We’ve been in the live chat business long enough to gain a strong understanding of what makes a good chat. When we first started out, we were tempted to treat live chat as a tool that our client’s customers could use to ask questions and get answers. However, today we know that is not the most successful strategy.
In the past, our Client Setup team would build scripts with embedded FAQ’s. Our chat operators used these FAQ’s to find answers to common questions and then regurgitate the answers in the live chat to website visitors impatiently waiting on the other side.
We quickly found that this wasn’t a scalable solution.
In order for us to provide really great service, our agents needed to know enough about our client’s product or service in order to answer questions intelligently. However, the problem we faced is that, with thousands of clients, it’s just not possible for our chat operators to be knowledgeable experts in every single vertical domain.
As a client, you could opt to pay for dedicated agents, but in most cases, this is just simply not cost effective.
Of course, with shared chat operators, where our
chat operators take chats from any website, we found that inevitably a website visitor would ask a question that either wasn’t on the FAQ or that was formatted in a manner that made it difficult to find in the FAQ.
The other problem we encountered was that the length of the FAQ was directly proportional to the length of our response times. The longer the FAQ, the longer it takes our chat operators to locate the information in question. Additionally, most website visitors quickly exposed us as a counterfeit, immediately seeing that they were communicating with an answering service instead of a knowledgeable expert, capable of answering complex questions.
Here is an example of a bad chat from our darkest days, with the operator’s name hidden to protect the innocent:
Operator [7:55 PM]: Hello, thank you for your interest in Safecycle, your Motorcycle Safety Course provider. How may I help you?
Guest [7:56 PM]: I am interested in taking the course. Do you have classes on Saturday?
Operator [7:59 PM]: I am sorry. I don’t have that information. Can I take your name and number and have someone get back to you?
Guest [7:59 PM]: You’re kidding, right? You work for Safecycle, but you don’t have the schedule? Why are
Operator [8:00 PM]: I’m sorry, but someone will be here tomorrow to assist you further. What is your name?
Guest has left the chat…
The answers to all of our questions were… well… questions!
Today, the story is much different. Today we know that a successful chat service strategy involves the chat operators and the website visitors reversing their roles. Today, instead of our chat operators cringing at their agent desktop waiting for a question they cannot confidently answer, our chat operators are the ones who ask the questions.
Today, our Chat Setup experts meet with you to come up with at least five questions that we can ask website visitors who visit your website and start a chat. For instance, our Chat Setup expert would meet with Safecycles and come up with some questions that our chat operators can use to gain control of the conversation and maybe also provide Safecycles with some additional information that may help them provide better services to the leads qualified from the website.
Below is an example of a successful chat today:
Guest [6:45 PM]: Do you have classes on Saturdays?
Operator Dave G. joined…
Dave [6:45 PM]: Hello, thank you for your interest in Safecycle, your Motorcycle Safety Course provider.
Dave [6:45 PM]: Have you taken a safety course before or would this be your first time?
Guest [6:46 PM]: Umm. I used to ride when I lived in Massachusetts, but the rules are different in Maryland. They want me to take their safety course because I’m only 20.
Dave [6:46 PM]: I see.
Dave [6:46 PM]: Do you currently have a motorcycle?
Guest [6:46 PM: Yes.
Dave [6:47 PM]: What kind?
Guest [6:47 PM]: It’s a 2003 Yamaha 700.
Dave [6:47 PM]: Ok, great. How long has it been since you last rode?
Guest [6:48 PM]: About 4 months I think.
Dave [6:48 PM]: Ok, excellent! Who am I chatting with?
Guest [6:48 PM]: My name is Karen.
Dave [6:49 PM]: Well Karen I think we can help you, but I’ll have to get your information over to the right scheduling department. Can I have a phone number and an email address where our registration office can reach you?
Guest [6:49 PM]: 825-775-6365
Guest [6:49 PM]: email@example.com
Dave [6:49 PM]: Great! I’ll forward this along, you should expect to hear from someone from that office soon. Have a great evening.
Guest has left the chat…
The main difference between the two chats is that one chat resulted in a qualified lead, an individual interested in a product or service, who has taken the first step towards converting to a sale. The chances of converting this qualified lead into a sale is significantly higher now that we’ve asked some questions and made the website visitor feel more invested in what our client has to offer.
- We show more interest in the website visitor.
- We gather information that may or may not be important to our client.
- We engage the website visitor in a conversation.
- Most importantly, we take control of the conversation.
- We gain credibility in the eyes of the website visitor.