Doing Web Chat right
You know, there’s a massive difference between talking in-person versus talking via chat. For starters, it’s easier to think before you speak via chat, but it’s also easier to misunderstand what the other person is messaging.
Opponents of chat believe that we’re losing the art of conversation, while proponents believe that:
- Chat is less time consuming than talking
- It’s more accessible
- It’s less stressful
However, since facial expression and body language play a major role in communication, there’s always going to be a wall that divides you from the other person on the screen. Think about how many times you’ve sent out a “LOL” or “😂” while wearing a straight face.
It’s important to note how these micro-emotions can get lost in transit, therefore it’s your responsibility to ensure that Web Chat communication continues to be as frictionless as in-person communication, despite the wall.
What is Web Chat?
Web chat is a text-based chat system that allows people to communicate in real-time online. The solution is deployed on a website and doesn’t require the user to download external applications like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, etc.
Deploying it on your website allows your customers to have instant access to information, either through chatbots or through a live agent. In most cases, both are using working together hand-in-hand to deliver a holistic experience.
How to enable Web Chat
Enabling Web Chat is easy when you’re on the right platform. A powerful, customer engagement platform like Engati offers two options.
1. Using a direct URL
You could opt to activate Web Chat by using a direct URL. Once your customer lands on your website and wants to chat, the chat window will open in a separate tab.
This is a great option for those with Mobile use cases.
The direct URL for the chatbot is available in the Website Chatbot Section, besides the heading Chat Direct Link.
2. Using a chatbot widget
The script in the website code:
Click on the Folder icon to copy the script
Keep Your Chat Window On-Brand
It goes without saying that you want a slick user experience. Your web chat system should be easy-to-use and fully responsive across all devices.
One of the most important web chat best practices is to ensure the look and feel of your chat system is on point. You also want to ensure web chat is being offered intelligently, taking your customer’s journey and your contact centre resources into account.
There is almost infinite flexibility with how a chat system can be made to look. We recommend you work with your design/brand/marketing teams to ensure the web chat uses design cues in keeping your brand. Not only does this make your website look slick, it subtly signals potential chat users that your customer contact channels are well thought out and likely to be of high quality.
It can be easy to forget that you should thoroughly test on all browsers and devices - so make sure to test this! There’s no point designing your dream chat bubble for Chrome on a 28inch monitor if the majority of your users visit your website with Safari on an iPhone!
10 ways to do web chat right
1. Use Pre-Chat Forms Sensibly
We often debate the best practices of pre-chat forms with organisations. Do you make it easy for users to start a chat? Or do you prioritise your agent’s knowledge of customers and your CRM data? It’s a tricky balance and there’s no right answer. It mainly depends on what you use your web chat for.
As a general rule of thumb, for every form field you add to a pre-chat form, you can reduce web chat traffic by 5-10%.
For lead generation and to maximise the top of your sales funnel, we’d definitely recommend skipping the pre-chat form and making it easy for customers to speak to you. If you do need to gather data first, asking for a first name is a low-commitment piece of information for prospects to give over to your chat system, and it helps agents immediately personalise their chat messages.
2. Invoke empathy
Customer support agents being able to frame the conversation in a positive manner is one of the most important live chat etiquettes. While handling chats, agents should also be cheerful and polite as it is not only about resolving a query, but also about the right way it is done.
You should use empathetic statements that make your customers feel that you are able to understand their journey and feelings. They will be more comfortable to open and help you to build strong relationships.
Positive phrases that can be used:
- Please don’t hesitate….
- Please note that …..
- Let me check this for you, one moment, please
Negative phrases that should be avoided:
- Do not say NO directly.
- Go to our website and find out
- Avoid using – I think/I feel/I believe instead say “There might be an issue here, let me check this”.
Note: In case there is some negative news to share, the agent should pace it at the starting of the conversation and share the positive news towards the end to have a positive effect on customer enjoyment.
3. Use canned responses and quick responses for faster replies
Like everyone, customers also don’t like to wait. They expect an effective response for their query in real-time. Rightly developed canned responses can help in handling customer’s problem effectively and quickly.
Canned replies can maximize a customer support team’s efficiency to smoothly handle multiple chat sessions and balance the response time efficiently.
Some examples of canned responses are:
- We have received your message and we are working on it.
- We are still working on your case. We will update you soon.
- Your problem has been resolved
- Were you happy with the resolution
4. Deliver hybrid support with bots
Both live chat and chatbot are great channels for real time customer engagement. It is crucial for businesses to know customer preferences and use both the platforms in the right way to deliver automated conversational support. Chatbots are the best option for businesses that need to deliver 24×7 real time support.
The chat guidelines here are to use chatbots as the primary contact for FAQs and the complex conversations that need human touch can be handled by live chat agents.
Best practices to be followed to deliver better conversational support
- Provide your customers with the experience of hybrid support of both live chat and chatbot. Bots can handle FAQs and humans can handle complex queries.
- Develop an easy way for your users to connect with your support team. This will increase user engagement and boost customer satisfaction.
However, it is recommended that businesses can use both channels to deliver a hybrid customer support experience.
5. Never keep customers waiting
When we talk about live chat, the lesser the response time the higher is the customer service.
Forrester research says, “More than 30% of customers expect live chat on your website.” They grow impatient and get irritated if they fail to connect with the support agent in real time. Many customers will abandon their purchase if they don’t get an instant answer right away!
The best way to win the hearts of your customers is to close their cases in the first contact itself, without having them have to come back multiple times and go over the same questions again. Following the live chat tips at work helps to gain more loyal customers.
Also, your agents should accept multiple chats requests automatically and deliver them the quick meaningful solution they are looking for.
6. Mobile App Integration
If you offer a mobile app to your customers, you probably also want to offer chat to support them in-app.
While website integrations are mostly trivial, app integration can vary depending on how you’ve built your platform.
- If it’s a PWA (Progressive Web App), it is effectively the same as integrating into a website
- If your app supports WebViews, you can trigger web chat to show in a WebView, which is a bit like a browser being loaded up as an overlay in your web app
- If you’ve built your app using Java, Swift or other native app technologies, you’ll need a chat system that has an SDK or capability to integrate with your app. Depending on the solution, you will be able to start an intent to hand over to the chat system’s activity, and you will provide a runnable to run when the interaction is over. For more information on this, get in touch with our technical team.
7. Support Multiple Languages
Most web chat software is in English language by default on the website-side. Most systems will also let you change this to another language. But what if you support multiple languages?
If your website supports multiple languages by loading different pages/URLs per language, the simplest solution is to load different language files or chat scripts accordingly.
An alternative solution is to offer the user a dropdown with different language options.
8. Set Up Out-Of-Hours Workflows
What happens to web chat if all agents are offline? While some businesses offer 24/7 web chat, most have opening hours, after which agents are offline.
There are 3 options to solve this, each with their own pros and cons:
- A contact form: where the chat widget is replaced by a contact form for when web chat is inactive, this way if a customer has a query, you will receive an email about it. This helps for lead generation but could irritate customers who were expecting to find someone to contact - our main advice is that if you are setting up an offline-email form, change the wording to indicate as such.
- Hidden chat widget: Another option is to hide your chat widget completely so that no one can contact you during an offline period. After all, the purpose of web chat is to offer a real time response to people's questions, so if you can't provide this service at the time, there isn't much point in the feature being present.
- Outsourcing: Some companies choose to outsource their web chat to teams of specialist contact agents who can manage your web chats, particularly those which come through out of hours. This is a good way to ensure that web chats are being handled immediately, at any time of day. While there is a cost implication here, we recommend this option for sales/lead-gen focused web chat use cases.
Make sure your chat system lets you “block” chats that are sent outside of opening hours. If your business closes at 6pm, but a customer loaded your web page at 5.40pm when chat was available, they might send a chat request at 6.15pm. Youwant a system that will let the user know the opening hours are now over.
9. Measuring Live Web Chat Performance
Now that you know how to set up and implement web chat best practices, what you should think about is how best to optimise the service through planning, tracking and tweaking the variables on which your customer service performance depends.
To optimise its use, it's best to directly align web chat with a singular defined objective, which could be:
- Increasing conversion rates
- Decreasing shopping cart abandonment rates
- Reducing the average handle time of an interaction
- Improving customer satisfaction rates
10. Don’t assume phone agents can instantly become web chat agents
Even if they are great communicators and skilful salespeople, avoid reassigning agents from your company’s phone team directly to your web chat service without adequate training and vetting. As with any customer service position, specific training is required if you want to have an excellent performing team that can handle large amounts of queries at the same time without a drop in quality.
Ready to do Web Chat right?
Deploying your chatbot is easy with Engati. Either you can build the chatbot from scratch with the conversational modeller, or you can build using a template. And if you want to deploy the chatbot across multiple channels, all you have to do go to the Deploy menu, select your channel of choice, and that's it.
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