How To Not Be A Chat Support Robot

Funny robot sit with headphonesWhen it comes to interacting with customers on chat support, I’ve found that it’s a whole other league in its own in the realm of customer service. Non-attentive chat participants, 30 minute response times, and non-English speakers seem to be the norm. Throughout this entire experience I’ve come across a load of successful interactions, and also a lot of frustrations.

One constant through all of my interactions on chat support is to always remember to not type like a robot.  I think you know what I’m talking about. Nearly all of us have utilized chat support with some company where your interaction unfolds into 5 minute hold times while a representative types out a paragraph long, perfectly typed, meticulous response that defies all logical expectations.

I always cringe when I find myself in these interactions, because I can only imagine myself on the other side of the monitor, with some poor fellow shuffling through pages and pages of scripts and manuals trying to find the proper canned response for the situation at hand. In light of this, I have devised a few ways that I personally utilize to interact with customers on chat support. My goal is to make the interaction feel as “human” as possible while attempting to bridge the communication gap that written communication sometimes provides:

  • Typos are okay: Everyone makes mistakes with writing. If you start to view chat support as a kind of organic, interactive conversation, then heaps of paragraphs and properly based periods almost seem rather foreign. It’s okay to make spelling mistakes. Of course, make sure to correct your typos in your next response, but at the very least a typo or two shows that you’re just a human on the other end doing a job.
  • Keep it short and simple: When trying to get a point across, I always find it more productive to provide short and simple answers, rather than long, drawn out essays. If you treat chat support like another form of social media, then you start to understand that people like bite-sized information. Keep it condensed, to the point, and get the customer on with their day.
  • Emoticons have their place: I’m not too into smiley faces and the like, but when did-i-provide-you-with-outstanding-customer-servicea customer uses them in chat support, I’ll take the time to use one back to engender a kind of emotional connection. Don’t be the guy that gets a smiley face from a customer and replies back with a cold, dry sentence. Put some emotion into it, and you get one step closer to connecting with your customer.
  • Use canned responses when applicable: Canned responses are great. They save time, especially in situations when you know you’ll be saying the same thing over and over again. But use them wisely! Did you just have a service outage? Take the time to connect with each and every customer and address their concerns one by one, instead of resorting to an all out spam fest of canned responses that invoke a generic corporate response to a dynamic situation.

To my fellow chat support heroes, how do you find yourselves generating a positive experience when working with clients in this unique communication medium? Any tricks and tips that you’d like to share?


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