20 Online Chat Etiquette for Excellent Customer Service

One of the major goals of every business is to provide the best customer service. Providing amazing customer service goes a long way in creating a positive opinion about your business. According to a study by a reputed company, 38% of customers are more likely to recommend your business after a positive experience. 




It is one thing to know about providing a positive experience and a different one to provide satisfactory customer service. You need to ensure each support agent is great at handling customer conversations effectively. Companies that offer excellent customer service see up to 6% sales growth in the first year. 


Customer communication has changed over the last decade, more so with smartphones. We are more comfortable chatting than having a conversation over a phone call. So, you must provide exceptional customer support over Chat. 


You can build long-term customer relationships by delivering great customer service. Ensure that every team member of your customer support follows the guidelines. 


1. Greet Your Customers


You think that it’s obvious that you should start the conversation by first greeting your website visitor. But, many times people forget this basic etiquette. 


Welcome greetings are one of the most powerful ways of engaging with your website visitors. Send greetings like hello! How can I help you? It motivates customers to open up with their issues. 


Follow these guidelines about using greetings on Chat: 


  • For a new customer: Greet customers by sending a message, welcoming them to your website. 
  • Page Greetings: When a visitor is spending more time on a particular page, send them a welcome message relevant to that page. Personalized messages show you care for your customers. 
  • Using triggers according to your audience: With Chat software, you can create customer profiles. It helps in sending the right messages at the right time according to the customer profile. 
  • Promoting offers with custom messages: Send custom messages promoting your business after engaging customers. Get more conversions with a better chat experience. 


2. Start with a Positive Tone 


Starting with a positive tone helps you set the frame of the conversation positively. When you are cheerful and positive, it shows in the chat as well. Your agents need to know the importance of being polite during the conversation. 


It is not only about solving queries, but it is also about the way it should be done. When you are positive you will engage with customers more, resulting in building stronger relationships. 


Using positive phrases helps a lot. You can 


  • Assure visitors with phrases like “Please don’t hesitate”
  • Let me check it for you
  • Please note that

Keep in mind to: 


  • Avoid using “No” directly
  • Don’t use words like - I believe, I think, I feel
  • Go to the website for finding out 

Instead, you can use “Let me check that for you”. 


When you have negative news to share with your customer, place it at the start. Use the positive news towards the latter end of the chat. It puts the visitor in a positive mind frame. 


3. Keep it Simple


This rule serves well in most areas, especially in customer support. We try to assume about customer’s knowledge of products/ services. We use professional jargon when chatting with customers. It is important to use simple language so that everyone can understand your response. 


  • Keep the length of the messages short.
  • When you write long messages, it doesn’t allow the customer the option of intervening. 
  • You can use the standard global abbreviations. 


4. Reply Faster with Canned Responses 


No one likes to wait, we expect an effective response to our query quickly. You can use the right canned responses for handling customer’s problems quickly and effectively. 


Using canned responses also maximizes the support team’s efficiency. You can handle multiple chats simultaneously. 


  • Canned responses examples: 
  • We have received your message. 
  • We are working on your case.
  • We will update you soon. 
  • We solved your issue. 
  • Were you happy with the solution? 

You May Like To Read: Customer Engagement Ideas For Live Chat Support - Grow Your Business


5. Don’t Keep Your Customer Waiting


In customer support, the less time you take to engage with your customers, the better it is for your customer service. Visitors get irritated when they cannot get help for their queries in real-time. They are more likely to abandon the purchase if they don’t get an instant answer to their questions. 


Try to solve the customer query at the first contact, if not try to solve it in the least possible time. Studies suggest that 70% of customers expect to solve their issues within 5 minutes. 50% of visitors will simply abandon your site if you do not solve the problem. 


Try to respond to customer queries within 1 minute. It is easier to respond to multiple queries on chats. 


6. Deliver Hybrid Solution with Bots


Businesses can deliver great customer service when they use both Live chat and bots for customer engagement. You need to know your customer’s preferences and take a balanced hybrid approach. With Bots, you can provide 24*7 support, use Live Chat Support Software for complex issues. For more information, read our blog. (insert link for chatbots v Livechat blog) 


7. Provide a Human Touch


You might know the feeling when you are talking to a person who is giving a robotic answer without feeling your emotion. You feel like being cheated. This happens because the support person cannot provide a human touch during customer support. 

When your customers are dissatisfied with your support, it can hurt your business. Providing human touch is important for connecting with the customers. 


Tips for providing a human touch: 


  • Add a real profile pic of your customer support agent. 
  • Keep a balance of canned messages when providing support. 
  • Try to connect on an emotional level with your customers. 


8. Keep the Response Time to a Minimum


With attention span decreasing day by day and so many options to choose from, customers are more likely to abandon your site when they are kept waiting. This can happen during peak hours. Plan to keep the wait time to the minimum. 


Follow these methods for providing a better experience by reducing resolution time. 


  • Route the chat to the relevant team: Directing the chat to the right team helps in providing an effective solution faster. They can identify the issue quickly, provide an accurate solution. 
  • Managing your resources efficiently helps you provide a better customer experience. It also helps in reducing the First Response Time (FRT). 
  • Automating your customer support with bots goes a long way toward improving customer experience. It can provide 24*7 support. 


9. Take Feedbacks for Improvement


Ask for feedback from the customer after every interaction. You can get a lot of knowledge about your product, business, services. Working on the valuable insights you can make your product/ service better. 


When you should ask a customer for feedback? 


At the end of the Chat session: 


After the chat session, you can ask the customer for their feedback. You can ask them to rate the chat support experience. 


After solving the customer service request: 


After meeting your customer service request, you can ask for their feedback. 


After a demo: 


Ask for customer feedback after providing a demo. It provides valuable data to improve. 


After a successful transaction:


Completing a successful transaction results in a feeling of satisfaction. Use this time for building a deeper connection by asking for feedback. 


Taking feedback regularly can improve your customer business vastly. 


10. Chat as You Speak


Don’t be much formal while chatting. Use a balance between formal messaging and modern chat. We read the messages in our voices inside our heads. You might sound weird when they read the message. You can come off robotic. Writing as you talk conveys the message that you are human. 


  • Write brief sentences, which sound natural. 
  • Read the message once before hitting send.
  • Include pronouns like ‘you’ & ‘I’. 
  • Use emojis. You can use the ones which are popular worldwide. 



11. Engage with Your Customers


When you are chatting with your customers, it is an opportunity for building long-time relationships with them. Some ways you could create a bond by:


  • Becoming a proactive listener, in this case, reader. Try to understand between the lines. 
  • Use questions for understanding the issues better. 
  • Try mirroring your customer’s language, but don’t mimic it. 


12. Be Empathetic 


Providing amazing customer services requires you to be empathetic towards your customers’ issues. Developing emotional intelligence must be a priority. When you have empathy & emotional intelligence, your customer service will be better than most. 


Strategies for developing empathy: 


  • Try to mirror customers’ emotional signals. It is harder to do while chatting. With practice, you can become better. 
  • Use customers’ names while chatting. It makes them feel important. 

You May Like To Read: Customer Satisfaction Tips - Improve Customer Satisfaction Instantly

13. Avoid Sarcasm and Use Humour with Caution


When we speak, the listeners understand the emotion with our tone. But, it is almost impossible to understand your emotions while chatting (especially with strangers). Jokes can be easily misinterpreted, on chat. 


If you have a long-time customer, whom you know appreciates a good joke. You can throw a humorous line here and there. But, if a customer is new or not happy with your product, don’t use humor. Be straight to the point and try to provide an instant solution. They will appreciate it much more than the joke. 


14. When Wrong Admit It and Make a Sincere Apology 


Don’t be adamant with your customers. When something is wrong, admit it. Acknowledging mistakes and making a sincere apology go a long way in building customer relationships. It shows that you understand the customer and subconsciously tell them they are right. 


  • Even if you don’t completely agree with the customer, validate their point. 
  • Offer a sincere apology when things don’t work out. 
  • Explain the situation in detail and address all the points. 
  • Explaining how you will handle the situation next time makes you trustworthy. 


15. Be Proactive


You could get many valuable insights when you are proactive on the chat. Looking at the previous conversations will give a deep understanding of the issue. Customers will appreciate the effort you took to make yourself familiar with the issue. It also decreases problem-solving time, which is another motivation for you. 


A good chat software, like Duvim automatically saves chats, in the form of transcripts. It provides for a seamless service, another support agent can pick up from where the customers left. 


16. Ask the Customers if They Have More Questions


When a customer is reaching out to you with support queries, don’t assume, this is the only query they have. We tend to rush to provide a solution. It happens more often when we are chatting with multiple customers simultaneously. 


Make it a habit of asking this important question to every customer, at the end of every conversation. 


17. Set Clear Expectations 


At the start of the chat, set clear expectations for your customers. Try to promise less and deliver much. You should be honest with your customers. If the wait time is 2 minutes, say it 2 minutes and not 1 minute. 


The customer will appreciate you much for your transparency. 


  • If you don’t have the solution to their problem at that time, you can apologize and get back to them as soon as possible. 
  • Never set unwanted expectations with false promises. You are setting them up for disappointment. 


18. Focus on the Conversation Topic


You should keep your focus on the issue at hand. Although, there might be some instances when there might be some chit-chat with customers. There is no harm in doing it, at times it can create a bond between your business and customers. But, don’t go off-topic too much, don’t divulge in the personal territory. Always follow your company’s chat guidelines. 


You can use something like, “Let’s get back to the business”. Keeping the conversation on the topic also helps keep chat sessions short. It is also appreciated by the customers. Remember that customers’ time is valuable. It will also keep your agents productive. 


19. Don’t Leave Your Customers Unanswered


When customers contact you, they expect a fast and efficient solution. However, you might not have all the answers to their queries sometimes. At times, your agents might require some extra help from others or need to consult seniors. You can politely tell them that you need a minute or 2 for gathering the relevant information. You will get back to them as soon as possible. 


Using these phrases will not show your lack of knowledge, instead, it will show that you value customers’ queries. It shows that you are making an effort to solve their problem. 


Follow these: 


  • It is better for your business that you take some time to find the correct information instead of providing wrong answers. When you provide the right solution, your brand credibility also goes up. 
  • When you tell the customer that you need some time, update them within that time frame. It makes a good impression, customers are also likely to appreciate you for it. 


20. End the Chat on a Positive Note


Closing the conversation on a positive note is as important as opening. Express your gratitude towards customers for their time and effort to contact you. 


Use statements like, “Thank you for choosing your service/ business. We are delighted you chose us.” You can make customers feel welcome with messages like, “Feel free to contact us anytime in the future”. 


When you will use these positive messages, it will make customers feel appreciated. This helps in spreading goodwill with word of the mouth. 


Bonus Tip


Bot Etiquette 


We are now well past the point of discussion about whether to use bots in our chat software. Whether we like it or not, chatbots are here to stay. So, why not take their advantage and use them to make our customer support better. 


Use bots to leverage your business for repetitive tasks. When you are using a chatbot, we need to interact with it frequently to make it smarter (by helping it learn). We also need to interact with it thoughtfully so that we don’t lose customers to bad experiences. One way to make sure customers have amazing experiences is to draw guidelines about bot responses to customer's queries. 


  • Never try to mask a bot as a human agent. Customers would be quite disappointed when the bot will not be able to provide satisfactory answers to complex questions. 
  • Take some time to train the bot to converse like a human. Always keep it updated with new questions/ answers. 
  • When training the bot for small talks, make sure to keep it brief and relevant to the queries. 
  • For engaging conversations, train it to understand the intent behind customers' chat. 
  • Bot’s tone needs to be an extension of your brand. 


Conclusion


At first, mastering the art of chat might feel daunting. With practice and following these tips, you will get better. Keep your customers in the mind for providing excellent customer service. Make a print copy of the guidelines and distribute it among your support agents. If you have some other rules, please write them down in the comment section.