Is Ditching Phone Customer Support a Smart Decision?

There’s an old saying – “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” – that sometimes rings all too true for customer support teams. When prioritizing support inquiries, there’s a hierarchy of channels. Email sits at the bottom, with response times ranging into hours or even days. Chat is somewhere in the middle, with customers expecting a response in a few minutes. Phone support sits at the very top. It’s common for customers to call in and expect to speak with a real person right away. If they’re left on hold, it’s a frustrating experience that contributes to driving customers away from a business.

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Customer Support Chat Tips to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Technological advancements have created new ways to optimize customer service and increase sales. One of the most exciting developments over the past decade has been the live chat feature that has become a staple for most websites. With this feature, customers can ask questions before buying or get assistance with a product without the frustration of long wait times.

Regardless of how far technology comes, it’s still up to the humans at the other end of the chat session to perform well. Here are some live customer support chat tips and tricks for increasing customer satisfaction.

Wear a Smile

One of the best customer service tricks handed down through the ages, particularly when it comes to answering phones, is to put on a smile before you start the conversation. While there are many live chat options to choose from (check out the top choices at The Best Live Chat Software for 2018) none of them have the capability to filter an unfriendly tone.

Smiling before you start chatting is a physical cue to remind yourself that you are talking to a customer and should make your tone match your expression. It will help offset any ambiguity over text and keep you focused.

Be Empathetic

Use your communication skills to make customers feel heard and appreciated. Phrases like, “that sounds really frustrating, what can I do to help?” or “I’m sorry you’re having trouble, let me see what I can do.” validate the customer’s feelings and make them feel important. Often, when someone is using online chat, the exchange can sound robotic and scripted. In fact, as many companies use bots to start a conversation, some customers have trouble differentiating whether or not an actual person is typing the words.

Empathy is a human skill that computers will never quite grasp, no matter how far technology comes. Stay ahead of the curve and let your human self shine through.

Pay Attention to Grammar

Despite what the development of text speak and emojis might indicate, grammar is still very important to a lot of people, especially when interacting in a professional setting. It shows customers that the business cares about the quality of their conversations and how they interact with customers. While a few typos here and there are inevitable, it’s important to know what you’re trying to say and spell it correctly.

Before you hit send, take a moment to scan over what you wrote. Read it to yourself out loud and try to identify any potential errors. Some people find more success reading the sentence backward, as it breaks up the monotony and habitual approach to editing one’s own work. Just because you’re using proper grammar, doesn’t mean you can’t use a well-placed emoji every now and then.

Know Your Product and Company

Before you log in to interact with customers, you should know extensive details about your product offerings and the various aspects of your company. That way, you know how to quickly find and communicate pertinent information to the customer, reducing wait times and frustration. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working in a restaurant with a large menu or as a customer service representative for a computer company, you need to at least have a foundation of knowledge to be able to help people effectively.

Knowing the products can also help you increase sales and drive business. For example, if you know that you no longer carry a certain product, you can direct customers to an alternate option that offers similar benefits. This tactic not only boosts customer retention, but accurate recommendations also helps to build trust between your employees and your customers.

Master the Art of Small Talk

Learn how to fill in gaps in conversations and build a rapport with customers. Not only can asking questions help you find the right information for the customer, it also makes them feel appreciated and keeps the conversation moving as you try to find the right answers to their questions.

Live chat is a powerful tool if you have skilled people sitting at the keyboard. Train your people in effective communication, and you’ll see the results in your bottom line.


Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.


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