Becoming live chat conversations pro

Becoming live chat conversations pro

I’ve recently carried out Digital Customer Service consulting and training activities for two clients. With both of them I’ve worked with their team members, letting them focus on live chat support. These two teams are now fully aware that handling live chat conversations like a pro doesn’t happen overnight. So let me show you what key details can make or break the whole customer experience.

Fast paced, high demand

The above title sums up average customer’s expectations when it come to asking support over live chat. In fact since this channel generates ‘synchronous conversations’, interactions happen almost real-time but with one more difficulty: unlike the phone there’s no voice, so neither you can use it to speak nor listen! That’s why your customer support agents need ad hoc skills to master live chat conversations, such as:

  • High sentiment detection – meaning being able to understand what the customer is feeling and wanting that very moment (since the very first incoming query).
  • Fluent, concise and empathetic writing skills – be flexible when blending these ingredients during every single interaction to optimize customer experience / prevent any friction.
  • Good time management – customers choose live chat to have easy, fast and brief conversations; otherwise next time they won’t use it again (consider that when you’re about to integrate live chat as new Digital Customer Service channel):

Find out all needed competencies to master live chat support downloading the Digital Customer Service Personas© skill-set framework.

3 mistakes you’d better avoid

Sad person

“Oh no, I fu**ed up!” Said the agent after hitting the ‘send’ button…

Unfortunately it happens more than you think, because agents don’t tell you about it if you’re a customer service manager or a supervisor. They’re just too afraid of your reactions or consequences they may face. Such a behavior or lack of self-awareness whenever they generate a friction with the customer, are toxic ingredients that kill any customer experience. So let me show three major mistakes I’ve noticed during my digital conversations assessments on behalf of my clients.

  1. Late responses during the chat. Your agent is responding pretty fast (under 1 minute per interactions) then, suddenly, they’re too focussed to craft the perfect answer that after a 2-minute silence the customer becomes impatient asking the typical ‘Are you still there?’ This hiccup will turn into extra time and effort for your customer service agent to apologize and take control back of the conversation.
  2. Lack of proactivity. We all as digital consumers expect customer service people we interact with to be proactive: during a live chat that’s paramount to avoid bad reviews / feedbacks, even though you’ve handled pretty well the rest of the conversations. Want an example of this deadly mistake? Agent: ‘Yes, you can easily do it online.’ Customer: ‘Where exactly??’ Agent (correcting him/herself): ‘click on this link then follow these instructions’
  3. Mixing up live chat with messaging. It often happens to those who integrate both channels into their Digital Customer Service offer. Be aware though that they are different in terms of interactions pace (messaging is asynchronous) tone of voice (live chat is more concise) thus, customer expectations. So make sure to make no confusion between them otherwise you’ll make this mistake.

A million dollar question

Avoid the above 3 mistakes during your live chats unless you want to kill any customer experience libido. The best way to achieve that is to constantly check-up your support team skill-set against ever-changing customer expectations. Therefore I have to ask you:

When was it the last time that your team got specifically trained on live chat conversations?

Have great conversations. 👊

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About Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. In the 90s he took part in the startup of the first online insurance company in Italy, following the customer's entire life cycle. Since 2013 as a consultant and trainer he has helped companies to exploit digital customer service as a business lever. Founder of, he is the author of thematic books at thematic conferences in Italy and abroad and lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan.

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