All businesses want to create relationships with their customers that increase sales, ensure loyalty, and result in great recommendations and reviews. Trust is an essential component of a good customer relationship — and live chat is an excellent way to build trust with your customers.
Practice active listening: Understanding what a customer needs and responding with relevant questions and suggestions is vital to building customer trust. Live chat allows you to connect with a customer and understand what they’re thinking and feeling in the moment.
Once you understand a customer’s needs, you can empathize with their perspective, establish shared goals and context, and find the best solution to their question or problem.A few tips on active listening via live chat:
- Match your customer’s tone. If a customer is obviously upset, it’s important to convey that you understand how they’re feeling and that you’re taking their problem seriously. Being chipper when someone is angry is not a good look.
- Paraphrase or ask for clarification. You want your customer to know that you’re actively working to understand what they’re trying to convey. Double-checking is never a bad idea! Try putting what they’re looking for into your own words, and then ask if you’re right. If you’re having trouble paraphrasing, ask clarifying questions like ‘Would you mind explaining your issue in more detail?’ or ‘I’m not sure I understand just yet, can you try asking your question in a different way?’
- Let your customer finish their thought before replying. It’s easy to chat over one another when you can’t rely on someone’s physical presence to direct the flow of a conversation. Olark’s chat console will show you when your customer is typing. If your customer is mid-message, it’s always best to wait to respond. They may share important information that will affect your follow-up questions or suggestions.
Be reliable: For a customer to trust your business, they need to feel secure. Reliable communication is a great way to foster a sense of security, while unreliable communication — long email resolution times, indeterminate service queues, etc. — will cause your customers to feel uncertain or abandoned.
Live chat is one of the most reliable communication methods available today. You’re either available or you’re not — there’s no grey area. A customer who sends a message can rely on a quick response. At Olark, our current median initial response time is 9 seconds!
Our reports feature allows you to track your team’s response time and learn whether you’re missing chats, and we highly recommend tracking those metrics to make sure you’re demonstrating reliability to your customers.
Establish and meet customer expectations: Your customers can’t trust you if they don’t know what to expect from you. Setting expectations gives your customers a clear picture of what kind of service they can expect, and gives you something to refer back to if a customer’s requirements are outside of what you’re able to offer.
We do our very best to make sure Olark is an easy, useful tool that makes our customers happy. In the event a customer of ours finds we’re not a good fit, we want to make sure they get their money back. At Olark, we’re committed to making refunds quick and hassle-free. Our refund policy is written in plain English and is easy to find in our help center. We also include an overview of our refund process in our reply if a customer requests to cancel their plan.
It’s also a great idea to set expectations around how your team handles feature requests and improvements from customers. Our customers have amazing ideas about how to improve Olark, and we’re so grateful that they share them with us!
We wish we could implement All The Things, but until that magical day arrives, we do our best to make it clear to everyone who requests a feature or suggests an improvement that we’re happy to put in a request for them, but we can’t promise the feature will be built. We use JIRA to track of feature requests, and we contact everyone who has requested a feature in the event it becomes available.
Serve with a unified voice: Having everyone on your team on the same page when it comes to your service standards is just as important as communicating well with your customers. Even though we’re a remote team, we spend the entire day on Slack talking through issues, transferring chats to the right expert, and making sure that responsibilities are seamlessly handed off as the day moves across time zones.
For example, I work European business hours. If I get a particularly tricky case that I’m not able to solve by the end of my day, I add a note to the case and escalate it to our triage team so they know what the problem is and what I’ve done so far to investigate. That way when a reply from a different Olarker goes out to the customer, there’s no gap in the service they receive. If we weren’t able to communicate so well, the chances that customers would hear conflicting information from different Olarkers would be much higher.
If you enjoyed this, check out our guide to the essential customer service skills on the Olark Courses website!
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