10 Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat

Live chat is a great customer service tool for B2B companies. It’s fast, cost-effective, and provides customers with an immediate response to their inquiries. However, when live chat isn’t done right, it can cause more harm than good. From annoying placements on the website to responses that feel computer-generated, poor chat experiences can lead to negative brand perception and customer frustration. The truth is that many B2B chat experiences are underperforming. Here are ten common mistakes companies make with live chat, and what you can do to avoid them. 

1. Unclear Chat Objectives

Before you launch your live chat service, you need to decide what its objectives are going to be and ensure that all agents understand these goals clearly. Are you using live chat for sales? Customer support? A combination of both? Having clear objectives will help you create more effective conversations with customers and increase customer satisfaction.

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

To maximize your B2B chat, you need to create an experience for customers that prioritizes your objectives. Examples of live chat objectives include: maximizing customer satisfaction, generating leads and increasing sales, reducing operating costs, as part of an omnichannel experience, or complementing current self-service strategies. To learn more about live chat objectives, check out “How Live Chat Can Help Your B2B Business.”

2. Poorly Placed Chat Window

One of the most common mistakes with live chat is displaying the window in an inconvenient location on the website. If customers have difficulty finding the chat window, or if it obstructs their view, they will be less likely to use it. Placing the window in a convenient spot is key; usually, the bottom right corner of your website works best, because visitors are used to finding it there and won’t have trouble navigating away from it when they need to do so. 

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

While the bottom right corner works best for a lot of sites, it may not be optimal for yours. Test different placements to see if there is one that makes more sense for your website. Another option is for the chat window to open in a new window.

3. Chat Window That Feels Off-Brand

Sometimes, a brand will adopt the style of the chat platform and forget to incorporate its own branding. An effective chat window is a perfect way to show the true personality of your brand. It can be serious, professional, and authoritative, or it can use puns and playful language – whatever best fits your desired image. Showing a chat window on your website, with attentive customer service agents that understand and embody your brand’s spirit, ensures that current customers’ experiences are enjoyable and engaging. It also sends a strong message to potential customers about the values your business holds and the level of care you are willing to provide. Thus, when considering what type of chat window to implement, matching the look and feel of your brand is not enough; make sure you also capture its personality in order to achieve maximum success.

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

There are a few ways to ensure that your chat window creates a positive brand experience, including:

  • Making sure the chat widget matches the look and feel of your website.
  • Introducing yourself using a personalized greeting that is consistent with your brand.
  • Sharing an expected response time.
  • Asking an open-ended question to get the conversation started.

4. Sounding Like A Robot

Live chat is a powerful tool companies can use to communicate with customers quickly, but sometimes that efficiency can come at the cost of sounding robotic. In a chat setting, it’s important to be knowledgeable and authoritative, while also maintaining an approachable tone. Automating chat services should not take away from your businesses’ personal touch; instead, these services should make communication simpler by allowing companies to efficiently bridge conversation paths without loss of human expression. By making sure that your chat messages sound like they are sent by an actual human being, customers will appreciate the thought that went into crafting the response, rather than just using canned messages. 

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

Whether you are using the automated chatbot, or your team is relying on scripts, using conversational words to create concise messaging will help, as will using personal pronouns.

5. Not Training Staff

One of the biggest mistakes companies make with live chat is not training their response agents properly. Agents should be fully trained in how to handle different types of inquiries from customers, as well as how to respond promptly and professionally in any situation. This will ensure that customers have a positive experience with your company’s live chat service every time they use it. 

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

Training programs should be comprehensive, covering the use of the platform, as well as product knowledge and company vision. However, response agents must also be trained in problem-solving, time management, and when and how to transition prospects from chat to other necessary channels.

6. Not Staffing Properly During Peak Chat Times

In today’s digital landscape, many businesses have moved to chat as a way for customers to get answers quickly. Automated bots can usually handle queries about topics such as store hours or product availability, but when more complex needs arise it’s important to consider staffing your chat with a human. Unfortunately, in order to keep costs low, many businesses will staff their chat only during traditional business hours – 9 to 6 – but this approach is failing to meet the needs of customers who are engaging with the business outside of these hours. To maximize customer satisfaction and loyalty, staffing decisions should be made in alignment with peak demand so that customers’ questions are answered right away, no matter what time of day they’re asking them.

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

To avoid skipping customer support requests during peak hours, analyze chat service hours to identify peak times, and staff accordingly. If on-site staffing isn’t feasible, consider using a live chat mobile app so that your operators can address questions no matter where they are or what time of day it is. When staffing is not an option, consider using an offline message form and automated email responses to communicate expectations for follow-up with clients and prospects.

7. Lack of Immediate Response

In order for your company’s live chat service to provide a positive customer experience with your brand, it’s important for agents’ responses to be timely. According to Forbes, the average live chat response time is 46 seconds. If agents fail to respond within a minute, it can lead to the customer feeling frustrated or ignored.

That being said, people don’t mind waiting a little longer for high-quality support. According to the 2022 Live Chat Benchmark Report, organizations with higher wait times tend to have higher customer satisfaction ratings. That is because people are willing to wait for the best support, regardless of which channel they use to ask questions.

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat

Set expectations with your team on response times, and find a balance between providing a quick response and providing a quality response.

8. Lack of Personalization

The chat widget is one of the key gems of the era of instant gratification – ask a question and expect an answer you want, when you want it. But B2B businesses cannot deliver that promise unless they incorporate personalization into their chat experiences. Tailoring the conversation to customers’ expectations can turn customer frustration into successful engagements and conversions. The chatbots should be designed with an approachable yet knowledgeable tone, while weaving in relevant keywords to create a meaningful chat experience that resonates with customers and helps them find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

Personalization extends to both the brand and the prospect. From the brand’s perspective, you want to use a real-life photo of the agent, and make sure they introduce themselves. When it comes to personalizing the prospect’s experience, you will want to use the customer’s name and make sure any information you gather in the pre-chat survey (or throughout the chat) is being used by the automation to deliver the right experience.

9. Too Many Fields on Chat Forms

Pre-chat forms can be a great way to quickly and easily capture initial customer data to help create a personalized experience. However, many businesses can go too far with the amount of fields they include in their forms. Adding too many questions into the pre-chat form can overwhelm and frustrate customers, making them less likely to complete it. As is usually advised when creating web forms, using fewer fields to start a chat conversation will often result in better customer engagement – especially for chatbots, where respondents may be seeking quick answers instead of being bogged down by an overly long questionnaire.

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

There is a fine line between asking for enough information to create a personalized experience and asking for too much information. When planning or auditing your pre-chat forms, only ask for the minimum amount of information that will allow you to provide a personalized experience and get the consumer to the right department. Need more information? Use real-time visitor tracking software to capture the company name, location, and the pages they visited.

10. Not Following Up With Customers

Another mistake companies often make is failing to follow up with customers after initially engaging with them via live chat (or any other type of communication). This extra step helps build customer relationships and shows that the customer matters, even if it takes just a few minutes out of your day! Following up with customers can go a long way in increasing customer loyalty over time, as well as improving overall satisfaction levels with your brand’s services or products.

Tip to Avoid Mistakes Companies Make With Live Chat:

If you cannot answer the customer’s questions or resolve the problem, set expectations on when someone will follow up and then follow through. You may also consider implementing a post-chat customer satisfaction survey. Post-chat surveys offer a way to collect, analyze, and measure customer feedback in order to boost customer satisfaction and improve your chat experience.

Future of Chat in the B2B World

As more digital natives enter the workforce, chat is playing an ever-increasing role in the B2B world. With 61% of B2B transactions in the US taking place online, chat-based customer service allows companies to provide prospects and customers with a way to resolve issues quickly and effectively. This leads to increased customer satisfaction and a positive brand experience, which ultimately can translate into revenue growth – but only if it is done right. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can reap the benefits of chat without any of the pitfalls.

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