How to Make the Most of Chatbots

Mahatma Gandhi said it best: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.” If Gandhi understood the customer interaction in 1890 you can surely hit it out of the park.

If you’ve recently implemented live chat support to assist your customers but aren’t quite sure of all the ins and outs, understanding some of the best practices you should be aware of to create legendary customer service, while turning current customers into loyal fans, is a crucial component to success. Hopefully at this point you’ve done your homework and chosen the conversation marketing platform you think will work best for your website and company. If not, there are many to choose from; my favorite is the Drift platform.

Ok, are you ready to dive in?

1. Decide on Your Greeting

When setting up your live chat, you can choose a default message that appears when someone visits your site. Think about what you’re trying to achieve, and how to connect with your audience. Rather than “How can we help you?” try something more direct and focused, such as “Are you looking for a great deal on x?” or “Do you need help with sizing and styling?” Remember to be human. Create an unique approach that reflects your brand message.

2. Chat Needs to Operate Outside of 9am-5pm

Your website is your 24/7 shop-front – and therefore it needs to operate like that. After hours enquiries and purchases need to receive the same level of on-site service as those between 9am and 5pm. Many live chat integrations have mobile app’s – so you can respond from your smartphone when you are not at a computer, or consider finding a chat agent that can assist. Just make sure to be upfront with your customers. If you have no intention in responding to chats at 2am, your website should reflect that or you should disable the chat during those hours. The one thing you don’t want to do is disappoint and lose a customer before having the opportunity to help them.

3. Be Responsive

The convenience and benefit of having live chat on your website is that it should be highly responsive. Users may only be on a page for a short amount of time, so it is important to not lose a lead because you have not been fast enough to engage. Best practice states that you should respond within about 20 seconds.

4. Train your Team and Create a Process

As a powerful tool for gathering inbound leads, as well as qualifying – make sure your team is trained as to the best protocol. This may involve having scripts for commonly asked questions, or having a process around the key objectives you are looking to achieve. Maybe you have certain questions that you need to ask before you can qualify a lead.

Chat is a different medium than phone or email. Ensure your staff understands the skill set necessary to address client needs. They should understand when to transition a customer from chat to a phone call due to the complexity of an issue for example. Transparency is another crucial element. It’s impossible to know everything. Instruct your team to have confidence in telling your customers they don’t have an answer if it’s something they haven’t come across and/or something you had not created a solution for yet.

5. Get Contact Details

Most live chat integrations request for a customer to enter basic information such as their name, email and phone number for lead capturing – however not all customers may enter this data. Be sure to ask customers who have not entered a mobile number or email address in case you get disconnected, that way you can always follow up the lead. Avoid a hard sell though. Remember, the chat is in some cases the first experience your potential consumer has had with you. Treat it like a first date by building rapport and developing a relationship built on trust.

6. Personalise the Chat

Try not to be too scripted. The live chat function can have a ‘bot’-like nature to it. Try to find a way to create a connection with your customer, so it doesn’t feel as though they are chatting to an anonymous person on the internet. Chat is very informal; type conversationally but don’t go overboard (emoji’s and slang should be avoided). Keeping your message in line with your brand is always suggested.

7. Analyse the Data

Be sure to analyse the types of inbound leads you are getting and the questions that they are asking. Are many customers asking the same question – maybe your website doesn’t clearly communicate that point! Are your inbound leads relevant when they’re coming in? Or are your marketing efforts not targeting customers that are likely to convert? Use all of the available insights to make tweaks to your process. You may even want to review the customer satisfaction ratings from chat compared to your other support channels.

By implementing these customer service practices in your company, we know that you will be able to enjoy all the advantages that this evolving platform has to offer. Which best practice do you find most helpful? We would love to hear from you. Reach out today!

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