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]: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
The similarity between the two chat is that the operator still doesn’t necessarily have to be an expert on the product or service. In both cases, the operator knows absolutely nothing about the product or service, but by asking questions, we accomplish several things:
- 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.
We can still answer questions, but we suggest limiting it to the top 5 most frequently asked questions
In summary, by taking control of the conversation and asking the questions, we provide a much better user experience to the website visitors, build great rapport through live chat
, and provide a much bigger lead capture success rate for our clients. Contact us today at 800-220-5390 or sign up on our website at http://www.conversionsupport.com/sign-up.html
to get started with a successful live chat service strategy.
We recently made some improvements to the design of the Guest Chat Window that appears on your website when your website visitors make inquiries. The improvements are mainly cosmetic, but they greatly improve the user experience.
Our design team draws inspiration from Apple. Like Apple, our goal has always been simplicity in design. Too much clutter creates confusion, and too many decisions place an unnecessary burden on the Chat Guest. The chat window still boasts the same simplicity in design but with a few new features:
Live Chat Software Emoticons
Body language — a key component in face to face conversation — is lost behind the veil of a keyboard. In addition, tone of voice is absent, as are many other visual and auditory cues that can make the exact same sentence have a fundamentally different meaning in the context of a chat. A jovial message sent in good spirits can easily be misinterpreted as an insulting jibe.
Emoticons negate the potential for messages to be taken the wrong way. This powerful tool, if used correctly, can make the chat seem less scripted, robotic, and more engaging; it essentially allows the Chat Operator and the Guest to relax and be themselves.
However, like any tool, it can be used, and it
can be abused. It’s important that your chat operators are properly trained on using emoticons sparingly. Like a compliment, they can be overused, which dilutes their meaning and impact.
The majority of people do want to connect with another human being, even if it’s behind the anonymous veil of a live web chat. Emoticons are one tool to help facilitate this and make your chats feel more engaging, which results in higher satisfaction, increased lead capture rates, and lower shopping cart abandonment rates.
Live Chat Loading Message
|Waiting for Live Chat Agent
Chats which are not answered promptly result in abandoned chats. According to a Forrester Research Study, The ROI Of Interactive Chat, chats that wait in the queue longer than 60 seconds are more likely to abandon. The study finds that 45 seconds is an ideal wait time metric to use when determining your staffing needs.
The loading message is an animated image that is designed to give the Guest something to read while waiting for the Chat Operator. The first 20 seconds of the wait time involves transitioning through the four screens. A blank screen can make 20 seconds seem like 5 minutes, whereas an engaged Chat Guest is more likely to experience the wait as a much shorter duration. Our goal is to respond to chats in less than 20 seconds, and we designed the loading screen with this in mind.
No Send Button Needed
|Live Chat Agent Chatting With Sales Lead
Some people have suggested that our designers add a “Send” button to the Guest Chat Window. Drawing inspiration from the extreme attention to detail that Apple puts into the Mac OS user interface, our designers strongly feel that this is an unnecessary element that creates distractions in the chat window as well as embeds a black mark in the design itself.
The general argument from designers is that the send button is like a vestigial organ. It has no purpose since the Chat Guest can simply press “Enter”. So to meet all of the needs, simplicity in design as well as an intuitive user interface, our developers have added a message to the chat window input box to help the less seasoned chatters figure out what actions they need to take to send a message.
Once again, the Guest Chat Window still sports the same simplistic, streamlined design, except with tools that enhance communication and lower perceived wait times. Learn more about our software offerings and the 30 Day Free Trial. Try out the software for yourself, and let us know what you think!