When live chat and messaging collide

When live chat and messaging collide

During the last 2 years we’ve had a binge of digital support channels. As many brands have recorded strong online conversations volume peaks from the beginning of the pandemic on, they have introduced new channels such as live chat and messaging channels. Some organizations though are experiencing some mismatch between these two channels that are affecting overall customer experiences. Check them out and learn how to prevent them.

What they differ one another

If you think about live chat and messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Telegram or Messenger you might think that they’re very similar one another. That’s due to the fact that both channels – unlike social media – generate private conversations and they are more often used by smartphones. If you compare them in detail though, you’ll realize that there are also some important differences that you won’t ignore, otherwise you’re bound to deliver poor customer experiences. I’ve summed them up in the table below:

channel comparison

Related read: 3 frequent approaches to digital support.

Avoid this dangerous mismatch

This is the scenario: you’ve been delivering customer support over live chat for a few years, then you decide that it’s time to add a new channel. When it comes to messaging channels such as Whatsapp, Telegram or FB Messenger, chances are that your agents tend to reproduce the same ‘fast & furious ‘ conversation approach they use over live chat. Meaning that they respond almost in real time. That leads though to an increase of agents stress load on both channels, lower performances and wrong customer expectations. Here’s a typical example that I’ve noticed assessing hundreds online conversations:

Wrong customer expectations

This wrong behavior over messaging channels is often due to two main reasons:

  • Some agents think they have to respond as fast as in live chat conversations
  • Consequently they have encouraged customers to develop such a wrong expectation
  • Some customers confuse channels as they are not aware of main differences

In any case, should your customers have a real-time response expectation over messaging, the crash is already done and it will soon affect your KPIs first, then your overall results. Not sexy for your business, uh? So here’s a golden nugget for you: what your support agents won’t tell you is that they do not know how to educate customers because they’re afraid to tell them the truth: messaging is the middle lane of the conversation highway, so if customers want to use the fastest lane they shall use live chat instead of messaging!

Remedy: harness the Digital Customer Service Personas© skill-set model to turn your agents into online conversations specialists per specific channel.

Over to you

During the last two years I’ve helped many organizations to harmonize and optimize their digital customer service conversations. What are your next goals and challenges? Respond to this interactive video the way you prefer – with your text, audio or video!

Have great conversations.

Image credit: Unsplash.com

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 CustomerServiceCulture.com, 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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