10 Best Practices for Implementing a Successful Customer Support Chat

10 Best Practices for Implementing a Successful Customer Support Chat

Master customer support chat with these 10 best practices—deliver exceptional service every time

Posted by Joe Dodds on May 6, 2023

Effective customer support chat can make a significant difference in your business’s customer satisfaction. In turn, that can have a huge impact on conversion rates, customer retention, and the effectiveness of marketing practices like referral programs to promote your services. We’ve explored the numerous benefits of having outstanding customer support chat on our blog, so that’s not why we’re here. In this article, we’ll share the 10 best practices for implementing a successful customer support chat that helps you deliver top-notch service at all times. This article is for business owners who are already convinced they need a chat-based customer support solution and want to know how to implement it in the best way possible. If that sounds like you, in this article, we’ll give you a clear path to achieving it. Let’s begin!

1. Choose the Right Chat Platform

Selecting a chat platform that meets your business’s and customer’s needs and seamlessly integrates with your existing tools and systems is vital. It is important to have a presence in different mediums where your customers might reach out for support, like social media and websites, among others. Some companies are much better than others when it comes to factors like customization options, ease of use, and scalability. Check out our article about the top 21 Freshdesk alternatives to find out about some outstanding solutions—the article also contains a quick guide on how to pick the right solution.

2. Train Your Support Team

It’s also crucial to invest in comprehensive training for your support team, covering product knowledge, communication skills, and platform functionality. But that’s not it—there’s a lot of nuance that goes into offering amazing customer support regardless of the tools you’re using. For example, you must also use the following practices:

  • Provide training to support agents, ensuring they possess problem-solving skills and empathy for customer concerns.

  • Train agents to the point where they can handle a wide range of issues. This reduces the need for escalations and provides an excellent experience for customers.

  • Use chat triggers to initiate conversations with customers based on specific criteria, such as page views, time spent on the site, and browsing behavior, among others.

  • Address potential issues before they arise. This enhances customer satisfaction and reduces the burden on reactive support channels. You can do this by educating your customers or creating an onboarding process that eliminates most of the doubts of new users.

  • Tailor greetings to each customer by incorporating their name, purchase history, or other relevant information to establish a personal connection. Remember, personalization is key for customer support!

  • You can also use customer data to personalize interactions, provide targeted recommendations, address specific concerns, and offer relevant solutions.

  • Establish clear guidelines for response times, language, and escalation protocols. Ensure your team adheres to these guidelines to maintain consistent and professional customer interactions.

  • Train your support team to practice active listening, which involves fully understanding the customer’s concern before responding. This helps avoid misunderstandings and improves customer satisfaction.

These and more practices must be part of your staff training or onboarding process. This will ensure they’re fully equipped and qualified to tend to your customer’s needs effectively.

3. Prioritize Responsiveness

Answering your customer’s questions and solving their doubts and issues as quickly as possible must be a priority. Keep in mind that most customers who reach out have a very legitimate reason. For them, it’s urgent, and your staff must match their sense of urgency. Doing the opposite will not be met with good scores for customer support, which is a deciding factor for clients when they’re choosing a chat support solution. This can also make new clients drop your company and services and disappoint older customers enough to consider switching to a more caring company.

4. Use Canned Responses Wisely

Canned or predefined responses are used for FAQs, and they can save time. But use them sparingly because they can be detrimental to the perceived quality of your customer support. To use them properly, you must always customize them to suit individual customer inquiries and avoid robotic or overly generic language.

Nowadays, customers are more aware than ever before of the existence of support AIs and predefined answers. That’s why there’s been a noticeable resurgence in the utilization of live chat solutions, where customers are aware someone is writing these answers in real time. Also, users have preconceived notions about the quality of the customer support they can receive from automated and canned answers—they assume these are low-quality responses. It’s also true that canned responses can miss the point when there’s too much nuance in the customer’s needs and messages. Ultimately, you can use canned responses, but make sure they’re relevant, well-thought-out, and as personalized as possible. A good canned response is indistinguishable from a live agent response!

5. Implement Proactive Support

Proactive customer support means offering assistance before customers even ask for it. This is a rather advanced technique that requires highly trained or highly experienced customer support agents. Identifying potential pain points and addressing them to enhance the overall customer experience takes a lot of effort, forward-thinking, and empathy to the point of near-clairvoyance. This is something most companies skip because it can increase the cost of training or hiring experienced agents. However, if offering excellent support is closely linked to the quality of your overall service, doing so is a must.

6. Embrace Technology and Automation

You should also utilize chatbots and AI technologies to handle routine inquiries, provide immediate responses, and free up agents for more complex issues. Technology can help you streamline workflows, automate tasks, and provide real-time support to customers. Keep in mind that this tip has the same limitations as canned responses. Analyzing and categorizing conversations is vital—that way you ensure chatbots and AI agents respond to the most menial of questions. A good idea to add to this is to create excellent documentation to pair with these practices. Even though a chatbot can’t provide complex answers, you can create documentation, video tutorials, and other resources that can help your customers handle the issues themselves. This is especially important for SAAS companies, as they usually require more complex customer support, and a video solving a specific issue can help users a lot.

7. Multichannel Integration

Even though you might have established clear customer support channels, according to our experience with Globo, Polyblog, and Waiterio, we know one thing for sure—customers reach out from any platform, even if it’s not intended for customer support. And it’s not because we’ve not addressed this as part of our efforts to provide excellent support! So, according to that anecdote, multichannel integration is a must for SAAS companies.

8. Make sure your chat support is available 24/7 and in different languages

Another thing we figured out with our sister companies is that customers either don’t sleep or don’t care if you or your support agents sleep. They also don’t care if you don’t speak their language; they expect great customer service, especially if it’s a company with global reach like Waiterio. And the truth is, they’re right! Nowadays, there are enough automation and AI tools that can empower your company to provide support no matter what their language or time zone is. You should take full advantage of that, as these factors can be a major selling point for your services.

9. Monitor and Analyze Performance

Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate your customer support chat’s success, such as response times, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and optimize your support processes.

10. Collect and Implement Customer Feedback

Collecting feedback from customers to identify strengths and weaknesses in your customer support chat. Use this information to make data-driven decisions and continually improve your support strategy. This can help you improve any of the previous tips to make them as effective as possible for your customer base.

Satisfying Your Customers Should be a Priority for Your Support Efforts

By implementing these practices, you can create a successful customer support chat system that meets your customers’ needs and expectations. Remember that continuous improvement is essential to staying competitive in today’s business landscape. Stay up-to-date with industry trends and adapt your support processes to provide an exceptional customer experience. Are you doing enough?

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