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Live Chat Etiquette – 32 tips to make live chat work

Szymon Klimczak
7 min read
Sep 7, 2012
LiveChat etiquette.

Here’s a quick and simple guide for live chat operators and website visitors who discuss sales and support matters over the chat - live chat etiquette.

Although some of the tips below might seem obvious, the communication goes much better if goals of the chat operator overlap with those of the customer.

How to help through a chat session? The operator’s view

The main goal is to help the customer. Assistance might be needed with various things: placing an order; setting up, fixing or replacing a product, scheduling an appointment, etc.

Something extra to gain here is customer satisfaction. Lightning quick service with friendly approach, sense of humor and a little surprise (like upgrade on delivery, discount for future orders, better deal) will turn the chat into a memorable experience and will make the customer a lifelong fan of your brand.

Great experience turns delighted customers into true salesmen willing to share their story.
Great experience (and sometimes a bit of good sales skills turn delighted customers into true salesmen willing to share their story.

At the same time - slow service and negative attitude combined with multiple transfers between agents are the best way to lose the customer forever.

Here are my suggestions for the three main areas of live chat etiquette that should be covered to create the perfect experience for a clients serviced by live chat customer service teams.

Knowledge tips

Behaviour tips

Extra tips

  • for sales teams: use language of benefit, pitch only when asked to, highlight benefits of changing the status quo, be informative and proactive.
  • for support teams: use simple answers and be honest when there's a need to move up a tier, try to understand what exactly doesn't work from "it doesn't work" phrase, assist in answering questions if the customer is not tech savvy.

Technical tips

Wow your customers

Once you take care of general practices that allow you to create good customer service, your base is ready and it is time to take a step forward and work on customer amazement.

Doing something memorable, something crazy that positively surprises people you chat with not only makes them happy, but also turns them into brand ambassadors. Simply said: positive experience makes people talk.

The natural extension will be measuring the results and constant work on their improvements. Here's the infographic that will give you an idea of what to focus on:

Customer Happiness in Live Chat - Infographic
Customer Happiness in Live Chat

How to get my problem solved? The customer’s view

The main goal of the customer is to have the issue solved. Most of them are sure how to behave to make it easier for the operator to get problems solved.

Knowledge tips

Behaviour tips

Technical tips

Don’t make it hard for the other side

A thing to remember is that text lacks feelings without context, which makes chat more advantageous than a phone, as it does not pass the emotions as easily as voice. On the other hand, it might be a reason for misunderstandings between people located in different locations and conducting a chat, when emotions are not clearly expressed by words. The point is to get on the same page, understand the positions of the person on the other side and to work together on getting things done.

As you can see, live chat etiquette isn't that hard. Start the 30-day LiveChat trial and learn for yourself!

How is chat working out for you?

Chat support can be quantified similarly to the help offered by call centers. There's a handful of measures that describe the value of live chat implementation and reflect customer satisfaction.

Take a look at live chat best practices based on data gathered from over 600 companies and 1.76 mln chats. Compare the results in your business with other companies in your industry.