Live chat on your website: Best practices & what to avoid

6 Mins Read
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Live chat has become an essential for business websites today, as customers expect fast and efficient responses. While there are many benefits of having an online live chat, it’s helpful to note the best practices and what to avoid.

According to a study by SuperOffice, almost 46% of customers prefer live chat over other forms of communication as they wish to interact with someone in real-time when they have a query about a product or service they are browsing online. Having access to a support team to address their concerns immediately not only increases customer engagement but can also drive sales and repeat customers. With such benefits to reap, it’s time to take advantage of live chat and boost your business.

Best practices to follow in live chat

Before you implement the live chat widget on your site, giving some thought to the execution process will be worthwhile. Here are some best practices with which you can ensure the feature is well-optimised for your e-commerce customers. 

1. Placement of live chat window on the website

Strategically placing the live chat window at the proper position on the web page such as the bottom right corner can let customers quickly notice the feature while browsing without being distracted by it. Some businesses may choose a fixed chat button that does not float and follow the customer’s scrolling activity, which a sticky chat button otherwise does. There are benefits for both. The fixed one works well on pages where customer engagement drives the highest value, while sticky alternatives offer maximum visibility and therefore higher chances of usage. Both will do wonders for your website depending on your business needs.

2. Have a proactive approach

Instead of waiting for the customer to start an interaction, adopt a proactive approach where you take the first step and ask the customer how you can help them. For instance, when the customer opens the live chat on the website, they can be greeted with a welcome message, followed by a ‘How may I assist you today?’ liner to initiate the conversation. Smarter live chats can also identify repeat customers, thus the conversation can be more personalised. Messages like ‘It’s great to have you back with us!’ or ‘Lovely to speak to you again, how can we help you this time?’ enhance the value of the interaction.

3. Use AI chatbots

A chatbot is software that simulates human-like conversations with a user during messaging or email. You can use AI chatbots in online chatting to provide immediate responses to simple queries such as questions that have yes or no answers. The customer can then indicate whether their query was addressed, and if not, they can be directed to your service team who will assist in complex questions or problems.

4. Ensure human effect in conversations

One of the most significant benefits of live chat for customer service is human interaction, which results in greater customer engagement and satisfaction. It is crucial to ensure the human touch in conversations instead of sounding robotic and unengaging. Keep a positive attitude while interacting, personalise the messages, and switch to audio or video calls when required. This can also be achieved in AI bots where the tech adopts the characteristics of human-to-human communication.

5. Respond promptly 

The main point of live chat is for customers to interact with you immediately, in real-time, which means a slow response may put them off. Since 53% of shoppers tend to abandon their carts when their questions are not answered as quoted by Forrester, the live chat serves as an important magnet tool to retain customers – providing prompt responses to their queries will go a long way in locking in a conversion.

6. Track live chat metrics

When you track metrics on your live chat, you can identify traffic patterns, record common queries, both simple and complex, and analyse the performance of your team based on response time and query fulfilment. Such data allows you to plan and schedule your live chat resources accordingly. At the same time, you can sieve out any challenges or mistakes and find solutions for them. Some of these metrics include total number of chats per day, week and month, completed and missed chats and purchases made after navigating from the live chat.

7. Intelligently route customer queries to the relevant departments

Another best practice is to route customer queries to the relevant departments as quickly as possible so that the concerned department can resolve the customer’s question efficiently and in real-time. This can be done by providing different button options for customers to choose from which will direct them to the appropriate department upon clicking.

8. Train your support team

Training your support team to offer customers the best advice and response is crucial to ensuring customer satisfaction and engagement. This can be done by conducting workshops for the support team in which they can learn more about having effective customer communication and problem-solving skills.

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What to avoid in a live chat

While you pay attention to the benefits of having a live chat on your website and the best practices, it’ll be good to explore the areas that could downplay the effectiveness of this feature. 

1. Taking on more than you can handle

Constantly assess your capacity and figure out how much load you can handle and the hours you can offer online chatting. Although a 24/7 online messaging service is ideal for a business since customers can shop any time they want, it may not work to your advantage if you do not have the resources to cater to volume and schedule demands. For a start, you can set the operating time of your live chat during the period your team will be available, while you strategise on catering to your customers after business hours. 

2. Using too many emojis

Emojis convey a significant amount of social power – they help humanise and personalise conversations, especially in live chat environments. However, using too many emojis can give a non-serious impression. Your rule of thumb is to use only relevant and basic emojis like the smiley face or the thumbs up when the situation calls for it, such as when you greet or say goodbye, or thank the customer for positive feedback. It’s also better to skip the emojis when the customer is upset or annoyed – you may appear to be attempting to calm the situation by using emojis instead of actually focusing on addressing the issue at hand. 

3. Giving unrelated recommendations

It is alright if you cannot answer a customer’s query correctly, but the last thing they want is unrelated and unhelpful recommendations from you. Such a response will be counter productive to having a live chat. After all, the purpose of your live chat is to address customer queries. Unless the recommendations are suitable and are requested by the customer, end the conversation succinctly by asking whether there is anything else you can help them with. 

Supercharge the success of your live chat with DHL Express

Having a powerful live chat function will not be as effective if you are unable to deliver your products to your customers as promised. Partnering with a reliable logistics company means you can ensure that you can walk the talk when it comes to customer service. With DHL Express, you won’t have to worry about shipping challenges. From time, day and same day shipments to flexible on-demand delivery to a whole suite of features including parcel tracking, you can cater to your customers based on their diverse needs. Why not open an account with us to experience the benefits first-hand?