Canned Communication for Live Chat
A gentle human touch even in an online interaction, which happens to be automated in part, or in full can make a great difference in the way in which customers respond to your communication. An automated e-mail response is different from those communication modes that are both personal and instant. Live chat takes it one-step further since there is a qualified professional who is assigned the responsibility of responding to your customers’ chat messages. Canned Messages i.e. ready-made content to customer queries is typically generated for frequently occurring situations within a live chat environment.
Why do Chat Operators Need Canned Messages in the First Place?
A live chat operator often chats with more than one customer or site visitor simultaneously. Canned messages can help in:
- Dealing with standard and frequently asked repetitive questions that customers may have
- Speeding up response time during the chat protocol
- Generating clearly defined, accurate and meaningful responses quickly that happen to be error-free
- Improving the overall efficiency of your chat operators and streamlining customer throughput
- Improving clarity and consistency in your customer communication
Customizing Canned Messages when Necessary
On the other hand, support operators need to personalize the text of the canned message by typing the user’s name and changing the text of the canned message slightly in order to suit the question. Your customers or site visitors may not like to read an entire message which is clearly canned and more so if it is slightly off the question asked.
The most important rule about your canned messages, however, is that they should be consistent through all the messages. Make them formal but conversational. We do not recommend that you use slang expressions when chatting with customers.
Ten Tips to Follow when Using Canned Messages
Here are ten meaningful recommendations while creating canned messages:
- Use ‘you’ ‘your’ ‘their’ ‘they’ and ‘under’ as well as other personal pronouns in the canned message content in order to add that important personal touch.
- Liberally use ‘Please’ and “Thank you.’ Chat operators need to be extremely polite with their customers.
- Leave place for the user’s name in the message. This would force chat operators to use names not just a ‘you’ or nothing at all. In order to implement this level of personalization, request site visitors to provide their names in the pre-chat form.
- Clarity is the order of the day. Be clear, write, “service available Monday through Friday” and not “service available on all days except weekends.”
- Ask your support operators to maintain an informal communication tone since your chat conversations rarely involve academic discussions.
- Write complete sentences and try not to use sentence fragments. There is no room for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in chat communication as far as your end of the bargain is concerned.
- We do not recommend the use of slang in any form whatsoever.
- None of the content in your canned messages should be composed in upper case since upper case text implies that your support operator is shouting. Moreover, it tends to reduce readability and implies that your chat operators are impolite which obviously not the case is.
- We do not recommend the use of humor unless yours is a joke site. Customer service delivery is serious business and should be taken seriously.
- Revise and update your canned messages regularly in keeping with your site’s deliverables, policies and purpose.
Here is a sample introduction:
Hi there, I’m Martin fromHubExtra.com. Thanks for logging in. How can I help you?
This message contains the chat operator’s name in the beginning, which the user can retain. Use only one name during the entire chat conversation.
Here are some hints for precision-based operations:
- Be precise at all times even if it means holding up the chat for a moment or two to check out a detail and change the Canned Message. This can save time and avoid confusion.
- Pay attention to the customer’s question. You may well send out a canned message, which does not answer the query. This results in another round of chat. In fact, many canned messages suffer from this problem. They do not exactly conform to the question at hand.
- If you are pulling out the same canned message each time then take a hard look at the website. Information may be missing or incomplete.
Guidelines for Management
- Canned messages have to be systematically classified and categorized.
- Live Chat operators have to be trained in using this repository of canned messages. Don’t expect them to learn on their feet. We highly recommend that you allocate a training budget for this purpose.
- New canned messages have to be created. Some old ones may need to be refreshed. You can pour through the chat transcripts or talk to your chat operators; they’ll give you more value for your time.
- Always conclude a chat session with a nice canned message. The site visitor should clearly know that the session has ended. “Ok, I’m Martin from Canned Messages.com logging off. It has been great talking to you. Trust you found us educative. Thanks a lot.”
We are confident that following the recommendations we have outlined here will surely take your live chat initiative to the next level and yield many more new and satisfied customers.