With more folks that ever turning to online for, well, pretty much everything, we are increasingly taking advantage of live chat features. Consequently, there are some basics that we can follow to do so properly.
eManners During Support Chats
When I go to a site with a chat feature, I do not hesitate to use it to get my questions answered. Heck, that is what it is there for and I take advantage of it.
When you click on that chat icon a courteous person pops in to politely address any questions and concerns you may have. No telephone menu hell, no wait time. We both just tip tap on the keyboard hoping to do business together.
Shoe on the Other Foot
Little did I realize how rare that type of courtesy may be for those support agents. When I added chat to one of my sites, I was stunned.
I was really taken aback at the curt demands and cryptic questions that came through my “Live Support Online” feature. In many cases no effort was made to be courteous, friendly — or even grateful.
Requests that were cryptic. Questions where the answers were easily found on my website. Inquiries that were basically spammy.
This was a daily experience. Incoming chat requests came in with a question that I would promptly respond to by first thanking the site visitor for stopping by.
I would then take the time to answer their question only to have them disengage the chat. No thank you for your time, no response back. They received their answer and went on their way. They were done with me.
If only they had practice the following basics, I wouldn’t have taken it down less than a month later.
Basic Chat Guidelines
- First review the website to make sure the answers you seek are not already provided for your convenience.
- Before initiating a chat, gather all the details the chat agent will need to help you. Things like item, product or order numbers.
- When you start the chat, include a Hello. If I see their name, integrate that as well.
- After a personal greeting, start with “I hope you can help me with….” in lieu of just posting a question. Then add a “TIA!”.
- When the chat is complete, thank them again for their time and add a “have a nice day!’.
Pretty simple guidelines, right? Then why is it so many don’t even bother to follow the above?
Chat vs. Email Communications
Online support chats are not any different than other modes of communication. Whether chat or email, we should always communicate with courtesy, knowledge and understanding.
Think about it. There is a human being on the other side of your screen there to serve you and respond to your inquiries. Is it too difficult to say “Hello” and thank them for their time?
Or are you one of those hiding in your anonymity to just get the answers you want? Do you believe that chat reps owe you answers and you don’t need to show even a hint of gratitude? If you answered yes to these questions, I hope I never have to do business with you.
Courtesy is Part of Humanity
Sadly, I believe our culture has embraced a lack of civility. We can thank social media for that. But the reality is the world isn’t “social media”.
Anyone who has read any of my posts knows I am big on courtesy. Courtesy is not out of style or old fashioned. There is not a single situation I can think of where courtesy can not foster better relationships and clear communications.
Keep in mind when you use a website’s support chat that just because that service is offered to you doesn’t mean you should lose sight of the human being on the other side. Well, you can, but I guess that would speak volumes as to the kind of person you would be like to do business with.
Rise above the rest and let the folks on the other side know you appreciate them being there for you. Let them know you value that additional level of customer service.
Speaking from experience that little extra effort will be greatly appreciated.