require a little bit of time on the part of your employees (don’t worry – you’ll make that time up and more once your resource is completed). Here’s why the work is worth the effort.

  • Your agents will be able to give detailed, easy to understand solutions to the vast majority of customer issues – sometimes in a clear way your agents couldn’t come up with themselves.
  • You’ll provide your customers with a lasting resource they can reference the next time they have the same issue, thus avoiding expensive “repeat offenders.”
  • You’ll gain insights into what your customers really want, even if that differs from what they say they want.
  • You’ll boost your website’s web presence and SEO efforts (if you take the time to optimize your resource).

Eventually, this work will more than pay for itself.

Step 1: Review Customer Service Logs from Live Help Sessions

The first step is to review the customer service logs or live help transcripts. This is easily done with the right live help software.

If you haven’t been keeping logs of customer service interactions up to this point, that’s okay. Start logging all interactions now – even a small amount of customer data is helpful.

While you’re reviewing these logs, keep track of the following information:

  • The issue the customer called about
  • The information that finally resolved the issue
  • How knowledgeable the customer was about the issue

Ideally, you’ll save this information into a database or spreadsheet. Why? So you can review all of your customer service log data and come up with the top 10 (or so) customer issues and solutions.

Over time, this list will grow, but start with only 10 to make implementation of this resource more realistic.

Step 2: Create Article Database

Once you’ve got your 10 (or however many you choose) customer issues, begin creating brief articles for each. Ideally, these articles will introduce the issue, offer the solution, and answer any frequently asked questions you saw during your review of customer chat logs.

Here’s how to save time on this potentially lengthy process:

  • Use your customer service agent’s original answers to the issues as a starting point. Feel free to copy and paste to your heart’s content. Just remember to format the information into a standalone article instead of letting it sit in an unedited format.
  • Hire an outsourced writer to take your original information and turn it into a series of articles. If your business has the resources, this might be the fastest way to do it.
  • Have each customer service rep write up a few different articles. However, your customer service reps may be better at speaking than writing. Make sure to have a qualified editor review every article.

Once your articles are written, put them on your website on an easily accessible database. Train your customer service representatives so they know how to quickly search and access this database during their live help sessions. Make it accessible to your customers, too.

Step 3: Make This Accessible to Your Customers

With so many benefits of live help software, including an opportunity to upsell the customer, you may wonder why you want to make this information publicly available. Won’t customers go to your solution database instead of using live help?

While some of your customers will take the time to find this resource, search it, and find their own solutions, most won’t. Incorporating some of the live help best practices (such as using proactive live chat) will also help you continue to drive customers to your help sessions.

Another reason you want your customers being able to access this is that it can provide insights on the quality of your resource. Do a lot of your customers read an answer, then choose to clarify their issue to live chat anyway? It could be your solution isn’t clear enough or doesn’t adequately resolve your customer’s issue. By refining your solutions, you can improve your live chat conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

If you’re not using live chat software to conduct and learn from your customer service interactions, you’re missing out on a major resource. Try a 14 day trial today and see how quickly your business will learn about your customers.

3 Trade Secrets To Making Every Live Chat A Success

Making the investment in live chat software is a big step for your business. It allows you to save money, connect with your customers in a profound way, and build a base of lifelong customers.

Making the investment in live chat software is a big step for your business. It  allows you to save money, connect with your customers in a profound way, and build a base of lifelong customers.

High Level Of Success. Succeed.Like phone support or in-person customer service opportunities, live help software allows your resentatives to communicate with your customers and resolve concerns. However, without the added benefit of body language to rely on, some representatives might not know where to begin in a live help session.

The good news? A successful live help session is as easy as following three simple steps. Here are the things every chat representative should do at the beginning of every chat.

1. Prepare Before You Begin

When your customers request a live chat, is there a place for them to explain their issue or reason for chatting? While some chat types (such as those started by a website pop over) plunge the representative and customer right into the chat, most live help sessions allow the customer to ask a question, explain a problem, or offer some sort of comment while they submit the help request.

This is like a cheat sheet for your representatives. Why? Because it lets you know exactly what resources your rep needs to retrieve before the help chat begins.

Ideally, your company will review your live chat sessions on a regular basis to look for common problems, questions, and other issues your customers chat about. Then you’ll compile this information into a resource (such as a FAQ page) your agents can reuse during their own chat sessions.

This is a lifesaver because it means:

  • Your answers will be well-crafted, even on complicated issues, because your agents don’t have to write them on the fly.
  • You will be confidently able to answer every concern quickly without needing to spend 10 minutes researching a solution. Shorter chats lead to happier customers.
  • You’ll save a lot of money because you’ll be able to help more customers in less time. You’ll also be able to assign a single representative to multiple chats at once – something that’s very possible with the chat software and your resources.

But what if what your customer wrote before the chat actually isn’t their problem? Is pulling up information (that turns out to be irrelevant) a waste of your time?

No! In fact, taking the time to do this is almost always beneficial. It keeps your live chat agents familiar with your company’s content resources, making future help sessions even more efficient.

Greet Them and Make an Appropriate Amount of Small Talk

Though the tone of your live help session depends on why your customer is contacting you, beginning any conversation with polite small talk is a great way to establish a human connection. Since conveying emotion through text is different than using voice inflection, taking the time to make small talk will significantly help the relationship among your live help agent, the customer, and your company.

Consider leading the conversation by asking some of the following questions:

  • “How are you doing today?”
  • “How is your day going?”
  • “Happy Friday! Are you excited for the weekend?”
  • “How’s the weather where you are today?”

If your customer responds negatively (such as, “My day isn’t going well – I’ve got this problem that’s your company’s fault!”), don’t worry. This can easily be turned around through the live chat software. Simply communicate that you’re also concerned. Consider something as simple as, “Oh no! Let’s get that resolved for you right away so we can help your day go a little better.” A small amount of compassion can show the customer you’re on his or her side.

Just remember: small talk is important, but don’t spend too much time chatting about your customers’ cats! Remember that the live chat is an opportunity for your business to connect with your customer (and ideally make a sale). Spending too much time on irrelevant conversations wastes your business resources and can wear your customers out before the “help” portion of your chat.

3. Restate The Customer’s Issue to Show Understanding

Once you’ve established a relationship with the customer through small talk, it’s time to show that you understand his or her issue.

For example, say you provide small business IT services and a customer contacts your company for support. “My internet isn’t working,” they might say. In this case, you might want to keep the conversation simple and avoid terms like “network latency” and “wireless channels.” Just remember: communicate on your customers’ level, not down to their level.

A great way to demonstrate understanding is by using a technique known as mirroring. This method allows you to effectively communicate with your audience in a way that makes them feel comfortable and safe during your live help sessions.

Mirroring in live help works the same as it would in face-to-face conversations. As Lifehacker writes, “Instead of arguing your point in your own private way, mirror the person you’re talking to in body language, speed of your voice, volume, and even your word choice. You need to be subtle when doing this, but it’s a subconscious way to make the person you’re speaking with more comfortable.” The same principles apply during live help sessions, too.

Restating their problem and mirroring accomplishes two things. First, it shows that you’re actually listening to the customer and care what they have to say. Second, it helps you clear up any misunderstandings. Your customer isn’t as fluent in your product as you are, so they might not understand their own problem as well as you need to in order to solve their issue.

An Important Reminder

We mentioned this earlier in the article, but it bears mentioning again: it’s much more difficult to convey important emotions in your text than it is when you have the chance to speak person-to-person. But this is okay!

Live help software helps you overcome this limitation – if you follow the steps described in this article. Take the time to set the stage for your live chat, and you’ll find your customers responding with positive emotions towards your company.

As you can see, it’s actually quite easy to begin every live chat session right. With so many benefits from using live help software and how easy it is to create great chat experiences, it’s a smart investment for any business to make. Try it free for 14 days and see for yourself.