Top 6 Best Practices for Greeting Customers on Live Chat

April 20th, 2017 | Jylian Russell | Communication
Top 6 Best Practices for Greeting Customers on Live Chat

Hello. Hola. Nǐ hǎo. However you get it started, a greeting is foundational to any human interaction. Greetings help us connect on a personal level and set the tone for a positive conversation. Warm and friendly greetings can help forge new connections between strangers and welcome back old friends.

Although mediated through a computer, live chat is at its basis a conversation between two people. And as with any conversation, live chats should always incorporate a welcoming greeting to get things off on the right foot.

So, just what makes for a welcoming live chat greeting? In this post, we’ll look at six best practices for greeting customers on live chat.

  1. Quickly Accept Chat Requests

    Typically, when a customer requests live chat support, they need help now, not ten minutes from now. Overall, you should aim to answer chat requests as quickly as possible – an average wait time of 20 seconds is a great target. Of note, in our recent study, our customers reported an average wait time in 2016 of around 45 seconds (three seconds faster than 2015).

    If you’re dealing with large chat volumes, you might want to consider using auto-allocation on your chats. This feature is great as it can be combined with a setting to automatically send canned greetings to customers as soon as they click to chat. The results are a win-win for both the customer and you – the customer’s wait time is dropped, they still receive a friendly greeting, and you save time by not having to type out a custom greeting for each chat session.

  2. Say Hello, with Warmth

    Like an in-person greeting, your online greeting should convey a cordial welcome to your customer. While a customer can’t see your face or hear your voice, they can pick up on your attitude through the words you use. Put yourself in the right mindset and imagine shaking your customer’s hand when giving your greeting. Yes, it’s cheesy, but it works. This simple exercise can do wonders to convey warmth and establish rapport with your customer.

    messages may be your salvation. Keep a few of these on hand to share with your customers – remember to frame each with friendly messaging. These pre-typed greetings can come in especially handy during busy periods and ensure each customer receives a warm welcome.

  3. 75 Live Chat Scripts

    [Free Download] 75 Live Chat Scripts That Don’t Make Your Agents Sound Like Robots

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  4. Exchange Names

    People like to hear (or in the case of live chat, see) their names. As you would in an in-person conversation, greet your chat customers by name and share yours in return. The simple act of swapping names will remind your customer that they’re talking to a real human which can foster trust in your brand.

  5. Keep it Professional

    Brands vary concerning their definition of ‘professionalism’ – some prefer to speak in a formal tone with their customers, while others enjoy a more relaxed and conversational approach. Whatever approach your brand takes, be sure to reflect this in your greeting tone (and that of your entire chat).

    Also, remember that customers value brands that value their time. Show this by keeping your greeting focused on the customer’s need. That being said, some customers love to chat and may veer the conversation off-topic. Going along with these deviations is great (heck, it makes for a more personalized and memorable chat), just try to keep the sidetracking to a minimum and gently nudge your customer back to the main chat topic.

  6. Speak in Plain Language

    Your customers need to understand what you’re saying in order to receive your help. While your customers will likely come from a broad literacy spectrum, it’s best to keep your word selection to the reading level of the average customer – in America, it’s around 7th or 8th grade. You’re also best to avoid using product or industry jargon that would likely be unfamiliar to most customers.

  7. Be Genuine, Let Your Agents Go Off Script

    Customers want genuine and personalized conversations with brands. While most companies will have chat scripts to help their agents, it’s a good idea to also allow for occasional deviations from those scripts. After all, authentic conversations come from authentic and on-the-fly word selection.

    Say, for example, that your pre-chat survey shows that your customer is from Vancouver. Going off script in the greeting could then be as simple as asking the customer how the weather in Vancouver is or any other fact the agent may happen to know about the city. The key is to keep it light, loose, and in the moment.

    Remember, you’re not a robot and neither are your customers.

    Agent: “Hello Sam, my name is Lex and I’ll be helping you today.”

    Customer: “Hi Lex.”

    Agent: “I see you’re from Vancouver. I hear it’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”

    Customer: “Yes, it’s a pretty special place to live.”

    Agent: “Sounds incredible. I’ll put it on my travel list. So, Lex, how can I help you today?”

Closing

Like any conversation, a great live chat starts with a friendly greeting. Using these live chat best practices for greeting customers, you’ll be better prepped to get your chat conversations off on the right foot. Stay tuned for a related post in which we’ll take a look at best practices for closing your live chat sessions.

Looking for some ready-to-use live chat scripts for your greetings? Then check out our eBook: 75 Live Chat Scripts That Don’t Make Your Agents Sound Like Robots.

75 Live Chat Scripts

[Free Download] 75 Live Chat Scripts That Don’t Make Your Agents Sound Like Robots

Quality scripts can be an amazing tool to save time, enhance quality and communicate your brand voice. In this guide, we’ll lay out some scripts which are time-saving while sounding human, engaged, and most importantly, not robotic.

Download Now

About 

Jylian is an inquisitive and energetic copywriter based in Canada and regularly works with teams across Europe, APAC, and the US. An experienced SaaS writer, she specializes in social media, fintech, and customer service content.

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