Live Chat and Phone Support

13.10.2017 |

Episode #4 of the course How to win business with memorable customer service by Valentina Grishkevich


Hi everyone! Today, we’ll discuss tips and tricks for a successful live chat and phone support.

The main advantage live chat has over other support channels is that it lets you engage customers while they’re still on your site and about to make a decision. This becomes crucial for any business that sells its products online, since people feel greater confidence in their decision if they “meet” a chat agent and have the opportunity to ask all hot questions right away.

The main advantage phone support has is the opportunity to build emotional connection with customers due to the voice communication.


Where to Start

Standalone chat support tools usually integrate with the help desk and other apps you probably already use. They differ by pricing and features, so you can choose the one suitable for your business:

• Zopim

• Olark

• SnapEngage

• LiveChat

• Pure Chat

• Chatlio

• Chatra

• LivePerson

• Bold360

• Firehose Chat

• Velaro

If you want to have more functionality than a simple live chat in your tool (email support, phone support, or otherwise), you can turn to help desks that offer a live chat option:

• Intercom

• HappyFox

• Zendesk

• LiveChat

• Zoho Support

• LiveAgent

• Freshdesk

Major rules for a successful live chat:

• Keep your response time low in operational hours. If you are not going to provide a 24/7 live chat support, you have to set your customers’ expectations with listed operating hours and estimated reply time. If your support representative cannot give a solution right away, they need to inform the customer and follow up the conversation later or ask them for an email address and send an answer there. If finding the solution seems a quick task, the support representative can ask a customer to hold.

• Show great product/service knowledge.

• Have a kind and personal approach to customers.

With phone support, you would probably want to hire a call center, since in most cases, you’ll find that an in-house option is very expensive. Either way, it’s important to educate your new support agents and analyze their work at the very beginning (to be sure everything is going smoothly).

How phone support differs from live chat is that you cannot cheat here—your support reps need to be native speakers. Your company reputation depends on that. Aside from that, they need to have a clear diction, an appealing voice, and control over their intonation.


How to Improve

With time, you can see opportunities to make your live chat better. Things you might wish to dig into:

1. Make a daily/weekly summary. Collect information on the number of your chats, missed opportunities, suggestions, complaints, etc. This will help you calculate and predict your workload.

2. Gather information about customers (what page they are currently viewing, where they are coming from, and such). Most live chat tools provide some sort of statistics. This might help your chat agents understand the inquiry better.

3. Develop active chat. Instead of waiting for an inquiry, your chat service can send automated greetings tailored to each specific case. For example, offer a different color for the item a user is browsing. You can split your audience into segments and greet each one of them with a tailored message.

Moreover, your support heroes may go beyond your product and try to help with irregular issues:

• Give advice on matters not involving your products.

• Show customers how they can improve their business with your product.

• Ask successful customers how they achieved their goal, and create case studies ready for sharing.

At the same time, there are rather limited opportunities for improving your phone support. You may hire more support reps to decrease waiting time and/or perform more trainings for your support reps to improve their skills and knowledge. But what’s challenging is that there’s no opportunity to pull up a customer’s order and conversation history, transferring visual info is impossible, and conveying troubleshooting instructions can be cumbersome. Overall, this channel is losing popularity. So, it’s better to redirect most of the customer inquiries to other channels if you can.

That’s it for today, hope you enjoyed this lesson! Tomorrow, we’ll look at customer support emails, their structure, and examples.

See you later!



Recommended book

What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint by Nicholas J. Webb


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