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How to create a great customer experience with chat support

By Erin Hueffner, Content Marketing Manager

Published March 28, 2018
Last modified July 13, 2020

Inquisitive customers love to see a live chat window on your website. Chat is one of the fastest and most personalized ways to engage with a company, but that fact alone doesn't mean it'll provide a great customer experience. When they get in touch with a chat agent, elements of the entire customer experience are still in play: how the customer engages with your website, how they interact with your teams, and where they are on the customer journey. Done the right way, chat can be a great tool to add to your CX strategy.

Here are the ways live chat software can boost your customer experience:

1: Live chat support can boost customer satisfaction

The data is clear: Customers want quick responses. Customer service chat lets people communicate with your company instantly, rather than waiting for a response. You can deliver solutions in real time. And because chat is by nature conversational, it helps you build a relationship with your customers. Better relationships leads to deeper customer loyalty, and loyal customers and more likely to keep purchasing from you -- so it’s worth the investment.

Customer service chat as a VIP experience

If hundreds or thousands of customers come to a site every single day, it's likely unreasonable to offer chat support to everyone. Some, particularly ecommerce, need to be strategic about who can engage with customer service chat support.

One way to accomplish this: require customers to meet some level of specified criteria before they can engage with live chat. The chat widget could be placed behind a gated page so that only VIP customers have access to it. This can encourage customers to become more engaged for that access, but it's a balancing act - it may also prohibit future sales potential. A chat conversation can be a great tool for helping customers who have a problem, so finding that balance will likely take a few tries before getting it right.

3: Optimize your omnichannel customer service experience

Most companies have peak hours when most customer service tickets come in. Live chat can help you manage this workflow by offering support when and where you customers want it. Over 50% of chats usually occur between the peak hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. If you operate globally, your customer service chat hours will need to be extended to offer the best experience in different time zones and multiple languages in your chat tool.

4: Live chat empowers agents to provide proactive service

Chats can happen in two ways: reactively or proactively. Reactive chat is when a customer engages the chat, while a proactive chat is when a live chat agent initiates the conversation after a customer meets the determined criteria.

Offering proactive customer service is good for any company, because it's more personalized. 44% of US online consumers said they liked getting a live chat invitation during research or a purchase. When using Zendesk Chat, admins can set up Triggers that will initiate an online chat based on a specified time duration. This can keep a website visitor from bouncing, but keep in mind that offering proactive chat can vastly increase your support team’s workload.

Invest in your customer experience

Live chat is like saying "we're here and we're listening", so it’s critical for agents to be capable of engaging with visitors quickly. If there are long waits in between responses, the customer's issue is dragged out longer and their frustration builds. That ultimately defeats the purpose of live chat and offering fast support in general - so always have a great customer experience in mind.

6 Steps to Deploying Chat on Your Website