Live chat online platforms have introduced increasingly more advanced chat features to streamline the customer support process.
Given their straightforward usage, it seems hardly anything can go wrong with these tools. Surprisingly, our market research revealed otherwise: not all businesses make the best use of them and still fall into the following traps.
8 Most Common Mistakes With Live Chat Online
1. Lack of Instant Responses
In today’s fast-paced world, instant communication has been the norm. Waiting for a response in live chat, therefore, can feel like an eternity and understandably leads to frustration.
If a customer has a question during their purchase journey, a quick answer can nudge them towards closing the deal. Hence, your failure to reach out on time will lead to abandoned inquiries and eventually lost sales.
And that is not the worst. Slow responses also indicate inefficiency and lack of care toward customer needs. The public’s perception of your business will be severely affected as a result.
Common reasons for slow response time:
- Understaffing issues (not having enough agents available to handle the chat volume)
- Unclear guidelines/procedures for handling inquiries
- Failure to utilize template greetings, FAQs, canned responses, automated chatbots, and other built-in automation tools for basic questions
- Software glitches or slow internet connections
2. Using The Wrong Tone
Using the wrong tone might damage the brand's reputation. (Image source: Pxhere).
Like a face-to-face interaction, the initial tone also sets the stage for the entire chat conversation. A friendly and helpful tone encourages open communication and helps de-escalate conflicts. Using the wrong tone, on the other hand, alienates the customer while also damaging the brand's reputation.
Here are some common mishaps:
- Using excessive slang and emojis. Likewise, neglecting proper grammar makes you appear both unprofessional and disrespectful.
- Sticking to scripted responses (which often feel cold and robotic) without a genuine human touch often makes customers feel unheard.
- Sarcasm or humor does not always translate well. Since text-based communication lacks nonverbal cues, your jokes might be misconstrued and end up offending the customer.
- Although quick responses are important, rushing or appearing impatient/condescending toward customer concerns is a dead mistake.
- Defensive or argumentative tone. When faced with frustrated customers, remaining calm and professional (even when explaining basic policies or troubleshooting issues) is crucial.
3. Poor Handling Of Customer Issues
Needless to say, dissatisfied customers who feel their issues are mishandled are more likely to abandon the brand and, worse, share their negative chat experiences with others. These bad online reviews and word-of-mouth can spread much faster than you think, hurting both the brand image and future customer acquisition.
Furthermore, customer frustration also discourages and stresses out your online chat agents. It would be quite challenging to maintain overall team morale and efficiency in the long run.
- Transferring customers between agents without resolving their issues creates a very unpleasant and disjointed experience for them.
- Generic or irrelevant solutions. Failure to actively listen to the specific issue shows a clear lack of genuine customer care.
- Overpromising solutions or setting unrealistic expectations is the common formula for distrust and disappointment.
- Engaging in arguments or placing blame on the customer is the worst mistake you could ever make. It does nothing but further aggravate the situation and keep both sides from reaching a good solution.
4. Dealing With Too Many Chat Windows Simultaneously
Rushing between windows compromises the attention you give each customer (Image source: Public Domain Pictures).
Rushing between customer conversations might sound like an excellent multitasking tip.
However, the truth is that it will compromise the quality of attention given to each customer, increasing the risk of all the previous mistakes we have discussed (inaccurate responses, missed contact details, typos, etc.).
It is unsurprising the customers would leave feeling extremely offended. Not to mention, the excessive overload can be mentally taxing for your sales team as well, resulting in higher turnover rates.
Common reasons behind this mistake:
- Unrealistic expectations. Your business should determine the optimal number of concurrent chats an agent can handle effectively. Their experience and the complexity of customer requests must be taken into account as well.
And do not forget to encourage breaks and stress management practices to help them combat burnout. If necessary, analyze chat volume to adjust staffing levels/ chat availability accordingly.
- Lack of technology utilization. You should leverage key features like chat queues, auto-responders, or chat routing to distribute inquiries more efficiently while prioritizing more urgent issues.
- Lack of diverse communication options. Consider providing alternative channels for simpler customer requests; live chat interactions should be reserved for more complex inquiries.
- Little investment in training. All customer care associates must be properly trained in time management and task prioritizing.
5. Inconsistent Language
Customers will be understandably confused when they receive conflicting information or encounter different tones in the live chat interactions. This communication gap does not reflect well on the business, making customers question the company’s expertise and reliability.
What to avoid:
- Varying levels of formality. One agent might use formal language, while another adopts a more casual tone. A customer encountering both of these agents will clearly feel baffled.
- Inconsistent use of terminology. Make sure all your agents use the same terms for the same product, service, or process to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. Likewise, details regarding the same policies or procedures must be uniform.
- Mixing brand voice and personal style. Of course, an agent should be personable and relatable. But that does not mean they should sacrifice the brand voice during the process.
6. Limiting The Online Live Chat Applications to Websites
Use it on mobile apps as well (Image source: Needpix).
These days, many customers prefer to reach out through other channels like messaging platforms or social media channels, depending on their needs and convenience.
So, what if they struggle with the purchase process on those platforms but refuse to initiate contact on the website (or do not even know there is a live chat tool on the site)? Your business will lose out on sales for nothing. And even if they decide to use the live business chat, jumping between channels for different inquiries can still be frustrating and inconvenient.
To avoid this mistake, you should also incorporate the chat app into the following communication channels:
- Social media platforms: Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, WhatsApp, etc.
- Messaging apps: Viber, Telegram, or even SMS (depending on your target audience).
- Mobile phone apps: We see no reason not to implement it within your mobile app to provide immediate support for app users.
- Email or ticketing systems: Large businesses also embed chat options within email responses or ticketing systems to offer real-time support when needed.
7. Trying to Discuss Every Customer Issue Within The Chat Widget
Live chat is the key to immediate customer interaction, but that does not mean agents should cram every issue into the chat platform.
The chat sessions can become quite lengthy; not to mention, the limited capacity of chat transcripts (compared to tickets or emails) makes it difficult to follow up or escalate the support process. And remember that there are certain situations where alternative approaches might be more effective during the customer journey.
Here are some of our suggested chat tips to boost customer satisfaction:
- Provide alternative contact methods (like phone calls) for detailed discussions or situations requiring technical expertise.
- Allow customers to raise tickets for complex issues, enabling more thorough investigation and documentation.
- Direct your customers to relevant FAQs, knowledge bases, or troubleshooting guides for self-resolution of simple issues.
- Schedule follow-up appointments to delve deeper into complicated matters without chat time constraints.
8. Missing The Peak Chat Time
Adjust the staffing when needed during peak times (Image source: Needpix).
Many businesses fail to accurately predict peak periods based on chat history and seasonality, which inevitably results in insufficient staffing during high-demand times.
Some marketplace companies even stick to a rigid schedule all year round without considering changes to accommodate peak fluctuations. Outdated live chat software (which struggles to handle surges in chat volume) is also to be blamed here.
The obvious solutions to this issue:
- Keep a close eye on seasonal trends and current marketing campaigns (if there are any going on) to predict peak chat volume more accurately.
- Do not hesitate to implement flexible scheduling and adjust agent availability based on real-time chat analytics.
- Choose robust live chat solutions with sufficient server capacity.
What if, for some reason, your business fails to adopt these strategies? At the very least, inform customers about the average wait times during peak periods. You can also offer them options to leave direct messages or request callbacks.
StringeeX: The Ultimate Solution
StringeeX, the market’s leading virtual call center, allows your customer service agents to sidestep all the abovementioned mistakes.
Customer chat logs and interactions from every digital channel (Facebook, website, email, etc.) are trackable and easy to monitor from one single interface. Likewise, relevant customer data and tickets, accessible to all agents, are also stored in the same place under customers’ profiles.
No more concerns about inconsistent information delivery or language usage when different agents communicate with the same customer!
StringeeX also directs customers to the best agent at the time based on customizable filters (e.g., expertise or working schedule), so the chances of understaffing are low. Better, customers can interact with a menu of options for the most commonly asked questions, saving both sides from frustration and freeing agents for more complex inquiries.
Live chat online is an incredible communication feature for the best customer service experiences, but only when a business knows how to use it right. Our team has detailed some of the most common mistakes and ways to address them; write to us if you still need more live chat strategies.