Connecting with your customers, and providing a positive and supportive experience is just as important whether it happens through a chat window, over the phone or even in person.
But the experience of communicating over chat, however, is obviously a lot different than speaking to customers over the phone, and those differences come with a new set of challenges that customer service representatives need to be ready for:
- Understanding tone. Because these conversations happen in writing, it can be hard for both agents and customers to understand or interpret tone. Agents need to be extra careful about how their words may come across.
- Chat culture. For those generations that didn’t grow up in chat rooms or ICQ, it can be hard to understand some of the slang or cultural references that have developed over the years. That means agents need to be sensitive to using words and references that are more universal.
The good news is that there are some solid tips and best practices you can follow to create a positive customer service chat experience for any customer.
Professional Chat Etiquette: Finding the Balance
When it comes to professionalism in chat etiquette, many of the same rules apply for when you’re taking a call from a customer. You want to stray away from sensitive or crude jokes, avoid slang, and find the right balance between formal and friendly.
[Read More: Customer Service Chat Assessment]
But below, we’ve set out some helpful chat-specific ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s when it comes to professional chat etiquette.
- Do use simple language and short sentences: You’ll want to use simple language and avoid complex terminology when speaking to customers. Keeping things simple and short makes it easier for customers to understand your point, rather than be hit with a huge block of text within the small real estate of a chat window.
- Do set a positive tone: Granted, it’s hard to convey tone simply through words, but there are a few tricks to helping your positive tone . Using positive words and phrases will help translate into a positive experience for your customers. Remember to always be polite and thank your customers, kindly asking them for information, and try to avoid one-word responses (like ‘ok’ or ‘no’) which can come across as curt to your customers.
- Do watch for grammar and spelling: In the busy day of an agent, it can be easy to overlook a few typos or grammatical errors. Taking a second to proofread messages before you send them, or implementing grammar check software in your customer support platform can minimize those errors and maintain that professional tone. Also, having a knowledge base that agents can pull quick, templated answers from will can help pull double-duty of not only reducing those pesky typos, but ensuring your brand voice and tone is upheld.
- Don’t go heavy on the caps, emojis, or abbreviations: While abbreviations and acronyms have their place when messaging friends, you might want to keep an eye on how much of that you bring into your chat conversations with a customer. Avoid acronyms like “brb” or “lol” (these come across as far too informal), and be prudent in your emoji use.
- Use punctuation: Leverage the power of punctuation to come intimate tone, and come across as more human. Using an exclamation mark can, when used sparingly, can help express an enthusiastic tone! But when it’s overdone, can make you sound like you’ve had one too many cups of coffee.
Other Chat Etiquette Tips
Once you’ve nailed the balance between being professional yet warm and welcoming, you can use these tips to help improve other aspects of your customer service chat experience.
- Use links: One of the many benefits of communicating through chat messaging is your ability to copy and paste information, photos, and links that can help your customers. You can redirect customers to whatever page, product, or resource they need and really add value to the chat experience.
- Use a script: You hire your agents for their natural empathy, and ability to connect with customers. But for agents who are newer to your organization, you might want to consider using a chat script as a guide, until your agents are fully onboarded, and to ensure consistency and quality.
- Be empathetic and understanding: Like in a phone call, you want to be empathetic and understanding. Really listen to your customers and show you understand their concerns by responding with empathetic and prompt responses.
Final Thoughts: How to Improve Customer Service Chat
At Gladly, we put the people at the center of our customer service platform whether it’s a voice call or chat message. Our platform helps keep agents prepared and updated throughout their conversation with helpful insights and customer history at their fingertips, and makes connecting with your customers easier and more personal than ever before.
Radically change the way you connect with your customers. Sign up for the Gladly demo today.